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Upgrade from a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti to These 4 Cards Today

Upgrading Your Graphics Card: The Best Options to Replace Your NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti in 2023

If you‘re a PC gamer still using an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card in 2023, you‘re likely feeling the limitations of this aging GPU. Released way back in 2016, the GTX 1050 Ti was a solid entry-level option for 1080p gaming in its day. But a lot has changed in the world of graphics cards over the past 7 years.

Newer GPUs offer massive performance gains, enhanced visuals, and cutting-edge features that dramatically improve your gaming experience compared to the 1050 Ti. Games are also far more demanding now, making the 1050 Ti struggle to run modern titles at high graphics settings.

The good news is that with the GPU market mostly stabilized after years of shortages and inflated prices, now is an excellent time to upgrade your graphics card. To help you choose the best replacement for your trusty 1050 Ti workhorse, we‘ve put together this comprehensive guide with recommendations for every budget and performance tier.

Whether you just need an affordable boost for casual 1080p gaming, want to make the jump to 1440p, or are eyeing a cutting-edge 4K monster, we have you covered with top NVIDIA GeForce RTX and AMD Radeon RX upgrade picks. We‘ll walk through their specs and features, include benchmark data to quantify the performance uplift over the 1050 Ti, and share tips for ensuring compatibility with your system. Let‘s get into it!

The Benefits of Upgrading Your Graphics Card

Your graphics card is the most important component for PC gaming performance. All the pixels you see on screen are generated by the GPU, so a faster card means higher resolutions, smoother frame rates, better visuals, and the ability to crank up graphics settings for a more immersive experience.

While the GTX 1050 Ti was great for its time, a lot has changed since 2016. Here are some of the key reasons to consider upgrading:

Raw Performance Gains: GPU technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, with new architectures enabling huge performance increases generation over generation. Even the most affordable modern cards significantly outpace the 1050 Ti.

More VRAM: The 1050 Ti is limited to just 4GB of GDDR5 video memory, which is on the low end for modern gaming. Newer cards commonly offer 8GB or more, with faster GDDR6/GDDR6X memory, allowing them to handle higher-res textures and buffer more frames.

Ray Tracing and DLSS: NVIDIA‘s RTX cards include dedicated hardware for ray traced lighting, shadows and reflections, a transformative visual feature. DLSS also uses AI upscaling to boost frame rates. The 1050 Ti supports neither.

Newer APIs and Features: GPUs have gained support for advanced features like variable rate shading, mesh shaders, sampler feedback and more, which developers leverage to optimize the latest games.

Higher Resolution and Refresh Rate: While the 1050 Ti is limited to entry-level 1080p gaming, newer cards open the door for higher resolutions like 1440p and 4K, as well as high refresh rate monitors for incredibly smooth and responsive gameplay.

Other Benefits: Upgrading also better equips your system for VR gaming, GPU-accelerated apps, content creation, and future-proofs your rig.

Now that we‘ve established the perks of upgrading, let‘s get into our top recommendations for replacing your GTX 1050 Ti.

Best Entry-Level 1080p Upgrade: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super

Target Resolution: 1080p
Performance Uplift over 1050 Ti: ~50-80%
Pros:

  • Excellent performance for the price
  • Great for 1080p 60fps gaming
  • No additional power connector required
    Cons:
  • Limited to 4GB VRAM
  • No ray tracing or DLSS

Specs:

  • GPU: TU116 (Turing architecture)
  • CUDA Cores: 1280
  • Base/Boost Clock: 1530 MHz / 1725 MHz
  • Memory: 4GB GDDR6
  • Memory Bandwidth: 192 GB/s
  • TDP: 100W

If you‘re on a tight budget and just looking for a solid boost over the 1050 Ti for 1080p gaming, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super is a great pick. Based on the newer Turing architecture and equipped with faster GDDR6 memory, the 1650 Super delivers excellent performance for the price.

In benchmarks, the 1650 Super ranges from 50-80% faster than the 1050 Ti depending on the game and settings. This allows it to easily handle most modern titles at 1080p and 60fps with medium to high graphics settings. Esports and less demanding games will run even better.

The efficient TU116 GPU means the 1650 Super sips power, requiring no additional PCIe power connectors. This makes it an easy drop-in replacement for the 1050 Ti, as it will work with any system that has a 300W or greater power supply.

