Review: What does an RTX 3050 upgrade bring to the GPU-less NZXT Foundation PC? [Video]

The main takeaway from our NZXT Foundation PC review was that a pre-built PC with an APU can work as a strong starting point for a gaming PC. While frame rates struggle with some titles, it is capable of running most esports titles without a dedicated GPU until one becomes available. Well, we got our hands on a GPU for this PC – the XLR8 RTX 3050 from PNY. So how does this entry-level card work in an entry-level pre-built gaming PC? Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details. 

PNY carries three different RTX 3050 cards – two under the XLR8 brand. One is a single fan and the one we have is a dual fax design. In addition to the RTX 3050, we also got some new RAM from XLR8 to put into the NZXT Foundations PC.

XLR8 RTX 3050 quick specs: 

  • 8 GB GDDR6 (128-bit)
  • Single and Dual Fan Configurations
  • PCI Express 4.0 x 16
  • DisplayPort 1.4a (x3) HDMI 2.1 
  • 9.72” x 4.72” x 1.57” 

How does it look?

Overall the XLR8 RTX 3050 has a clean design. The dark brushed metal finish on top of the card looks sleek. The Geforce RTX logo is clearly visible and has customizable RGB. The dual fan model looks substantial and feels solid when installing it.

More importantly, how does it perform?

While the Ryzen APU in the Foundations PC can run most esports titles at reasonable frame rates, the RTX 3050 does make that experience much better. When playing Valorant at 2560×1440 at 120Hz, the frame rate was consistently over 200FPS. While playing deathmatch, the gameplay felt very smooth. 

Using the Forza Horizon 5 benchmark mode, with resolution at 2560×1440 @ 120Hz and graphics on high, the computer was able to get 60FPS. This benchmark mode is nice because it shows a performance summary and what is slowing down the PC. For this setup, the GPU was definitely what was limiting that FPS. 

XLR8 RTX 3050: Video

Of course, I had to try Battlefield 2042 as well. With the RTX 3050, some games can also take advantage of DLSS, which can help to boost performance even though it might make the image a little softer. The best performance I could get was in the high 90s at 1920×1080 resolution, quality set to low, and DLSS at ultra-performance. 

Turning the resolution up to 2560×1440 and turning DLSS off, the frame rate was in the 50s and 60s. I was a little surprised that the difference from 1080 to 1440 wasn’t any bigger than that, but the image did look nice and sharp at the higher resolution with DLSS turned off. 

Of course, this was while recording footage through OBS. I could probably get a few more frames when not recording. 

Of course the XLR8 RTX 3050 has RGB

Both XLR8 cards also have RGB. To control it, you can download the Velocity X software from PNY’s website which also enables tweaking of the GPU. 

9to5Toys’ Take

While Nvidia states prices are starting at $250, currently the cheapest RTX 3050 card on Newegg is coming in at $329 with the XLR8 RTX 3050 single fan at $588. For that price, the XLR8 is getting awfully close to the RTX 3060. And if you want some more info on that card, check out Patrick’s review and impressions.  

At $250 or even $300 it does seem like a good entry-level card for gaming. It can get decent frames in BF2042, great performance in Forza Horizon 5, and crazy good frames in esports titles like Valorant. You can also take advantage of NVidia’s latest technology like DLSS, NVidia Broadcast, and Voice. If you’re hoping to be able to use higher graphics settings, I would definitely recommend saving up a few more pennies and waiting for a good deal on at least an RTX 3060

Buy at Newegg

FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links

Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

Load more...
Show More Comments