The video card market is currently going through difficult times. Since late 2020, we’ve seen a gradual refresh of the Nvidia and AMD lineup, along with shortages and rising prices. In case of unavailability of new solutions for many users, the last hope for an upgrade remains lower-level models. These were presented in January of this year, namely GeForce RTX 3050, which are already available to consumers. What are video cards of this series capable of in modern games at massive Full HD resolution? Let’s find out on the example of ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3050 OC Edition.
At the heart of the novelty is the Nvidia GA106 graphics processor, familiar from the GeForce RTX 3060. But now it is reduced to 2560 stream processors, 80 tensor blocks, 20 RT blocks and 32 rasterization blocks. 128-bit memory bus and 8 GB of GDDR6 memory. In the last generation, there was no budget graphics card with tracing, the bottom rung in Nvidia’s hierarchy was occupied by GeForce GTX 1650 and GeForce GTX 1650 Super. And in relation to them, there was a big jump in the number of computing units. This is such a significant improvement that the GeForce RTX 3050 is more correctly compared to the GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.
|Video adapter||GeForce RTX 3060||GeForce RTX 3050||GeForce GTX 1650 Super||GeForce GTX 1650|
|Number of transistors, million pcs.||13250||13250||6600||4700|
|Core area, sq. mm||276||276||284||200|
|Number of stream processors||3584||2560||1280||896|
|The number of RT cores||28||20||—||—|
|The number of tensor kernels||112||80||—||—|
|Number of texture blocks||112||80||80||56|
|Number of ROP blocks||48||32||32||32|
|Base core frequency, MHz||1320||1552||1530||1485|
|Boost frequency, MHz||1777||1777||1725||1665|
|Memory bus, bit||192||128||128||128|
|Memory frequency, MHz||15000||14000||15000||8000|
|Memory capacity, GB||12||8||4||4|
|Supported version of DirectX||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 (1_1)||12 (1_1)|
|Interface||16x PCI-E 4.0||8x PCI-E 4.0||16x PCI-E 3.0||16x PCI-E 3.0|
|Energy consumption, Vt||170||130||100||75|
Cutting down the blocks relative to the GeForce RTX 3060 made it possible to reduce the power to 130 W. It is also worth noting the reduction of the PCI Express interface to 8 lines. This may limit the potential a bit on older platforms with PCI-E 3.0, but is hardly critical for a graphics card of this level of performance. The GeForce RTX 3050 belongs to the LHR (Low Hash Rate) series, that is, it has a built-in speed limiter for Ethereum mining. Although according to the latest news, this protection can be hacked.
GeForce RTX 3050 supports all features of the Ampere architecture, including hardware acceleration of tracing, intelligent DLSS scaling and has an improved video processing unit for high-quality video capture and comfortable streaming.
According to rumors, Nvidia will soon introduce a simplified version of the GeForce RTX 3050 with 4 GB of video memory. It will be based on a more economical GA107 processor. For now, let’s evaluate the capabilities of the full version of GeForce RTX 3050 from ASUS. Let’s consider the top variant from the ROG Strix line with powerful cooling and increased frequencies, check the overclocking potential and compare it with older AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
|Video adapter||ASUS ROG-STRIX-RTX3050-O8G-GAMING|
|Number of stream processors||2560|
|Base frequency, MHz||1552|
|Boost Clock, MHz||1860|
|Memory bus, bit||128|
|Memory frequency, MHz||14000|
|Memory capacity, GB||8|
|Supported version of DirectX||12 Ultimate (12_2)|
|Interface||PCI-E 4.0 (8x)|
|Image output||3x DisplayPort 1.4a, 2x HDMI 2.1|
|Dimensions, mm||300 x 134 x 54|
The video card comes in a large box, which is designed in the standard ROG Strix style. There are a few additional Velcro fasteners inside to secure the cables.
Visually, the GeForce RTX 3050 does not differ from the ASUS ROG-STRIX-RTX3060-O12G-GAMING, it is a massive 30 cm long video adapter.
More than two slots thick. The cooling system is equipped with three fans. Everything looks very solid for a product that is aimed at the lower end of the market.
On the back, the video card is covered with a metal plate. It provides rigidity to the structure and protects the textolite. There are no thermal pads inside, this plate does not remove heat from the board.
There is one eight-pin power connector. Next to it is a BIOS switch for choosing productive or quiet modes that determine the fan speed.
On the side of the «visor» of the backplate there is a large inscription GeForce RTX. An illuminated panel runs along the side of the cooling system casing.
There are five ports for image output — three DisplayPort and two HDMI.
Full RGB illumination of the side panel and the logo on the back is implemented.
The video card is cooled by a large radiator with five heat pipes. Half of the VRM elements are cooled by the contact pads on this heatsink.
For other elements, a separate radiator in the form of a simple black plate is provided.
Heat from the graphics processor is dissipated through a smooth, polished base, around which there is a plane for contact with the memory chips.
Three fans with a diameter of 90 mm are installed on top of the radiator. These are special ASUS Axial-tech fans with highly curved blades and an outer ring. This design allows you to increase the power of the air flow.
The design of the board repeats the older ROG-STRIX-RTX3060-O12G-GAMING and TUF-RTX3060TI-O8G-GAMING, but fewer phases are soldered.
The GA106 processor is powered by six phases, GDDR6 memory by two phases.
Full marking of processor GA106-150-KA-A1. Eight gigabytes of memory are filled with four Micron chips labeled IVC47 D9ZPM.
With a standard base value of 1552 MHz, the Boost Clock frequency has been increased from 1777 to 1860 MHz. Power increased from 130 to 150 W.
By default, the Performance firmware is enabled, which provides higher fan speeds for reduced operating temperatures. At the same time, the temperature of the GPU did not exceed 57 °C in the open case (22 °C indoors). Such low heating was achieved at a fan speed of 1100–1200 rpm. That is, the video card turned out to be very cold and quiet — a perfect combination. As an example, below are screenshots of monitoring during long-term stress tests with 3DMark Time Spy and Days Gone. The frequency of the processor was kept in the range of 1987–2002 MHz with short-term peak values up to 2010 MHz.
The temperature of the hot spot of the GPU crystal in some tests approached 71 °C.
When switching to the Quiet firmware, we got a temperature increase of 1 degree in the 3DMark Time Spy test at a fan speed of about 1100 rpm.
A stable 2 GHz per core in the nominal is already an excellent result. With additional overclocking at 140 MHz, it was possible to reach operating frequencies of 2137–2145 MHz (up to 2160 MHz at the peak). These are excellent clock rates for the GA106 GPU. The memory is accelerated to 15700 MHz.
At a fixed fan speed of 1450 rpm, it was possible to maintain the initial operating temperatures or even lower them.
With this overclocking, you can evaluate the maximum capabilities of the GeForce RTX 3050 video card. It is interesting to see how it will show itself against the background of more powerful models, for which we will compare it with the GeForce RTX 3060 and Radeon RX 6600.