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Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Why the Nvidia RTX 3050 laptops aren’t just for gamers

Nvidia announced the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPUs this week, but while they will no doubt please budget-minded gamers, they’ve also got the potential to take on the MacBook Pro for content creation.

Nvidia’s GPUs aren’t just for gaming. That’s thanks to the free-of-charge Nvidia Studio drivers, which can optimise the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti GPUs for content creation instead of gaming. In Nvidia’s own words, “Nvidia Studio Drivers provide artists, creators, and 3D developers the best performance and reliability when working with creative applications.”

While these drivers work across many Nvidia GPUs, they look particularly well matched with the new RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti mobile GPUs. Various laptops brands clearly agree with me, with non-gaming laptops such as the Dell XPS 15 and Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Pro embracing the RTX 3050 mobile GPU.

But how good are the RTX 3050 GPUs compared to existing options such as those found inside the MacBook Pro? It’s too early for me to do my own testing, but Nvidia has provided its own benchmarks. Take these results with a pinch of salt for now, but it’s still interesting to have a look. 

Credit: Nvidia

Nvidia claims a laptop with an RTX 3050 Ti will see 3.1x faster speeds than a laptop relying on integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. That apparently translates into significantly shorter export speeds on Adobe Premiere Pro, falling from a 60 minutes down to an outstanding 20 minutes. And compared to the MacBook Pro with a Radeon Pro 5600M GPU, the RTX 3050 Ti is supposedly quicker by an 8-minute margin. 

Credit: Nvidia

Nvidia also suggests the RTX 3050 Ti can render a heavy scene on Blender in just 26 minutes, which is very quick compared to the MacBook Pro (Radeon Pro 5600M) which takes a whopping 1 hour and 17 minutes. 

So if Nvidia’s benchmark results are accurate, there’s no doubt that the RTX 3050 GPUs provide superior performance compared to the most powerful 16-inch MacBook Pro and Intel’s Iris Xe graphics. But that’s not very useful without knowing the price points. 

Fortunately, the most enticing aspect of the RTX 3050 GPUs is that they don’t cost a lot of money for manufacturers to fit inside laptops. The Dell XPS 15 with an RTX 3050 Ti will reportedly cost $1249.99. That’s hardly cheap, but consider the cheapest 16-inch MacBook Pro costs a whopping $2399.00, and the Dell suddenly looks an absolute bargain. 

Of course, the upcoming MacBook Pro 2021 will likely leapfrog the performance provided by the RTX 3050 by a considerable margin, but Apple’s laptop is also expected to cost a pretty sum. If you want to keep costs down to a minimum but still want to edit video and animate on the go, it’s definitely worth checking out these new RTX 3050 laptops.

We’ll be trying to review as many RTX 3050 laptops as possible once they launch in the coming months, so if you’re interested in these new mobile GPUs, be sure to keep Trusted Reviews bookmarked for future updates.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focussed opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon. 

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