NVIDIA this week quietly announced the launch of their newest graphics card for consumers, the GeForce GTX 1050 3GB. The name is slightly confusing because they already have a GTX 1050 that ships with between 2GB and 4GB of memory, and this card may actually be faster than your average GTX 1050. NVIDIA will hopefully start shipping these cards worldwide soon, and it’s anyone’s guess if they’ll be discontinuing the old GTX 1050 at the same time.
According to specifications found on NVIDIA’s GTX 1050 landing page, the new 3GB version is not just a GTX 1050 with an extra gigabyte of memory thrown on to the memory bus. It is instead a cut-down GTX 1050 Ti, using the same core as the GTX 1050 Ti but there’s a bit of a compromise in store.
To arrive at 3GB of RAM, NVIDIA had to cut off a memory controller, losing a chunk of memory performance in the process. The bus width drops from 128 bits to 96 bits wide, and it additionally loses 28GB/s of memory bandwidth. That’s a quite a bit of performance to drop from the base card, and the new card’s memory performance is worse than the GTX 1050 2GB. At the low-end of the market, memory changes like this have a significant impact on game performance, but perhaps the gap is smaller than I (or we) anticipate.
To compensate, NVIDIA kept the GPU’s core intact and overclocks it heavily, increasing the base clock to 1392MHz and the boost clock to 1518MHz, which could make up for the lost performance on the memory bus. Theoretically it’s faster than the GTX 1050 Ti, but we’ll have to wait for reviews to see how much performance we’re trading off for what is assumed to be a replacement for the GTX 1050 2GB.
NVIDIA hasn’t discussed pricing or availability yet, even though the card is listed on their official website. This could be a last run for the GTX 1050 series as NVIDIA starts to clear out inventory to prepare for the arrival of their next family of GPUs launching later this year, codenamed Turing.