Nvidia RTX 3050 could arrive in Q2 2022 for more budget GPU options

Nvidia RTX 3070, RTX 3080, And RTX 3090 Lined Up In A Promotional Image From Nvidia
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia’s long-rumored desktop version of the RTX 3050 (as opposed to the existing laptop model) could be here in the second quarter of next year, so perhaps as soon as April 2022.

The prospect of the arrival of this lower-end Ampere GPU in perhaps just over four months has been floated by VideoCardz, which has had its ear to the grapevine and heard the possible launch date from the same source which imparted the (original) rumor around the resurrected RTX 2060 with 12GB of VRAM (that’s supposedly due on December 7).

Clearly this is a source that VideoCardz trusts, but we should nevertheless be very cautious around any rumor, as ever. The claim is that this card uses the Nvidia GA106-150 GPU and was previously thought to be the RTX 3050 Ti version, but it’s actually the vanilla model of the RTX 3050. That said, the rumor peddler isn’t sure on this score, so it could still turn out to be the Ti variant.

Whatever the case, the theory is this graphics card could be loaded up with 8GB of VRAM, but that particular spec wasn’t verified with other sources, so even more condiments need to be applied here.

No other specs were detailed with this leak, save for repeating the broad assertion that this RTX 3050 will outperform the GTX 1660 Super, but won’t be quite as speedy as the refreshed RTX 2060 with 12GB.

As VideoCardz elaborates, on the AMD front, this means the Nvidia GPU won’t be aimed at the current RX 6600, but rather the budget-friendly RX 6500 XT which is rumored to be in the pipeline for Q1 2022. If the purported RTX 3050 does emerge in Q2, that’ll also put it up against Intel’s entry-level Arc Alchemist graphics card which is slated to arrive then (the desktop version, that is).

Analysis: The looming specter of GPU disappointment?

After what feels like an age of waiting for more affordable Nvidia graphics cards to be pushed out, we could soon have two decent performers for 1080p gamers on the table.

That extra choice is going to be most welcome, naturally, although given that stock difficulties are anticipated to continue for some time yet, it’s not certain what kind of quantities we might see these cards in, and how any availability problems could inflate the intended budget pricing somewhat.

As well as possible thorny issues around stock and pricing, there is already disappointment being aired online given the rumored performance target here. You would seriously hope that an RTX 3050 would beat a GTX 1660 Super, and really, it should at least be up there with the RTX 2060, not nestling behind the purported refreshed version. Still, this is all swirling speculation, so let’s not get carried away – though it certainly suggests that this model will be the 3050 rather than the 3050 Ti.

The sad truth is it’s quite difficult to believe anything positive will happen in the GPU world in the near future, one way or another – even with these long-awaited budget alternatives for more casual 1080p gamers. Let’s hope Nvidia can prove us wrong, assuming that these fresh models are even in the pipeline for the near-ish future of course, though the rumor mill seems pretty convinced on the 2060 refresh.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).