Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3050 EAGLE 8G
$249 USD | $350 AUD
With the addition of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
, the latest graphics card to join the RTX 30 series line-up, we’re getting something pretty interesting. In what has traditionally been seen as the low-end or entry-level bracket, the RTX 3050 sees NVIDIA release a decent 1080p performer with all of the good stuff that comes with the RTX series label. And the same Ampere architecture that powers everything from the GeForce RTX 3060
all the way up to the formidable GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
What this means is full support for things like DLSS and ray-tracing. In fact it’s technology like DLSS that makes ray-tracing possible on the GeForce RTX 3050, so much so that high-quality ray-traced Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
is playable in 1440p on the RTX 3050 at over 60-fps. The same can be said for the recent PC release of God of War
. A game that although doesn’t feature ray-tracing, still looks incredible.
As an entry-level card, specs-wise, you’re getting something that’s a step down from the mainstream-focused RTX 3060 – so the addition and all-round magic of DLSS rendering makes a fairly large positive impression.
But, that’s jumping the performance gun a little. As there was no RTX 2050, the RTX 3050 is for all intents and purposes a brand-new product-tier from NVIDIA – one that could make big waves in the entry-level gaming PC front. And we say could make
because of the never-ending hardware shortages and overall price hikes seen in the scarce GPU-space since the global pandemic began. Which, unfortunately, does change the story a little. This is the sort of GPU where the performance goals are clear and a low price matters – both of which the RTX 3050 features. On paper at least.
It’s a similar situation with the mainstream GeForce RTX 3060, at what price does that sentiment begin to wane? This review will of course focus on the RTX 3050’s features, its place in the Ampere line-up, and its performance across many 1080p and 1440p benchmarks. On that front, as that little glimpse at Guardians of the Galaxy’s performance alludes to, the overall story is that the RTX 3050 is worth celebrating.
Inside The RTX 30 Series
The below is a summary of the RTX 30 Series technology, applicable to all RTX 3050 models. An Ampere primer if you will.
With the arrival of the RTX 30 series, AMD’s latest Radeon RX line, and the one-two console combo that is the PlayStation 5
and Xbox Series X
-- we’re seeing more and more real-time ray-tracing and cutting edge visuals as the months roll by.
The next generation of games across PC and consoles, in terms of AAA high-end titles, will be driven by resolution, frame-rate, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing. The latter is well and truly here thanks to NVIDIA’s Turing and Ampere line of graphics cards. First brought to the scene in 2018 with the GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, the original ‘RTX On’ made that tech-dream of real-time ray-tracing a reality.
The RTX 3050 sees NVIDIA release a decent 1080p performer with all of the good stuff that comes with the RTX series label.
From NVIDIA’s side, being first to implement ray-tracing also meant being on the cutting edge from the get-go, and at the forefront of in-game performance. Additional hardware in the form of RT Cores were brought into the picture to take some of the taxing computation off of GPU processors. To ensure that games ran at the coveted 60-fps, Tensor Cores were added into the mix -- building on NVIDIA’s expertise in the field of AI to drive rendering with DLSS.
, Cyberpunk 2077
, and more -- DLSS is without a doubt one of the most impressive visual feats we’ve seen in a long time. With or without ray-tracing, it allows for a generation leap in performance without sacrificing visual quality. Ampere features second generation RT Cores (NVIDIA’s dedicated ray-tracing hardware) and third-generation Tensor Cores (the AI stuff that makes DLSS the perfect match for hardware intensive ray-tracing in addition to simply boosting performance).
There’s also the new chipset that radically re-designs the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) to effectively double the concurrent calculations and what have you. To get technical we’re talking about FP32 and INT32 operations, two things that are, err, things. In the end Ampere is all about the future -- resolution, frame-rate, AI-rendering, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing using smart design that features forward thinking innovations.
It’s the stuff that powers the GeForce RTX 3050, making it as much ‘next-gen’ as it is entry-level RTX.
