Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 3GB isn’t just an arbitrary addition to the company’s Pascal-based graphics card family. Rather, it’s meant to gradually replace GeForce GTX 1050 2GB, which utilizes 4Gb of GDDR5 memory that’s purportedly getting harder to source. Introducing a different configuration designed with 8Gb densities in mind gives board partners more flexibility, while also pushing performance higher in most of the games we tested.
For that reason, we aren’t particularly bothered that a GP107 processor with 768 CUDA cores and a 96-bit memory bus shares a model name with the original 640-core/128-bit version. This is much less egregious than rolling out a GeForce GT 1030 with DDR4, cutting memory bandwidth by 65% (or quietly introducing a Radeon RX 560 with 14 Compute Units instead of 16). Give us more performance any day of the week. Just don’t take it away without abundant clarity.
Of course, our favorable reception of GeForce GTX 1050 3GB hinges on pricing that puts it in the same league as GeForce GTX 1050 2GB. Multiple sources tell us this is the plan. But then again, GeForce GTX 1050 2GB starts at $140 today. In 2016, it debuted at $110. Forgive us for extreme cynicism when it comes to claims concerning costs.
One issue we do have with GeForce GTX 1050 3GB—at least the sample we tested—is its tendency to exceed the PCI-SIG’s 5.5A maximum over a motherboard’s slot connector. Spikes in the 5.8 to 5.9A range are far less severe than the 6.74A we originally observed from Radeon RX 480. However, it’s still higher than GeForce GTX 1050 2GB or 1050 Ti 4GB, both of which abide the specification.
After a taxing year of inflated graphics card prices and tenuous availability, enthusiasts are unquestionably ready to herald the next generation of gaming hardware, particularly at the high end where we’d love to see a single-GPU solution able to drive new 4K displays. Lower-end cards like GeForce GTX 1050 generally show up months later, though. No doubt, it’ll be a while before anything replaces GP107. A 3GB variant of GeForce GTX 1050 stands to weather time more gracefully than a 2GB configuration reliant on lower-density GDDR5. And if 3GB cards do indeed show up at 2GB pricing, we’ll have to rethink Radeon RX 560’s position as our top recommendation for FHD gaming.
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