Nvidia launched their RTX 3000 series with the introduction of the RTX 3080 on 17th September 2020. Since then, Nvidia has released a whole bunch of GPUs starting from the low-end RTX 3050, all the way up to the show stopper RTX 3090 Ti. But the question remain, is RTX 3050 good for gaming for the current generation?
In short, the NVIDIA RTX 3050 checks out to be reasonable contender for the budget gaming segment. However, it fails to put a dent for enthusiast gamers who wish to play the latest AAA titles at ultra graphics, QHD or 4K resolution or at frame rates higher than 60 FPS.
It does, however, have an excellent value for money. With a G3DMark per USD of 51.3, this GPU has one of the best performance / dollar ratio.
The RTX 3050 is the weakest of the line, and arguably the weakest RTX card in the market (yes, even between RTX 2000 cards).
The card’s release came as a surprise to a lot of people, as there is no RTX 2050 card for desktops. However, there are a few factors that played a vital role in the past few years that may have led to the official release of this card.
But is the RTX 3050 good for gaming? Can it compete with other cards that have similar MSRP? These and many more questions require deeper knowledge of the world of GPUs. Let’s go!
Specifications of the NVIDIA RTX 3050
The RTX 3050 comes equipped with a toned-down GA106 processor (2560 CUDA cores). This in itself is a surprise as almost everyone expected the cheaper GA107 to be the baseline processor for this card. After all, the GA107 is cheaper to make and would have brought down the production price for Nvidia with almost no significant effect on the performance, and the same number of cores.
The card comes with 8 GB GDDR6 memory which is a standard requirement nowadays (for AAA titles). Another surprise is that the GPU has a bus width of 128 only. For reference, the most budget-friendly RTX 2060 had a 192-bit bus width.
All in all, the RTX 3050 is an average card on paper. But can it hold its own against older cards? For this, we need benchmark results and an in-game performance index.
So Is RTX 3050 Good for Gaming?
The best way to gauge whether NVIDIA RTX 3050 is good for gaming or not, it would best to look at its benchmarks scores as well as its performance compared to the rest of low end gaming GPUs.
Benchmark Results of RTX 3050
After seeing its technical specifications, the benchmark expectations from the RTX 3050 are relatively low. In theory, this particular card is weaker than all the cards from Nvidia’s RTX 3000 generation of GPUs and the one prior to this one.
Here are the benchmark scores of the RTX 3050 compared to some its close rivals.
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti||61373||66368||11804|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super||60772||65154||12760|
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050||71667||72998||12779|
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060||70754||78091||13984|
The highest performing variant (the desktop RTX 3050) scored 71,667 on the OpenCL API run by Geekbench, along with a 72,998 CUDA score.
The interesting part is that the RTX 3050 scored lower, but is not too far behind the RTX 2060. In fact, the RTX 3050 beats the RTX 2060 by a slight margin in OpenCL, with the latter scoring 70,754. The RTX 2060 makes up for this in the CUDA core testing where it scores a much higher 78,091.
What’s important in this comparison is that the RTX 2060 has a much older TU106 (Turing technology) processor running the card, as compared to the GA106 in the 3050.
On top of this, the TU106 has fewer cores (1920) than the GA106 (2560). PassMark tells the same story, where the RTX 2060 outperforms the RTX 3050 by almost 9% with a score of 13,986.
The 3050 does beat some low-end crowd favorites like the GTX 1660 Ti in benchmark scores. The comparatively old GTX card scored 66,368 and 61,373 in CUDA and OpenCL tests on Geekbench respectively.
It’s fair to say that this was expected, as the 3050 is an RTX card with more cores and a stronger GA106 processor as compared to the 1660’s TU116.
The benchmark results of the 3050 are in line with what was expected after analyzing the specifications, pretty average.
As far as the GTX 1660 Super is concerned, the benchmarks result are mixed and not definitive. However, it is safe to assume for now that the RTX 3050 is slightly more superior to the GTX 1660 Super and weaker in comparison to the RTX 2060.
It (RTX 3050) only beat the GTX 1660 Super by 6%. At the same time, the RTX 2060 was 9% faster than the RTX 3050 – Tomshardware.com
However, these scores may not reflect the actual performance of the card in-game. To check the real-world perspective, we need to consider the performance of the card in the most challenging games.
NVIDIA RTX 3050 Performance in Games
There are quite a few YouTubers that provide average FPS benchmarks for cards in all games. It is fair to be inclusive of as many sources as possible, as a GPU’s performance may vary from brand to brand.
The system that is being used with the GPU is also important, as the possibility of a bottleneck in an un-balanced system always remains.
We will only include the results from sources where the GPU bottleneck is less than 5%.
Here are some of the benchmarking results:
|Red Dead Redemption 2||184.5||45||159||37||113.5||24|
|Forza Horizon 4||318||95||284.6||95||208.7||53|
|Shadow of The Tomb Raider||271.9||76||202.8||51||120.9||26|
- Source: Gpucheck
RTX 3050 is NOT intended for 4K Gaming
One thing is quite obvious, the RTX 3050 is not made for 4k ultra settings. It does put out some playable framerates in some games, such as Battlefield 5 and Forza Horizon 4.
