Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 could launch with two desktop versions in January

an image of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Update: Intel Arc Alchemist desktop GPUs are now tipped for a summer launch.

Despite the ongoing GPU woes where stock is snapped up as soon as it appears, Nvidia is reportedly set to release three new graphics cards in January. Now it seems that the cheapest of these — the rumored Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 — will come in two flavors, giving customers a choice of how much to spend.

The desktop GeForce RTX 3050 — which already exists as a laptop GPU — is apparently going to enter the market in January, and the leaker kopite7kimi claims that the entry-level card will offer two variants. 

The GA106-140 will apparently pack 2,304 CUDA cores and 4GB memory, while the more advanced GA106-150 will come with 2,560 CUDA cores and 8GB VRAM. Expect there cards to target high-frame-rate gaming at 1080p or 60 frames per second at 1440p. 

To be clear, this is an entry-level card designed to counter Intel’s brand new Arc Alchemist GPU and the reportedly upcoming AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT rather than the top-of-the-range models. 

But beggars can’t be choosers in the current world of GPU shopping, with older, less capable cards than this being brought out of retirement as a stop-gap solution for buyers looking to upgrade their gaming setup. Even those cards are flying off the shelves, and selling for well above their MSRP, so is there any hope for the GeForce RTX 3050? 

Much depends on whether Nvidia has further plans to make its upcoming RTX-30 cards less appealing to cryptocurrency miners, who are usually prepared to spend more on GPUs as they expect to make the money back from Bitcoin, Ethereum or other mined currencies. To date, the solutions introduced by the company have proved too easy to sidestep to be a true deterrent. However, a more recent report says that the RTX 3050 could be neutered to limit cryptomining

But even without cryptocurrency miners, you’d imagine there’s a pent-up demand from gamers unable to get their fix, and insiders aren’t too optimistic about the chances of the chip shortage easing up in the short term. 

Nvidia’s own estimates suggest no real improvements until 2023, which is somewhat alarming when the company will reportedly have launched the GeForce RTX 40 family of GPUs by that point. At least one generation of GPU hardware has been heavily disrupted by supply issues, and at this rate, you wouldn’t bet against it extending well into a second. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.