August 10, 2022
United Kingdom
Graphics Cards Reviews

MSI Gaming X RTX 3050 Review – Benchmarks & Aesthetics

MSI Gaming X 3050 - Feature Image

Introduction

If there’s one thing that feels good right now, it’s being able to write about a GPU that is actually in stock! Yes, you read that right, an in-stock Nvidia RTX 3000 GPU. Nvidia’s recent GPU launch, the RTX 3050, hit the shelves of various hardware stores and online retailers towards the end of January this year, promising all of the upsides of Nvidia’s 3000 series on a budget. Given the track record of previous 3000-series launches, there were widespread expectations of stocking issues, with scalpers and bots clearing out the market once again. Fast forward a few months, however, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an online retailer without any 3050s in stock, so what’s changed?

Fear not, the increase in the availability of the RTX 3050 is not down to the GPU suffering a similar fate to that of the Radeon 6500 XT (sorry AMD!),  but the decline in GPU mining and integrity of Nvidia’s build-in mining limiter. 

With the consensus that crypto mining is not as profitable as it once was, many have begun to cut their losses and sell before the impending crash, great news for gamers! Cryptocurrency Ethereum’s planned move to proof of stake at some point in 2022, and the hash rate restrictions introduced by Nvidia, will also likely signal the end for many GPU miners out there, another huge positive for PC gamers out there. Couple this with the recent upturn in supply to the market and there are promising signs that the recently available stock increase and lower pricing of GPUs may be here to stay.

Here at the GeekaWhat offices, we have got very familiar with MSI’s Gaming X RTX 3050 in particular, using it in a myriad of our PC build videos. This card is one of the two ‘Gaming series’ SKU’s MSI released for this card. Featuring a healthy 8GB of GDDR6 – something I believe should be the minimum – and clock speeds to rival the RTX 3060 but at a more accessible price point, the RTX 3050 may just become the new go-to budget GPU.

Suggested Article: Best GPUs to Buy in 2022!

Architecture

Built using Nvidia’s latest and greatest Ampere architecture, MSI’s RTX 3050 reaps the benefits of the abundance of features available, most of which were previously associated only with higher-end GPUs. With third-generation Tensor cores in addition to second-generation RT cores and a boost clock of 1845MHz, it’s easy to see why the RTX 3050 performs as well as it does. Add DLSS into the mix and the RTX 3050 can produce some seriously impressive performance results. 

MSI Gaming X 3050 - In PC Build

One such standout feature is support for DLSS. DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is Nvidia’s AI-based resolution scaler, a piece of software that can increase performance without significantly reducing visual fidelity. Remember the Tensor cores I referred to earlier? Well, this is where they come in handy. DLSS makes use of the dedicated Tensor Core AI processors to boost the frames whilst using its AI capabilities to render an image to comparative quality with the native resolution.

With the likes of DLSS available on the RTX 3050, it’s no surprise to see it slot so nicely into Nvidia’s line-up. Benefiting from features previously only available at higher price points, it’s great to see a budget-oriented card be able to hold its own amongst an impressive line-up of cards. It also shows how competitive the market is getting, where Nvidia feel the need to bring these features to the mainstream to make sure their budget designs stay a compelling prospect to consumers.

Nvidia Reflex is also worth mentioning, another clever software addition that helps to provide a substantial improvement in system response time across a range of today’s leading titles. Nvidia’s Reflex tech is another welcome addition to the RTX cards, especially those on the lower end. It makes great headway in helping to combat system latency to give its users a competitive advantage. For those playing in a somewhat competitive matter, be that a ranked mode, game battles, or at a pro-level, having Nvidia reflex enabled could be the difference between winning and losing and I know which I’d rather.

MSI Gaming X 3050 - Fan Wide Shot
MSI Gaming X 3050 - Fan & Logo
MSI Gaming X 3050 - Backplate & Logo

Design & Aesthetics

MSI Gaming X 3050 - Full GPU Wide

First and foremost, allow me to say that MSI’s Gaming X range may just be my favourite GPU design to date, at least visually. Featuring the same iconic detailing as can be found on the previous releases, the Gaming X range looks menacing, to say the least.

MSI’s RTX 3050 features an angular, yet somehow sleek design focused around the dual fan centrepiece. The GPU housing boasts several ‘offcuts’ and sharp angles, all of which play into the overall aesthetic and ‘gaming-oriented’ design. The Gaming X card is a design that never fails to look great. Featuring a solid metal backplate, a dual-fan cooler, and a hint of RGB to top it all off, the card design is a winner in my book.

