Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 3GB Review: (Mostly) Faster Than 1050 2GB

Nvidia’s mainstream graphics card lineup is already dense. And yet, with its GeForce GTX 1050 3GB, the company attempts to slip another model between GeForce GTX 1050 2GB and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB. Back in 2016, those two cards started a mere $30 apart. So how the heck does Nvidia see room for additional segmentation?

According to our sources, it really doesn’t. Slowly but surely, GeForce GTX 1050 3GB cards will start replacing 2GB boards, particularly as the 512MB memory chips used on those 2GB implementations become harder to source. A 3GB version gives Nvidia's partners another option for satisfying demand using higher-density GDDR5. In turn, we’re told that GeForce GTX 1050 2GB and 3GB should be priced similarly.

Surprisingly, our benchmarks do show GeForce GTX 1050 3GB trailing the 2GB model in a couple of games. More often, though, it’s a fair bit faster. That’s why you won’t catch us gnashing our teeth over Nvidia’s naming strategy this time around, even though GeForce GTX 1050 3GB is based on a distinctly unique GPU configuration. We want clarity when an inferior product may be confused for something better. Here, GeForce GTX 1050 3GB is at least comparable to the family’s lowest-end member and deserving of its designator.

Meet GeForce GTX 1050 3GB

Notice that you haven’t seen any GeForce GTX 1050 3GB cards for sale yet. Launch plans are still in a state of flux, it seems, and our test sample’s manufacturer is camera shy as a result. For now, we’ll have to do without any glamuor shots.

Just imagine a small PCB with a GP107-301 processor, flanked by four memory emplacements, three of which are populated by 1GB GDDR5 packages. In comparison, GeForce GTX 1050 2GB has its emplacements occupied by four lower-density chips, while GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB employs a quartet of 8Gb packages. All three configurations offer 7 Gb/s data rates.

The display output configuration is similar to what we’ve seen from other GeForce GTX 1050 models: there’s one DisplayPort 1.4-capable connector, HDMI 2.0b, and a dual-link DVI port.

Really, though, what makes the GeForce GTX 1050 3GB unique is its GPU. Nvidia uses a GP107 with all six of its available Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs) enabled. Each SM features 128 single-precision CUDA cores and eight texture units, totaling 768 CUDA cores and 48 texture units across the processor (similar to the front-end of a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB).

But the company disables one of GP107’s four 32-bit memory controllers, taking the aggregate bus down to 96 bits. Armed with 3GB of the same 7 Gb/s GDDR5 used on GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti, the new card’s theoretical memory bandwidth drops to 84.1 GB/s. This also results in the loss of one Render Output Unit (ROP) partition, taking the ROP count down to 24, and reducing the GPU’s available L2 cache by 256KB.


GeForce GTX 1050 3GB

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB

GeForce GTX 1050 2GB

GPU

GP107

GP107

GP107

SMs

6

6

5

CUDA Cores

768

768

640

Base Clock

1392 MHz

1290 MHz

1354 MHz

GPU Boost Clock

1518 MHz

1392 MHz

1455 MHz

GFLOPs (Base Clock)

2138

1981

1733

Texture Units

48

48

40

Texel Fill Rate (Boost Clock)

72.9 GT/s

66.8 GT/s

58.8 GT/s

Memory Data Rate

7 Gb/s

7 Gb/s

7 Gb/s

Memory Bandwidth

84.1 GB/s

112.1 GB/s

112.1 GB/s

ROPs

24

32

32

L2 Cache

768KB

1MB

1MB

TDP

75W

75W

75W

Transistors

3.3 billion

3.3 billion

3.3 billion

Die Size

132 mm²

132 mm²

132 mm²

Process Node

14nm

14nm

14nm

In order to help compensate for fewer back-end resources, Nvidia specifies a more aggressive GPU clock rate. GeForce GTX 1050 3GB sports a 1392 MHz base frequency with a typical GPU Boost rate of 1518 MHz. That’s higher than either GeForce GTX 1050 2GB or 1050 Ti 4GB. And in our gaming tests, it was common to see clock rates start in excess of 1800 MHz, stabilizing around 1750 MHz after warming up.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

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