Nvidia is undoubtedly the market leader when it comes to discrete GPUs, accounting for an estimated 82% of all sales according to one report. The high-end gaming laptop market is saturated with Nvidia RTX GPUs, but the same can't be said about the budget market - until now, anyway.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti are specifically designed for more affordable hardware, with Nvidia suggesting they’ll make their way into laptops costing as little as US$799 (approx. £560/€660), bringing the power of RTX graphics to the mainstream.
We don’t know any specific device that’ll be powered by the 3050 or 3050 Ti yet, but Nvidia has revealed plenty of details about the GPUs themselves. They may sit at the bottom of the company’s laptop lineup (below the RTX 3080, 3070 and 3060), but they don’t skimp on power.
Like other GPUs in the RTX 30 range, they’re designed to power 1440p gaming without compromising on high frame rates.
That’s made possible thanks to a combination of 2048 CUDA cores, 64 Tensor cores and 16 RT Cores on the RTX 3050, and an increased 2560 CUDA cores, 80 Tensor cores and 20 RT Cores on the RTX 3050 Ti. CUDA and Tensor cores are used for rendering graphics and AI-intensive applications, while the RT cores enable ultra-realistic portrayals of light and shadows, delivering a more immersive gaming experience.
Despite having fewer cores, the RTX 3050 will be capable of hitting a higher boosted clock speed – 1.74GHz vs 1.695GHz. This is something that doesn’t vary hugely between GPU tiers, although the 4GB of GDDR6 is a noticeable step down from more expensive options. Still, performance will likely be significantly better than most integrated graphics solutions.
Many other key specs are consistent across the full RTX laptop range. All are based on the Ampere GPU architecture, use second-gen ray-tracing cores and support both PCI Express Gen 4 and HDMI 2.1.
Nothing has been revealed with regards to RTX 3050 laptops, but we do know the first few devices featuring the 3050 Ti. Samsung's Galaxy Book Odyssey was announced back in April, before the new XPS 15 made its debut today. Dell simply says the G15 uses RTX 30 Series graphics, but that's widely expected to include the 3050 Ti.
The launch of the RTX 3050 line is an ambitious move from Nvidia, as it seeks to become the default company for laptop GPUs at all price points. It’s clear the company sees a big future in this form factor, as portable gaming PCs continue to grow in popularity.
These new GPUs are the latest addition to Nvidia’s laptop-focused RTX 30 Series, which the company debuted at CES 2021 in January.