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5 Best Alternatives to the RTX 3050: Ranked and Reviewed

RTX 4080 vs 6900 XT

5 Best Alternatives to the RTX 3050: Ranked and Reviewed

Key Points

  • Our choice for the #1 Best Overall alternative to the RTX 3050 is the next card up from Nvidia: the RTX 3060 Ti. With a higher core count, memory bandwidth, and significantly faster effective performance, this card is a perfect upgrade to the RTX 3050.
  • Alternatives to the RTX 3050 don’t have to be expensive. In fact, some of the best alternatives are similarly priced or even cheaper.
  • If you want to enjoy better performance output, higher framerates, and less lag when gaming or doing graphics-intensive work, upgrading to something better than the RTX 3050 is a great idea.
  • Before you pick an alternative, you’ll need to keep an eye out for a model with at least 8 GB of VRAM, sufficient ports and connections, DirectX12 Ultimate support, and, of course, something that will fit in your PC case without using too much power.

While graphics cards are no longer as hard to get, they have become more expensive due to inflation. If you are looking to upgrade your computer’s GPU right now, you probably are wondering what the best options are for price to performance.

You may have seen the Nvidia RTX 3050 as one of the best budget options you can get. While Nvidia has been making waves for a long time, how can you tell if the RTX 3050 is really any good?

As hardware prices continue to rise in the world of PC building, it’s crucial that you know whether or not you are getting a good deal. So, today we are showing you our top five alternative picks to the RTX 3050.

Whether you’re a budget gamer looking to get the most for your money, or someone who wants to get a graphics card to stretch the lifespan of their build, there will be something for you in our list. Let’s get into it!

Just take a look at our roundup of the best alternatives to the RTX 3050:

History Computer’s Top Picks for RTX 3050 Alternatives

The RTX 3050 has been around for over a year now and, in that time, it has fallen by the wayside compared to more powerful and popular graphics cards. While it does have its place in a budget or entry-level build, if you have a PC with this GPU, you have good reason to upgrade.

We already went over all the reasons you should avoid the 3050. So, we won’t get into that discussion here. And, despite its drawbacks, the 3050 also has plenty of positives and reasons to consider buying it.

Still, plenty of GPUs leave this card in the dust. So, let’s look at the best alternatives, starting with another card from Nvidia.

#1 Best Overall RTX 3050 Alternative: GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Best Overall
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
$343.64
  • All-new Ampere SM (twice the FP32 throughput)
  • 3rd-generation Tensor Cores
  • Axial-tech fan design 
  • Military-grade capacitors
  • 8 GB graphics RAM
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/06/2024 11:55 am GMT

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti takes our top spot as the best alternative to the GeForce RTX 3050 due to its raw power advantage over the 3050, with a roughly a 72% increase in performance over the RTX 3050. In almost every category of specs, the RTX 3060 Ti offers improved performance over the RTX 3050.

Plus, it’s not too far from the budget range, with the pricing of the RTX 3050 hovering in a range of $230 to $270, while the RTX 3060 Ti can be bought between $340 to $400. 

The RTX 3060 Ti isn’t a perfect card, and it lacks the performance you’ll find in top-end cards like the newest 4000-series. But for most people, it is the best alternative to the RTX 3050 and one of the best GPUs to buy right now while it’s in stock.

Sure, it’s not as good as cards like the RTX 3070 Ti or RX 6700. But it gives both of them a run for their money when it comes down to 1440p performance. While it’s going to cost you an extra $100 for the 3060 Ti, we think it’s well worth the investment due to the wide performance margin between the GPUs.

ProsCons
Performance gains of around 70% over the 3050.Limited stock availability at times, in addition to a lack of frequent sale pricing.
It can handle both high-end 1080p gaming and mid-range 1440p gaming.As it comes with 8GB of VRAM, it isn’t an upgrade over the 3050 in terms of video memory.

Check out the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti on Amazon.

#2 Best for 1440p Gaming: RX 6700 XT

Fast Clock Speeds
PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
$386.68
  • 16Gbps memory clock speed
  • 7680 × 4320 resolution
  • 12GB GDDR6 memory
  • 2581MHz boost clock speed
  • 192-bit memory interface
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02/06/2024 11:30 am GMT

If you’re looking for a graphics card to be used for 1440p gaming, our recommendation is the RX 6700 XT from AMD. It’s widely known as the best GPU for 1440p gaming, and it comes to us at a great MSRP of $300 and can often be found on sale for as low as $250, the same price as the RTX 3050. 

The RX 6700 XT is able to hit around 90-100 in triple-A titles and features a massive performance gain over the 3050 in 1080p gaming with a higher performance margin of around 70%.

If you’re interested in video editing or rendering, the 6700 XT is the better choice thanks to it coming with 12GB of VRAM compared to the 3050’s 8GB.  

It’s not the best, though, if you care about ray tracing, and this is largely due to ray tracing being an Nvidia technology that AMD has been slow to adapt to. However, the 3050 is not much better in the ray tracing department unless you are willing to drop performance to achieve ray tracing due to its few RT cores. 

