Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 3GB Review: (Mostly) Faster Than 1050 2GB

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Results: Rise of the Tomb Raider, StarCraft II, and The Witcher 3

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The frame rate bar chart drops GeForce GTX 1050 3GB between the 1050 Ti 4GB and 1050 2GB, and ahead of Radeon RX 560. But our 99th percentile frame rates tell another story.

Mainly, Radeon RX 560 did the best job of maintaining a frame rate above 30 throughout our benchmark run. Conversely, GeForce GTX 1050 2GB fell off quickly due to a number of severe frame time spikes.

StarCraft II

Nvidia dominated in StarCraft II, with all three GeForce cards hitting a platform-imposed bottleneck. Only AMD’s Radeon RX 560 trailed quite a way behind. The GCN architecture just doesn't perform as well in older DirectX 9/10/11-based games.

The Witcher 3

This is the second game in our suite where GeForce GTX 1050 3GB trailed the 2GB version, though they both beat Radeon RX 560.

In reality, AMD’s card hung right with the 3GB GeForce GTX 1050 through most of our benchmark. It was only the slowest two percent of frames that caused AMD’s Radeon to lose ground.

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Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • caledbwlch
    Any chance we can get a comparison of the 1050 3GB with the memory overclocked in comparison to the 1050 Ti?
  • dudmont
    These 1050s are begging for some OEM to add a 6pin PCIE connector and rework the power limits on the cards. With good cooling, I'm betting 2GHZ isn't out of the question, with a good GPU.
  • closs.sebastien
    would be good if compared with a 1060
  • King_V

    Well, our somewhat opposing speculations when the 3GB version announced pretty much are BOTH confirmed with this test.

    Sometimes it achieves parity with the 1050Ti, and sometimes it dips below 1050 performance.

    Depends on the game.

    One thing neither of us considered in our conversation - the need for higher clocks pushes up power consumption to the point where spikes occasionally exceed the specs for the PCIe slot.

    Still, the results are interesting - and my curmudgeonly side somewhat objects to the idea of cutting memory bandwidth and compensating for it by cranking up the power.
  • Giroro
    Since this is basically an overclocked 1050 ti with one memory chip missing, I figure it should be no problem to overclock any 1050 Ti to the same rate as the 1050 3GB.
  • redgarl
    Why this product is even released...?
  • BulkZerker
    Second paragraph of the article.
    "According to our sources, it really doesn’t. Slowly but surely, GeForce GTX 1050 3GB cards will start replacing 2GB boards, particularly as the 512MB memory chips used on those 2GB implementations become harder to source. "
  • littleleo
    Better to test the real product when it shows up. Things must be slow at Tom's.
  • cangelini
    21079032 said:
    Any chance we can get a comparison of the 1050 3GB with the memory overclocked in comparison to the 1050 Ti?

    I've been playing with this a bit. Wanted to get the GDDR5 fast enough to give 112 GB/s but realistically it's going to take down-clocking the 1050 2GB, overclocking the 3GB card, and then seeing what difference the missing ROP partition/L2 makes. Will continue trying to come up with a good comparison.
  • cangelini
    21079785 said:
    Better to test the real product when it shows up. Things must be slow at Tom's.

    It *is* a real product. There's a model number and everything :) I've been itching to do something with graphics for months!