Nvidia’s Entry-level RTX 3050 to Come 4GB or 8GB VRAM

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An information leak from one of the most trusted sources for hardware developments reveals that Nvidia’s upcoming desktop RTX 3050 isn’t stuck at 4GB like its mobile counterpart, but would rather be introduced with an additional 8GB VRAM variant.

Hardware Updates and Changes

This critical information was unveiled this morning by none other than kopite7kimi.

According to the tweet itself, the 4GB and 8GB variants will be introduced in two different GPU dies. The first one is the GA106-150, the 8GB version, which is rumored to have 2560 CUDA cores. The second, GA106-140, would then be the vanilla 4GB version, which would then have 2304 CUDA cores. This is markedly different than the mobile launch for the RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti, which both had only 4GB of VRAM despite the 3050 Ti having significantly more CUDA cores than its mobile vanilla variant.

The development could be considered as a welcome surprise, since roughly the same time a year ago (November 2020), kopite7kimi also tweeted an information leak that initially revealed the RTX 3050 as a GA107 die using a 2304 CUDA core configuration. Due to the reliable nature of these sources, it has been widely concluded that Nvidia seems to have changed plans of recycling its mobile-developed chips (which used GA107) to simply function as marketed desktop variants.

As for why GA106 was chosen, it’s most likely a marketing strategy to trim and sell off lower binned RTX 3060 chips, rebranding them along with newer cut dies as the brand-spanking-new entry-level RTX 30-series product line.

On a very peculiar note, despite using a completely different chip the 8GB version seems to have the exact same CUDA cores as a mobile RTX 3050 Ti chip. This could give a more tangible clue as to the level of performance that is expected out of these upcoming GPUs. With other avenues of information in mind (comparison to 20-series, product segmentation, etc.), many people speculate that it won’t just be a DLSS-enabled RT-core infused GTX 1660 Super, though it is very likely that it would still be somewhat a bit weaker than the original RTX 2060.

So… GTX 1060 version 2.0 then?

As expected, quite a number of PC enthusiasts have immediately pointed out the similarities of the two RTX 3050 variants to that of the eventual split of the GTX 1060 between 3GB and 6GB versions. After all, the 3GB version turned out to be inferior not just in VRAM, but in other hardware design points as well, such as the raw number of CUDA cores.

But while the comparison is valid and convincing, unlike the GTX 1060, the two RTX 3050 versions are strictly 2021-era entry-level. At least on paper, they are meant to be introduced to the market at much higher volumes and at lower-end builds. This also means that had the current GPU crisis not occurred, Nvidia could have gotten a very good shot at finally knocking off the GTX 1060 off the Steam hardware charts as the most popular GPU of all time.

Other specifications, such as memory bandwidth and actual clock speeds are still up in the air, but we should definitely expect the same usual 128-bit bus width. The desktop GTX 3060 after all (as the GPU is one step above the upcoming desktop RTX 3050), still falls into the “traditional” category of a mid-range 192-bit VRAM bus.

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