PC gamers have largely been left frustrated at their failure to get hold of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics card in the year since its release, and Intel is seeking to take advantage early next year with the release of its own Arc Alchemist GPU.
According to somewhat reliable leaker Kopite7kimi on Twitter, the first Intel GPU — the A380 — will offer lower end performance comparable to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super, which under normal circumstances would be unlikely to worry a company more keen on pushing its RTX 30-series GPUs.
Intel Arc A380 Graphics 2.45GHz 6GBperf 1650S#IntelArc #DG2December 2, 2021
But these aren’t ordinary times, with every GPU being in super-short supply to the degree that even elderly graphics cards are being called out of retirement to give gamers something to put in their PCs, even if it’s just a stop-gap solution.
With that in mind, Kopite7kimi believes that Nvidia will attempt to spike the possible threat from Intel with a new GeForce RTX 30-series card: a desktop take on the RTX 3050.
Update that: GA106-150-Kx-A1RTX 30508G GD6December 2, 2021
To be clear, the GeForce RTX 3050 already exists as a laptop GPU, but so far RTX 30-series cards for desktop only begin at the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060.
According to Kopite7Kimi’s sources, the desktop RTX 3050 will be powered by the GA106-150 GPU, backed by 8GB of GDDR6 video memory. It will, apparently pack 3,072 CUDA cores compared to the 3,584 and 4,864 contained within the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti cards respectively.
As our sister site Tom’s Hardware points out, that makes the desktop RTX 3050 card sound very different to the version currently powering entry-level gaming laptops. The mobile RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti GPUs use the GA107 GPU which features a 128-bit interface and a maximum of 2,560 CUDA cores. That means, if the leak is accurate, that Nvidia could either have the same 128-bit interface and 2GB GDDR6 chips or a 256-bit interface with 1GB chips.
That’s a big “if” of course: even Kopite7Kimi feels the need to caveat the tweet with the word “rumor” in big capital letters. In other words, you should take this with a large helping of salt, even if it seems to make sense, given the existence of a mobile RTX 3050 and the need to see off Intel’s first big entry to the GPU market.
Apparently this won’t be Nvidia’s only GPU for 2022, however. Rumour has it that the company will be launching the GeForce RTX 40 series family of graphics cards in 2022 with some serious power behind them. The rumored GeForce RTX 4090 flagship is said to pack 18,423 CUDA cores with 2.5GHz clock speeds and a massive 92 teraflops of compute performance.
Whether or not you’ll actually be able to buy one is, of course, far from guaranteed: even if the information is correct, stock of the GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, 3080 and 3090 cards has been extremely hard to come by thanks to the double punch of a global pandemic and cryptocurrency prices going through the roof. However, another report says that the RTX 3050 will be neutered to deter cryptominers.
So far, Nvidia’s attempts to make RTX 30 cards less appealing to crypto miners has proved pretty ineffective. But hopefully the company has something in mind for future cards to ensure they actually end up powering gaming PCs and not Bitcoin farms.
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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.