NVIDIA’s RTX 2050 laptop GPU saves an old name for new technology

NVIDIA is once again breathing new life into an old name in its line of graphics chips, but this time it’s for thoroughly modern technology. As AnandTech reports, the company has introduced a GeForce RTX 2050 laptop GPU that sounds like recycled low-end hardware but is based on the same Ampere design found in the RTX 3050 series. The naming scheme is confusing to say the least, but that does give you up-to-date ray tracing in a potentially more affordable package.

You’ll have to settle for a 64-bit memory bus instead of the 3050’s 128-bit pipe, and the boost clock stops at 1,477MHz versus 1,740MHz. However, you still get the same 2,048 CUDA cores and 4GB of GDDR6 memory, while peak power consumption drops to a much more reasonable 45W compared to the 80W of more advanced chips. This is partly for “in-between” laptops that don’t have the chassis space or batteries for RTX 30 GPUs.

The company has also unveiled two entry-level chips, the MX550 and MX570, though it’s shy about details beyond promises of more CUDA cores, faster memory and greater power efficiency than the MX450 they replace. The MX550 is based on the older Turing architecture, while the MX570 uses Ampere. As with previous MX chips, these are for thin and light portable devices where integrated graphics may not be good enough.

There’s another issue that goes beyond the branding: the release window. NVIDIA does not expect the RTX 2050 or new MX parts to go on sale for laptop shipments in the spring of 2022. That’s usually a long lead time and suggests NVIDIA is now announcing the GPUs to release the slate before CES in January. Whatever the reason, you’ll have to be patient if you want a laptop with modern NVIDIA graphics, but find systems with RTX 3050 out of your reach.

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