Nvidia RTX 3050 review: For an overpriced 1080p GPU, this could’ve been worse

Until something changes, we will assume the worst about the supply and demand curves of the current graphics card market. The most pessimistic sign of things to come, sadly, comes from GPU manufacturers themselves, as both Nvidia and AMD have begun pricing new products a bit more in line with market realities.

January has already seen some woeful GPU launches. The mildly tweaked RTX 3080, now with 12GB of VRAM instead of 10GB, arrived earlier this month at an MSRP of roughly $1,200—a whopping 42 percent jump over the highly reviewed launch model’s suggested price. On the other side of the price spectrum, last week’s AMD RX 6500XT, at an MSRP of $199, has proven quite underwhelming thus far in reviews. Between its 64-bit memory interface, its 4GB of VRAM, and its penalties for PCIe 3.0 systems, the card’s performance pales even in comparison to the $199 RX 5500XT… which launched in 2019.

Not wanting to be left out of the latest low-end headlines, Nvidia arrives this week with the RTX 3050, which continues the longtime GPU manufacturer practice of repurposing “binned” GPUs. The card’s $249 MSRP is the lowest yet in the RTX desktop series, below the $329 MSRP attached to the nearly one-year-old RTX 3060 but above the $229 MSRP of 2019’s GTX 1660 Super. I get the feeling that this GPU is the monkey’s paw proposition PC gamers get when we scream things like, “Please produce more graphics cards!”

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