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Nvidia RTX 3060 vs RTX 3050

Much like the world of processors, manufacturers have no choice when it comes to GPUs. You can get one from either Nvidia or AMD. However, Nvidia’s recently launched RTX 3050 has put it on the map for budget GPUs.

In this article, we’re comparing the desktop and laptop versions of the RTX 3050 and its bigger sibling, the RTX 3060, to figure out which is the better choice for you. 

Also read: Nvidia graphic cards comparison: Which one is better for PC and Mobile?


Desktop RTX 3050 and RTX 3060

Desktop GPUs are more often than not more potent than their laptop counterparts simply because they have more space, cooling and less of a power issue. 

Specifications

The RTX 3060 is the superior card here. It has ten more Ray Tracing cores and 40 more Tensor cores. The boost clock is also slightly higher than the 3050, coming in at 1.77GHz compared to the latter’s 1.74 GHz. 

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The real difference is the four extra gigabytes of VRAM and the additional memory bandwidth. Safe to say, the RTX 3060 will perform better in certain situations than the RTX 3050.


Performance

Remember the RTX 3060’s aforementioned higher memory bandwidth? This will come in real handy if you’re on a slower CPU with not as much memory. You’ll load assets much faster and will not face any stutters, not as much as compared to the 3050 anyways. 

However, that’s not to say that the RTX 3050 is a bad card. You will still get respectable framerates as far as you’re playing on 1080p with the highest settings. But the RTX 3060 will power through any obstacles that the 3050 faces easily.


Pricing and availability 

The GPUs start at $249 and $329 for the RTX 3050 and the RTX 3060 respectively. However, there’s more to that story than just base pricing. With the GPU shortage still ongoing and the scalping problem, chances are you’ll rarely get these GPUs on the list price. 

On the off chance you do; however, the 3050 is the easy pick. For $80 less, you aren’t losing out all that much. This works inversely as well, though. For $80 more, you’ll get more memory bandwidth. So the decision comes down to your budget.


Hardware specs

Here are the hardware specifications of both cards side by side.

SpecificationsRTX 3050RTX 3060
CUDA Cores2,3043,584
Ray Tracing Cores1828
Tensor Cores72112
Boost Clock1.74 GHz1.77 GHz
Memory Capacity8 GB GDDR612 GB GDDR6
Memory Bus128-bit192-bit
Memory Bandwidth224 GB/s360 GB/s
TDP90W170W
Price$249$329

Conclusion

The 3060 is the superior card, thanks to more memory and memory bandwidth. If you can spend the money, get a 3060. However, the 3050 isn’t far behind and still makes a good choice if you don’t have as much money to burn. 


Laptop RTX 3050 and RTX 3060

Laptop cards are a different story. They might be less powerful than their desktop counterparts, but they’re still massively powerful GPUs that’ll crunch games quickly. 

Specifications

The RTX 3060 is a superior card, but the difference is more obvious than the desktop editions. The CUDA cores are far more at 3840 than the 3050’s 2048 CUDA cores. However, the biggest difference is in memory bandwidth. 

The RTX 3050 gets 192 GB/s while the RTX 3060 gets 336 GB/s. That’s a massive difference, especially when you account for the higher 6GB GDDR6 VRAM in the 3060.


Gaming performance

As you’d expect, the RTX 3060 is once again the superior card thanks to more memory and memory bandwidth. While the RTX 3050 does lag behind in these departments a bit, considering laptop displays and form factors these days, you’ll still be getting respectable performance, just not as good as the 3060. 


Pricing and availability

Since the GPUs aren’t available by themselves here, this is a tricky one. You’ll get cheap to mid-range laptops with an RTX 3050 in them, and if you’re willing to pay a little more, you’ll get the RTX 3060.

The main difference here will be the overall package. Since laptops come with everything else you need, considering the low cost of the RTX 3050, it’ll be paired with other low cost and, by consequence, lower-performing internals while the RTX 3060 will usually get higher-performing counterparts. With that said, a $1000 laptop with an RTX 3050 in it is not a bad deal at all.


Hardware specs

Here are the hardware specifications of both cards side by side.

SpecificationsLaptop RTX 3050Laptop RTX 3060
CUDA Cores2.0483,840
Ray Tracing Cores1630
Tensor Cores64120
Boost Clock1.74 GHz1.70 GHz
Memory Capacity4 GB GDDR66 GB GDDR6
Memory Bus128-bit192-bit
Memory Bandwidth192 GB/s336 GB/s
TDP35-80 W65-115 W

Conclusion

Since you’re buying the whole package here, splurging a bit and getting the best possible configuration is the way to go, even if you end up going over budget because a higher performing laptop will last you a lot longer than a slower one.

Either of these cards isn’t slow in a laptop. However, your $1000 RTX 3050 laptop will reach the end of its life a little quicker than the more expensive ~$1500 RTX 3060 laptop. 

Also read: How to update Nvidia Graphics Driver?

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