Budget Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 rumored, but RTX 4050 nowhere in sight

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The latest rumor around Nvidia’s GPU release schedule comes firmly from the leftfield: team green are apparently planning to release a new variant of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050. Despite the original graphics card launching over 18 months ago — part of a GPU generation we thought done and dusted — Nvidia is allegedly revisiting it with a new, cut-down iteration.

If this card does arrive, don’t expect it to go toe-to-toe with any current gen graphics cards, even the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060. Its rumored specs are even weaker than the original Nvidia RTX 3050, which was hardly a powerhouse when it came out.

First off, the new variant will allegedly have 6GB VRAM compared to its sibling’s 8GB. While this should be just about enough for most games, some VRAM-intensive games might push it to the limit, and it’s hardly future proof.

It’ll also feature a 1470MHz clock speed, 17% slower than its predecessor, according to WCCFTech. The rumored 96-bit memory bus again compares unfavorably to the original RTX 3050, which had an 128-bit bus.

This all begs the question: why anyone would buy this card? Especially in 2024. Well, there’s a silver lining in its minute 70W TDP. If energy efficiency is the aim of the game, and you’re not bothered about running games at high settings in 1440p or above, this could be a solid option.

Then there’s the question of price. Although the rumor doesn’t include details on the price, it’s a fair assumption that Nvidia is choosing to release this card to compete with the upcoming Intel Arc A580. Intel’s new GPU will probably arrive at $200 or below, meaning the new RTX 3050 could also land at around that bracket.

This still feels like strange news, though. Maybe Nvidia has old silicon to shift; maybe it really is spooked by Intel’s foray into the graphics card space. But it’s got me wondering: what on earth’s happened to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050?

Considering Nvidia’s eye-watering pricing for the RTX 4000-series, a cut-down card at a good price could work wonders for those of us looking to assemble a rig on a budget. Perhaps it couldn’t compete with the Intel Arc A580’s likely aggressive pricing, so Nvidia had to reach further into its back catalog to design a competitor product.

If these leaks are true, and Nvidia gives the RTX 3050 an appealingly low price, we could be looking at a new budget entry to our best graphics card list. Of course, we’ll have to wait ’til Nvidia announces this new card through its official channels before we know for sure.

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