Nvidia's old 16-series GPU outperforms the RTX 3050 in a budget gaming laptop face off

Shot of GTX 1660 Ti
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Gamers on a budget looking for a laptop with decent gaming performance have got plenty of options especially if you're looking for something around $1000 or less. The release of the mobile RTX 3050 GPU has excited us at the idea of more affordable gaming laptops coming our way.  Though, a recent report from notebookcheck shows that the RTX 3050 might not be all that it's cracked up to be.   

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According to their testing, the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus with an RTX 3050 was outperformed by the Razer Blade 15 laptop spring a GTX 1660 Ti by nearly 11% in games like Assassin's Creed Valhalla and F1 2020 at 720p and 1080p at light and medium graphics settings.

Interestingly the GTX 1660 Ti laptop kept pace with a Dell G5 15 5590 with an RTX 2060 GPU in a lot of these face-offs. Suffice to say; this comes as a bit of a shock. The 3050 didn't fare any better 1440p gaming judging from this report.

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GTX 1650 Ti Vs. GTX 1660 Ti Vs. RTX 3050
Header Cell - Column 0 GTX 1650 TiGTX 1660 TiRTX 3050
Memory typeGDDR5GDDR6GDDR6
Core clock speed1290 MHz1500 MHz1222 MHz
Boost clock speed1392 MHz1770 MHz1485 MHz
Transistors3,300 million6,600 million13,250 million
Manufacturing process tech16 nm12 nm8 nm
Maximum RAM amount4 GB6 GB4 GB
Memory bus width128 Bit192 Bit128 Bit
Memory bandwidth112 GB/s288 GB/s224 GB/s
TDP75 w120 w75 w

The reason for the lower performance is no secret. The RTX 3050 has a reduced number of texture mapping units (TMUs) and a smaller memory bus compared to the GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060. The GTX 1660 Ti is a cheaper card but you're getting far more than your money's worth than you would an RTX 3050 in this situation.

The other two cards have the 1660 Ti beat since they offer DLSS support, which uses AI-powered supersampling to boost performance in-game and increase visual fidelity, which isn't reflected in these testing benchmarks

To be fair, the Inspiron 16 Plus that's referenced is a 65w model of RTX 3050, which is pretty underpowered. I would also consider that config of the Inspiron 16 Plus more of laptop for work that can play some games.

That said, the bigger story is the Nvidia's old budget GPU GTX 1660 Ti is still a pretty solid performing budget GPU and, in this case, seems to give better results than Nivida's most current budget GPU. 

Either way, we look forward to seeing more high-powered RTX 3050s in more gaming laptops and seeing how they stack up against some of the best gaming laptops

Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware, from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for over ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, Tom's Guide, and a bunch of other places on the world wide web.