Best RTX 3050 Graphics Card

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is a decent entry-level GPU. If you want this, here are the best RTX 3050 graphics cards right now.

Low-end cards in the series, like the RX 6500 XT, usually don’t get a lot of love from AIB partners. They create cheap coolers for entry-level cards simply because they don’t need any substantial cooling.

Nvidia’s RTX 3050, on the other hand, got a high-end treatment from most AIB partners and coolers with up to three fans and large heatsinks.

To get the most out of your money when buying this entry-level card, you will need to pick the right aftermarket variant. This article will help you with that.

So, let’s get into it and find out which RTX 3050 is the best.

Table of ContentsShow

The Pros:

  • Good factory overclock
  • Nice custom overclock

The Cons:

  • Noisy and hot

Gigabyte’s Gaming OC cooler setup is very popular with the RTX 3000 and RX 6000 GPU series. This is because it’s affordable, isn’t unnecessarily large, and provides good cooling.

The RTX 3050 also gets Gigabyte’s Gaming OC cooler, so let’s see how it performs.

Pricing

Nvidia set an MSRP of $250 for the RTX 3050.

However, it seems like Gigabyte wants to make a little bit more money from this entry-level card, so the RTX 3050 Gaming OC has a starting price of $380. That’s a considerable price increase, and we find any room to justify that.

Either way, let’s look at this card’s aesthetics and performance.

Design

The Gaming OC cooler has not changed in terms of design over the past few years. It’s the same triple-fan setup we’ve seen on the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3070 TI.

Around those three fans, there’s a mostly black and grey shroud. There’s a bit of RGB on the side, which is always nice to have rather than nothing.

And the back is pretty straightforward, a metal backplate with a large protrusion at the end for improved air circulation.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

The reference RTX 3050 has a boost clock of 1777 MHz, while Gigabyte’s GPU is factory overclocked to 1815 Mhz. A minimal increase in frequency, but let’s see whether benchmarks will tell a different story.

Based on various reviewers, the Gaming OC card actually clocks a bit higher than advertised in games such as Cyberpunk 2077. The GPU clock averages around 1895 MHz, about 6% higher than the reference card. Not bad. So, let’s see whether a custom OC can push the Gaming OC further.

The overclocking capabilities of the RTX 3050 are actually quite impressive. Users can push the clock frequencies over 2100 MHz and the memory clocks up to 2150 MHz. This custom OC can lead to a 10% increase in performance. Not bad at all.

Thermals And Acoustics

A good factory overclock is always impressive, but a card quickly loses its charm if it doesn’t have good acoustics and thermals.

Unfortunately, it seems like the RTX 3050 Gaming OC is a bit on the louder side, with noise levels going up to 38 dBA fans up to 2230 RPM while temperatures still stick around 66 degrees Celsius.

A bit disappointing out-of-the-box experience. If you go down this Gigabyte route for your PC build, we recommend playing around with the GPU’s fan curve for a better experience.

The Pros:

  • Good factory overclock
  • Overclocks quite well

The Cons:

  • Could use a better fan curve

The XC Black is probably EVGA’s most popular design, mostly because it is simple and one of the more affordable options. Although unlike the 3070, 3080, or 3090, the RTX 3050 XC Black has a cooler with just two fans because of its lower power draw.

Pricing

While Gigabyte’s Gaming OC got an extremely steep price increase, EVGA’s XC Black gets no increase in MSRP. Instead, it is exactly $250, the same as the reference card from Nvidia.

Let’s see whether this variant is an upgrade over the Founders Edition.

Design

Design-wise, the RTX 3050 XC Black is relatively straightforward. The entire shroud surrounding the two fans is completely black.

There’s nothing else interesting to report, other than there being no backplate.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

Even though the XC Black from EVGA is rated at the exact same GPU clock (1777 MHz) as the Founders Edition, it actually clocks a bit higher.

In Cyberpunk 2077, the average GPU clock frequency is around 1900 MHz. That is a 7% increase in clock frequency. But what about overclocking?

Overclocking the RTX 3050 XC Black brings the memory clock to around 1970 MHz, but the GPU clock goes up to 2150 MHz.

So, a bit slower than the Gaming OC in memory clocks and a bit higher in GPU clocks. But, overall, the performance increase should be very similar to Gigabyte.

