ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3050 OC review
Can we finally have an affordable GPU
The next low-end card from Nvidia has arrived in the RTX 3050, there to compete against the AMD RX 6500 XT. But also as a good entrant into the budget side of GPUs with the card being the lowest entry so far from Nvidia. With great potential for becoming your next best graphics card.
It could be the answer to those wielding a GTX 16 series card or an RX 900 series. Bringing with it newer updated technologies on its modern build. Perhaps not with performance but definitely Nvidia’s ray tracing and DLSS as that is only supported by RTX cards.
Could it be the price savior so many are hoping for in this market or will it suffer the same fate as all the others?
Packaging and aesthetics
The ASUS Dual is the more basic in the lineup of ASUS’ range. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a card to turn a blind eye to. With a more stealthy design compared to their Strix variants, the Dual features just a dash of RGB and a much simpler design.
Well fitted in its box you can be sure the GPU will not be bouncing around in there, with the foam keeping it firmly in place. Giving you some hope that when it’s chucked at your door when delivered it won’t get too smashed.
With its low TDP, the card keeps to small dimensions, giving it the appeal for small builds.
Keeping to a strict dual-slot height limit, you can use it in smaller cases, or have the pleasure of using more PCIe lanes, if you have a need for them. With a metallic shroud and backplate, the quality of the build feels premium. The robust build will also last for a significant amount of time. Being a smaller card means no worry of sag in the long term as well.
Specifications and price
- Simple and compact design
- Great out of box perfromance
- Fantastic cooling preventing throttling
- More expensive than other offerings
The ASUS Dual OC is the overclocked version of the card. The main difference over reference is the higher clock rates of the engine. The OC mode (the highest rate possible) reaches up to 1852MHz, with the gaming mode up to 1822MHz. Compared to the base spec of only up to 1777MHz, it’s still not the highest out of the range with the Strix reaching 1860MHz.
Comparing it to the RX 6500 XT it is clear the RTX 3050 has an advantage in the majority of its specs. Taking a look at the core makeup of their architectures, it has over double the shader count, four more ray-tracing cores, and 16 more TMUs. Giving the Nvidia card the advantage of working on shadows real-time rays and 3d imaging.
They then trade blows in the rest, with AMD taking speed over parts with higher clock rates by less VRAM and bandwidth. Especially with implementing only an x4 PCIe connector halves the bandwidth. So if used in a PCIe 3.0 lane the 3050 will suffer less than the 6500 XT, and the higher VRAM helps it with pixel loads.
Compared to the 3060, the RTX 3050 has 40% fewer cores in its variant die. The same can be seen further down with 4GB less memory and lower bandwidth. Also features a less full PCIe lane. But that is to be expected with a lower cost card, you’ll be enjoying the lower TDP though and likely still good 1080p performance.
In terms of size, the ASUS Dual OC is also a nice and compact device. At a size of 200mm x 123mm x 38mm (7.9” x 4.8” x 1.5”) it is only a dual-slot card. Giving it plenty of power in a small card with only one power connector.
For the price, MSRP for the RTX 3050 was set to $249 (£239), with the OC and custom cooling solution you can expect this card to be slightly more expensive. Especially in the current expensive GPU market. But it also does make it $50 more expensive than the 6500 XT. So comparing the two will be a matter of price to performance.
|RX 6500 XT||RTX 3050||RTX 3060|
|GPU||Navi 24 XT||GA106-150||GA106-400|
|Memory||4GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||12GB GDDR6|
|Card bus||PCIe 4.0 x4||PCIe 4.0 x8||PCIe 4.0 x16|
|Memory Bandwidth||143.9 GB/s||224.0 GB/s||360.0 GB/s|
Thermal design and cooling
The RTX 3050 has only got a TDP (thermal design power) of 130W. This is the total amount of heat that the card can produce and needs to be dissipated. The Dual series is a more simplistic cooling design in ASUS’ range. But yet it does not disappoint.
With a 2-slot design, it is a compact and efficient setup for making sure the card does not throttle by keeping the GPU cool. With a large compact heatsink, there is plenty of surface area for efficient heat dissipation. Which is moved from the die itself by well-built heat pipes.
With two axial tech fans, the card has very optimized air pressure. They are designed with a barrier around the long blades to more effectively transfer the air downwards. Also having a 0db fan curve, so they keep working silently for longer. The design clearly works with the max GPU temp reaching 68°C with the fans only reaching 68% load at 1,618 RPM.
ASUS Dual RTX 3050 OC Benchmarks
Carrying out GPU stress tests, we found the performance of the card on the release graphics driver. We then compare the performance to the RX 6500 XT as a direct competitor. Testing them at max to compare it as well as with ray tracing to see the viability of it.
Our test bench is made up of
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600x
Cooler: BeQuiet Dark Rock 4
RAM: Corsair 2x8GB 3200MHz Corsair Vengeance (XMP)
Motherboard: AORUS X570 Pro (re-sizeable bar enabled)
PSU: AORUS 850 Pro GM
Case: Cooler Master MF 700
From the benchmarks, we can see the RTX 3050 takes the lead the majority of the time. At 1080p it is definitely the case, but at higher resolutions, the 3050 definitely takes the lead. With a much better memory and bandwidth, it is likely to be the factor that pushes it over the edge. It is also definitely a winner in lower gen PCIe slots and can keep up the strong performance.
ASUS Dual RTX 3050 OC Hashrate
The RTX 3050 achieves an average hashrate of 13.7MH/s. So it isn’t going to be a target for cryptocurrency miners and should help alleviate stock levels. Prices do keep dropping and soon they may be at MSRP although scalpers may try to still benefit from the situation. We might be able to actually find stock of the card at more affordable prices.
The release of the RTX 3050, is likely to be the end of Nvidia’s low-end lineup. It provides everyone with the option for a good entry-level card for 1080p performance. The ASUS Dual OC version is a perfect blend of performance and design for the matter too.
Beating its competition and managing over 60 FPS at 1080p even at max settings. Along with the ability to use ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS it can be pushed even further and should allow for a low-priced entry.
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