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Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 2050 GPUs are better than they sound

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 laptop
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Given that Nvidia has been forced to revive a handful of older graphics cards to try and ease the demand for the perpetually out of stock RTX 3080 series, you might assume the announcement of the RTX 2050 laptop GPU is the same old refrain.

That’s actually not the case. Despite its name, the GeForce RTX 2050 is actually based on the same GA107 Ampere design seen in the RTX 3050 laptop GPU, rather than the Turing architecture of other RTX 20-series cards. The RTX 2050 could power some of the best gaming laptops for those on a budget when it arrives next year. Here's what we know so far. 

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 specs

Of course, there are some clear drawbacks to explain the smaller number. While the RTX 3050 features a 128-bit memory bus, the RTX 2050 halves this to 64-bits, and the boosted clock speed is capped at 1,477MHz instead of 1,740MHz. But otherwise, it’s the same, right down to the 2,048 CUDA cores, 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM and ability to pump out ray traced graphics (albeit not as effectively as pricier hardware). 

There’s an advantage to these paired back specifications besides price, too: energy efficiency. While RTX 3050 laptops power consumption ranges between 35 and 80W, the RTX 2050 laptop GPU is listed as ranging between 30 and 45W.

Alongside the RTX 2050, Nvidia also announced another couple of lower cost laptop GPU options: the MX550 and MX570. The former is based on Turing architecture, while the latter uses Ampere, but the market for both is the same: thin and light laptops that need slightly more grunt than integrated graphics for photo and video editing, as well as some light gaming.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 release date and availability

What’s slightly odd about this announcement — other than the confusing 20-series name for what appears to be a 30-series GPU — is the timeline involved. Nvidia says that all three laptop GPUs are being readied for Spring 2022, which is obviously some way off yet. 

Why the long lead time? Well, it may be down to the global chip shortage, but it could also have something to do with the busy January Nvidia is reportedly set to have. 

According to the rumor mill, Nvidia is due to release three different desktop GPUs next month including two RTX 3050 variants alongside an RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3090 Ti. Whether availability will be any better than what’s nominally possible to buy now remains extremely doubtful, however. 

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.