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5 Best Alternatives to the NVIDIA GTX 1050 in 2023

Are you still limping along trying to game on an NVIDIA GTX 1050 in 2023? First released way back in 2016 as an entry-level GPU, there‘s no denying the GTX 1050 is showing its age these days. While you might be able to get away with playing some lightweight esports titles, modern graphically-intense games are pretty much out of the question at this point.

Thankfully, GPU technology has come a long way in the past 7 years, and there are now a plethora of budget-friendly cards on the market that will absolutely blow the GTX 1050 out of the water in terms of performance. If it‘s time to upgrade your aging gaming rig on a budget, here are my top 5 picks for the best GTX 1050 alternatives in 2023.

Specs Comparison

But first, let‘s take a quick look at how the GTX 1050 stacks up to the contenders spec-wise:

GPU Core Count Boost Clock Memory Size Memory Bus TDP
GTX 1050 640 1455 MHz 2 GB GDDR5 128-bit 75 W
GTX 1660 Super 1408 1785 MHz 6 GB GDDR6 192-bit 125 W
RTX 2060 1920 1680 MHz 6 GB GDDR6 192-bit 160 W
RTX 3050 2560 1777 MHz 8 GB GDDR6 128-bit 130 W
RX 6600 XT 2048 2589 MHz 8 GB GDDR6 128-bit 160 W
RX 5600 XT 2304 1560 MHz 6 GB GDDR6 192-bit 150 W

As you can see, every single card on the list has the GTX 1050 beat by a country mile when it comes to core counts, clock speeds, memory size and bandwidth. The only advantage the 1050 has is its low 75 W TDP – but as we‘ll see, stepping up to a more power-hungry GPU is well worth it for the performance gains.

1. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super

Kicking off the list is the GeForce GTX 1660 Super, the perfect step up for GTX 1050 owners who want to stick with team green. The 1660 Super packs 1408 CUDA cores and 6 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, making it well-equipped to handle 1080p gaming.

Here‘s how it compares to the GTX 1050 in some popular games according to Anandtech benchmarks:

Game GTX 1050 FPS GTX 1660 Super FPS % Increase
GTA V 49.8 85.8 72%
Hitman 2 23.8 61.6 159%
The Division 2 25.0 57.0 128%
Far Cry 5 32.3 57.3 77%

As you can see, the jump to the 1660 Super results in huge FPS gains – and that‘s at 1080p ultra settings. At high settings you can expect to push well past 60 FPS in pretty much any game, making the 1660 Super a great choice for smooth 1080p gaming.

The 1660 Super has a 125 W TDP, so it will require a 6-pin power connector unlike the GTX 1050. But as long as your PSU is up to snuff, it will slot into pretty much any system as a quick and easy upgrade.

2. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060

Moving up to the RTX 2060 gets you a truly high-end 1080p experience. With 1920 CUDA cores and the addition of RT and Tensor cores for ray tracing and DLSS, the 2060 is much better equipped for the latest AAA titles.

To give you an idea of the performance jump, here are some 3DMark benchmarks showing how the RTX 2060 stacks up against the GTX 1050 and GTX 1660 Super:

GPU Fire Strike Score Time Spy Score
GTX 1050 5,816 2,439
GTX 1660 Super 14,766 6,274
RTX 2060 16,100 7,598

As you can see, the RTX 2060 offers around a 20% bump over the GTX 1660 Super, and completely demolishes the GTX 1050 by nearly 3x in Fire Strike and over 3x in Time Spy.

What‘s more, with DLSS you can get even higher frame rates without sacrificing visual quality. In games that support it like Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion, DLSS is a game-changer that can boost your FPS by 40% or more according to Nvidia‘s own benchmarks.

The only downside is the RTX 2060‘s hefty 160 W TDP – you‘ll need a decent 450 W or higher PSU to power it. But for the performance you get, it‘s well worth the upgrade if your system can handle it.

3. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050

The RTX 3050 is an affordable way to get the latest Ampere architecture and 2nd gen RT cores in your rig. With 2560 cores and 8 GB of VRAM, it‘s a great match for 1080p gaming.

Here‘s how it stacks up to the GTX 1660 Super and RTX 2060 in some popular games according to TechPowerUp benchmarks:

Game RTX 3050 FPS GTX 1660 Super FPS RTX 2060 FPS
Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla 56.6 48.7 60.8
Watch Dogs Legion 62.0 53.0 64.0
Fortnite 84.5 74.2 85.5
Apex Legends 104.5 85.5 107.6

While the RTX 3050 falls short of the RTX 2060 by around 5-10%, it still offers a significant upgrade over the GTX 1660 Super and GTX 1050. And thanks to its improved RT cores and Tensor cores, it offers better ray tracing performance and DLSS capabilities than its Turing predecessor.

The RTX 3050 also has a reasonable 130 W TDP, making it easier to slot into more power-limited systems compared to the RTX 2060. Just make sure you have a 6-pin or 8-pin PCIe power connector available.

4. AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

For those looking to jump to Team Red, the RX 6600 XT is an excellent choice for high-refresh 1080p gaming. With 2048 cores and a boost clock up to 2589 MHz, it offers similar or better performance than the RTX 3060 Ti for around $50-$100 less.

