Nvidia could use a more efficient GPU in the RTX 3050 if supply dries up

Nvidia could use a more efficient GPU in the RTX 3050 if supply dries up

Nvidia could use a more efficient GPU in the RTX 3050 if supply dries up


There may be two different Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 8GB variants in the near future: with GA106 GPU and with GA107 GPU. The difference between the two should be small, but the GA107 model will likely be slightly more efficient than the existing GA106.

Nvidia released the GeForce RTX 3050 as a discrete graphics card on January 27, and it offered a middling list of specs: 20 SMs, 2,560 CUDA Cores, 80 Tensor Cores, 20 RT Cores, and a boost clock speed of 1,777MHz. In addition to 8GB GDDR6 memory aside, it’s all thanks to the GA106 GPU at its core.

This is the same GPU as the RTX 3060, albeit with much slimmer specs than its larger mid-range sibling.

Igor’s Lab now reports that there will be an RTX 3050 graphics card with a GA107 GPU, the same card used by the mobile RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti.

The differences between the two versions of the RTX 3050 are expected to be minimal: core counts, clock speeds, and performance should all match, spec for spec.

Igor’s lab thinks the power consumption of the GA107 model could be slightly reduced: 115W of total board power (TBP) down to the current standard of 130W. This switching could have a knock-on effect on overclocking or undervoltage – the GA107 chip should be better for undervoltage due to the more efficient overall design.

It appears that Nvidia has been quite clever with the specs this time around in order to open the door for this potential switcher.

Since its foundry partner Samsung produces the GA106 chips, it will accumulate those chips that cannot meet the specifications required by the RTX 3060. So it makes sense to use these chips as the basis for cheaper cards. But what happens when Samsung’s production goes up, and it makes fewer weak-hearted chips, or those chips sell faster than they’re being spewed out?

(Image credit: Nvidia)

In this case, Nvidia may have planned ahead of time to switch to a GA107 GPU instead of letting the RTX 3050 stock dry up. To do this, make sure the two GPUs are pin-compatible, so Nvidia’s partners don’t need to change their designs to accommodate. That’s also reportedly why Nvidia limited the RTX 3050’s 16x PCIe lane GA106 GPU to just 8x: so switching to an 8x PCIe lane GA107 won’t have a major impact on final performance.

This isn’t the first time the GPU in a graphics card has been repurposed for another purpose. This happened with Nvidia’s last-gen RTX 20-series, where the RTX 2060 was spotted with both its native TU106 GPU and TU104 GPU, which were ripped from high-end cards. It was recently suggested that the RTX 3060 could house a GA104 GPU for future iterations.

In our review, the RTX 3050 got a 77% gain. In it, Dave calls Nvidia’s latest GTX 1660 Ti “RTX-sensitive,” but notes that it’s largely a graphics card due to a GPU shortage, rather than a “full demonstration of Nvidia’s silicon magic.”

At the very least, the RTX 3050 is one of the few off-the-shelf graphics cards in the world. It doesn’t necessarily sell well, or come close to the MSRP, but you can get one if you want. We’re also hoping for a price correction on this card, as if £500 budget GPUs aren’t for sale, and it doesn’t look like they’re in high demand, then third-party GPUs are expected to offer cheaper model partners.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.