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Nvidia’s new $249 RTX 3050 GPU offers ray tracing and DLSS on a budget

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Nvidia’s new entry-level option is its cheapest RTX card yet

Nvidia has a new budget GPU king, announced at CES 2022: the RTX 3050, which starts at $249 and undercuts the company’s previous entry-level RTX graphics card, the $329 RTX 3060, by a solid $80.

As with the other RTX GPUs, the RTX 3050 is built on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture and promises to offer the company’s most affordable entry to ray-traced gaming at 60fps (albeit at 1080p), along with 8GB of GDDR6 memory. The RTX 3050 also offers Nvidia’s third-generation Tensor cores to enable things like its AI-based DLSS upscaling, despite the lower price.

According to Matt Wuebbling, Nvidia’s VP of global GeForce marketing, 75 percent of customers are still using the company’s old GTX platform. Adding an even cheaper entry-level option like the RTX 3050 is intended to help alleviate that by offering an affordable path for gamers to upgrade from more dated cards like the GTX 1650, GTX 1050 Ti, or GTX 1050.

As with the RTX 3060, there’s no Nvidia-built Founder’s Edition model here, so you’ll have to pick up a card from one of Nvidia’s partners instead. And while Nvidia promises that the RTX 3050 will theoretically start at $249, you’ll have to find a partner selling a card at that price. That’s assuming you can actually find one at all, given the difficulty in buying a GPU these days thanks to skyrocketing demand and the ongoing semiconductor shortage.

The RTX 3050 is set to go on sale on January 27th, although if it’s anything like the RTX 3060, it’ll probably be in pretty high demand when it does arrive later this month.


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