Ultimately if you are playing games at 1440p resolution and ray tracing isn’t a huge concern, the RX 6700 XT is one of the best GPUs you can buy. The extra VRAM and power bring about smoother and higher framerates at a resolution of 1440p, and you can even get a little bit out of 4K if you want. 

ProsCons
The RX 6700 XT excels at 1440p resolution gaming.The RX 6700 XT can’t handle ray tracing, even at a 1080p resolution.
It has a great price, costing only $50 more than the 3050.There’s a tendency for the 6700 XT to run hotter than the 3050.

Check out the RX 6700 XT on Amazon.

#3 Best for Ray Tracing: GeForce RTX 3070

Best for Gaming/ Ray Tracing
GeForce RTX 3070
$346.45
  • NVIDIA Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors
  • 8GB graphics RAM
  • 256-bit memory interface
  • 1815 MHz GPU clock speed
  • DisplayPort and HDMI video output interface
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/06/2024 11:20 am GMT

While the RX 6700 was our pick for 1440p gaming, if you want to experience 1440p gaming with improved lighting effects thanks to ray tracing, the GeForce RTX 3070 is the way to go. Towards the top of our price range for replacements is the RTX 3070, thanks to its 46 dedicated ray tracing cores (compared to the 3050’s 20). 

The RTX 3070 features a performance margin of up to 100% and comes in at a price of $499. While it’s expensive, it’s one of the best GPUs to buy if you want to experience ray tracing comfortably at a resolution of 1440p.

It can also perform a bit at 4K, but ray tracing is going to cause a big hit to your frame rates in a 4K resolution. The one area in which the 3070 does lose to the 3050 is in pricing.

As we’ve mentioned, the MSRP of the RTX 3070 at launch was $499. But as it’s been replaced by the 4070 at the time of writing, you are able to find RTX 3070s for as low as $450 on sale. So, it is often an excellent choice if you’re hoping to get a good price-to-performance ratio.

ProsCons
Great ray tracing performance at a comfortable price point.The 3070 is larger than the 3050; ensure you have the clearance in your case before buying.
Excellent performance at a 1440p resolution.Pricing is difficult, with sales not being as frequent as they are on other cards.

Check out the GeForce RTX 3070 on Amazon.

#4 Best Entry-Level 4K Alternative: RX 6800 XT

Entry-Level 4K Option
PowerColor Red Dragon AMD Radeon™ RX 6800 XT
$546.04
  • 16 GB GDDR6
  • 2065 MHz clock speed
  • 7680 × 4320 maximum resolution
  • PCI Express, HDMI, and DisplayPort video output interface
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02/06/2024 12:05 pm GMT

At the highest price point on our list, the RX 6800 XT is our best alternative to the RTX 3050 if you are looking for entry-level 4K gaming. AMD has made a name for itself as a manufacturer of good graphics cards that come in at good prices, and the RX 6800 XT offers great value for gamers looking to set up the visual fidelity of triple-A game titles without breaking the bank.

At an MSRP of $570, the RX 6800 XT costs a pretty penny. But it excels in 1440p gaming and manages steady framerates in 4K resolution, providing a high-end gaming experience that is liquid and smooth. 

While the RX 6800 XT has an MSRP of $570, it can be commonly found on sale for as low as $450. If you are looking to future-proof a build at all, the RX 6800 XT is a great, budget-conscious choice that will provide you with some longevity.

This is especially the case if you plan on buying a 1440p or 4K monitor in the future, as the RX 6800 features a performance margin of around 130% when compared to the RTX 3050. 

Even though AMD’s ray tracing performance isn’t up to par with Nvidia’s, the RX 6800 XT does feature better ray tracing abilities than the RTX 3050. This is largely because the RX 6800 XT is able to compete with the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 with its 72-ray accelerators, the equivalence to Nvidia’s RT cores. 

ProsCons
The RX 6800 XT performs exceptionally at 1440p and decently at 4K.More expensive than the RTX 3050 (by $330).
Decent ray tracing quality for an AMD GPU.The fans on the RX 6800 XT have a tendency to run loud under heavy gaming workloads.

Check out the RX 6800 XT on Amazon.

#5 Best for Budget Builds: RX 6650 XT

Best Overall/ Budget Option
MSI Gaming Radeon RX 6650 XT
$314.93
  • 8GB GDDR6 video memory
  • DisplayPort and HDMI video output interface
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • Max resolution: 7680 x 4320
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/06/2024 12:10 pm GMT

If you don’t want to stray too far from the pricing of the GeForce RTX 3050 but want a card that will deliver just a bit more power and visual fidelity, the RX 6650 XT is our pick. For budget-conscious builders, the RX 6650 XT provides a performance boost of about 50%.

Plus, it comes with an MSRP of $400, with variations that are frequently on sale at $249 — the same price as the 3050! The RX 6650 XT comes with 8GB of VRAM, the same amount as the 3050.

We would have liked to see AMD go with 12GB of VRAM here for the 6650 XT, but it’s assumed they didn’t in order to keep the costs down on the 6650 XT. 

