According to a report from Igor's Lab, a second model of the RTX 3050 8GB could launch sometime soon, featuring a new die. This die would be the GA107, Nvidia's smallest Ampere die that power the mobile RTX 3050 laptops. The introduction of another variant would help to bolster Nvidia's RTX 3050 production, as the SKU could arrive under two separate dies. As always, take these results with a grain of salt since this information isn't fully concrete and is subject to change.
Current RTX 3050 8GB models use a highly cut-down GA106 die with 20 of its 30 SMs enabled, making a total core count of 2,560 CUDA cores. Additional specs include a 128-bit memory bus and a boost frequency of 1.78 GHz. Power consumption of the reference spec maxes out at 130W.
Spec differences between the GA106 and GA107 versions of Nvidia's RTX 3050 remain largely the same, except for GPU power consumption, strangely. According to Wallossek, the GA107 version will feature a reduced power rating of 115W instead of 130W for the reference spec. For vendor-specific models, we could see a drop from 150W to either 140W or 130W.
Wallossek claims that the GA106 and GA107 silicon have the same pinouts, allowing manufacturers to recycle the PCB for the former. The GA107 variant reportedly mostly retains the specifications of the original, with two exceptions. First, it has lower power consumption. A lower TDP might limit performance, but it's also possible the drop in TDP comes from optimizations in the design. It also likely ties into the second difference, which we know from the mobile variants: the GA107 only supports an x8 PCIe link. Together, a small performance disparity between the two RTX 3050 models is possible, depending on how efficient the GA107 die is.
In fairness to Nvidia, it has pulled similar stunts before, particularly with its GTX 1650 models. The original GTX 1650 arrived with GDDR5 memory, but Nvidia refreshed that card later in its life with GDDR6 models, which improved its performance. What we see here is no different, with Nvidia changing performance characteristics of some versions, despite all cards having the same name.
Nvidia rarely cuts PCIe lanes for its 50-series cards, with the previous 10-series and 16-series of xx50 and xx50 Ti cards having the full 16 lanes available to them. But with a mobile-first GPU design on the GA107, trimming the PCIe lanes makes some sense.
Thankfully, this change shouldn't affect the RTX 3050 as it does with AMD's RX 6500 XT and its x4 lane configuration. The RTX 3050 has double the amount of bandwidth with eight physical lanes and has double the amount of VRAM with 8GB, reducing its reliance on PCIe bandwidth substantially over the AMD card.
The RTX 3050's power draw is something to be concerned about if you are a potential buyer in the coming months. Thankfully, Igor says Nvidia will only resort to making (potentially slower) GA107 variants if GA106 supply is lacking. So there is a chance Nvidia will produce relatively few of these cards, as long as the graphics card shortage continues to de-escalate.
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Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.