Those looking for a new GPU for the desktop may end up being in doubt between investing in a new entry-level card or acquiring a mid-range solution launched long ago. For amounts starting at $250 you can already purchase a GPU like the GTX 1060; or investing a little more, you can go for an RTX 3050, which is a more modern card that supports Ray Tracing and DLSS technologies.
While the former is a GPU that, even after so long, still has great appeal among gamers, the latter has hit the market promising to be a gateway to the manufacturer’s next generation of cards. Below, Techidence presents a comparison of the two cards to help you decide which model is worth investing in.
GTX 1060 vs RTX 3050 Datasheet
|Specifications||GTX 1060||RTX 3050|
|Launch||Q3 2016||Q1 2022|
|Price||from $250||from $360|
|CUDA cores||1280 (6GB) – 1152 (3GB)||2560|
|Base Clock/Boost (MHz)||1506/1708 (6GB) – 1506/1708 (3GB)||1550/1770|
|Memory||3 or 6 GB GDDR5||8 GB GDDR6|
|memory interface||192 bits||128 bits|
|Energy||120 W||130 W|
|Recommended||400 W||550 W|
|Complementary energy||A six-pin connector||One 8-pin connector|
With an old architecture, the GTX 1060 is a card that appears on the market in 3 or 6 GB GDDR5 versions, which is not ideal for modern gaming, since a card with only 3 GB tends to have a limited ability to load textures. GDDR5 technology is also no longer the standard for performance, thus being another limiting feature of the older card.
The RTX 3050 is a card with the new Ampere architecture, bringing 8 GB GDDR6, support for technologies such as Ray Tracing and DLSS, and the promise of greater compatibility with more modern features. With more VRAM, the RTX 3050 tends to allow the loading of more textures and thus the use of the card at higher resolutions.
According to data from specialized sites, in effective speed, the RTX 3050 gain over the GTX 1060 can reach 27%, which, in turn, tends to impact a lot on performance. Of course, by bringing a more modern chip and more memory, the 2022 card also tends to offer more frames in games, as well as improved visual quality.
While the GTX 1060 is a card that offers VR support, the RTX 3050 is a card that by relying on Tensor Core, allows the use of the Ray Tracing feature in hardware, as well as the use of DLSS, which automatically enhances GPU performance through Deep Learning.
The power requirement of the GTX 1060 is lower than that of the RTX 3050, which is mainly evident by the requirement for a source of only 400 W with a six-pin complementary connector. The TDP of the 2016 card is also 10 W lower.
Despite requiring a more powerful power supply (PSU), the RTX 3050 tends to be more efficient when considering performance per Watt. Either way, investing in a more modern board tends to get you a more efficient component.
The only feature that the GTX 1060 has that the RTX 3050 does not is virtual reality support. So if functionality is something you’re looking for in your new GPU, you already have an indication of which model to choose.
In turn, as mentioned, the RTX 3050 has a more modern architecture, support for Ray Tracing and DLSS, as well as offers greater compatibility with modern solutions like games and software that can exploit the card’s features.
Price and availability
If a lower cost is a differential for your choice, the GTX 1060 is a more affordable choice. Its availability in the current market is not so great, especially for the 6 GB model. It’s starting at $250 for the 3GB and $289 for 6GB – both available on Amazon
The availability of the RTX 3050 is still not so large because it is a newly released card, but the model tends to appear in versions from more manufacturers that are Nvidia’s partners. Currently, the card appears on Amazon for prices starting at $360.
Considering only the options of new GTX 1060 and RTX 3050 cards available in online retail, it might be interesting to opt for the purchase of the newer card. That’s even though the RTX line GPU has a much higher value compared to the 3 GB model of the GTX 1060.
For those who have a limited budget, and don’t mind having about 30% less performance, the GTX 1060 is still a choice that can cater to entry-level gamers. What proves this is the popularity of the card on Steam, which is one of the leading PC gaming platforms.