Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU could cater for more gamers with two different versions

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti on a black background
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia is expected to unleash the RTX 3050 budget GPU next month – the desktop version that is, as opposed to the laptop GPU which is already out – and it could come in two variants sporting 4GB and 8GB of VRAM.

This is the latest from Twitter-based rumor peddler kopite7kimi (spotted by VideoCardz), who claims there will be two different flavors: the GA106-150 which will have 2,560 CUDA cores and 8GB of memory, plus the GA106-140 with 2,304 CUDA cores and 4GB of VRAM.

In other words, we’re looking at a (relatively) more powerful version with double the VRAM, alongside a cheaper model, although bear in mind we have to take this with considerable skepticism, particularly as there have been a lot of different rumors flying around regarding the RTX 3050. That said, this fresh rumor does line up with some of the previous speculation we’ve heard, or at least the purported GA106-150  model does.

If all goes well, Nvidia might spring the RTX 3050, or indeed both versions, with a reveal at CES 2022 in January, with cards maybe going on sale later in the month, January 27 according to the rumor mill. The RTX 3090 Ti is also expected to show up alongside the budget Ampere model(s), too, so we could have new products at both ends of the GPU spectrum.

Analysis: Fitting together the pieces of the low-end GPU puzzle

Two options for affordable – or at least theoretically cheap, before any availability, pricing pressures and scalpers get in on the act – graphics cards would be great news next month. Anything at all would be, in fact, because we’ve had to endure the whole of 2021 without a budget Ampere product (and we’re still waiting on the AMD front, as well, to compound frustrations).

Interestingly, we’ve heard before that the RTX 3050 Ti could be built around the GA106-150 GPU, and so that raises the possibility that this latest leak might not pertain to a pair of 3050s, but the 3050 Ti and vanilla 3050.

VideoCardz seems pretty sure this isn’t the case, though, and that Nvidia will push out two different models of RTX 3050 based on two spins of the GA106, followed by a later beefier GA106-powered offering which will be the Ti version – using the same core GPU for all these products to save on production costs for third-party card makers. That does make sense.

Time will tell, but really, all we want to see is some cheaper contemporary graphics cards out there in some hopefully half-decent quantities. We’re also expecting AMD’s RX 6500 XT to turn up next month, and to be followed by the RX 6400 a couple of months down the line, again if the rumors are right – and of course Intel’s Arc Alchemist GPUs will turn up hopefully fairly early on next year, too. They could make the biggest splash of all, especially if Nvidia and AMD can’t get their budget acts together, and leave the door open for Intel.

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).