The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 officially went on sale on January 27, 2022. Its theoretical starting price is just $249, which of course feels like a wild fantasy in the wake of ongoing shortages and high GPU prices. While Nvidia sent us the EVGA RTX 3050 XC Black, a reference clock card (now that we’ve updated the VBIOS), and should sell for $249, there are plenty of other models with significantly higher MSRPs. Like the Zotac RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC, which has a suggested retail price of $399.
What do you get for that extra $150? How about a factory overclock of 1.7%. Oh, and it might be a little more available than the $249 red herring models — after all, why sell cards at Nvidia’s MSRP when you can stick “OC” on the name and give it a much higher price?
We’ve already covered the basic RTX 3050 performance in our launch review, so head over there to learn more. For this Zotac review, we’re going to focus specifically on how it differs from the reference models.
Spoiler: Anyone with even the slightest bit of hardware knowledge can easily overclock any RTX 3050 GPU to at least the levels we see on the Zotac Twin Edge OC. It’s really just the add-in card (AIC) partners ignoring Nvidia’s hypothetical MSRP and instead charging whatever price the market will accept. And right now, with cards like the RTX 2060 selling for over $500 on eBay, we won’t see anyone aggressively priced cards in more than token quantities.
|Graphics Card||Zotac RTX 3050 Twin Edge OC||RTX 3050||RTX 3060||RX 6500 XT|
|Process technology||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||TSMC N6|
|Die size (mm^2)||276||276||276||107|
|Texting / CUs||20||20||28||16|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1807||1777||1777||2815|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||14||14||15||18|
|VRAM bus width||128||128||192||64|
|TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)||9.3||9.1||12.7||5.8|
|TFLOPS FP16 (Tensor)||37 (74)||36 (73)||51 (102)||N/A|
Factory Overclocking Overclocking
You can see some of the main contenders for the RTX 3050 above, along with the mostly pointless overclocking offered by Zotac. We’re going to go ahead and kick things up a notch with some manual overclocking, which should add some spice to the results. How far can we push the RTX 3050? Well, certainly not far enough to catch the RTX 3060, but we did overclock the memory – something very few factory-overclocked cards do.
We loaded up MSI Afterburner, maxed out the power limit slider (at 110%), and after some experimentation we got a +200MHz GPU clock and +1000MHz on the GDDR6. That brought the memory speed to an effective 16 Gbps, and GPU clocks tended to land slightly above the 2.1 GHz range during gaming. Does this mean any RTX 3050 will overclock that far? We can’t make any guarantees, but we weren’t pushing particularly hard, and a modest increase in fan speeds seemed to keep the temperature in check with ease.
We limited our overclocked tests to 1080p ultra settings, just to reduce the amount of time and repetition required. Additional tweaking can improve things by another 1%, or reduce it if the settings prove unstable, but we’ll leave that to the more adventurous to try it out.