It's been a two-horse race for years vying for the title of the best graphics cards, with AMD and NVIDIA duking it in the discrete GPU market. However, the two companies will get some new competition from Intel with its Arc family of graphics cards early next year. In preparation for this incoming rival, NVIDIA is reportedly prepping an entry-level GeForce RTX 3050 discrete desktop graphics card, according to Kopite7Kimi.
Kopite7Kimi's sources indicate that the GeForce RTX 3050 is powered by NVIDIA's GA106-150 GPU and will feature 8GB of GDDR6 memory. It's also reported that the baseline GeForce RTX 3050 will feature 3,072 CUDA cores compared to 3,584 and 4,864 for the GeForce RTX 3060 and GeForce RTX 3060 TI, respectively. Earlier reporting suggests that a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti variant is also on the way, but there doesn't appear to be any updated info available on that SKU.
At this point, it's claimed that the GeForce RTX 3050 will outperform the GeForce GTX 1660 Super but will come up short against NVIDIA's newly announced GeForce RTX 2060 12GB. However, if TUM_APISAK's latest tweets are accurate, the GeForce RTX 3050 could end up competing favorably against Intel's Arc A380. The Arc A380's (DG2-128) performance target is reportedly the GeForce GTX 1650 Super, and it will come with 6GB of GDDR6.
Intel Arc A380 Graphics 2.45GHz 6GBperf 1650S#IntelArc #DG2December 2, 2021
It's worth noting that the desktop RTX 3050 will apparently be quite a different beast from the mobile RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti. Those use the GA107 GPU, which only comes with a 128-bit interface and a maximum of 2560 CUDA cores. If Kopite7Kimi's information is correct, the desktop 3050 could feature either a 128-bit interface with 2GB GDDR6 chips, or it could stick with the 256-bit interface and 1GB chips. We suspect it will be the former, but perhaps Nvidia will see things differently.
We may likely hear about NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3050 family and Intel's Arc lineup early next year at CES 2022. If that's the case, we could see availability during Q1 or Q2 if production goes according to plan. However, finding the cards in the retail market might be a problem due to the ongoing chip shortage. That means that cards like the GeForce RTX 3050 and Arc A380, which should be in the sub-$300 price class, will likely end up priced well north of that mark.