NVIDIA officially released the GeForce RTX 3050 on the market last week. We only got our RTX 3050 recently, and today we will be checking out the MSI GeForce RTX 3050 Gaming X 8G graphics card. I wasn’t expecting NVIDIA to release a 50 series GPU. We never had an “RTX 2050” before. Instead, NVIDIA released the GTX 1660 series GPU and 1650. Based on the marketing materials I have read, I think the RTX 3050 is the successor of the GTX 1650. At least, that’s what NVIDIA wants us to know. Anyway, let’s find out how the RTX 3050 performs in our MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X review below.
MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X 8GB Review
The GeForce RTX 3050 is perhaps the first entry-level GPU to feature ray tracing and DLSS. I guess this is goodbye then to the GTX series. Similar to its bigger brother, the RTX 3050 is built with 2nd generation RT cores for ray tracing and 3rd generation Tensor cores for DLSS and AI.
The RTX 3050 has 2,560 CUDA cores, 80 Tensor cores, 20 RT cores, and 32 ROPs. It can deliver 9 shader TFLOPS, plus 18 RT-TFLOPS and 73 Tensor-TFLOPS for ray tracing and performance-boosting AI. The GPU is paired with an 8GB of GDDR6 memory; with a clock speed of 14Gbps; a bandwidth of 224 Gb/s; and runs on a 128-bit memory interface.
Fortunately, NVIDIA didn’t remove any essential features on the RTX 3050; unlike what AMD did to its RX 6500 XT. Gamers/users have access to features like HDMI 2.1 that enables support for 4K@120Hz. It features AV1 decode as well, which provides better compression and quality compared to existing codecs like H.264, HEVC, and VP9. AV1 is said to provide ~50% bitrate savings over H.264. And other Ampere-based features like the NVIDIA Reflex Low Latency Technology; and NVIDIA Broadcast.
MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X Features
There is no Founders Edition model of the RTX 3050. All RTX 3050 graphics cards are from AIB partners. MSI’s Gaming X series is the company’s top-of-the-line graphics card. It features Twin Frozr 8 cooling solution, which is a very effective cooling solution and runs silently as well.
We have reviewed several Gaming X graphics cards before, including the MSI RX 6600 XT Gaming X that looks very similar. I’m confident that this graphics card will have the same cool and quiet operation as well. MSI did remove the RGB lighting on the front shroud. But the MSI logo on the front-side portion has RGB lighting. Below are the rest of the specifications of the RTX 3050.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Specifications
|MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X||RTX 3050||RTX 3060||RTX 3060 Ti|
|Tensor Cores||80 (3rd gen)||80 (3rd gen)||112 (3rd gen)||152 (3rd gen)|
|RT Cores||20 (2nd gen)||20 (2nd gen)||28 (2nd gen)||38 (2nd gen)|
|Base Clock||1552 MHz||1552 MHz||1320 MHz||1410 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1845 MHz||1777 MHz||1777 MHz||1665 MHz|
|Memory Clock||14 Gbps||14 Gbps||15 Gbps||14 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||224 GB/s||224 GB/s||360 GB/s||448 GB/s|
|Graphics Card Power||130W||130W||170W||200W|
|Starting at (MSRP)||$380 (?)||$249||$329||$399|
Check GeForce RTX 3050 graphics cards’ latest pricing and availability on Amazon.com here. (#ad)
Packaging and Closer Look
MSI’s retail packaging and box art design remains unchanged for its RTX 30 series cards. The company is using the same box quality, paired with sufficient padding for the graphics card inside. I also appreciate that the box is not too big or thick.
I don’t think MSI will release a tri-fan version of the RTX 3050. To be honest, I find it ridiculous and unnecessary to slap a tri-fan cooling solution on an RTX 3050 GPU. Not only that it will make the graphics card bigger but it will make it unnecessarily expensive as well.
The RTX 3050 Gaming X looks similar to the RX 6600 XT Gaming X. The Tri Frozr 8 cooling solution used on this card is quite impressive, and the Torx 4.0 fans run silently. There’s no RGB lighting on the front cooler shroud. It mostly has a dark or metallic finish and the backplate is metal with cutouts at the rear end portion.
I’m not sure if MSI is required by NVIDIA to slap “GeForce RTX” on every angle of the graphics card. But one “GeForce RTX” logo is enough in my opinion. The MSI logo on the front-side portion has RGB lighting, but it’s quite muted.
As for the output ports, it has three DisplayPort 1.4 ports. and one HDMI 2.1 port. The graphics card measures 278mm in length, 130mm in width, and 49mm in depth. It draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector and requires at least a 550W PSU. We recommend that you use a high-quality 80 Plus certified power supply from a reputable company. Don’t cheap out on the PSU!
The Test Setup
In testing the GeForce RTX 3050, I’m using a Gigabyte X570s Aorus Master powered with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X. Below are the rest of the specifications of the system:
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64bit|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 5800X|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X570s Aorus Master|
|Memory||Klevv Cras XR RGB DDR4 -3200 16GB (2x8GB)|
|Graphics Card||MSI GeForce RTX 3050 Gaming X 8G|
|OS Drive||Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus NVMe Gen4 SSD|
|Game Drive||SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD V2 and Extreme Portable SSD V2|
|Power Supply||SilverStone SX1000 Platinum SFX-L 1000W PSU|
|Chassis||Lian Li O11 Dynamic Mini|
For this test, I used GeForce Game Ready Driver Version 511.32. The graphics card was tested at 1920×1080 FHD and 2560×1440 WQHD resolutions.
