Hey there! Looking to upgrade your graphics card but can‘t decide between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 and GTX 1650? You‘ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive comparison guide, we‘ll be taking an in-depth look at how these two mainstream GPUs stack up against each other to help you pick the right card for your needs and budget. Read on for the full RTX 3050 vs GTX 1650 battle!
First, let‘s quickly recap the main features and specs of each contender:
The RTX 3050 is Nvidia‘s latest entry-level offering based on their new Ampere architecture. It packs 2560 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 memory. RTX 3050 brings next-gen gaming technologies like ray tracing and DLSS 2.0 to the sub-$300 price point.
The GTX 1650 is an older budget card from Nvidia‘s Turing generation. It only has 896 CUDA cores and 4GB of GDDR5. No fancy features like the RTX models, but the 1650 still delivers decent 1080p gaming at an affordable price.
On paper, the RTX 3050 looks far superior thanks to its more advanced Ampere architecture. But benchmarks don‘t always reflect real-world gaming experiences. Let‘s take a deeper look at how these GPUs compare across a range of tests.
Digging Into the GPU Architectures
The RTX 3050 is built on Nvidia‘s 4th-gen Ampere architecture, which represents a major leap over previous generations. It utilizes Samsung‘s cutting-edge 8nm manufacturing process, allowing for more transistors and power efficiency.
Ampere introduces new 2nd-gen RT cores for ray tracing and 3rd-gen Tensor cores for DLSS and AI. The 3050 has 2560 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 20 RT cores, and 80 Tensor cores. It packs a potent punch into a compact 130W TDP design.
The GTX 1650 is based on Nvidia‘s prior-generation Turing architecture. It‘s produced on a 12nm TSMC process node. Turing was the first architecture to include RT and Tensor cores, though they are 1st-gen versions less optimized than Ampere‘s.
The 1650 utilizes a cut-down TU117 GPU die with 896 CUDA cores, 56 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 128-bit memory bus. Performance is decent, but the 1650‘s specs are showing their age in 2022.
Gaming Benchmark Breakdown
Now let‘s compare real-world gaming performance between the RTX 3050 and GTX 1650 across a range of today‘s most popular titles at 1080p resolution.
In Fortnite at Epic settings, the 3050 averaged 144 FPS, a massive 52% faster than the 1650‘s 95 FPS. The 3050 makes fast-paced competitive titles like Fortnite fly even on maxed settings.
Red Dead Redemption 2 reveals an equally stark contrast. The 3050 managed 68 FPS on a mix of Medium/High at 1080p. Yet the 1650 crawled along at just 44 FPS, forcing you to drop visual quality significantly.
Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla is demanding, but the 3050 still achieved a smooth 55 FPS on High. The 1650 delivered an almost unplayable 32 FPS requiring Low settings. Even in AAA titles, the 3050 provides a great experience.
The margin closes slightly in esports titles like CS:GO where both GPUs can pump out extremely high frame rates. But the 3050 still outpaces the 1650 by 27% at 288 FPS versus 227 FPS.
Across the board, the RTX 3050 delivers significantly higher frame rates, usually about 50% faster than the GTX 1650. Given their pricing, the 3050 provides excellent 1080p gaming value.
Both the RTX 3050 and GTX 1650 offer plenty of overclocking headroom for extra performance. Let‘s see how they compare.
The average RTX 3050 can hit a GPU boost clock around 2100 MHz, 15-20% over stock speeds. This nets up to a 10% FPS gain in most titles. Memory can also OC to 17 Gbps from 14 Gbps stock.
GTX 1650 models can typically reach 1900-2000 MHz on the core, up to 20% over stock. You‘ll see a similar 10% increase in gaming performance. Memory clocks can also go up to 9.5-10 Gbps.
Overall, both GPUs provide roughly equivalent overclocking potential. You can extract an extra 10%+ FPS with some simple manual tuning. Just don‘t expect massive gains given the limited power budgets.
Feature Comparison – RTX 3050 Takes the Lead
Beyond raw performance, the GeForce RTX 3050 also packs some exclusive features that the GTX 1650 sorely lacks.
The marquee feature is ray tracing support. The dedicated RT cores enable incredibly realistic lighting effects in titles like Control and Cyberpunk 2077. Ray tracing really takes graphics to the next level.
Nvidia‘s DLSS technology is another game changer. It harnesses AI to boost frame rates while retaining crisp image quality. You‘ll gain up to 2X higher FPS in supporting games by turning on DLSS.
Other new techs like Mesh Shading and Resizable BAR further boost performance and image quality. Bottom line, the RT 3050 is a more advanced, future-ready GPU.
Current Pricing and Availability
The RTX 3050 launched in January 2022 at $249 MSRP, while the GTX 1650 released way back in 2019 for around $150. How have prices shifted since then?
Due to ongoing supply constraints, the cheapest RTX 3050 currently sells for around $275. Models from top brands like Asus, MSI, and EVGA go for $300 and up. The situation is slowly improving, but 3050 prices remain inflated.
Meanwhile, GTX 1650 models now sell between $150 to $180, much closer to original MSRP. Abundant supply keeps pricing very affordable. Discounts and rebates can even drop 1650 cards under $150.
There is a clear pricing advantage going with the GTX 1650 right now. The nearly 2+ year old Turing card offers incredible value compared to the premium commanded by the new RTX 3050.
So Should You Buy the RTX 3050 or GTX 1650?
At the end of the day, which of these two GPUs is the better purchase? Here‘s a quick rundown:
Get the RTX 3050 if:
- You want max 1080p gaming performance
- You value ray tracing and DLSS
- Don‘t mind paying a premium
- Plan to upgrade to 1440p later
Get the GTX 1650 if:
- You‘re on a very tight budget
- Want the best price/performance ratio
- Primarily play esports or lighter titles
- Don‘t care about ray tracing or DLSS
For most gamers, the RTX 3050 is the clear winner in terms of features and future-proofing. But the GTX 1650 remains a champion for budget builders. It can handle 60+ FPS 1080p gaming perfectly well in many titles.
We hope this detailed side-by-side analysis has helped you decide on the right mainstream graphics card for your needs. Both the RTX 3050 and GTX 1650 have their merits. Choose the one that fits your budget and gaming goals. Happy gaming!