Nvidia’s RTX 30-series lineup of mobile graphics chips has two new members joining today: the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti and 3050. They sit beneath the GeForce RTX 3060 in terms of specs and performance, with less video memory (4GB) and fewer dedicated Tensor AI and RT cores available to perform ray tracing and handle AI-enhanced effects like DLSS.
Despite this, Nvidia says that the RTX 3050 Ti is capable of going beyond 60fps in games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Outriders, Control, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Minecraft — all with ray tracing settings on. That’s pretty good, considering it’ll show up in gaming laptop starting at $849. The RTX 3050 will appear in laptops starting at $799. We already know that Samsung’s new Galaxy Book Odyssey will feature these graphics chips, starting at $1,399.
There are caveats. To begin with, Nvidia’s benchmark measured this level of performance with graphics set to medium, with medium ray tracing settings enabled, and with DLSS on and set to quality mode. It’s entirely possible that many games set to high graphics settings (and minimal or no ray tracing) might also perform well with the RTX 3050 Ti, but this graphics chip seems best suited for people who don’t mind knocking down some quality settings to get smooth gameplay.
The RTX 3050 Ti serves as yet another flex of Nvidia’s DLSS feature that, with the help of its AI cores, is able to run games faster than the hardware normally could. It does this in supported games by turning down the resolution, then using a trained AI model to enhance the picture quality on the fly without a perceptible (in most cases) difference in how the game looks. It promises big gains in performance with little in the way of disadvantages, unless you’re really dissecting pixels.
Again, this is a great argument in favor of these two GPUs, but it only works if your games have been patched to support DLSS. Control, for example, supports DLSS, but its performance without the feature turned on takes almost a 50 percent hit, running at about 35 frames per second at medium settings, according to Nvidia’s testing. That’s playable, but not particularly fluid, and it may be indicative of the kind of experience you might have when playing graphically intensive games that don’t support DLSS.
The performance charts that Nvidia shared with us only showed data on the RTX 3050 Ti’s performance, not the RTX 3050’s. Given that the RTX 3050 is a notch below the RTX 3050 Ti in terms of specs, you can probably expect performance to reflect that. Still, it should deliver good performance for the expected $799 starting price of laptops into which it will be built.
It’s also important to remember that, like with all other RTX 30-series mobile graphics chips, OEMs are free to tweak the total graphics power (TGP) of each RTX 3050 or RTX 3050 Ti in terms of wattage and clock speed to align with their design goals. The TGP range for these chips can be anywhere between 35W and 80W.
Finally, it’s fair to expect less powerful variants in thinner laptops. Conversely, thicker models often allow graphics cards to reach their highest possible power levels. As a result, you may want to keep that in mind when you’re shopping for a gaming laptop equipped with one of these new chips.