The new GeForce RTX 3050 variant offers the same performance but lower power consumptionThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 it’s nobody’s idea of power, but it’s a decent 1080p GPU, and it’s still the cheapest way to buy Nvidia’s RTX 3000-series ecosystem if you want DLSS 2.0 support or Nvidia’s implementation of ray tracing. MSI publishes specifications for revised version on one of its RTX 3050 GPUs (via VideoCardz), touting the same general features and performance levels, but lowering the power consumption estimate by 15 W.
The lower power consumption appears to come from the GPU’s use of a smaller graphics die called the GA107. The older RTX 3050s use the same GA106 die as the RTX 3060 series, but many of the 3840 CUDA cores on that die are excluded. This could allow Nvidia to reuse partially defective GA106 dies, but as chip yields improve and the number of defective dies decreases, it means either shipping fewer RTX 3050s or putting perfectly good chips into cheaper graphics processors. The GA107 die includes a maximum of 2560 CUDA cores and obviously needs a little less power than a GA106 die with exactly the same number of activated cores.
The two MSI cards in question otherwise have almost identical specs, aside from power consumption: 1807 MHz boost clock, 14 Gbps memory bandwidth thanks to GDDR6 on a 128-bit memory interface, and 2560 CUDA cores. Another change is that the newer version has two DisplayPorts and two HDMI ports instead of three DisplayPorts and one HDMI port, a small change that most likely has nothing to do with the GPU change. Another is that the card now requires a 6-pin power plug rather than an 8-pin plug.
The slightly lower power consumption is a good thing, but this new RTX 3050 card still requires up to 115W of power, which is well above the maximum amount of power of 75W that can be provided to any expansion card via a PCI Express slot. without requiring an additional power connector. GPUs without a power connector are a vanishing rarity, but they are still of interest to people upgrading a super small PC or a cheap box from HP or Dell with a small capacity power supply and no 6- or 8-pin power connector.
Usually, these quiet GPU refreshes eventually become the default configurations, and older revisions are phased out over time as supplies dry up – this is what happened with the “lite hash rate” (LHR) versions of RTX 3080 and 3070 GPUs, GDDR6 version of GTX 1650and RTX 2060 with 12GB of RAM instead of 6GB, by the way. We expect this to happen with the RTX 3050 eventually, but for now we expect most cards to continue using the partially disabled GA106 die.
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