rtx 4050 gaming laptop

Why you should choose an Nvidia RTX 4050, 4060 or 4070 over an RTX 3060

Nvidia’s graphics cards are packed full of features, features within features, codenames for those features within features and all kinds of other bells and whistles that quickly become opaque to the gamers they seek to impress. So, MSI has commissioned High Performance Laptops to look at some of the them and show how 40-series Nvidia GPUs, like the RTX 4050, 4060 and 4070, are better than Nvidia’s last-gen, 30-Series GPUs – especially the once-popular RTX 3060.

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Gamers may still only care about price or that their games run faster and look better can understand why newer is better plus, some other benefits that the new technology affords.

Why Nvidia 40-series GPUs are better than Nvidia’s 30-series graphics processors

There are many reasons, some are largely physical but some involve new technologies with different processing powers and architectures. Here are the main ones…

Superior processor fabrication

The first benefit is purely physical. Nvidia’s 30-series GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) were made using Samsung’s 8nm factory fabrication process whereas the 40-series GPUs are being made with TSMC’s reduced-size 4nm process. (Note: If you’re unaware, TSMC stands for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and it’s one of the largest chip makers in the world.)

In the world of semiconductors (computer chips to you and I) the move to the reduced-size fabrication process results in chips with lower power requirements, more power and subsequently, more efficiency in terms of performance-per-Watt… i.e. All the things you want from a computer processor in a laptop.

msi katana 15 with RTX 4050
 An MSI Katana 15 gaming laptop with an RTX 4050 currently costs as little as $1,799.

More memory

While some GPUs vary, there is more memory in an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 than there is in an RTX 3060, to the tune of 8GB GDDR 6 RAM versus 6GB GDDR 6 RAM. This can matter in some modern games – especially major titles ported from consoles. It can also help games, that are being pushed to higher detail settings and higher resolutions, to run more smoothly.

DLSS 3

DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is a technology that first made an appearance in Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs back in 2018. It’s a technology which takes low-resolution graphics within a game and uses AI to upscale it into high-definition graphics. Doing this on separate silicon frees up a GPU, so it doesn’t have to process the high-definition graphics at their native resolution – something that requires more power and more-expensive silicon and yet achieves a similar result.

Additional benefits of negating this processing grunt means GPU can focus more on improving a game’s frame-rate smoothness and visual effects – especially with regards to Ray Tracing. We also recently covered how DLSS 3 on a gaming laptop like an MSI Katana can make unplayable games playable, especially with an RTX 4050 versus a 3060.

Ray tracing

You may have heard of Hollywood movies using render farms when creating special effects and entire animated movies like Toy Story. A primary reason for this is to process light patterns – from the source to the object, off the object onto another object, and so on. It determines, colour hues, reflections and shadows and takes into account all direct (and indirect light sources) and reflections. It’s complicated by different, increasingly complex textures – including moving liquids – and if you don’t do it right, you end up with fake-looking 3D scenes.

Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards have dedicated ray-tracing cores (called RT Cores) built into them which means you can get achieve increasingly realistic lighting effects – in real time – while you’re playing a game. You don’t have to send each frame off to a render farm, your GPU will do it on the fly.

Nvidia’s 3rd-gen RT Cores – as found inthe RTX 4050, 4060 and 4070 – offer better performance than 2nd-Gen RT Cores found on 30-series GPUs.

RTX 4050, 4060 & 3060 Benchmark scores

Some potential gaming laptop buyers may be tempted to buy an older model with an RTX 3060 – owing to price or availability – over a model with an RTX 4050, 4060 (or 4070) GPU. However, the following benchmark scores might suggest that it’s worth doing otherwise despite initial appeareances. Indeed, let’s look at the first scores are with DLSS 3 turned off…

DLSS 3 benchmarks with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, 4060 and 3060.
RTX 4060/4050 versus RTX 3060 performance comparison.

DLSS 3 turned off

3Dmark Time Spy

With DLSS 3 turned off, a 3060 is not far behind a 4060 or a 4050 in 3DMark Times Spy:

RTX 4060 – 7400 points
RTX 4050 – 6650 points
RTX 3060 – 7200 points

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider [Full HD, Highest Preset, Ray tracing off] the 4060 takes a big lead but the 3060 remains just ahead of the RTX 4050:

RTX 4060 – 101fps
RTX 4050 – 76fps
RTX 3060 – 81fps

Cyberpunk 2077

Once again, in Cyberpunk 2077 [Full HD, Ultra Preset, Ray tracing off] the 4060 takes a big lead while the RTX 4050 slightly trails the 3060.

RTX 4060 – 85fps
RTX 4050 – 60fps
RTX 3060 – 63fps

DLSS 3 turned on

So far, the 4060 is well ahead but the RTX 4050 slightly lags behind the 3060. But now let’s see what happens when DLSS 3 is turned on…

Using Cyberpunk 2077 as the example [Full HD, Ultra Preset, Ray tracing off] we get..

RTX 4060 – 99fps
RTX 4050 – 89fps
RTX 3060 – 50fps

Suddenly, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs’ performance takes off – while adding headroom for superior ray-tracing effects. The 4060 provides double the performance over the 3060 while the RTX 4050 rockets ahead to become 78 per cent faster than a 3060. You can see more benchmark scores in the video below.

Furthermore, you can play your favourite game in a much more immersive, better-looking way with much smoother frame rates that don’t keeping dropping into slideshow territory. Some games can straight-up go from unplayable to playable. That’s the performance boost afforded by DLSS 3 and suddenly you might not need to spend as much on a new gaming laptop as you thought?

tl;dr Video

Video showing why you should choose an Nvidia RTX 4050, 4060 or 4070 over an RTX 3060

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FAQ

Which one is better a 3060 or a 4050?

A 4050 is better. The newer technology uses a finer fabrication process for greater performance-per-Watt efficiency which is especially useful for gaming laptops. It also has features like DLSS 3 which upscales low-resolution graphics, enabling games to run faster and with superior detail settings.

How good is RTX 4050?

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4050 can potentially make unplayable games playable on a budget gaming laptop. Its inherent features, like DLSS 3, can facilitate faster framerates and the use of better detail settings compared to an older RTX 3060.

Is the RTX 4060 better than 3060?

Yes. It has a finer (4nm versus 8nm) fabrication process for better performance-per-Watt. This especially benefits gaming laptops. Also, it sports updated technology like DLSS 3 (versus DLSS 2) and 2nd-Gen RT cores (compared to first-gen RT cores) which can enable games to look better. It leaps ahead in many game benchmarks.

Is 4050 faster than 3060?

An RTX 4050 can be faster when DLSS 3 is turned on. This technology offers AI-upscaling of games’ resolutions which takes the load off the GPU trying to render scenes at native resolutions. This, in turn, facilitates smoother frame rates and improved details settings.

Related: Check out our latest MSI Katana 15 review

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