Nvidia RTX 3050 vs. AMD RX 6500 XT: low budget GPU battle

The Nvidia RTX 3050 and AMD RX 6500 XT are two of the potentially most affordable entry-level graphics cards of their respective generations. If uptime isn’t an issue (and it just might be), they should offer the most affordable price of any current gen graphics card for a while. But how do they measure up?

Which one offers the best value for money? The Nvidia RTX 3050 or the AMD RX 6500 XT?

AMD RX 6500 XT graphics card specifications.

Specifications

Nvidia RTX 3050 AMD RX 6500 XT
GPU GA106 (rumor) Navi 24
To treat 8 nm 6 nm
Interface PCIE x16 PCIE x4
Shader processors 2,560 CUDA colors 1,024 shading units
Ray tracing accelerators 20 RT cores (rumor) 16 ray accelerators
color tensioner 80 (rumor) N / A
Basic block 1.55 GHz Unknown
Game clock N / A 2610 MHz
Boost the clock 1.78 GHz 2,815 MHz
Memory 8 GB of GDDR6 4 GB of GDDR6 + 16 MB of infinite cache
Memory speed 14 Gbps (rumored) 18 Gbit / s
Memory bus width 128 bits 64 bits
Bandwidth Unknown 144 GB / s (305 GB / s effective with Infinity Cache)
TDP 130W 107W

Pricing and availability

None of these graphics cards are available at this time, but they are coming soon. The Nvidia RTX 3050 is slated for release on January 27 with a suggested retail price of $ 249. The AMD RX 6500 XT is coming a bit earlier, with a January 19 release date.

Its recommended price of just $ 199 makes it the particularly cheaper GPU, although this may not be the case in all territories. The European retail price of the 6500 XT has already been inflated to the equivalent of $ 340, so we’ll have to see what these cards get. Actually retail for their release.

Performance

Nvidia RTX 3050 performance

We don’t have a third-party test for these cards yet, so there’s no definitive way to know how well either card is performing. What we can do, however, is take a look at the specs and first-party benchmarks released by AMD and Nvidia at CES 2022, and make a relative estimate of how a head-to-head battle between these two. cards would shake.

The RTX 3050 and RX 6500 XT are both designed to be 1080p graphics cards, replacing older 1080p models like the GTX 1650 and RX 570/580. Nvidia’s testing showed the RTX 3050 to be more than capable of delivering over 60 frames per second (fps) in a number of major games, including F1 2021, Control, and Eternal destiny. But in each case, it was with Super Deep Learning Sampling (DLSS) enabled, which doesn’t give us a clear idea of ​​performance, as older cards like the GTX 1650 can’t use this upgrading technology. to scale and not all games support it.

In AMD’s benchmarks, it showed the RX 6500 XT to be somewhat arbitrary 23% to 59% faster than the GTX 1650 in games like Age of Empires 4, Apex Legends, and Resident Evil: Village. That’s fine, but without actual refresh rates it doesn’t tell us much.

Considering the specs, the RTX 3050 should have a major advantage when it comes to enabling advanced visual settings, thanks to double the GDDR6 memory. We don’t know its bandwidth yet, but it should be higher than that of the RX 6500 XT, although the Infinity Cache may help AMD close the gap as it has with some of its top RDNA 2 graphics cards. range.

The 6500 XT also has a huge clock speed advantage over the RTX 3050, which could also offer competitive performance with the Nvidia GPU.

Considering the price that companies have priced these cards at, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the RTX 3050 being the slightly more powerful card, with AMD on its heels and even surpassing it in some games. We’ll need to see unbiased real-world testing to be sure.

Upscaling and ray tracing

Different versions of the RTX 3050 graphics card.

Both graphics cards support optional scaling technology to improve gaming support performance. The RTX 3050 features Nvidia’s Tensor cores to let you use DLSS for impressive performance gains in some games, which can make all the difference, especially when playing on an entry-level card like the one -this.

The RX 6500 XT doesn’t have dedicated hardware to enhance in-game visuals, but it can use AMD’s super-resolution Fidelity FX in some games – a technology that we were quite impressed with. However, the RTX 3050 can use it as well, with some games even offering the option to choose both FSR and DLSS.

Both cards also support ray tracing, although you are unlikely to use it in a large capacity because even with dedicated hardware acceleration it will mean a big impact on performance, especially with weakest accelerators in the 6500 XT. Still, having the option is nice, and as games improve in its implementation, it’s nice to be able to activate it for gameplay improvements, even at the expense of frame rate.

Multimedia interfaces and encoding

The limited x4 PCIE interface is a concern with the 6500 XT at this untested pre-release stage of its lifecycle. While this should not matter in newer motherboards with PCIE 4 support, in older PCIE 3 boards it could be a bandwidth constraint that could limit overall performance. Considering gamers with older PCs are the likely target audience for a card like this, this seems like a confusing design choice from AMD.

In comparison, the RTX 3050 can take full advantage of PCIE x16 interfaces. It won’t use anything near maximum bandwidth, but there won’t be a slot-level bottleneck, even on older motherboards.

AMD also made the surprising choice to disable H264 / HEVC encoding and AV1 decoding on the 6500 XT. This could cause issues with streaming at higher resolutions and will limit its ability to work with Oculus Quest headsets. These aren’t big issues for a card targeting 1080p gaming, but it’s a shame to see such standard features removed from the card.

The 6500 XT isn’t great, but maybe that’s all you can get

Of these two cards, the RTX 3050 looks likely to be the more powerful when launched. Everything from its larger memory configuration to its ability to use DLSS and higher price tag suggests that it should be the more powerful GPU. However, its 8GB of RAM could be its downfall, as it allows cryptocurrency miners to use it to mine Etherum. The limited 4GB of GDDR6 on the 6500 XT makes it unviable for this, which can make it much easier to obtain.

We’re still not sure if either of these cards will be produced in sufficient volume to thwart scalpers, but AMD has made some bold statements regarding providing significant volume for this entry-level GPU. . If the price of $ 200 is relatively accurate, it is probably a very popular card among gamers. If they can get their hands on it, it could be a decent buy at a time when it’s not easy to get their hands on any reasonably priced card.

The RTX 3050 should be the better card, but it could lose out due to its own higher specs.

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