Possibly Nvidia’s most significant announcement at its CES 2022 press briefing is the specs and release date for its latest entry-level graphics card—the GeForce RTX 3050 for desktops. The keynote made it clear Nvidia understands the popularity of 50-class GPUs in today’s market.
Nvidia’s section on desktop GPUs in its CES virtual event mentioned the latest Steam hardware survey in which three of the top five cards are Nvidia 50-class cards (the GTX 1650, 1050Ti, and 1050). The company claims 75 percent of gamers still use GTX GPUs. It’s promising the entry-level successor—the GeForce RTX 3050—can maintain 60 frames per second in the latest games at 1080p to keep up with the Joneses.
At $250, it sports 8GB of GDDR6 RAM (the same as the 3070, priced twice as much), RT cores for ray tracing, and tensor cores for DLSS. It launches to custom GPU partners on January 27th. Nvidia didn’t mention a founder’s edition. These specs and price put it a bit above AMD’s budget Radeon 6500XT GPU, which was also revealed at CES on Tuesday. It is comparable to Nvidia’s GTX 1650, which the 3050 claims to succeed, but the 6500XT is slightly cheaper at $200.
Of course, that all assumes you’ll even be able to get these cards at MSRP. One likely reason for the current popularity of budget GPUs is that graphic cards, in general over the last few months, have been going for almost double their regular prices. However, prices have plateaued in that timeframe, which is a bit of good news.