All things considered, Nvidia had a fairly nice CES 2022. While Team Green’s keynote on January 4 was hit or miss (we could have done with less game trailers and more in-depth looks at Nvidia’s technology), the goods it showed off were well appreciated.
All of the major brands released a flurry of powerful new gaming laptops as soon as Nvidia introduced its RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti laptop graphics cards. If Nvidia can keep its promises, 2022 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for laptop gaming.
The revelation of two desktop graphics cards, the cheap RTX 3050 and the ultra-high-end RTX 3090 Ti, was the highlight of Nvidia’s event for many of us. While the (very) quick glance we had of the RTX 3090 Ti drew the most attention, I think the RTX 3050 will show to be the more crucial release.
A void to be filled
The RTX 3090 Ti, based on what we know thus far, will surely be a strong GPU. The current RTX 3090 is the king of gaming GPUs, capable of handling any contemporary game with all graphical settings maxed out, even at 4K.
People who seek the most cutting-edge technology or who want to push ultra-high resolutions of 8K will be interested in the even more powerful RTX 3090 Ti. That type of power isn’t required for most PC gamers who play at 1080p or 1440p.
Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate Nvidia’s continued innovation in this area, and I can’t wait to put an RTX 3090 Ti into my 8K panel. However, not only the RTX 3090 Ti and RTX 3090, but also the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3080, Nvidia’s high-end GPU lineup is becoming more crowded.
Meanwhile, gamers who do not want or cannot buy a high-end GPU may feel ignored by Nvidia. As a result, the RTX 3050 is a nice addition.
An expanded audience
Three of the top five GPUs utilised by PC gamers on Steam are GTX 50 models: the GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, and GTX 1650, as Nvidia notes out in its RTX 3050 announcement. More inexpensive GPUs with some of the capabilities and technology found in more costly graphics cards are clearly more popular than ultra-powerful, ultra-expensive high-end cards, which remain firmly niche.
Many people have been eyeing Nvidia’s new RTX 3000 series GPUs and the improvements they provide, such as enhanced ray tracing and DLSS support, but have been put off by the hefty costs. (And this is before we even get into the current GPU market’s nightmare of supply shortages and inflated costs.)
The RTX 3050 could allow budget-conscious gamers to take use of the RTX 3000 series’ capabilities at a significantly lower price of $249 / £239 (about AU$350). It has 8GB of GDDR6 memory, 2nd generation ray tracing RT Cores, and 3rd generation Tensor Cores for DLSS and AI. Nvidia promises that you’ll be able to play games at 60 frames per second with ray tracing enabled. You’ll also be able to minimise latency by using Nvidia Reflex technologies.
These new functionalities will suddenly be available to a far larger number of individuals. PC gaming should be as accessible as possible, and the RTX 3050 might play a key role in that regard.
Nvidia’s DLSS technology is likely to be the true star of the RTX 3050’s new gaming capabilities. I’ve already waxed poetic about DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling. It enables compatible GPUs to smartly upscale game images, resulting in a substantial speed improvement.
I’ve utilised DLSS in the past to enable the RTX 3090 to run visually demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs: Legion at massive 8K resolutions and near 60 fps per second. Even a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable.
While this is remarkable, the true magic of DLSS comes when it’s employed with lower-powered GPUs to enable them to achieve better resolutions and frame rates while still integrating graphical elements that the GPU couldn’t otherwise handle.
The Nvidia RTX 3050 will support DLSS 2.0, making it an ideal contender for the feature. This $250 GPU should be able to attain 1080p resolutions with a good degree of graphical effects, including ray tracing in certain games, thanks to DLSS.
If it does this, the Nvidia RTX 3050 will be a game-changer for many people. We’re hoping to get our hands on it shortly so we can put it to the test.
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