The Reign of the Budget GPU: Nvidia’s $169 GeForce RTX 3050 6GB

Graphics cards are too expensive. Getting the same level of performance today involves paying $100-300 more than in the past. Options under $200 are few, with Intel and AMD competing in a market abandoned by Nvidia. Until now. A lower-spec variant of the GeForce RTX 3050, a new 6GB version, is coming to market with a very approachable price tag.

The new version doesn’t require a power connector and starts at $169, $80 cheaper than the original RTX 3050. Some downgrades were made to reach that price point. The 6GB version will have 2048 CUDA cores, a 96-bit memory bus, and a 1470MHz clock, all downgrades from the original. On the plus side, it still offers three DisplayPort and one HDMI video out.

Despite the performance being lower than the 8GB version, the lower price and power requirement makes the new 6GB RTX 3060 a serious contender in the space, fighting against rivals like the Radeon RX 6500 XT and Intel Arc A580. While it has a RAM disadvantage compared to those cards, it is capable of DLSS, which gives it an advantage in super-sampling techniques, important for gamers seeking the best performance in a 1080p setup.

The importance of a graphics card with no external power requirements can’t be overstated. It’s an exciting development for fans of Nvidia hardware, and an indication that the company is still interested in the budget GPU market, even as it focuses on selling expensive chips to the emerging AI industry.

Models of the 6GB RTX 3050 are already available for purchase from Asus and MSI, with a precise launch date yet to be announced.