The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 officially went on sale on January 27, 2022. The theoretical starting price is only $249, which of course, feels like a wild fantasy in the wake of continuing shortages and inflated GPU prices. While Nvidia sent us the EVGA RTX 3050 XC Black, a card with reference clocks (now that we've updated the VBIOS), and is supposed to sell for $249, there are plenty of other models that have significantly higher MSRPs. Like the Zotac RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC, which has a suggested price of $399.
What do you get for the extra $150? How about a 1.7% factory overclock. Oh, and it might be slightly more available than the red herring $249 models — after all, why sell cards at Nvidia's MSRP if you can tack "OC" onto the name and give it a much higher price?
We've already covered the RTX 3050 baseline performance in our launch review, so head over there for additional details. For this Zotac review, we're going to focus specifically on how it differs from the reference models.
Spoiler: Anyone with even a tiny amount of hardware knowledge could easily overclock any RTX 3050 GPU to at least the levels we see on the Zotac Twin Edge OC. It's really just the add-in card (AIC) partners ignoring Nvidia's hypothetical MSRP and instead charging whatever price the market will accept. And right now, with cards like the RTX 2060 selling for over $500 on eBay, we're not going to see aggressively priced cards from anyone in more than token quantities.
|Graphics Card||Zotac RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC||RTX 3050||RTX 3060||RX 6500 XT|
|Process Technology||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||TSMC N6|
|Die size (mm^2)||276||276||276||107|
|SMs / CUs||20||20||28||16|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1807||1777||1777||2815|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||14||14||15||18|
|VRAM Bus Width||128||128||192||64|
|TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)||9.3||9.1||12.7||5.8|
|TFLOPS FP16 (Tensor)||37 (74)||36 (73)||51 (102)||N/A|
Overclocking the Factory Overclock
You can see some of the primary contenders for the RTX 3050 above, along with the mostly meaningless overclock that Zotac provides. We'll go ahead and kick things up a notch with some manual overclocking, though, which should add some spice to the results. How far could we push the RTX 3050? Well, certainly not far enough to catch the RTX 3060, but we did overclock the memory — something very few factory overclocked cards do.
We loaded up MSI Afterburner, maxed out the power limit slider (at 110%), and after some experimentation, ended up with a +200MHz GPU clock and +1000MHz on the GDDR6. That brought the memory speed up to an effective 16Gbps, and GPU clocks tended to land slightly above the 2.1GHz range during gaming. Does that mean any RTX 3050 will overclock this far? We can't make any guarantees, but we weren't pushing particularly hard, and a modest boost to fan speeds seemed to easily keep the temperatures in check.
We limited our overclocked testing to 1080p ultra settings, just to cut down on the amount of time and repetition required. Additional tweaking might improve things another 1% or so, or decrease it if the settings prove to be unstable, but we'll leave that for the more adventurous to try out.