To get a real insight into where exactly the RTX 3050 stands in the race of GPUs, we can compare it to some of its closest peers (w.r.t benchmarks).
Though, these games are quite easy-going as far as the system requirements are concerned. To get a real insight into where exactly the RTX 3050 stands in the race of GPUs, we can compare it to some of its closest peers (w.r.t benchmarks).
Comparing RTX 3050 to GTX 1660 Super and RTX 2060
The first GPU that comes to mind is the 1660 Super. Although the GTX card is not recommended for 4k ultra settings either, it can put out decent framerates.
The performance of the 1660 Super on lower resolutions is quite impressive for its specifications, where the card performs equal to, or just slightly worse than the RTX 3050 in a variety of games.
Techspot’s 12 game average framerate shows the 1660 Super trailing the RTX 3050 by just 5 FPS on 1080p and 6 FPS on 1440p. Both these cards have similar MSRP range, and there is a very slight difference in performance.
Another prime contender against the RTX 3050 is the previously discussed RTX 2060. There is not much difference in effective speeds between the variants of the 2060 (6GB and 12GB).
When compared to the RTX 3050, the RTX 2060 is about 10% faster in games (see Techspot’s 12 game average, both 1080p and 1440p). Both these cards were released as the ‘budget option’ in their respective series, but the RTX 3050 does not supersede the RTX 2060 by any means.
To Cut It Short:
To cut it short, the performance of the RTX 3050 at lower resolutions is very impressive. The framerates are high and stable with no framdrops, and the low TDP (150 Watts) gets rid of the heating part.
The performance at higher resolutions on the other hand is understandably average. The card was always meant to be the budget RTX option, with DLSS and RayTracing support. It was not made for 4k gaming at ultra settings anyways.
Is RTX 3050 Worth the Money?
In short, yes. While it may not be the best in terms of performance in the RTX 3000 series, it definitely is one of the best in terms of performance per dollar value.
In fact, for a budget gaming build for playing games at 1080p High-Ultra settings, RTX 3050 hits the sweet spot.
The MSRP of the RTX 3050 is $249 while the market value is always fluctuating, thanks to the shortage of RTX cards and the trend of mining. The question is, at this price, is this GPU worth it?
It is evident by the benchmarking results that the performance of the RTX 3050 is average at most, particularly if you look at its more powerful counterparts. But with a low MSRP, can this GPU be a good bang for the buck? To determine this, we need to compare other products in the market with the RTX 3050.
With the PassMark score of 12,779 and an MSRP of $249, we can conclude that the score per dollar of the GPU is 51.3. This score in itself does not mean anything unless we compare this with the scores of other cards.
Here is a table with some important comparisons:
|Score per Dollar|
|Radeon RX 6500 XT||$200||9307||46.5|
|GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER||$229||12759||55.7|
|GeForce RTX 2060||$349||13987||40|
|GeForce RTX 3050||$249||12779||51.3|
|GeForce RTX 3060||$329||17006||51.7|
|GeForce RTX 3070||$499||22197||44.5|
|GeForce RTX 3090 Ti||$1,999||30079||15|
With a handful of comparisons, we can see that the RTX 3050 does provide a an excellent performance per dollar value in comparison with some other market favorites.
The score per dollar of the RTX 3050 takes the third standing among these 7 cards, with only the GTX 1660 SUPER and the RTX 3060 beating it marginally.
Older GPUs don’t stand a chance, as the newer cards almost always are released at close to their predecessor’s MSRP, with much higher performance.
The verdict here is that the RTX 3050 is a good card if we just talk about the value for money portion. The performance is great, the price is on the lower end, and not a lot is required in the system to run this card.
There are alternatives like the 1660 SUPER that may perform slightly better in some games after overclocking while saving you some extra money.
Also Read: Is the GTX 1650 Good for Gaming?
The RTX 3050 is not made for 4k gaming or even for QHD gaming, particularly if you are of the type that only prefers to play AAA games.
The card does come with PCIe 4.0 support with a faster memory speed than some of the more recent older gen cards. But as far as the in-game performance is concerned, there is not much to show for it. On 1080p and 1440p (ultra settings), the card did perform well with great framerates, with some exceptions.
Is the RTX 3050 a good budget-friendly gaming card, as advertised? The answer to this is yes.
The card runs smoothly on low-power input and gives you good overall performance. The chance of bottleneck is also low, as most CPUs can handle the card without any hassle.
In other words, you wouldn’t need to pair it with a high performance Core i7 or a Ryzen 7 CPU to get its full potential. Even a Core i3 or a Ryzen 3 would suffice giving you an excellent overall budget build.
Is RTX 3050 good for gaming? The performance is quite reasonable for the current generation of games. The card will run almost all of the AAA titles smoothly at 1080p and ultra settings while maintaining a respectable 60 FPS.
When should you buy it? Well, if you are on a tight budget, and looking for an RTX card for your system, the RTX 3050 is the most you can get for $249.
You can also consider going for a card like 1660 SUPER to save some more cash with minimal compromise on performance. If you have a higher budget for the card, you should consider options such as the RX 6600, or the RTX 2060 (both above $320).
The only issue with this card is that it will loose its relevance fairly quickly. In other words, it will go obsolete fairly quickly.
Also Read: How Long Do Graphics Cards Last?