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Gamers have resorted to buying this 4-year-old graphics card, but they shouldn’t

Just because you can snag a GTX 1050 Ti today now that the card is in stock doesn’t mean that you should.

As more people work, study, and keep entertained from home during the pandemic, Nvidia’s aging GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is getting a new lease on life — but that’s not a good news for impatient gamers. The card is being made available amid a worldwide shortage of GPUs, and gamers who didn’t have a capable gaming rig before the pandemic hit may be lured in by the ease of acquiring a “new” graphics card. But the GTX 1050 Ti is a few generations and a good four years behind the current GeForce RTX 3000 series, so gamers are best off staying away from this aging GPU in 2021.

For starters, those with patience will be handsomely rewarded with a potentially stronger and more capable option in an entry-level RTX 2000 or RTX 3000 series model. Waiting for new inventory of a low-end, yet current graphics architecture means that your investment will last longer and you’ll get the latest technology to play and enjoy more modern game titles with features like real-time ray tracing support.

GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

After having been initially discontinued late last year, it appears that the Pascal-based GTX 1050 Ti is now reappearing at a number of electronics retailers. YouTube channel Tech Yes City confirmed that the card is now available throughout Australia, and PC Gamer noted that the situation s similar in the U.K. The current listing price for a variant of the GTX 1050 Ti at retailer Overclockers UK is just under 200 pounds, or $276 U.S.

If you’re already spending that much money on a card, adding another $64 would get you a much more capable card. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 was announced earlier this year at CES 2021, and the card is expected to become available later this month, provided Nvidia is able to keep it in stock. With the newer $329 RTX 3060, which is based on Nvidia’s current Ampere architecture, you’re getting a much more powerful card that will last you years to come. The card also supports ray tracing. During the company’s launch presentation, Nvidia executives claimed that the RTX 3060 is 30% faster than Sony’s PlayStation 5.

So why is there inventory of the GTX 1050 Ti at a time when Nvidia can’t seem to keep its RTX 3000 series cards in stock?

One common theory, according to Videocardz, is that older cards like the GTX 1050 Ti don’t make use of the high-end GDDR6 memory, which is one component that’s rumored to be in short supply and is responsible for the recent shortages of modern GPUs on the market today. Also, with more limited amounts of video RAM on the GTX 1050 Ti — compared to 10GB of GDDR6 on the RTX 3080 and up to 16GB on rival AMD’s high-end Radeon RX 6000 cards — the card is becoming less attractive to cryptocurrency miners, so there isn’t too much constraint on inventory.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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