GPU shopping has been complicated in the last few years. Rising prices, diminishing stock, and stagnant system requirements have made it difficult to ascertain what sort of GPU best suits a rig. The rising prices in particular have made purchasing a GPU a tricky process since a flagship card can now run the price of an entire pre-built PC.
NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 Ti and RTX 3060 occupy similar niches in the graphics card market. They come in at a lower price point, with the trade-off being lesser performance for the money. They are by no means lackluster cards, however. So, if you’re in the market for a new GPU and the latest and greatest raytracing flagships aren’t in your budget come along, and let’s take a look at these two cost-effective GPUs.
NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti vs. RTX 3060: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Feature||RTX 3050 Ti||RTX 3060|
|Recommended Power Supply||450 watts||550 watts|
|Memory||4 GB||`12 GB/8 GB|
|Memory Bus Width||128-bit||192-bit|
|Manufacture process||8 nm||8 nm|
NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti vs. RTX 3060: What’s the Difference?
On paper, there are some stark and massive differences between the two cards, as they provide different market segments. Power draw from the 3060 is certainly higher, and will require external power connections rather than the 3050 Ti’s ability to draw power from the PCI-E slot. This is all fairly typical and the usual thing to expect from 50 and 60-series NVIDIA GPUs.
Performance is a different beast entirely, and a deeper dive will illuminate some of the differences between the two GPUs. Given the MSRP of both GPUs, it is worth looking at the 3060 if your budget can afford it. The additional VRAM affords it some future-proofing, but there is also the fact that it outperforms everything else in its price point.
RTX 3050 Ti
The RTX 3050 Ti provisions mobile users first and foremost and can be found exclusively within laptops using NVIDIA GPUs. Even for a laptop GPU, there seems to be some rather disappointing performance. A paltry 4GB of VRAM is present for the card, as well as a rather slim 128-bit memory bus. For most casual games, you’ll like not to come against much resistance when it comes to playing at stable framerates. More performance-intensive games will immediately make their shortcomings known, however, as the minimal VRAM will bottleneck performance with high-resolution textures.
If you’re looking to play a vanilla copy of Skyrim or the plethora of indie games on the market, it can handle it with aplomb and acquit itself quite well. When you consider the price of a gaming laptop with the 3050 Ti, however, you could build an equivalent desktop with a more high-powered GPU like the 3060. If portability is among your chief concerns when it comes to your PC gaming rig, then the 3050 Ti is surely worth a look.
It is an anemic card, through and through. You would be better served for laptop GPUs by taking a look at some of the offerings from AMD like the Radeon RX 6650M or 6600M. It is a baffling decision that NVIDIA decided to offer this as a laptop GPU choice, but please do be aware.
1080p had many popular titles struggling to maintain a stable 60 frames per second. Hot titles like Elden Ring and God of War couldn’t reach and maintain it on ultra but fared well enough on high and medium settings. 1440p had it struggle further, needing medium and low settings to maintain a stable framerate.
Performance on the 3050 Ti is adequate, which is overly generous to the GPU as it stands. In the price range for the laptops including the 3050 Ti, you can obtain something with much better performance.
The NVIDIA RTX 3060 represents something of a best-in-class for the GPU marketplace at the moment. Until the eventual launch of the 4060, it presents a fantastic value for the money. The previous 2060 and 2060 Super don’t even touch the 3060, and 2070 is also outclassed. For the price range, you’re getting something with an unbelievably great value, but the caveat is that it is a desktop-centric GPU.
The 3060 thoroughly outclasses the 3050 Ti, but that comes at the cost of a higher thermal draw and the lack of portability that comes with using a gaming desktop. Performance is stellar, and the cost isn’t quite as prohibitive as you’d expect for a 3000 series desktop GPU. Supply issues have mostly been resolved at the time of this writing.
- HDMI Cable Included | Chipset Manufacturer: NVIDIA | Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- Features: Multiple Monitor Support, VR Ready, Ray Tracing Cores: 2nd Generation
- Connectors: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort | Compatibility: Required System Power (W) (4): 600
- Dimensions (in): 9.5""L x 4.4""W | Power Cable Requirement: 1x PCIe 8-Pin | Display Support: Maximum Digital Resolution 7680x4320
- 1-Year CUK Hardware Warranty
During the same tests run for the RTX 3050 Ti, the 3060 performs more than admirably. Frame rates for popular games like God of War, Elden Ring, and Modern Warfare 2 easily held 60 frames per second on ultra settings at 1080p. This further extended to 1440p, where it could maintain a stable 60 frames per second on high settings. 4K resolution support is also present, but you’ll likely have to lower your settings to achieve stable framerates given the jump in resource demand at the resolution.
This is to be expected for the 3060, given that it can access much more powerful processors and RAM pools to draw from. All that aside, if you’re in the market for a modestly priced GPU that punches well above its weight, then the 3060 is the choice to make.
The thermal draw is a major consideration for any desktop GPU. The RTX 3060 requires a rather modestly powered power supply unit to effectively deliver power to the GPU and the rest of the motherboard. A recommended 550-watt power supply should effectively service it, but more is always suggested to have ample leeway for any unforeseen surges.
Price is another consideration towards the 3060, which does cost a fair bit more in suggested retail pricing compared to the RTX 1060 and 2060 that preceded it. For the money and in today’s GPU market, it is still an affordable alternative to AMD’s offerings and some of the older RTX series like the 2060 Super and 2070.
NVIDIA 3050 Ti vs. RTX 3060: 5 Must-Know Facts
- The RTX 3050 Ti is a mobile exclusive GPU.
- The RTX 3050 Ti has 4GB VRAM, which is limiting and anemic for modern games. The RTX 3060 has 8GB or 12GB of VRAM.
- The RTX 3050 Ti offers better performance than the RTX 1650, but it doesn’t match the RTX 3060, which offers great performance and value for the price point.
- The RTX 3060 has greater memory bus at 192-bit.
- The RTX 3060 is raytracing ready.
NVIDIA 3050 Ti vs. RTX 3060: Which One Is Better? Which Should You Use?
So when considering these two GPUs, which should you use? Far and away the 3060 is the superior choice. It has a modern and competitive amount of VRAM that can leverage the full power of a desktop and is delivered at an effective price point.
It is extremely difficult to recommend the 3050 Ti to any prospective customer, as it lacks the power even in a mobile GPU to work in games as system requirements steadily climb up.
So if you’re on the market, get the 3060 if you’re in the desktop sector. If you’re a mobile gamer looking to upgrade your laptop, look elsewhere for something that is better for the price.