The main downside is that it still has the same 4GB memory capacity as the 1050 Ti, which may be limiting in some of the latest games. It also lacks ray tracing and DLSS capabilities. But for a simple and affordable 1080p performance boost, the 1650 Super is a fantastic choice.

Best Mainstream 1080p/1440p Upgrade: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

Target Resolution: 1080p / 1440p
Performance Uplift over 1050 Ti: ~200-250%
Pros:

  • Incredible performance for the price
  • Great for maxed out 1080p or high-refresh 1440p gaming
  • Ray tracing and DLSS support
  • 12GB VRAM is very futureproof
    Cons:
  • Requires a 550W or greater power supply
  • Overkill for 1080p/60fps

Specs:

  • GPU: GA106 (Ampere architecture)
  • CUDA Cores: 3584
  • Base/Boost Clock: 1320 MHz / 1777 MHz
  • Memory: 12GB GDDR6
  • Memory Bandwidth: 360 GB/s
  • TDP: 170W

For most gamers looking for an exceptional 1080p card with the chops to drive high refresh rates and dabble in 1440p, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 hits the sweet spot. It delivers a huge 200-250% performance jump over the 1050 Ti thanks to its Ampere architecture, enabling max settings at 1080p and excellent performance at 1440p.

The RTX 3060 brings all the benefits of NVIDIA‘s RTX lineup, including dedicated 2nd gen ray tracing cores and 3rd gen Tensor cores for DLSS. This allows it to handle ray traced effects well and use DLSS to significantly boost frame rates and performance. It‘s a great entry point to these cutting-edge features.

Another big upgrade is the whopping 12GB of GDDR6 memory, triple that of the 1050 Ti. This ensures the RTX 3060 is futureproofed to handle upcoming games, high-res texture packs, and demanding workloads.

To power the RTX 3060 you‘ll need a beefier 550W or greater power supply. Installation is straightforward though, as it requires just a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. The card does run a bit power hungry and can get toasty under load, so good case airflow is recommended.

Overall, the RTX 3060 is arguably the best mainstream GPU and a phenomenal upgrade over the 1050 Ti. It maxes out 1080p and has the ray tracing and DLSS prowess to tackle demanding games. It‘s also a viable entry-level 4K card. While overkill for gaming at 1080p/60fps, it ably handles high refresh rates and 1440p.

Best High-End 4K Upgrade: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Target Resolution: 1440p / 4K
Performance Uplift over 1050 Ti: ~350-450%
Pros:

  • Incredible performance for high-refresh 1440p and 4K gaming
  • 16GB VRAM is ideal for 4K
  • Great value for a high-end GPU
  • Rich feature set with FidelityFX Super Resolution and ray tracing
    Cons:
  • Requires a beefy 750W power supply
  • Overkill unless you have a high-end system and 4K display
  • Ray tracing performance lags behind NVIDIA

Specs:

  • GPU: Navi 21 (RDNA 2 architecture)
  • Compute Units: 72
  • Base/Boost Clock: 1825 MHz / 2250 MHz
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6
  • Memory Bandwidth: 512 GB/s
  • TDP: 300W

If you have a high-end system and want one of the fastest GPUs for 4K gaming, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT is an absolute monster of a card. Built on AMD‘s RDNA 2 architecture, it provides a colossal uplift over the 1050 Ti, offering 350-450% higher performance.

The RX 6800 XT excels at 4K, pushing high frame rates with max settings in even the most demanding titles. It has the chops for high-refresh 1440p and 1080p gaming as well. The 16GB of GDDR6 memory ensures it‘s ready for next-gen games.

AMD‘s robust feature set is on tap here, including FidelityFX Super Resolution for AI upscaling and Radeon Anti-Lag for ultra-responsive gaming. The card supports ray tracing as well, although performance lags behind NVIDIA‘s offerings.

The main downside of the RX 6800 XT is its power demands. You‘ll need a stout 750W power supply and lots of clearance in your case as it‘s a big card. It‘s also total overkill for most gamers, providing performance far beyond the needs of the average 1080p or 60Hz display.

