RTX 3050 vs GTX 1650: A Friendly, In-Depth Comparison for Budget-Focused PC Builders

Wondering whether Nvidia‘s newer RTX 3050 graphics card warrants its higher price over the tried-and-true GTX 1650 for 1080p gaming? As a fellow budget-focused PC builder, let me walk you through everything important to know in choosing between these affordable GPUs.

I‘ll compare gaming benchmarks, features, CPU pairing advice, power requirements and more – so you can make the right call for your needs and wallet!

Quick Summary

The RTX 3050, launched in early 2022 on Nvidia‘s advanced Ampere architecture, brings considerably faster 1080p gaming performance versus the GTX 1650 (released way back in 2019) to the budget GPU scene:

60% higher average frame rates in today‘s most popular titles
Ray tracing – graphics-intensive realistic lighting absent on the 1650
DLSS support – AI rendering boost for higher resolutions
Faster memory – 8GB GDDR6 vs 4GB GDDR5 on the 1650

For around 25% higher cost, the RTX 3050 delivers far better future-proofing. Let‘s dive into the details!

Architecture – Turing vs Ampere Breakdown

The 1650 utilizes Nvidia‘s mid-generation Turing architecture, built on an older 12nm manufacturing process. Its lack of RT and tensor cores handicaps performance in modern games.

In comparison, the RTX 3050 leverages advanced Ampere architecture on Samsung‘s cutting-edge 8nm node. This unlocks way more CUDA cores and boost clock speed for the money.

Ampere also introduces dedicated ray tracing and AI cores to the budget space for the first time. This powers realistic lighting and intelligent DLSS upscaling absent on GTX cards.

Here‘s a quick specs overview:

SpecRTX 3050GTX 1650
CUDA Cores2560896
Boost Clock1777 MHz1665 MHz

As you can see, the 3050‘s smaller manufacturing size allows over 2.5x more CUDA cores crammed into the GPU die versus the 1650.

Combined with a speedier boost clock, this gives so much more graphical horsepower to push high frame rates even in demanding titles.

Let‘s check some benchmarks to reveal actual in-game impact…

Performance Benchmarks – Faster Across The Board

Thanks to its superior Ampere architecture, the RTX 3050 outruns the GTX 1650 by huge margins, even beating old mid-range staples like the GTX 1060 and RX 580:

GameRTX 3050 FPSGTX 1650 FPS% Faster
Fortnite – 1080p Epic1177262%
CoD Modern Warfare – 1080p Max1056659%
RDR2 – 1080p Medium563751%

These aren‘t cherry-picked either – across recent and popular titles, the 3050 delivers over 60% higher frame rates versus the 1650 on average.

That huge real-world speed advantage makes high refresh rate 1080p gaming possible, even surpassing the coveted 60 FPS mark in demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077.

Considering the 3050 costs just 20-25% more, that‘s incredible value!

Ray Tracing and DLSS – Key Features

The 3050‘s new RT and Tensor cores also enable cutting-edge graphics missing on the 1650:

Ray Tracing – Mimics real-world lighting physics for ultra-realistic reflections, shadows and global illumination in supported games. It‘s very intensive, usually requiring high-end RTX cards – until now!

DLSS – DLSS leverages AI to boost frame rates while rendering at higher resolutions, then intelligently downscaling to your target managing sharpness. You can play at 1440p or even 4K without the usual performance hit!

So in titles like Control, Fortnite or Cyberpunk, you can turn on stunning ray-traced effects and still hit 60+ FPS thanks to DLSS working its magic. This keeps image quality high while maximizing fluidity.

Neither feature exists on the GTX 1650 however – you need RT and tensor cores present only in RTX models.

Power and Thermals

The RTX 3050 rated TDP does sit at 130W, over the 75W 1650. But peak draw is similar – around 185W vs 110W.

Both cards stay quiet thanks to dual fans. And the 3050‘s advanced process node keeps efficiency high, delivering way better performance per watt over its older rival.

I‘d recommend a 550W power supply for the 3050 just to allow plenty of stability headroom.

The Verdict – RTX 3050 For 1080p Gaming Right Now

Considering faster average framerates, ray tracing and DLSS, the RTX 3050 marks a new high watermark for budget cards under $200.

For 20-25% extra cost over the GTX 1650, you‘re getting 60%+ better real-world gaming speeds – a superb value proposition for flawless 1080p gaming today.

The 1650 remains capable for e-sports and easier-to-run games. But I‘d choose the 3050 any day for its stronger current and future-proofed performance.

Let me know if you‘ve got any other questions! I‘m happy to provide more insight as a fellow budget PC builder.


What CPU should you pair with the RTX 3050?

An Intel Core i5-12400F or Ryzen 5 5600 offers great balanced performance, but even budget quad-cores like the Ryzen 3 3100 won‘t bottleneck too badly.

Is the RTX 3050 good for video editing?

Its excellent NVENC encoder makes the 3050 great for 1080p video editing and streaming. CUDA acceleration helps with render times too.

How does the RTX 3050 compare to older cards?

It beats classics like the GTX 1060 6GB and RX 580 comfortably now thanks to Ampere architecture optimizations and new graphics features.

Can you play 1440p on the RTX 3050?

DLSS is a game-changer here. Native 1440p is demanding, but with DLSS Quality enabled the 3050 can still deliver very nice 60 FPS mid-high settings performance overall.

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