Nvidia is rolling out its Ampere architecture with an even more accessible card, but still in its RTX range. Here is the GeForce RTX 3050 review.
The match is drawn up between the Radeon RX 6500 XT just launched by AMD and the GeForce RTX 3050 from Nvidia, the latest version of the Ampere architecture. Both cards were unveiled at CES and compete in the field of next-gen entry-level graphics cards.
In reality, the GeForce RTX 3050 is sold in theory on a slightly higher segment, but we will see that it can justify it.
Our test unit is a Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3050 with Windforce cooling and factory overclocking. For a graphics card of this range, Gigabyte’s cooling system seems oversized, and results in a rather bulky card to integrate. Hopefully this will allow for an interesting level of cooling.
- Ampere GA106 GPU
- 2560 CUDA Cores
- Base frequency: 1552 MHz
- Boost frequency: 1777 MHz (1822 MHz on the model tested)
- Memory: 8 GB GDDR6
- Memory bus: 128 bit
- 130W TGP
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On paper, this new graphics card offers twice the computing power of a GeForce GTX 1650 Super, while adding the Tensor Core (for AI) and the RT Core (for ray tracing) which make the identity of the RTX range.
GeForce RTX 3050 review: Configuration used
We tested this graphics card with a latest generation AMD Ryzen 5000 configuration.
- Motherboard : X570 Asus ROG Crosshair VIII HERO (Wi-Fi)
- Processor : AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (3.8/4.7 GHz, 8 cores, 16 threads)
- Memory : 32 GB DDR4 2666 MHz RAM (two Corsair Vengeance CMK16GX4M2Z2666C16 kits)
- SSD: Samsung 970 1TB NVMe
- Food : Corsair RM1000X
- Case: In Win 303
- Software : Windows 10 20H2 (with Nvidia Game Ready Drivers 511.32)
Benchmark performance and results
The 3DMark Time Spy benchmark launches a 3D scene using DirectX12 and its Extreme version pushes the rendering to 4K. These are therefore very difficult conditions for the RTX 3050 designed for Full HD, but this allows it to be classified on a common test with the rest of the market.
Unsurprisingly, the RTX 3050 ends up in the bottom half of the rankings. We can still note that it dominates the Radeon RX 6500 XT in this test, but is left behind by the Radeon RX 6600 and the RTX 3060.
3DMark DirectX Ray Tracing
Belonging to the RTX range, the 3050 is also sold for its ability to display ray tracing. 3DMark offers a test dedicated to this function which brings all the cards on the market to their knees.
Here, Nvidia’s Ampere architecture shows that it handles ray tracing display much better than AMD’s RDNA 2. The GeForce RTX 3050 therefore finds itself ahead of the Radeon RX 6600 XT, which is nevertheless marketed at a theoretical price of 100 euros higher. However, with an average of 14.13 FPS obtained on this test, do not expect a miracle in games.
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Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most demanding games of the older generation. It is also a particularly impressive technical title and a good way to test a graphics card. Here we are running the in-game benchmark at full HD settings, without using DLSS.
Under these conditions, the game displays 48.7 frames per second on average, but it is clearly a title where choices will have to be made. Either keep the image quality at maximum and limit it to 30 frames per second, perhaps even by activating a downsampling since rendering in 1440p to further improve the display quality. Either limit the graphics quality to maximize performance and get the desired 60 FPS. Be careful, even with DLSS activated in higher performance mode, we did not notice a quantifiable gain in fluidity on this specific title. Difficult to know if it was a bug of the game, or a limitation of the product.
god of war
On God of War, one of Sony’s big blockbusters adapted for PC, the GeForce RTX 3050 feels relatively comfortable. We are indeed able to run the game with the maximum graphics settings at 51 frames per second on average in Full HD, without using DLSS.
Here the card stands out from the Radeon RX 6500 XT where it was necessary to accept compromises on the graphic options to play in Full HD. The GeForce RTX 3050 also impresses with its ability not to miss too many “framedrops”, i.e. times when a drop in performance could ruin the gaming experience.
Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil Village is a game promoted with AMD rather than Nvidia. This does not prevent the RTX 3050 from doing so with honors.
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We were indeed able to play the title with the graphics options at maximum, in Full HD and with ray tracing activated with an average of 56 frames per second which is perfectly acceptable for a card of this caliber. Radeon cards in this range do not allow ray tracing to be activated to play under these conditions.
Doom Eternal is a rather nervous fast FPS where the fluidity of the action counts enormously. Fortunately, here the GeForce RTX 3050 is doing admirably. In full HD and with the graphics settings on “ultranightmare” (the maximum), it displays an average of 72 frames per second.
We have a perfectly fluid experience in game, with a 5th percentile at 60.4 FPS. This means that 95% of the time the game was running at 60 FPS or higher. The activation of ray tracing, which does not bring much in this title for my taste, breaks this level of performance, but the DLSS makes it possible to regain the FPS partially missing. I still preferred to play the game in native rendering without DLSS or ray tracing on this specific title.
GeForce RTX 3050 review: Consumption and cooling
With such a cooling system, we expected exemplary quality and it is true. The GPU never exceeded 70 degrees, which is a pretty good result considering the test environment (a heated room). Above all, the card is able to maintain its performance over time without making too much noise, and that’s a real pleasure for the game.
On the consumption side, HWInfo indicates a peak of 130W distributed between the PCI-Express port (41W) and the 8-pin power supply pin (92W). We are therefore faced with a card that will be very easy to integrate into an old PC, without changing the power supply.
The advantage of the RTX brand
To justify its price, Nvidia can notably rely on the RTX brand. It is not just a logo, but a real specification that this card comes to fill. It’s not just a GeForce GTX. Forget ray tracing, here we are talking about all the very interesting technologies that Nvidia reserves for its RTX cards. DLSS in the first place makes it possible to increase performance in games without dragging image quality down too much. We can also mention Nvidia Broadcast which allows you to record your voice or video with dynamic processing (erasing background noise for example), and Nvidia Reflex (although the latter works with any GeForce). If you are into competitive gaming, having Nvidia Reflex enabled is a good idea.
Where AMD has chosen to sacrifice the video encoding capacity of its card, we feel Nvidia proud to highlight the integration of an encoder managing H.264 and HEVC (H.265) up to 4K. The decoding chip is also at the level and manages MPEG 1 and 2, VC-1, VP8, VP9, H.264, H.265 and even the recent AV1 formats.
It is all these small supplements that must also be taken into account at the time of purchase.
The recommended price
While the Radeon RX 6500 XT is launched at the recommended price of 210 euros, Nvidia is placed above at 279 euros. A fairly theoretical price once again in a market plagued by a shortage which is causing prices to soar. This additional cost, Nvidia can justify it thanks to the RTX brand which translates concretely into integrated technologies which are all interesting additions to the product: DLSS, AV1 decoding, Nvidia Reflex, etc.
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We still regret that Nvidia did not provide a Founder Edition for this graphics card. With the shortage, the Founder Edition are the only cards sold at the recommended price. They are very rare, hard to find, but at least they are reasonably priced. Without an “FE” model, the prices of the RTX 3050 will be free to soar.