Again, the RX 6650 XT suffers as an AMD GPU when it comes to ray tracing. It’s not much worse than the ray tracing performance of the 3050, but when compared to GPUs like the 3060, it loses the competition by a margin of 25%.

But ray tracing isn’t exactly necessary to have a good experience gaming. If you’re looking for a reliable 1080p to 1440p resolution alternative to the RTX 3050 and are on a strict budget, it’s worth it to check out the RX 6650 XT. 

ProsCons
Outperforms the 3050 by a margin of 50%.Ray tracing performance is weak.
It is often sold for the same price as the 3050.It’s more expensive but can be easily found on sale.

Check out the RX 6650 XT on Amazon.

5 Best Alternatives to the RTX 3050: In Review

The RTX 3050 is by no means a bad graphics card, and it comes at an agreeable price for new and budget builders. However, as we’ve gone over in this list, many graphics cards available on the market have up to 50% gains in performance over the 3050 for only an additional $50. 

If you had the choice to get a substantially better card for just a bit more, would you take it? If so, then any of the options on our list make a great choice.

Still, none of these cards can compete with the top dogs, such as the RTX 3090 or 4090. You can read more about those GPUs in our reviews here.

In the meantime, you can also consider upgrading other parts of your PC besides your graphics card. If your current system doesn’t have a solid-state drive yet, getting one would be a great idea since they are significantly faster than hard drives.

Additionally, if you are rocking less than 8GB of RAM, your PC might not be living up to its full potential. An upgrade could be a good idea.

Either way, we hope this guide sheds some light on the best alternatives to the RTX 3050 and gives you some ideas about the better price-to-performance ratio graphics cards on the market. 

Summary Table

RankAlternativeKey FeaturesDrawbacks
#1GeForce RTX 3060 TiPerformance gains of around 70% over the 3050. Can handle both high-end 1080p gaming and mid-range 1440p gaming.Limited stock availability at times, in addition to a lack of frequent sale pricing. As it comes with 8GB of VRAM, it isn’t an upgrade over the 3050 in terms of video memory.
#2RX 6700 XTThe RX 6700 XT excels at 1440p resolution gaming. It has a great price, costing only $50 more than the 3050.The RX 6700 XT can’t handle ray tracing, even at a 1080p resolution. There’s a tendency for the 6700 XT to run hotter than the 3050.
#3GeForce RTX 3070Great ray tracing performance at a comfortable price point. Excellent performance at a 1440p resolution.The 3070 is larger than the 3050; ensure you have the clearance in your case before buying. Pricing is difficult, with sales not being as frequent as they are on other cards.
#4RX 6800 XTThe RX 6800 XT performs exceptionally at 1440p and decently at 4K. Decent ray tracing quality for an AMD GPU.More expensive than the RTX 3050 (by $330). The fans on the RX 6800 XT have a tendency to run loud under heavy gaming workloads.
#5RX 6650 XTOutperforms the 3050 by a margin of 50%. It is often sold for the same price as the 3050.Ray tracing performance is weak. It’s more expensive but can be easily found on sale.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old is the RTX 3050?

The RTX 3050 is relatively new. Nvidia launched this GPU on January 27, 2022, shortly after more prominent models in the 3000-series such as the RTX 3060 and 3080.

Is the RTX 3050 good for gaming?

Yes, the RTX 3050 can handle 1080p gaming and serves as a budget card in the RTX 30 series of graphics cards.

 

How much graphics memory does the RTX 3050 have?

The RTX 3050 comes with 8GB of DDR6 graphics memory, which is competitive in its price range. This is more than enough to meet the minimum requirements for most games, which is why this entry-level card is particularly popular for gamers on a tight budget.

Can the RTX 3050 handle 4K?

While the RTX 3050 can technically handle a 4K resolution, playing any games at 4K with an RTX 3050 is not recommended. You will be dealing with stuttering, painfully low framerates, visual artifacts, and potential card crashes.

Is the RTX 3050 worse than the GTX 1660?

The RTX 3050 delivers a similar performance to that of the GTX 1660, but the RTX 3050 brings ray tracing to the table, whereas the GTX was released before the hardware for ray tracing capable graphics cards.

Is the RTX 3050 good for streaming?

Streaming is possible, but not great with the RTX 3050. You will have to game on at a low frame rate and settings if you plan to stream games with the RTX 3050.

Is the RTX 3050 considered low end?

To put it lightly, yes. At least in today’s graphics card landscape. There are many choices that sit above the 3050 on the GPU totem pole in terms of performance and features. However, the RTX 3050 is not a bad card by any means. It is still suitable for 1080p and even 1440p gaming on average settings. Just don’t expect to beat any records or play at 4k without any hassle.

Why is the 3050 so weak?

It all comes down to the graphics architecture. You won’t find nearly as many Cuda Cores, the essential computing units necessary for graphics performance, in the 3050. In fact, the core count in the RTX 3050 sits at around 2,560. Compare that to the RTX 3060, which has 3,584, and you can see how the RTX 3050 is weaker in comparison to many other graphics cards.

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