The release of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 on January 27, 2022, saw the return of budget GPUs from the green team. The previous year on February 25, 2021, Nvidia released the GeForce RTX 3060, a slightly more powerful GPU but at a relatively higher price. The reception of both cards has been widely positive, with gamers and professionals singing their praises.
Perhaps that should explain the massively short supply of both cards and the inflated prices in some markets. But we all know that even with the same RTX 30-series branding, different GPUs offer features and capabilities that vary greatly.
In response to the question, RTX 3050 vs. 3060: Which is the better value? We took the liberty to break down the key differences between both GPUs and came up with some exciting conclusions.
RTX 3050 vs. 3060: Full Comparison
When comparing the RTX 3050 and 3060, it’s pretty clear they share many similarities. Powered by the Nvidia Turing architecture and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology, both GPUs can render a smooth gaming experience with added support for raytracing, Vulkan RT API, and CUDA capability of 8.6.
The AI-specialized Tensor cores ensure uncompromised image quality and accelerate inference performance in AI applications. These features let you crank up your settings to the max and maintain a smooth 60 FPS.
But like any consumer electronics, the devil lies in the details. Well, Nvidia made that pretty apparent with the price differences. Whereas the RTX 3060 goes for $329, the RTX 3050 starts at $249.
Quite a difference, right? The RTX 3060 packs a significantly more powerful punch than its younger sibling; no wonder it’s more expensive. The comparison table below details the differences between the two GPUs.
RTX 3050 vs. 3060: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Specification||RTX 3050||RTX 3060|
|Thermal design power (TDP)||130 W||170 W|
|Base Clock||1.55/1.51 GHz||1.32|
|Boost Clock||1.78/1.76 GHz||1.78|
|Memory Size||8 GB||12 GB/8 GB|
|Memory Bandwidth||224 GB/s||360 GB/s|
From the above table, we can see some pretty close similarities between the RTX 3050 and 3060. Both GPUs are based on the GA106 chip and feature the same DLSS tech, AI acceleration, and ray tracing capabilities. However, they also pose some differences in terms of raw performance, as we’ll see below.
- 8GB GDDR6 video memory
- 128-bit memory interface
- DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4a) / HDMI 2.1 x 1 output
- 7680 x 4320 digital maximum resolution
RTX 3050 vs. RTX 3060: What’s the Difference?
Generally, both GPUs are adaptive solutions depending on the requirements of your application. Performance is top-notch, and 8GB of GDDR6 memory for the RTX 3050 is pretty standard across the board.
But with a memory interface width of 128-bit, the RTX 3050 is slightly less capable than the RTX 3060 at 192-bit. The benefit of larger memory bandwidth is mostly visible in games with higher-resolution textures and modding. For instance, memory bandwidth impacts Anti-aliasing levels, post-processing, reflections, and shadow effects.
And with the 12GB of GDDR6 memory on the RTX 3060, you can expect better performance on higher resolutions. The increased memory size enables smoother frame rates on 4K gaming and better performance with more demanding titles.
Let’s dig deeper into the specs.
Below is a more detailed comparison of specs between both GPUs.
The RTX 3050 packs 8GB of GDDR6 memory, whereas the RTX 3060 comes with either 8GB or 12GB of GDDR6 memory. Workloads will feel the difference between 8GB and 12GB, especially when gaming in ultra-HD or running high-end applications.
Not that the 8GB of memory on the RTX 3050 is insufficient. But it’s still worth considering the extra performance boost you get with 12GB.
Cuda Cores and Clock Speed
Cuda cores ensure the effective performance of a GPU by running parallel processing operations at high speeds. The RTX 3060 has 3584 CUDA cores, while the RTX 3050 is limited to 2,560/2304 CUDA cores. Given the difference in cores, the RTX 3060 offers about 43% more performance than the RTX 3050.
The boost clock speed of the RTX 3060 is also higher, with 1.78 GHz compared to 1.78/1.76 GHz on the RTX 3050. This translates into more computations per second and faster rendering times. Base clock speeds are slightly higher on the RTX 3050, but this difference is insignificant compared to the power available from the higher boost clock.
Both the RTX 3050 and RTX 3060 have the same tech-support capabilities. Nvidia’s new RTX Studio drivers provide bug fixes and support for Ray Tracing, Vulkan RT API, and CUDA capability of 8.6.
Both GPUs have access to Nvidia Broadcast driver updates, PCI Express 4.0 support, full G-Sync compatibility, and a 7th-generation NVIDIA encoder. What strikes the difference here is VR support. Unfortunately, the RTX 3050 lacks the hardware to support VR applications.
Thermal and Power
The RTX 3050 has a lower Thermal Design Power (TDP) than the RTX 3060. The TDP of the RTX 3050 is rated at 130W, while the higher-end GPU has a TDP of 170W. Graphics card temperatures will be cooler when running the RTX 3050, but you may still need an aftermarket cooling solution to keep temperatures under control, especially when overclocking.
As for power connectors, both require an 8-pin PCIe connection. So, this shouldn’t be a deciding factor when choosing a card.
Pricing and Availability
We’ve covered the specs, so let’s talk about pricing and availability. The RTX 3060 is significantly more expensive than the RTX 3050. On the NVIDIA store, the RTX 3060 costs about $329. Comparatively, the RTX 3050 is priced at around $249. Both are high-demand cards, and availability can be scarce, so you may need to wait for restocks to find one.
Prices on eBay and other third-party stores may be lower or higher depending on the demand, so it pays to shop around. For instance, you may find an RTX 3050 on eBay for $375, while the RTX 3060 can go for as low as $299. Budget and performance needs should play a big role in deciding which card to buy.
RTX 3050 vs. 3060: Must-Know Facts
The RTX 3050 vs. 3060 comparison shows that the latter offers better performance, higher resolution support, and more CUDA cores. Here are other must-know facts to help you decide which GPU to buy.
- Both GPUs provide excellent gaming performance and tech support for the latest games and applications.
- The RTX 3060 has more memory available, which makes it better for ultra-high resolutions and intense workloads.
- A PC configured with a Core i9-10900K processor is recommended for both cards. Lower-end processors may reduce performance but will work depending on system settings.
- The RTX 3060 has a higher TDP than the RTX 3050, so it requires more power and runs hotter.
- Both support 4K 120Hz HDR gaming 8K 60Hz HDR gaming, and offer variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and are compatible with G-Sync.
- Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
- Video Memory: 12GB GDDR6
- Memory Interface: 192-bit
- Output: DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4a) / HDMI 2.1 x 1.Avoid using unofficial software
- Digital maximum resolution: 7680 x 4320
RTX 3050 vs. 3060: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?
The GeForce RTX 3060 isn’t the best choice out there. The RTX 3060 Ti knocks it out of the park. But in this comparison, the RTX 3060 has distinct advantages over the RTX 3050. It offers more power and performance for heavy workloads and AAA gaming experiences.
The RTX 3050 is more affordable and has a lower power requirement, making it a better choice for budget-conscious gamers who don’t need the extra performance or don’t plan on pushing their system to the limit. Handling AAA games on higher settings are still possible; however, you may need to reduce settings or tweak other components to get the most out of it.
While pricing seems to be the most significant factor here, it’s always best to consider your needs and budget before investing in any GPU. Going with an RTX 3060 is probably your best bet if you need visuals that are close to life-like. But if you’re looking for a reliable gaming experience without breaking the bank, then the RTX 3050 will get the job done.