Building a new PC in this day and age can be an incredibly expensive endeavour, especially with the cost of GPUs (opens in new tab). I hoped with the great GPU shortage mostly over we'd stop seeing ridiculous price mark-ups but I hadn't counted on new MSRPs still being so unreasonable (opens in new tab). Assembling a high-end machine is still too costly for many of us, but there's some good news in that entry-level cards are seeing some love.
The Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU (opens in new tab) is a fairly solid choice for an entry level card, especially with this new upgrade. VideoCardz (opens in new tab) has spotted new MSI RTX 3050 GPUs that launch with 15W lower power draw, which will be the third variant of the 3050 to release, and it's looking to be the best one yet.
The first desktop 3050s were running an older GA106 processor which while having 2560 CUDA cores wasn't using Nvidia's Ampere processor to the full effect. The second lot of 3050's had fewer cores but ran a more recent Ampere-compatible processor. Now we're onto the third generation which is back up to 2560 cores and a new processor, so it should be the best of the lot by far.
MSI's Ventus 2X 8G OCV1 (opens in new tab) is the first model of this style of 3050 to show up online, boasting that full compliment of 2560 CUDAs and 8GB 14Gbps 128-bit memory. Plus there's that 15W drop of power consumption over the previous OV model, so definitely make sure you're getting the right one. As VideoCardz notes, that drop in power draw is achieved with this slight change to the GPU, so it's looking like a fairly efficient package.
This is great news for anyone out there planning a mid-tier lower power build, though we would love to see the price on these cards drop a bit further. As it stands they remain a little expensive for what you're getting, but if you're wanting to run a banging 1080p ray tracing rig, that lower power draw does make these 3050s more tempting than before.
This is definitely inline with the kind of thing we want to see from PC gaming hardware in 2023. Over here in the real world most of us can't afford the newest hotness when it comes to PC parts and are instead looking for affordable, economical, and even environmentally friendly options. If a lower power draw RTX 3050 kicks off a trend in more efficient entry-level GPUs then 2023 might be looking brighter than I thought.