Nvidia quietly launches the GeForce GTX 1050 3 GB

Over on GeForce.com, TR tipster SH SOTN spotted a new listing on the GeForce GTX 1050 page. The green giant has silently added a 3 GB version of the GeForce GTX 1050 to its lineup. Despite lacking the "Ti" branding, this card has the same number of shader cores as the 1050 Ti. It also runs at a higher clock rate than the Ti version. However, its memory interface is narrower than even the 2GB card's, at just 96 bits wide.

The 3-GB card's GDDR5 memory runs at the same 7 GT/s transfer rate as its siblings'. As a result, the narrowed memory interface puts it at a disadvantage. Its theoretical maximum of 84 GB/sec is still well faster than the GeForce GT 1030's memory bus, though—never mind anything you'll find integrated into a CPU. Be that as it may, the combination of reduced memory bandwidth and improved core clock rate (and thus a higher theoretical compute capability) is a curious one.

Compared to the GTX 1050 2GB, Nvidia stepped up the base clock of the GTX 1050 3GB by 62 MHz, and the boost clock by 63 MHz. Those don't seem like much until you realize that this card has the full 768 shader cores of the GTX 1050 Ti, which normally runs lower clocks than the smaller GTX 1050. This card's base of 1392 MHz is actually 102 MHz faster than the GTX 1050 Ti's 1290 MHz. Similarly, its boost clock of 1518 MHz is a sizable 126 MHz gain from the GTX 1050 Ti's 1392 MHz.

The higher clock rate will surely help in compute workloads, although we're not too sure who's buying GP107-based cards for compute. It may simply be an attempt to recover some performance lost by the narrowed memory bus. Per Nvidia, the GP107 GPU also forfeits the use of some of its raster units (ROPs) along with one of its four 32-bit memory channels. We've seen this in other cards too: compare the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Nvidia Titan Xp's ROP counts.

Because of that sacrifice this card will trail even the GeForce GTX 1050 2GB in raster performance. Of course, raw fill rate isn't the only thing that determines the game performance of a graphics card. Once again, look to the comparison of the GTX 1080 Ti and the Titan Xp: the former nips at the latter's heels despite the "gimped" configuration. Nvidia tells us that the GTX 1050 3GB card is on balance about 10% faster than the 2GB model.

Even if these cards do turn out to be a bit slower than the other GTX 1050 cards in gaming workloads, they should still handle casual and esports gaming workloads with aplomb. Nvidia could price them cheap, too. Besides, the larger on-board memory will help as games start to make use of the sizable memory available on the "8.5th generation" game consoles. Pricing and availability for this new card remain a mystery, but we'll keep an eye on e-tail shelves for them.

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