Still, for the most demanding high-res gamers, the RX 6800 XT is arguably the best value in its class. It trades blows with the RTX 3080 while costing significantly less, a relative steal for 4K gaming and an unbelievable upgrade over the lowly 1050 Ti.

Other Graphics Card Upgrade Options

These are just a few of our top recommendations for upgrading from the GTX 1050 Ti. But there are plenty of other great GPUs worth considering:

GTX 1660 Super: Another highly capable 1080p card a tier above the 1650 Super. Great for maxed out gaming with a larger 6GB memory buffer.

RTX 3060 Ti: A more powerful spin on the RTX 3060 with better ray tracing and 1440p performance. A great middle ground between the 3060 and higher-tier cards.

RX 6600 XT: AMD‘s answer to the RTX 3060, with strong rasterization performance but weaker ray tracing. Often available for less, making it an appealing value.

RTX 3070 / RX 6700 XT: For high-refresh 1440p gaming, these cards provide the necessary horsepower while costing less than their higher-end stablemates.

RTX 3080 / RX 6900 XT: For the ultimate 4K experience with the highest frame rates, the RTX 3080 and RX 6900 XT are as good as it gets for consumer GPUs.

RTX 40-Series: NVIDIA‘s latest GPUs push performance even further, albeit at very high prices. The RTX 4070 Ti is an intriguing option for elite 1440p performance.

Tips for Upgrading Your Graphics Card

Once you‘ve picked out your ideal GTX 1050 Ti replacement, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth upgrade process:

Power Supply: As discussed above, make sure your PSU has enough juice to handle your new card, or plan to upgrade it too. Check the GPU‘s power connector requirements.

Case Clearance: Measure your case and GPU to verify the card will fit. You may need to remove drive cages or other components to make room.

PCIe Compatibility: Current GPUs use PCIe 4.0, but are backwards compatible with PCIe 3.0 slots. PCIe 5.0 is also on the horizon for next-gen cards.

Display Connections: Note what display outputs your new GPU has and make sure you have the appropriate cables. You may need an adapter (e.g. DisplayPort to HDMI).

Selling Your Old Card: If your 1050 Ti is still functional, you can recoup some cost by selling it on the used market. Be sure to wipe the drivers with DDU before swapping cards.

With these considerations in mind, you‘re ready to install your speedy new GPU and send your trusty 1050 Ti off to a well-deserved retirement. Enjoy the awesome upgrade in performance!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the GTX 1050 Ti still good in 2023?
A: While the 1050 Ti is still serviceable for very light 1080p gaming, it struggles in modern titles and is extremely dated in 2023. You‘ll see a massive benefit upgrading to a newer GPU.

Q: How much should I spend on a new graphics card?
A: It depends on your budget and needs, but expect to pay around $200 for an entry-level 1080p card, $300-$500 for a solid 1440p GPU, and $700+ for a high-end 4K beast.

Q: What‘s the best GPU for 1080p gaming?
A: The RTX 3060 and RX 6600 XT are both excellent options for maxed out 1080p gaming with ray tracing. The GTX 1660 Super is also a great value for 1080p.

Q: Should I upgrade my graphics card or CPU first?
A: It depends on your current specs, but the GPU is usually the most important component for gaming and should be prioritized in most cases. A very outdated CPU can bottleneck a new GPU though.

Q: Do I need to upgrade my power supply for a new GPU?
A: It depends on the wattage requirements of your new card and the capacity of your current PSU. A good rule of thumb is to have 50-100W of headroom over the GPU‘s TDP for the rest of your system.

In Conclusion

The graphics card market has come a long way since the GTX 1050 Ti debuted in 2016. With astonishing advancements in performance and cutting-edge features like ray tracing, DLSS, and AI upscaling, newer GPUs provide incredible upgrades for all budgets and performance tiers.

Whether you opt for an affordable refresh like the GTX 1650 Super, a mainstream monster like the RTX 3060, or splurge for a 4K killer like the RX 6800 XT, you‘ll be blown away by the improvements over the 1050 Ti. With the GPU market stabilized and next-gen consoles raising the bar, there‘s never been a better time to upgrade your graphics card.

Just be sure to do your research, check compatibility with your system, and bask in the glory of your shiny new pixel pusher. The generational leap from the 1050 Ti to a modern GPU is something every gamer should experience. Happy upgrading!