Of Numbers and Heat Sinks
When it comes to an entry-level or mainstream GPU offering one of the considerations that goes into the design is its physical size and overall power consumption. When you’re looking at the RTX 3080s and RTX 3090s of the world you’re basically getting something designed for high-performance to go inside a PC build designed for exactly that.
When it comes to an entry-level or mainstream GPU offering one of the considerations that goes into the design is its physical size and overall power consumption.
Entry level means not having to worry about whether or not your power supply can handle a GPU, or if there’s even enough room in your case for all of the liquid cooling and fans needed to keep things from melting into a pool of liquid metal.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
- Architecture (GPU): Ampere
- CUDA Cores: 2560
- RT Cores: 20
- Tensor Cores: 80
- GPU Boost Clock: 1777 MHz
- Memory Capacity: 8GB GDDR6
- Memory Interface/Clock: 128-bit/7000 MHz
- Memory Bandwidth: 224 GB/s
- TDP: 130W
Specs-wise, compared to the GeForce RTX 3060, the RTX 3050 sees around a 30% drop-off in things like CUDA Cores, RT Cores, and Tensor Cores. The memory interface has been dropped to 128-bit too, pointing to a card that is aimed at delivering 1080p performance over something like 4K or even 1440p. But with 8GB of memory and 130W of power usage, the RTX 3050 is still efficient and capable.
It’s a card that can handle modern releases where something like GeForce RTX 1050 (the last mainline 50-card) would buckle under the strain. With all of the above the concessions made by NVIDIA are pretty smart, because the result is 1080p 60fps with game settings cranked to high or ultra. Really though it’s the addition of RT and Tensor Cores that prove to be the real winner, where DLSS can see the RTX 3050 punch well above its entry-level weight class.
And even pull off fully playable ray-tracing at a time when modern consoles and other GPUs struggle.
More Than a Number
One of the big draws that comes from NVIDIA’s latest GPU range sits beyond raw performance, it’s the stuff that is either here right now -- like DLSS and ray-tracing -- or on the horizon. Sometime in the future RTX IO, which builds on Microsoft’s DirectStorage tech found inside the Xbox Series X, will open the door to using an RTX GPU like the RTX 3050 to improve loading times and performance.
One of the big draws that comes from NVIDIA’s latest GPU range sits beyond raw performance, it’s the stuff that is either here right now -- like DLSS and ray-tracing -- or on the horizon.
Resizable BAR support, as seen in the RTX 3080 Laptop GPU
, will impact the RTX 3050 by improving 1080p and higher performance by better utilising PCIe express lanes across AMD and Intel-based CPUs.
In terms of competitive games and esports, NVIDIA Reflex
is something of a game changer in its own right, lowering system latency across a wide range of titles (that is reducing the time between input and the action you actually see being carried out on screen) like Fortnite, Apex Legends
, Rainbow Six Extraction
, and God of War. Paired with NVIDIA’s own G-Sync it’s another value-add and forward thinking bit of tech that goes beyond looking at fps. For content creators RTX Broadcast
turns any space into a streaming setup with AI powered voice controls (that can go so far as to remove the background noise of a hair-dryer or lawn-mower) and green-screen-free green-screen effects.
All of these cool things are the direct result of hardware, software, and AI coming together - a testament to a future where raw power only represents part of the story. That said, we’re now at that part of the story. Let’s talk about performance.
The fastest possible frame-rate, that’s the goal in the PC space. Well, not exactly but the baseline for what you’d call a decent experience has risen to 60-fps of late. Not only that but there’s also the need to crank those detail settings all the way up, and turn on advanced visual effects like ray-tracing. A high-frame-rate and impressive visuals -- both play a part in creating the sort of next-level immersion that only games can deliver.
So without further ado, here’s how the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3050 EAGLE 8G performs at both 1080p and 1440p on the following hardware.
