Conclusion - Could This Be The Savior of Entry-Level Gaming?

The MSI GeForce RTX 3050 Gaming X features the performance of a last-gen '60' series class card with the addition of superior ray-tracing, DLSS, and several RTX eSports capabilities for an MSRP of $249 US.

MSI Gaming X Cooling, Compact Design + Premium Components

The card comes with the same cooling design and premium PCB components which are outfitted with the premium, Twin Frozr 8S cooling system. The cooler looks great and performs really well to keep the sub-150W TDP of the card in check. The extra power limit for these cards also provides some decent OC capabilities but you can push Ampere all you want but only get minute returns.

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The cooler does an incredible job by keeping both cards steady and cool under 50C. The RTX 3050 8 GB saw temps peak around 44C but the memory was always under control with a max temp of 65C during peak gaming load. The card is coupled with the superb silent profile which equals near-zero fan noise. If you want that extra cooling performance, then turning the fans all the way to 100% will lead to sub-60C temps but in return, you'd have to face the louder fan noise which gets a bit noticeable at that point.

The dual-fan solution comes with 0db fan technology which unless or until you're touching 60C won't spin at all. This allows lower noise levels when you're not doing any graphics-intensive tasks. MSI went all the way by including a full metal backplate on the card which comes with dual copper heat pipes to effectively transfer heat from the back. The RGB is not overdone and the Mystic Light lits up the logo on the sides to provide a really good aesthetic of the card itself.

So Is The RTX 3050 A Yay or Nay?

With the GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB graphics card, NVIDIA took takes the complete opposite approach than what AMD did. While AMD cut down the features of its entry-level Radeon RX 6500 XT in a bid to make it less attractive to miners and offer a good price of sub-$200 US, the card also ended up feature-less to gamers. The NVIDIA RTX 3050 on the other hand has all the features you'd expect from an RTX card, more memory, higher performance but the price is $50 US more in terms of MSRP.

While the performance of the card comes close to the RTX 2060 and is slightly faster than the GTX 1660 SUPER graphics card which retailed at the same MSRP, the main takeaway is that the card has more features and more memory. The previous RTX 60 series cards were equipped with just 6 GB of memory compared to 8 GB on the RTX 3050. They also lacked RT/DLSS capabilities or utilized the older Turing architecture. With Ampere, both of these see a significant jump in performance & the overall throughput. So if you're coming from a GTX 1650 or GTX 1660 graphics card, the RTX 3050 would make for a nice budget fit for your PC.

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That is unless you can find it on MSRP. See, the card might be available at launch and it might even have decent performance but it all depends upon pricing. At $249 US, the card will be a great buy versus its predecessors, the GTX 1660 or the GTX 1650. Anything between $249-$349 US will still be a better purchase versus the RX 6500 XT custom models which retail in the same price range but anything above $400 US is where the RTX 3050 starts losing its compelling nature. As such, the RTX 3050 definitely could be the first good mainstream gaming graphics card with the proper gaming feature set such as RT/DLSS/NVENC/NDENC support, 8 GB memory which works great for 1080p gaming, and an x8 PCIe link (vs x4) that its red competitor failed to offer but let's see if the pricing can match the MSRP.

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