For synthetic benchmarks, I used 3DMark’s benchmark suite. I also used the following games to test the graphics card: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Gears 5, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Horizon Zero Dawn, Monster Hunter World, Red Dead Redemption 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Division 2, The Witcher 3 and Watch Dogs Legion.
Below is the GPU-Z screenshot of the MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X.
MSI GeForce RTX 3050 Gaming X 8G Benchmarks
Below are the results that I got with 3D Mark’s benchmark suite. On the left-hand side are graphics scores, while on the right-hand side are the average frames per second (FPS). Some of you might not be interested in synthetic benchmarks, but others would like to see them. It also gives us an idea of the “general performance” of this graphics card.
As expected, the RTX 3050 ended at the bottom of the chart. Not that it is bad. I’m sure if I have an RX 6500 XT or other older GPUs, like the GTX 1650, the RTX 3050 will not end up at the bottom. Looking at the charts, the RTX 3050 wasn’t able to outperform the RTX 2060. I was expecting that it would outperform at least the RTX 2060 when it was first announced. But it looks like it has the same performance as the GTX 1660 Super.
1080p Game Benchmark Results
The GeForce RTX 3050 is targeted toward 1080p gaming. Too bad entry-level GPUs nowadays are quite expensive compared to entry-level GPUs back then. Let’s see how it fares in modern-day AAA game titles in this resolution. Below are the results I got.
The MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X was able to drive most of the games above 60 fps in 1080p using the game’s highest graphics settings. You can still get much higher or better frame rates if you tone down the graphics settings. Again, we can see from these results that the RTX 3050 trade blows with the GTX 1660 Super.
The GTX 1660 Super was released back in 2019 and it came with a launch price of $229. It looks like the RTX 3050 is a GTX 1660 Super but with ray tracing and DLSS features.
1440p Game Benchmark Results
The GeForce RTX 3050 isn’t primarily targeted towards 1440p resolution. It’s a 1080p-class GPU. But let’s see how this graphics card fares on a 2560×1440 resolution. Below are the results I got.
Looks like the RTX 3050 is having a hard time keeping the frame rates above 60 fps in 1440p. But remember, I am using ultra graphics or the highest graphics settings. We could get better frame rates if we use mid or high graphics settings. Also if the game supports DLSS, that could help boost the frame rates. Speaking of DLSS, let’s see if the RTX 3050 can handle ray tracing.
RTX 3050 Ray Tracing and DLSS Benchmark Results
I’m not expecting that the RTX 3050 can handle ray tracing at all. The RTX 2060 was already bad with ray tracing and the RTX 3050 is even slower than the RTX 2060. Also, it performed quite poorly on the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark. But let’s see how many frames can we squeeze out of the RTX 3050 when ray tracing and/or DLSS are enabled. Below are the results.
On the charts above, the “MSI RTX 3050 Gaming” results are using the traditional rasterized performance. No ray tracing and no DLSS enabled. The other two highlighted results are quite self-explanatory as I have labeled them. The ray-tracing setting I used is the highest for Watch Dogs Legion, and I used ultra for Cyberpunk 2077. All the DLSS results are using the DLSS quality setting.
I didn’t bother testing the card with RT-only, since it was already struggling even with DLSS enabled to help with the ray tracing. However, with DLSS only, I got higher and better frame rates compared to traditional rasterized settings.
The results speak for themselves. Time to wrap up this review.
MSI GeForce RTX 3050 Gaming X 8G Review Conclusion
First of all, let me talk about the MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X 8G model. Similar to the other Gaming X GPU series, I think this is one of the better graphics card overall. It has nice aesthetics and design, and the cooling solution is excellent. The RGB lighting is limited to the MSI logo on the front-side portion and it has a metal backplate. Despite being a dual-fan card design, the construction is sturdy and feels premium. Although, I think one “GeForce RTX” logo is quite enough on a graphics card.
When it comes to performance, the RTX 3050 is like the RTX 2050 we never had, or a GTX 1660 Super but with RTX. It’s a good graphics card for 1080p gaming in general. Maybe not for a high refresh-rate 1080p monitor or 1440p resolution. I’d recommend that you get a much faster graphics card for 1440p.
If you want to experience ray tracing, I would definitely avoid this graphics card. Although the RTX 3050 GPU is capable of ray tracing, it simply lacks the power to drive games with ray tracing enabled, even with the help of DLSS. On the other hand, enabling DLSS only would help get a higher frame rate.
We haven’t tested the RX 6500 XT, but based on the reviews I have read and seen, it is an awful GPU. Even though the RTX 3050 is a bit more expensive than the RX 6500 XT, it performs better and you get most of the features that are offered on the Ampere architecture.
Overall, I think the GeForce RTX 3050 is a good graphics card for 1080p gaming. It’s just unfortunate that entry-level GPUs are quite expensive this generation. NVIDIA’s launch price for the RTX 3050 is $249. But I highly doubt that we will see an RTX 3050 at that price, especially since all RTX 3050 graphics cards are made by AIB partners.
Check GeForce RTX 3050 graphics cards’ latest pricing and availability on Amazon.com here. (#ad)