The dual-fan cooler is a noteworthy design choice and one that works well. Triple fan coolers such as the Gaming X Trio and ASUS STRIX 3050 models are simply overkill on a card like this – leaving consumers out of pocket for similar performance. Our in-house testing found that thermals were of no issue with the Gaming X RTX 3050, understandable given the tiny 130W power consumption of the card.

Let’s not forget though that the RTX 3050 is supposed to be a budget-friendly GPU. MSI’s Gaming X RTX 3050 sits in a better place than more elaborate designs like the ASUS STRIX, but still sits towards the top end of the RTX 3050 line-up when looking at pricing. If the pure price to performance is the end goal, this won’t be the card for you. For more budget-conscious 3050 customers, take a look at the RTX 3050 Ventus or ASUS RTX 3050 Dual designs.

Performance

As has been a similar story with all of the 3000 series cards the RTX 3050 is another solid performer. With this being the case it still surprised me with just how strong a performance the RTX 3050 put in. As always 1080p 60FPS is the target for a card like this but for the most part, was a minimum. Consistently hitting over 100FPS+ across a range of titles;  Fortnite, Apex, Valorant, and COD Vanguard to name a few, is no easy feat but the RTX 3050 did it with ease.

There were some solid improvements over previous-generation cards witnessed during our testing, consistently outperforming Nvidia’s GTX 1660 super by 15% to 25%, whilst constantly battling the RTX 2060 for placing. MSI’s Gaming X 3050 shows promising signs when pitted against the RTX 3060 too, throw DLSS on as well and the gap becomes increasingly smaller.

Unfortunately enabling Ray Tracing begins to show the downfalls of a budget GPU. Performance of the RTX 3050 took a sizeable hit when using Ray Tracing, even with DLSS enabled. Whilst a shame that the RTX 3050 doesn’t quite have the legs to perform as hoped with Ray Tracing, it can somewhat be excused with Ray Tracing never being the main focus for this card, more of a nice to have.

The RTX 3050 as a whole has positioned itself well, carving out an interesting space in the market. For straight price to performance, this is seemingly the new go-to GPU, whilst leaving the bigger boys to deal with Ray Tracing…for now.

Benchmarks

Below we’ve provided some gameplay footage from Halo Infinite and Apex Legends at 1080p high settings. All of the benchmarks that we provide, feature on our very own YouTube channel – ‘Benched’. Here you’ll find footage from some of the most popular titles like Fortnite, Forza Horizon 5, and more! These benchmarks should provide some more context on the raw power that you’ll get with this incredible card – the MSI Gaming X RTX 3050.

Apex Legends

In Apex Legends we’re immediately off to an excellent start. This game is fast-paced and can be quite demanding, but the 3050 does not show signs of backing down. On average we were hitting 120FPS at 1080p without DLSS. This is pretty incredible and our frames held strong throughout. There were some minor performance dips, but they generally didn’t go below the 90FPS mark. Overall the 3050 showed off its power in this game.

Halo Infinite

In Halo Infinite we decided to cap our frames at 60FPS to demonstrate how the 3050 sticks to a framerate. And needless to say, the 3050 did not disappoint. Over the entire course of the benchmark, the 3050 stayed at a consistent 60FPS and did not show signs of stopping. We didn’t experience any dips in frames or performance, showing how powerful this card is.

Where to Buy


Conclusion

MSI Gaming X RTX 3050

Product Name: RTX 3050

Brand: MSI Gaming X

  • Features
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Value For Money
4.4

Summary

MSI’s collaboration with Nvidia has innovated an incredible card that blows pretty much every budget alternative out of the water. If you plan on playing games at 1080p high settings you won’t be disappointed. The RTX 3050 can consistently hit high frames with very few frame drops in some of the most popular titles available. The only major downside to this card is its lack of performance in both 1440p settings and with Ray Tracing turned on. However, in sight of this being a budget-oriented card designed to perform optimally at 1080p- this isn’t a deal-breaker. For a considerably reasonable MSRP, you get consistent performance without breaking the bank.

Pros

✅ Incredible performance levels.

✅ Excellent MSRP for the performance.

✅ Perfect card to 1080p high settings gaming.

Cons

❌ Falls flat in Ray Tracing performance.

❌ Unfortunately doesn’t have legs in 1440p.

editor
Harry is GeekaWhat's in-house, hardware testing wizz. With experience putting every one of the last 20 GPU releases through their paces, Harry is a dab hand at sorting hardware into the good, the bad and the downright ugly!
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