Here‘s how it compares in some popular games based on Anandtech benchmarks:

Game RX 6600 XT FPS RTX 3060 Ti FPS
Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla 84.1 77.6
Destiny 2 138.1 126.4
Wolfenstein Youngblood 195.0 188.0
Gears 5 100.6 95.9

As you can see, the RX 6600 XT comes out ahead by around 5-10 FPS in most titles. For 1080p gaming, you can expect to easily surpass 100 FPS in the vast majority of games.

Like most RDNA 2 GPUs, the RX 6600 XT does fall short of its Nvidia counterparts in ray tracing performance. But if you‘re mainly interested in high refresh rate gaming and aren‘t fussed about RT effects, the RX 6600 XT is arguably the best value on the market right now.

One thing to note is that the RX 6600 XT does require a bit beefier PSU compared to the Nvidia cards, with a recommended minimum of 500W. So be sure to check your power supply before taking the plunge.

5. AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT

Last but not least is the RX 5600 XT, the predecessor to the RX 6600 XT. It may be a generation old now, but it still packs a serious punch for 1080p gaming.

Under the hood you get 2304 stream processors and 6 GB of GDDR6 memory clocked at 12 Gbps. That puts it roughly on par with the RTX 2060 in terms of raw specs.

And in benchmarks, the two cards trade blows depending on the game. Here are some Passmark scores showing how they stack up:

GPU G3D Mark Value
RTX 2060 13,016 51.2
RX 5600 XT 12,726 68.5

The RX 5600 XT actually comes out slightly ahead in terms of raw performance, and it offers significantly better bang for your buck thanks to its lower price tag.

Of course, being an RDNA 1 card, the RX 5600 XT lacks hardware ray tracing support. It‘s also less efficient than the newer RDNA 2 cards, with a TDP of 150W. But if you can find one for a good price, it‘s still an excellent choice for 1080p gaming.

Making Your Choice

So which of these GPUs should you choose to replace your aging GTX 1050? Here are my recommendations:

  • For the best overall value: GTX 1660 Super. It offers a massive performance upgrade for a very reasonable price and will have no trouble maxing out any game at 1080p.

  • For the best 1080p performance: RX 6600 XT. It beats out the RTX 3060 Ti and offers the highest FPS at 1080p, perfect for competitive multiplayer games.

  • For ray tracing on a budget: RTX 2060. You get better RT performance and DLSS compared to the newer RTX 3050 for around the same price or less.

  • For an affordable RTX 30-series card: RTX 3050. Its improved RT and Tensor cores offer better ray tracing than the RTX 2060 and more future-proofing.

  • For a last-gen 1080p beast: RX 5600 XT. If you can find one at a good price, it offers performance on par with the RTX 2060 for even less money.

Whichever card you choose, you can rest assured that it will absolutely demolish the GTX 1050 and provide a massive boost to your gaming experience. Once you‘ve seen the difference, you‘ll wonder how you ever made do with that old 1050!

Buying Tips

Before you go, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for your new GPU:

  • Make sure your case has enough room for the card. Triple-check the dimensions and ensure you have enough clearance, especially for longer cards like the RX 6600 XT.

  • Double-check that your PSU has the right wattage and PCIe power connectors for your new card. If it‘s been a while since you upgraded, you may need a new PSU to go with your GPU.

  • Consider your monitor‘s resolution and refresh rate when choosing a card. If you‘re still gaming at 1080p 60Hz, even a GTX 1660 Super is probably overkill.

  • Keep an eye out for sales and don‘t be afraid to go with a previous-gen card. GPUs go on sale all the time, and you can often score a great deal on a last-gen model that still has plenty of life left in it.

  • Check benchmarks for the specific games you want to play. While these cards are all great for 1080p gaming in general, performance can vary quite a bit from game to game.

Future Upgrades

Finally, don‘t forget to think about your future upgrade path when choosing a new GPU. While all of these cards will serve you well at 1080p for the foreseeable future, some offer more room for growth than others.

In particular, if you think you might want to upgrade to a 1440p monitor down the line, you‘ll probably want to go with an RTX 2060 or RX 6600 XT. They have the horsepower to handle 1440p gaming at high-to-max settings, whereas the other cards will start to struggle a bit more.

On the other hand, if you‘re content with 1080p gaming for the long haul, any of these cards will do the trick. And if you decide you want an even bigger performance boost down the road, you can always sell your card and put the money towards an even beefier GPU.

Wrapping Up

Upgrading from a GTX 1050 to any of the cards on this list is like going from a rickety old bicycle to a shiny new sports car. The difference in performance is night and day, and you‘ll be able to enjoy the latest games the way they were meant to be played.

Whether you go with a GTX 1660 Super, an RTX 2060, an RTX 3050, an RX 6600 XT, or an RX 5600 XT, you really can‘t go wrong. All of these cards absolutely crush the GTX 1050 and will provide smooth, responsive gameplay at 1080p for years to come.

So what are you waiting for? It‘s time to ditch that aging GTX 1050 and treat yourself to a shiny new GPU. Your games will thank you!