We're finally getting some cheap graphics cards next year

A woman being blown away by an Asus RTX 3060 graphics card
(Image credit: Roman Samborskyi / Asus)

More rumors for the anticipated Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 desktop graphics card have appeared online, suggesting that it will have 8GB of GDDR6 memory – and lifting expectations for the new selection of cheap GPUs set to drop in early 2022.

As reported by VideoCardz, the non-Ti version of the RTX 3050 GPU was seemingly confirmed in a roadmap with the SKU GA106-150, and established Twitter leaker @kopite7kimi passed along that the card will have more memory than expected (as it was previously speculated the RTX 3050 would only have 4GB), and a potential 3072 CUDA cores. 

That's nothing to sniff at for gaming at 1080p quality, and would make the RTX 3050 the perfect entry-level GPU for any newcomers to the world of PC gaming.

The estimated launch window for this lower-end Ampere GPU stacks it against Intel’s entry-level Arc Alchemist graphics card, and additional rumors have appeared that suggest AMD might also be joining the party with Radeon RX 6500XT and RX 6400 desktop RDNA2 cards.

We have no idea what the prices for any of these expected product will be, but with the potential release windows being so close together, there's a chance that the three manufacturers could compete against each other for the most affordable GPU, which could be great news for consumers – provided sufficient stock is available and that preventive measures are taken against bots and scalpers.

These release windows mean you're unlikely to get a new GPU in time for Christmas, but it would suggest that the demand for cheap, affordable GPUs has been recognized, especially when you consider that Nvidia is resurrecting the RTX 2060 with 12GB of VRAM to try and get more cards into the hands of consumers.

As with all rumors, don't take any of this as gospel yet. However, given that all three brands are expected to release these products in the first half of 2022, we expect that we won't have long to wait for some solid information and additional specs, with CES 2022 a likely source.

Analysis: we needed this months ago

Powerful cards like the RTX 3080 are all well and good, but not everyone can afford a 4K GPU, so it's a relief that manufacturers are recognizing that the 1080p entry-level market needs some expansion. The RTX 3060 is a fantastic product, but the list price was still too lofty for some – and thanks to scalpers we haven't actually seen the entry-level Ampere GPU for anything close to that price since it hit the market.

That said, all of this feels a tad too late. People have become rather jaded by the ongoing silicon shortage and the lack of affordable (and available) graphics cards over the last 12 months, so all three brands will need to ensure that there's sufficient inventory at a price that feels appropriate.

Right now there's very little information to go on. We'd be tempted to say that the price of these cards is important, but consumers have been so desperate for new hardware in recent months that people were snapping up GPUs even when the prices skyrocketed, some to almost three times the list price. 

It would, however, restore some morale to the PC gaming and building community after what has been a very rough year. It'll be near-miraculous if manufacturers can pull off this feat, but here's hoping there are plenty of cheap graphics cards to go around next year.

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.