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Nvidia May Launch a GeForce RTX 3050 4GB For $199

GeForce RTX 3050 4GB desktop GPU
GeForce RTX 3050 4GB desktop GPU (Image credit: TechPowerUp)

It looks like Nvidia and its add-in-board (AIB) partners are preparing to release a version of the GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card featuring just 4GB of VRAM. Signaled by a non-placeholder entry in the TechPowerUp GPU database, the move will help Nvidia erase the MSRP gap with AMD's Radeon RX 6500 XT. However, traditional market segmentation maneuvers are meaningless in the current graphics card climate. Twitter tech detective Harukaze 5719 spotted this listing, but please remember to add a pinch of salt, as a TPU database entry doesn't mean the product specs are final.

Last May, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 first appeared in a mobile variant, alongside an RTX 3050 Ti mobile variant. At the time, some were appalled that these mobile GPUs came with just 4GB of VRAM, as it meant modern AAA games that push higher quality visuals/textures would sometimes offer less consistent performance than previous-gen laptop GPUs with 6GB VRAM (e.g., GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060). So we were somewhat relieved to see that the desktop RTX 3050 came with 8GB, with the caveat that the bountiful frame buffer might have some appeal to crypto miners. Please read our EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Black review for more information.

As per our headline, it looks like the 8GB desktop version of the RTX 3050 was just the first of several versions that will be released. The TPU database entry says the new 4GB card will feature the GA107 GPU, as used by its mobile brethren, but with the much higher GPU/memory clocks that a desktop card can put out, thanks to the improved power/thermal characteristics of the desktop form factor. Below you will find some spec comparisons, highlighting the key differences in the new RTX 3050 4GB and 8GB for desktops, as well as the mobile pairing.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 4GB Specifications

 

RTX 3050 4GB*

RTX 3050 8GB

RTX 3050 laptop

RTX 3050 Ti laptop

CPU

GA107

GA106

GA107

GA107

CUDA cores

2,3042,5602,0482,560

ROPs

32

32

40

48

GPU base/boost

1545 / 1,740 MHz1552 / 1,777 MHz712 / 1,057 MHz735 / 1,035 MHz

VRAM

4GB

8GB

4GB

4GB

Memory clock

1,750 MHz1,750 MHz1,500 MHz1,500 MHz

*Specifications are unconfirmed.

The new GeForce RTX 3050 4GB desktop graphics card reportedly uses the same small die that the laptop RTX 3050 / Ti. The established 8GB desktop card uses a cut-down version of the GA106 die; however, to scale up production, it will be much more economical in silicon terms to have a smaller die for these entry-level RTX gaming cards. Though we didn't squeeze it in the table, it is worth mentioning that the RTX 3060 employs on the GA106 die with 3,584 CUDA cores enabled.

Perhaps more critical than die size and economics to end users will be the difference in CUDA core counts between the desktop RTX 3050 4GB and 8GB models. It won't be the first time we see graphics cards from Nvidia with basically the same name and tweaked VRAM quotas, offering different CUDA core counts. The most notorious similar example was with the GTX 1060 6GB and 3GB versions. Thus, it will be interesting to see how well the new 4GB model performs, not just from the memory change but also from the active GPU core count changes.

Remember, with its GeForce RTX 3050 4GB, Nvidia is purportedly cutting just $50 off the MSRP to match the AMD RX 6500 XT at $199. So it really shouldn't snip the specs too much from a value standpoint, but AMD's anemic rival might have given it confidence with this new bottom rung RTX 30 series graphics card.

Even if we aren't optimistic about outstanding performance, we can still be confident about supplies. The smaller die size helping the production economy, the 4GB VRAM lacking crypto mining appeal, and the potential to be available in large enough numbers nullify the cruel work of scalpers.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.