23 Game Benchmark Breakdown & Closing Remarks
Before we go into the full game breakdown, let's look at power consumption. The 3GB 1050 was comparable to the original 1050, only pushing total system consumption 5% higher.
So from that smaller 8 game sample we saw some very mixed results.
Now let’s get the full picture by looking at the results across all 23 games.
You’ve no doubt been drawn to the Wolfenstein result which saw the 3GB model delivering 65% more performance. This outlier is a result of the original GTX 1050’s 2GB VRAM buffer being overwhelmed by the maximum in-game quality settings.
However, because the 3GB model averaged over 50 fps and produced a 1% low result of 48 fps I didn’t reduce the quality settings. Still this is a rare case and does inflate the margin, so let’s remove that result.
This looks a bit more "normal" and now Rainbow Six Siege is our outlier but the result isn’t that extreme. Overall the 3GB model was 4% faster on average but was still slower in five of the 23 games tested, four of which by a 5% margin or greater. We also saw a tie in 3 of the titles. The 3GB 1050 was faster by a 5% or greater margin in 10 of the 23 games tested, so certainly not a bad result.
The 3GB version of the GTX 1050 is an odd product for a few reasons. Nvidia says that the 3GB model is ~10% faster than the 2GB version, but we’ve found on average it’s 4% but there are certainly instances where it is "up to" 10% faster. But I wouldn’t say gamers should expect to see around a 10% uplift. Either way for the most part it is faster, and as far as I can tell pricing seems to be much the same, at least for the EVGA version we tested.
This 3GB version of the GP107 architecture is a good example of how important the memory subsystem is and how much it can influence performance under certain conditions. In some instances the bandwidth, ROP throughput and reduction of cache capacity had little impact when compared to the 1050 Ti, but in some the performance hit was massive.
For those reasons simply naming this product the GTX 1050 "3GB" isn’t good enough in our opinion. Thankfully though, this isn’t another GT 1030 DDR4 situation, as the 3GB model is arguably better value than the original 2GB version.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason why Nvidia released this product, especially so late in the cycle. One hypothesis is that the GTX 1050 was a popular choice amongst miners and during the cryptocurrency mining boom, boosting stock levels meant increasing the the percentage of defective GPUs, and so this is one way you can still make the most of them.
If you’re desperate for a new graphics card and only have around $100 to $150 to spend, then the 3GB GTX 1050 is one of the best options available right now. Nonetheless, our recommendation is to wait to see what Nvidia and hopefully AMD have in store before the end of the year, but if that’s not an option, I see no issue with this product. Hopefully we’ll see the 3GB and 2GB 1050 models creep down to the $110 MSRP in the coming weeks.