Nvidia's 'new' RTX 3050 6G gets benchmarked, and it ain't great, but it's not all bad

MSI RTX 3050 Ventus 2X 6G OC graphics card
(Image credit: MSI)

Well, that kind of snuck up didn't it. Nvidia has quietly launched the RTX 3050 6GB. At a glance it's an unexciting and slower version of a graphics card with a GPU that's been on the market for nearly three years.

According to benchmarks from a retail card purchased by Computer Base, it loses just over 20% to the RTX 3050 8G in the handful of benchmarks it ran. That would put it around the GTX 1650 Super and Radeon RX 6500 XT in performance. Hardly a compelling upgrade unless you're moving up from something low end from a few years further back.

Spec wise, it includes the GA107 GPU, with 2,304 CUDA cores, a 1492MHz boost clock and 8GB of 14Gbps GDDR6 with a 96-bit bus. Its launch price is $169, at least for the MSI RTX 3050 6GB Ventus 2X that was tested. It's not very exciting stuff is it?

But it's not all bad. There are subsets of users that will find some of its characteristics appealing. In particular, its 70W TDP means it doesn't require external power. That means all of those older OEM PCs or repurposed office machines can simply plug it in. It also means low profile and passive models are available, with Palit launching a KalmX version. I can definitely see the appeal in that.

Still, at $169, it's too expensive. A card like the Intel Arc A580 is faster with a better feature set for around $10 more, while jumping up a tier to $200 would get you a much faster RX 6600—a card that spanks even the RTX 3050 8GB. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 RTX 3050 6GBRTX 3050 8GB
CUDA cores2,3042,560
Core / Boost clock1,042MHz / 1,492MHz1,552MHz / 1,777MHz
Memory6GB 14Gbps GDDR68GB 14Gbps GDDR6
Memory bus96-bit128-bit
Release dateFebruary 2nd, 2024January 4th, 2022

Nvidia will say that you get RTX features (though not the DLSS 3 and Frame generation good stuff) and ray tracing support. Not that that means much at this level.

Your next upgrade

Nvidia RTX 4070 and RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics cards

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming: The top chips from Intel and AMD.
Best gaming motherboard: The right boards.
Best graphics card: Your perfect pixel-pusher awaits.
Best SSD for gaming: Get into the game ahead of the rest.

At $169, the RTX 3050 6G won't go down as one of 2024's best graphics card deals. But for those seeking a card that doesn't require external power, decent performance per watt, low profile or fanless options, or a card to reinvigorate an old clunker with a garbage power supply, it looks like a good option.

If those characteristics appeal to you, and you cannot or will not spend more on a card that boasts far superior gaming performance, then the RTX 3050 6G is perhaps worth considering. 

Still, I find it very hard to get all excited over a slower version of an entry-mid level graphics card from 3 years ago.

If it was called the RTX 3040 and priced at $149 then maybe I'd understand it a bit better. I see its niche appeal, but if you're looking for a gaming card first and foremost, pass on this one.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.