Usually when a new graphics card generation comes out, we see budget products come out about 6 months later, and at most a year later. But they’re nowhere to be seen from AMD or Nvidia after about 14 months for Team Green and a year for Team Red. Luckily, there’s a fresh rumor out there.
Videocardz has reported on a couple of rumors from renowned leakers @kopite7kimi and @TUM_APISAK, both of which I’m very used to seeing in the wild world of GPU rumors. @kopite7kimi suggests that an RTX 3050 could be coming, based on a GA106-150-Kx-A1, with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM. But what makes this rumor even more of a rumor is that even the leaker has it in all caps that it is A RUMOR. So, like, take this with a bigger grain of salt than usual.
This Nvidia rumor comes right on the tails of another rumor suggesting that an AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT could be on the way, according to another Videocardz report.
It’s definitely still early days, but we really should have already got the Radeon RX 6500 XT and GeForce RTX 3050, so whenever they do show up, they’re going to be late to the party, but we’ll still welcome them enthusiastically because we really need cheap graphics cards.
No budget GPUs
Right now, if you want a budget gaming PC, you’re basically stuck with something like the Radeon RX 5500 XT or the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super. Both of these graphics cards are basically ancient by today’s standards, launching at the tail end of 2019 and are built on the last-generation RDNA and Nvidia Turing architectures, respectively.
While having the latest features doesn’t necessarily matter when you’re talking about a $200 graphics card, but building a budget GPU on Ampere or RDNA 2 helps with efficiency, which helps gamers without a lot of cash get a bit more performance for their money. Which, at that tier of performance, every little bit helps.
Because outside of those older budget cards, the cheapest current-generation graphics card from either company is the RTX 3060 from Nvidia or the Radeon RX 6600 from AMD. These are both mid-range GPUs and are still found in gaming PCs over $1,000 or £1,000.
And don’t even get me started about gamers that just want to upgrade their existing rig.
It would at least be cheaper
Even an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 or an AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT is probably going to sell out within minutes of going live, then resold at a much higher price, which is going to absolutely suck for people counting on these GPUs for an affordable upgrade.
But while it’s true that the graphics cards will absolutely not be available for MSRP for more than 5 minutes, the resale price will at least be a bit lower than an RTX 3060 – at least it should be. And I guess that’s the silver lining here – that a graphics card in this tier should save you some cash, even if it’ll probably be more expensive than the companies quote whenever (or if) they’re officially revealed.
The paradigm of a budget gaming rig has completely changed, and right now the best bet is to just sit on whatever hardware you have on hand until the supply situation gets a little better. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon.
Instead, it’s going to be super important to keep an eye out for cheap processors, RAM and SSDs in order to save up a bit more for a GPU upgrade, even with a cheaper graphics card like the RTX 3050.
All these new GPUs will do is make it slightly more realistic for most people to get their hands on a new graphics card. That’s a depressing outlook, but in the 2021 graphics card market, every little bit helps.