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Nvidia RTX 3050 vs Nvidia RTX 3060 – Which is Better?

Nvidia is the leading supplier of graphics cards on the market right now. With its new release of cards from the 30 and 40 series, there are a lot of options available now that are not only good for a budget PC build but will also offer the best performance for all budget ranges. Right now, the 2 most popular options for a budget PC build from Nvidia are the RTX 3050 and RTX 3060 cards. Today, we are going to talk about both of these options and compare both options in detail to find out the perfect option for your PC build.

What is the Nvidia RTX 3050?

The Nvidia RTX 3050 is a graphics processing unit developed by Nvidia and announced in early 2022. It is an entry-level GPU designed for gaming laptops and budget gaming desktops. It is based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture and features 2560 CUDA cores, 72 Tensor cores, 18 RT cores, and a 128-bit memory interface.

The RTX 3050 is capable of Ray Tracing and AI-powered DLSS technology for improved gaming performance and visual quality. It supports DirectX 12 Ultimate, Vulkan, and OpenGL 4.6 APIs, and has a TDP of 90 W. The RTX 3050 is aimed at budget-conscious gamers who want to experience ray tracing and AI-enhanced graphics without breaking the bank.

What is the Nvidia RTX 3060?

The Nvidia RTX 3060 is a graphics processing unit developed by Nvidia and announced in early 2021. Though it is an older option, it is a slightly more powerful mid-range GPU designed for gaming desktops and laptops. The RTX 3060 is also based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture and features 3584 CUDA cores, 112 Tensor cores, 28 RT cores, and a 192-bit memory interface. The RTX 3060 is capable of Ray Tracing and AI-powered DLSS technology. It also supports DirectX 12 Ultimate, Vulkan, and OpenGL 4.6 APIs and has a TDP of 170W.

Features & Specifications

1. Architecture

The architecture of a GPU is the design and organization of its hardware components and the way they work together to process graphics and compute tasks. A typical GPU consists of thousands of processing cores, memory, cache, and input/output interfaces, all interconnected through a high-speed bus. A GPU’s architecture affects several key factors of its specifications like the core count, clock speed, memory interface, memory type, etc.

2. Ampere Architecture

Nvidia’s Ampere architecture is the latest generation of graphics processing unit architecture developed by Nvidia, succeeded by the Ada Lovelace architecture available with the 40-series GPUs. It was first made available in May 2020 and is used on all 30-series GPUs from Nvidia including the RTX 3050 and the RTX 3060.

Many benefits were introduced with the Ampere architecture that overcame almost all limitations identified with the Turing architecture of the 20-series Nvidia cards. The Amepre architecture has enhanced CUDA cores, 2nd Gen RT cores, GDDR6X memory interface, and many other benefits that you will find on both of these cards.

3. Process Size (nm)

The processor size of a graphics card is the physical size of the microprocessor that is mounted on the card. It is typically measured in nanometers (nm) and refers to the size of the transistor gates on the GPU chip. A smaller processor size generally means that the GPU is more power-efficient and can be clocked at higher speeds, resulting in better performance.

In this scenario, both GPU options offer similar results as both cards are powered by an 8 nm microprocessor. So as far as the microprocessor performance and efficiency is considered, both options are equally efficient and much better than what we used to get with 20-series graphics cards, offering 14 nm microprocessors.

4. PCIe Support

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a high-speed interface used for connecting devices such as graphics cards to a computer’s motherboard. So, the PCIe support of a graphics card refers to its compatibility with different versions of the PCIe standard. PCIe versions are denoted by a number (e.g. PCIe 3.0, PCIe 4.0), with higher numbers indicating later versions.

A graphics card’s PCIe support is important because it affects its performance and compatibility with different motherboards. For example, a graphics card that supports PCIe 4.0 will be able to take advantage of the higher bandwidth and faster data transfer rates offered by that standard, resulting in improved performance. You will find PCIe 4.0 support on both RTX 3050 and the RTX 3060 graphics card along with backward compatibility with the PCIe 3.0 interface. So, you can use these GPUs with a new-gen motherboard for faster performance, or an older one without needing a motherboard upgrade.

5. CUDA Cores

CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) cores are processing units available on Nvidia graphics cards specifically designed to handle complex mathematical calculations and graphical processing tasks. They are used to accelerate applications requiring heavy graphical and computational support, such as scientific simulations, deep learning, and 3D rendering.

CUDA cores are quite similar to the CPU cores found in a computer’s CPU, but they are optimized for parallel computing tasks. Each CUDA core can execute multiple threads simultaneously, which allows for highly parallel processing of large amounts of data. So, with more CUDA cores, the GPU can perform faster calculations and increase the chip’s overall performance. Therefore, the RTX 3060 is the better choice in that regard with 3584 CUDA cores whereas the RTX 3050 has 2304 CUDA cores. With almost double the CUDA cores count, the RTX 3060 manages to deliver overwhelmingly fast performance compared to the RTX 3050 GPU.