Thermals And Acoustics

The XC Black might be a simple cooler with just two fans at an affordable price, but it still delivers when it comes to cooling. At 1900 RPM, it produces only 33 dBA while temperatures average around 60 degrees Celsius.

The Pros:

  • Best factory overclock
  • Best overclocker
  • Exceptionally quiet and cool

The Cons:

  • Pricey

ASUS’ Strix is probably one of the most reliable GPU coolers on the market. So anytime you’re looking for a premium product and great overclocking at a cool temperature, the STRIX brand is the answer.

But that premium does come at a price.

Pricing

And that price is $490, almost two times Nvidia’s MSRP of the RTX 3050. To put that into perspective, the RTX 3070 launched at an MSRP of $500.

A huge price bump will be difficult to justify. Let’s check it out.

Design

The design of the RTX 3050 Strix OC or any other STRIX GPU, for that matter, is nothing to overlook. It’s a premium look all-around, and it feels that way too.

This big boy comes with a triple-fan setup and a huge heatsink which leads to a thickness of 53.5mm, 300 mm long, and it’s also pretty wide at 133.6 mm.

Compared to EVGA’s and Gigabyte’s cards, it also comes with more I/O. It has 3 Display Ports and 2 HDMIs. Not bad.

In terms of RGB, you’ll be getting tons of it. There are a bunch of RGB strips on the front and side too.

But, the Strix is not here only to look pretty. It’s also built for performance.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

The factory overclock is at 1890 MHz, relatively higher than the stock card speeds. But, this is where things get better. Firing up Cyberpunk 2077 pushes the GPU clock to an average of 2040 MHz. That’s a 15% higher clock speed.

However, we always want to see a graphics card’s full potential, so let’s check out overclocking.

With power limits pushed to the maximum, the GPU clock can be overclocked to an average of 2200 MHz and the memory clock up to 2060 MHz. But, of course, your mileage may vary. You’ll get more performance if you manage to push the memory clocks even further.

Thermals And Acoustics

Even though this is the fastest card of the bunch, it’s also the coolest one yet, with an average of 56 degrees Celsius even at its performance BIOS. The STRIX OC keeps that temperature while the fans spin up just to a maximum of 1170 RPM, leading to very low noise levels of about 25 dBA.

The Pros:

  • Compact
  • Great overclocker

The Cons:

  • No significant disadvantages (for its size)

We decided to go with Palit’s RTX 3050 StromX not because of its performance but its compactness. As a result, it’s the only GPU in this article that’s less than 200mm long.

Pricing

Palit’s StormX doesn’t get any premium pricing, and you will understand why as we review this GPU. Its MSRP is the same as Nvidia’s, just $250.

Design

This RTX 3050 takes on a very different design style. It has only one fan, and it’s just 170mm long. So it’s definitely a small form-factor card.

Its style is pretty simple, with a black shroud surrounding the entire PCB and no backplate, but that’s expected from these compact cards.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

Even though it seems like Palit’s compact RTX 3050 doesn’t have enough cooling, GPU clocks still manage to stay around 1910 MHz which is higher when compared to its specifications.

Overclocking the StormX brings GPU clocks up to 2132 MHz and memory clocks up to 2040 MHz. That’s not a small feat considering there is only one fan cooling this thing.

Thermals And Acoustics

We never expected anything spectacular here, but it’s not too bad. GPU temperatures reach an average of 69°C while the fan spins up to 1670 RPM, producing 35 dBA.

That’s actually quieter than the Gigabyte card, which has three fans on top of the heatsink.

Which RTX 3050 Graphics Card Should You Buy?

Which RTX 3050 Graphics Card Should You Buy

There is a superior choice in this list of four great graphics cards, but which one?

Well, it’s evident that the ASUS GeForce RTX 3050 Strix OC destroys all other options in terms of performance, design, and cooling. But that comes at a price premium, so it gets the Best Premium pick.

On the other side of the spectrum is the EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Black, which doesn’t get any kind of price increase, but delivers great cooling and performance, so it gets a Best Value award from us.

You Might Like These Too

Best RX 6900 XT
Best RX 6900 XT Graphics Card
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. That is why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.