NVIDIA’s latest GeForce Experience offers a simple one-button ‘autotune’ overclocking function -- which improves performance based on a variety of factors. The following figures are based on stock settings.
- GPU: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3050 EAGLE 8G
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
- Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 UNIFY
- Memory: HyperX FURY DDR4 RGB (32GB at 3600 MHz)
When looking at benchmarks for the GeForce RTX 3060 we noted that it was a card that presented “uncompromised 1080p performance”, something that was around 14% slower - performance-wise - than the all-round impressive RTX 3060 Ti. As an entry level RTX card, one that carries an affordable price-point (on paper) and low power-usage, 1080p performance might be a step down from the RTX 3060 - but it’s still impressive.
Looking at non-ray-traced or DLSS powered modern releases like Far Cry 6
and Forza Horizon 5
you’re looking at over 60fps with detail settings turned all of the way up. An impressive feat for what is an entry point for PC gaming. As per below, other titles in this category like The Division 2
, Gears 5
, and Gears Tactics
can all push higher than 60-fps for smooth cinematic 1080p gaming.
The real magic though is what happens when DLSS comes into the picture – NVIDIA’s AI-based rendering tech that provides a generational in the performance department. And all without sacrificing visual fidelity. With DLSS the RTX 3050 is able to push DOOM Eternal and the recently-released Rainbow Six Extraction into the triple-digit realm, which is pretty remarkable. F1 2021 the aforementioned Guardians of the Galaxy are both able to maintain 60fps with DLSS and ray-tracing enabled.
As an entry level RTX card, one that carries an affordable price-point (on paper) and low power-usage, 1080p performance might be a step down from the RTX 3060 - but it’s still impressive.
Now, comparing a DLSS enabled game to performance when the setting is unavailable or turned off isn’t a like-for-like comparison. DLSS is after-all a form of upscaling, albeit one powered by AI hardware that turns in results close or even better than that of native rendering. It’s inclusion here is more than a “nice to have”, it’s a key feature. With more and more titles adding DLSS support, it’s something that makes sense to include in benchmarks.
Even with features like DLSS, RTX 3050 performance is not quite at the high-end level. As a step-down from the RTX 3060, the performance drop-off sits in the 20% or so region - closer to 30% when you throw ray-tracing into the picture. So, with detail settings cranked this means non-RTX titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, in addition to RTX-powered games like Cyberpunk 2077 and the DLSS-enabled Red Dead Redemption II fall short of the 60-fps ideal.
At least with detailed settings pushed to their limit. With smart tweaking or simply bumping things down to medium-high settings, hitting 60fps in the titles that fall short here is fairly easy to do.
Entry Level RTX
With the RTX 3050, entry-level RTX is finally here. A card that not only supports modern titles but features like ray-tracing and DLSS. The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3050 EAGLE 8G is a great choice too, with its small form factor, quiet performance, and temperatures that remain mostly cool throughout extended periods of use. On that front the card hovering at around 70-degrees whilst not going all that crazy with the fans was the norm for most of our testing. The overall build quality is excellent too, and reminiscent of the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 EAGLE we reviewed last year.
With DLSS the RTX 3050 is able to push DOOM Eternal and the recently-released Rainbow Six Extraction into the triple-digit realm, which is pretty remarkable.
In the end, with all the extra grunt available in something like the RTX 3060 or even RTX 3070 there is a big difference between this entry-level offering and a beefier RTX 30-series card. But the intended audience here is that of the entry-level gamer, or someone looking to swap out their ageing GeForce RTX 1050 with something new. In a perfect world, assuming prices remained as advertised and stock levels were plentiful, the GeForce RTX 3050 would be hard to pass up.
Plus, when it comes to some of the most played games today - like Fortnight, Apex Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, CS:GO - you’re looking at impressive performance. And you’ve also got NVIDIA’s content creation features, hardware video processing, and other benefits that come from going RTX On. Another winner in what is shaping up to be one of the final pieces of the RTX 30 series line-up.