The GeForce RTX 3050 6GB refresh and relaunch is real, with NVIDIA's new entry-level graphics card making some pretty major cuts that extend beyond lowering the VRAM capacity of the GeForce RTX 3050 8GB to 6GB.
One of the biggest changes with this relaunch and refresh for the new GeForce RTX 3050 is lowering the power rating from 130W to 70W. This means the new GeForce RTX 3050 6GB ships without a power connector and is entirely powered by the motherboard and PCI Express slot - which is great for home theater PCs or SFF builds.
And with a lower price point of around $169 compared to the GeForce RTX 3050 8GB's $240 or so, you might think this is an easy win-win. However, lowering the power rating to 70W means significant cuts all around, with a sizeable impact on performance - making it around 20% slower, according to reports.
The CUDA Core count drops from 2560 in the 8GB variant to 2048 in the new GeForce RTX 3050 6GB. The GPU boost clock speed also drops to 1,470 MHz from 1,777 MHz, with the memory speed dropping to 168 GB/s on a much slower 96-bit bus.
Still, this is the first sub-$200 GPU released by NVIDIA since 2019's GeForce GTX 1650 and 2022's GeForce GT 1630 - so the approach here looks to be NVIDIA bringing RTX technologies and access to DLSS available at all levels.
Looking at the raw specs, the new GeForce RTX 3050 6GB has 2.5 times the core count compared to the GeForce GTX 1650. On the plus side, the 20% decrease in performance when looking at 3DMark results for the new card (via ComputerBase) isn't too bad when you factor in that it's using 46% less power.
As far as models go, these things are tiny, with Palit offering a passively cooled variant in the form of the Palit GeForce RTX 3050 6 GB KalmX. They've also got a Mini-ITX-friendly GeForce RTX 3050 6 GB StormX with a single fan and a length of 170mm. Interestingly, Palit's variants ship with a DVI port - a display 'blast from the past.'
GIGABYTE also has two models available - the two-slot twin-fan GeForce RTX 3050 EAGLE OC 6G and the GeForce RTX 3050 OC Low Profile 6G, which has a height of just 69mm.
There is serious competition at this price range; the Intel Arc A580 at $179 is 19% faster than the GeForce RTX 3050 8GB for 1080p gaming. However, the catch is that it's a 185W card that requires two 8-pin power connectors, limiting its versatility compared to the new GeForce RTX 3050 6GB.