6. RT and Tensor Cores

RT cores are specifically designed to accelerate ray tracing calculations. Ray tracing is a rendering technique that simulates the behavior of light as it interacts with objects in a scene, resulting in more realistic lighting and shadows. RT cores can perform ray-tracing calculations much faster than traditional compute shaders, resulting in faster rendering times and better performance in games and other applications that use ray-tracing. Here, the RTX 3060 takes the lead with 28 RT cores. But, the RTX 3050 is also not a bad option as it also has 18 RT cores, enabling decent ray tracing performance for the price.

Tensor cores, on the other hand, are designed to accelerate deep learning tasks such as neural network training and inference. They can perform matrix calculations used in deep learning algorithms much faster than traditional compute shaders, resulting in significant speed improvements in these applications.

Just like RT cores, the RTX 3060 also has an increased Tensor count of 112, whereas the RTX 3050 has 71 Tensor cores. As you can imagine, it enables the RTX 3060 GPU to offer better DLSS performance and you can expect after-upscaling results, resulting in better FPS.

7. Core Clock and Boost Clock Speed

The core clock and boost clock speed of a GPU are the speeds at which the GPU’s processor cores operate, much like the CPU powering our desktop computers or laptops. The core clock speed is the base clock frequency at which the GPU operates, while the boost clock speed is the maximum frequency that the GPU can reach under load.

The GPU manufacturer sets the core clock speed and is typically the default speed at which the GPU operates. The boost clock speed, on the other hand, is variable and is determined by the GPU’s thermal conditions, power consumption, and other factors. The case clock speed of an RTX 3050 card is about 1.55 GHz whereas the same for an RTX 3060 is 1.3 GHz, giving a slight edge to the RTX 3050. However, the RTX 3060 takes back the lead with up to 1.77 GHz boost clock speed whereas the RTX 3050 only ranges up to 1.74 GHz, making it a better option for heavy load.

8. Memory

Just like the RAM installed on our system, the GPU also has a dedicated memory called VRAM which only stores the processed graphical data which renders on the display. And just like the RAM, the VRAM also has similar specifications such as memory type, maximum RAM capacity, bus width, bandwidth, and speed. All of these factors have a combined effect on the VRAM performance and you must know these factors when you are comparing any 2 GPUs.

9. Type

Right now, there are 2 types of memory interfaces available with GPUs that are GDDR6 and GDDR6X. The GDDR6X is the latest and more reformed interface which offers much faster output, but at the expense of higher power consumption due to its faster processing speed.

The GDDR6 on the other hand is the older variant of the memory interface which is slightly slower but still manages to maintain an enjoyable gaming experience. The RTX 3060 GPU offers enhanced memory performance thanks to the GDDR6X memory interface. But, the GDDR6 memory on the RTX 3050 helps to lower its overall power requirement with slightly reduced memory performance.

10. VRAM Capacity

The VRAM of a GPU is one of its most important factors and most users look at the VRAm right after they check the series and the model number to get an idea about its compatibility with graphically heavy games and programs. The VRAM capacity on a GPU is the amount of dedicated memory that a graphics card has for storing textures, models, and other data related to rendering images on a screen. VRAM is separate from the computer’s main memory (RAM) and is used exclusively by the GPU.

Here, the RTX 3060 graphics card has a major advantage of 12 GB VRAM whereas the RTX 3050 only has 8 GB VRAM capacity. The additional 4 GB of VRAM on the RTX 3060 GPU allows it to store a lot more data on the memory, reducing the loading times on the games as well as frequent stutters which you notice on lower VRAM GPUs. But for competitive games that do not have as many textures and shaders, the 8 GB of VRAM on the RTX 3050 is still good enough.

11. Bus Width & Bandwidth

The bus width and bandwidth of GPU memory are also crucial to know if you wish to get more info on the overall performance capability and speed of the GPU memory. The Bus width refers to the number of data lanes available for transferring information between the GPU and its memory.

On the other hand, the Bandwidth is the total amount of data that can be transferred in a given amount of time. The memory bus width of the RTX 3050 is 128-bit, whereas its bandwidth is 224 GBps. While these specifications might already feel pretty high, the RTX 3060 surpasses that with 192-bit memory width and 360 GBps bandwidth. So in comparison, the overall memory performance of the RTX 3060 is much better than the RTX 3050 with faster bandwidth, higher bus width, and higher VRAM capacity.

12. Slot Width

The slot width of a GPU refers to the physical size of the PCIe slot on a motherboard that the GPU is designed to fit into. The PCIe slot is used to connect the GPU to the motherboard, and the slot width determines the physical size of the card that can be inserted. Common slot widths for GPUs include x16, x8, and x4, where the x16 slot GPUs are the most common and provide the most bandwidth for data transfer.

The slot width is an important consideration when choosing a GPU, as it determines the compatibility of the card with the motherboard.

