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The GeForce RTX 3050 appears to be absolutely abysmal at ray tracing even though RT is literally in its name

The GeForce RTX 3050 appears to be absolutely abysmal at ray tracing even though RT is literally in its name (Image source: Steam)
The GeForce RTX 3050 appears to be absolutely abysmal at ray tracing even though RT is literally in its name (Image source: Steam)
RTX 3050? More like GTX 3050. Nvidia introduced the "RTX" moniker to imply real-time ray tracing capabilities and acceleration, but the GeForce RTX 3050 is looking worse than even the GTX 1660 Ti.

As if the new GeForce RTX 3050 wasn't already underwhelming enough, the RTX GPU might not even be better at processing RT effects than a regular GTX GPU. The 3DMark Port Royal benchmark shows the Acer Nitro 5 AN517, Asus ROG Strix G17 G713QE, and Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7610 each with RTX 3050 graphics all scoring significantly lower than cheaper GTX 1660 Ti laptops by as much as 50 to 70 percent. Port Royal is an RT-specific benchmark designed as a standard for testing the RT capabilities of GPUs including those from Nvidia.

Initially, we wrote off the unusually low Port Royal scores as outliers or bugs since RTX 3050 laptops are still relatively new to the market. However, after testing three different RTX 3050 laptops each from different makers and observing very similar results between them, the slow RT performance of the RTX 3050 series is beginning to look less like a fluke.

There are likely several factors responsible for the the poor RT results with RAM potentially being the main culprit. When compared to the GTX 1660 Ti, the RTX 3050 has 33 percent less GDDR6 VRAM (6 GB to 4 GB) and a 33 percent narrower memory bus (192-bit vs. 128-bit) to severely limit performance at resolutions greater than 1080p. Since Port Royal is a 1440p RT-enabled benchmark, overall performance would fall off a cliff on a RAM-starved GPU like our RTX 3050.

The RTX 3050 may still have its uses for RT at much lower resolutions or for DLSS and AI-accelerated applications, but gamers may want to just consider the GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2060 instead.

3DMark - 2560x1440 Port Royal Graphics
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU
  (3724 - 5399, n=19)
4713 Points ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
  (3020 - 3859, n=29)
3431 Points ∼73%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
  (1097 - 1540, n=7)
1426 Points ∼30%
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7610
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU, i7-11800H
701 Points ∼15%
Asus ROG Strix G17 G713QE-RB74
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU, R7 5800H
588 Points ∼12%
Acer Nitro 5 AN517-53-54DQ
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU, i5-11300H
425 Points ∼9%
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 08 > The GeForce RTX 3050 appears to be absolutely abysmal at ray tracing even though RT is literally in its name
Allen Ngo, 2021-08-17 (Update: 2021-08-17)