RTX 3050 6GB: Limited Power, Limited Gaming Appeal

In February, NVIDIA officially released the RTX 3050 6GB graphics card, positioning it as a new entry-level offering. The number of CUDA cores has been reduced from 2,560 to 2,304, and the memory capacity has decreased from 8GB to 6GB, with the memory bus width also being narrowed from 128-bit to 96-bit. Consequently, the bandwidth has been lowered from 224GB/s to 168GB/s, and the GPU’s base and boost clock speeds have been reduced from 1,552/1,777MHz to 1,042/1,470MHz, with the Total Graphics Power (TGP) also dropping from 130W to 70W.

TechPowerUp conducted tests on the Gainward GeForce RTX 3050 6GB, noting its remarkably compact design with a length of just 16cm and its ability to operate without external PCIe power, drawing power directly from the slot instead. They lauded it as the fastest graphics card that does not require external power. However, its performance consistently falls short, being 20-30% lower than the 8GB version and even underperforming compared to the GTX 1660 Ti.

Their website hosts a comprehensive suite of tests, from which we’ve excerpted a brief portion focusing on 1080p resolution gaming. For entry-level cards like this, gaming at 2K and 4K resolutions is frankly not advisable. Moreover, in 1080p non-ray tracing scenarios, the RTX 3050 6GB manages to achieve an average frame rate exceeding 60fps in only a handful of games, including “Battlefield 5,” “CS2,” “Doom Eternal,” “Spider-Man Remastered,” and “The Witcher 3.” Across 25 tested games, the average frame rate was 42fps, with several titles exhibiting notably low frame rates.

The RTX 3050 6GB’s performance in 1080p non-ray tracing scenarios is approximately 20% higher than the GTX 1060 6GB, 18% lower than the GTX 1660 Ti, and 28% lower than the RTX 3050 8GB version. Regrettably, comparisons were not made with the GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 Super, although the RTX 3050 6GB is intended to replace the GTX 1650. Realistically, the only area where the RTX 3050 6GB might outperform the GTX 1660 Ti is in ray tracing, albeit with limited capability to enable high-level ray tracing settings. TPU’s tests with maximum ray tracing settings resulted in very low frame rates even at 1080p.

The most noteworthy aspect of the RTX 3050 6GB may well be its power consumption, with a gaming power draw of only 72W. This exceptionally low power consumption offers an impressive energy efficiency ratio, albeit at the expense of performance.