Just like most other high-end options from Nvidia, the RTX 3060 also has a PCIe 4.0 x16 slot width, making it a relatively thicker GPU which takes up a lot of space in your cabinet. Also, it means that your motherboard must have a PCIe 4.0 x 16 slot if you wish to use this card, which is not much of a problem with new-gen motherboards. The RTX 3050 however can be connected to a PCIe 4.0 x8 slot. It measures about 112 mm in width and 242 mm in length, making it an ideal choice for compact PC cases.

13. Thermal Design Power

Each component that you are installing on your motherboard has a certain TDP or thermal design power. But, the TDP of your CPU and your GPU are the only 2 ratings that matter in a PC build as it affects your choice of PSU the most. This specification is used to describe the maximum amount of power that a GPU may require under typical operating conditions. The TDP of a GPU is typically measured in watts and is an important factor to consider when choosing a graphics card.

GPU Specification Nvidia RTX 3050 Nvidia RTX 3060
Architecture Ampere Ampere
Processor Size (nm) 8 nm 8 nm
RT Cores 18 28
CUDA Cores 2304 3584
Core Clock Speed (GHz) 1.55 1.3
Boost Clock Speed (GHz) 1.74 1.77
Memory Type GDDR6 GDDR6X
Memory Capacity (GB) 8 12
Memory Bus Width (bit) 128 192
Memory Bandwidth GB/s 224 GB/s 360 GB/s
PCIe 4.0 Support Yes Yes
Slot Width PCIe 4.0 x8 PCIe 4.0 x16
Output Ports HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a
TDP (Watt) 90 170
Type of Power Connectors 8-Pin Connector 8-Pin Connector
Supported DLSS Version DLSS 2 DLSS 2

Comparison Between Nvidia RTX 3050 vs Nvidia RTX 3060

1. Performance

a. Gaming

1. 1080p Gaming
Game RTX 3050 RTX 3060
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 79 95
Shadow of Tomb Raider 87 121
Watch Dogs : Legion 88 111
Farcry 6 96 125
2. 1440p Gaming
Game RTX 3050 RTX 3060
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 58 74
Shadow of Tomb Raider 57 82
Watch Dogs : Legion 64 83
Farcry 6 68 92

2. DLSS and Ray Tracing

The main benefit of going with an Nvidia GPU is that fact that you get full support for DLSS and Ray Tracing technologies, especially with the 30-series GPUs that can maintain an enjoyable FPS thanks to the DLSS 2 support and 2nd Gen RT cores available with the Ampere architecture. However, the DLSS and performance on all 30-series cards are not the same and you will obviously get better performance with premium cards based on their RT and Tensor core count.

As you may already know, the RTX 3060 exceeds the RTX 3050 in terms of both RT as well as Tensor core count. Therefore, the DLSS and Ray Tracing performance is obviously much better with the RTX 3060 series card. But, if you are looking for an entry-level GPU that offers half-decent Ray Tracing and DLSS on competitive games, then the RTX 3050 is as good of an option as the RTX 3060.

3. Power Consumption

The difference between the TDP ratings of the RTX 3050 and the RTX 3060 is too large to simply ignore. The RTX 3050 operates at a TDP of 90 Watts, whereas the RTX 3060 GPU’s TDP goes as high as 170 Watts. As you can imagine, the RTX 3060 has almost double the TDP rating, causing the high power required to alter your system’s list of compatible PSUs. But, it also means that the performance of the RTX 3060 is going to be equally higher than that of the RTX 3050 based on power consumption.

4. Price

Coming to the factor which will be a deciding parameter for a lot of buyers is the price of these GPUs. Since both of these GPUs are aimed at budget-focused PC builds, it would be safe to assume that you are also going for a budget PC build and an affordable GPU might be a better choice for you. If yes, then the RTX 3050 is a clear choice here as it is launched with an MSRP of $249. To put it in perspective, the RTX 3060 has an MSRP of $329, making it almost $100 more expensive than the RTX 3050. If you are on a tight budget, the price difference can mean a compromise on the PSU, memory, or some other component of your system for the graphical performance.


We hope that you can now pick up the perfect option for your graphics needs between the RTX 3050 and the RTX 3060 graphics card. While both options are ideal for an entry-level budget-focused gaming build, it can get a bit confusing to pick up an option, especially if the GPU is the first component you are finalizing and choosing other components around that. To help you with that, we have offered a comprehensive comparison of both of these options including technical specifications and comparison in terms of features as well as gaming benchmarks.

If you are still not sure, we will suggest going with the RTX 3060 GPU without giving it much thought as it is a clear winner in terms of performance. The slightly expensive RTX 3060 will offer you almost twice as good performance when it comes to Ray Tracing and DLSS, making it a good trade. And, you will also have the benefit of a faster memory interface, more VRAM capacity, and a much higher CUDA core count that makes it a future-proof option for high-quality gaming.

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