Are you planning on buying a budget gaming laptop and confused about which GPU you should go ahead with? Currently, there are a lot of choices on the market including an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, RTX 2050, a GTX 1650, and a Radeon RX 6500M. If picking between these GPUs is difficult then this article is for you. I will explain which one trumps the rest and what advantages it entails as well.
As evident by the presence of Nvidia GTX 1650 on this list, all these GPUs lie in the budget segment. Now, it can happen that one specific GTX 1650 could be more powerful than any other GTX 1650. So we will compare the best variant of any specific variant and compare it with other models.
And despite the RTX nametag, the 2050 isn’t a particularly high-performance GPU, relative to its price range. Along with is the AMD Radeon RX 6500M, the successor of the RX 5500, an entry-level GPU from Team Red. I will be testing all these against the Nvidia RTX 3050 which has distinct capabilities like DLSS and Ray Tracing. Provided, the latter is something the RTX 3050 struggles with due to just 4GB GDDR6 VRAM. Also, I will be keeping the DLSS off as not every game supports these features. And let’s not forget that all these laptops are limited to just 4GB GDDR6 VRAM.
We have also tested and compared gaming laptop performance for Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 against Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, RTX 3060 and RTX 3070, you can read the detailed comparison if you want to know how the upper end of the GeForce RTX series performs when it comes to real world gaming performance on popular AAA titles.
So the laptops in this range include four models -
Acer Aspire 5
HP Victus 15.6
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3
The Acer Aspire 5 is an entry-level gaming/work laptop. Its overall profile looks similar to a mainstream laptop like the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i but it is packing a discreet GPU. In terms of specs, the Acer Aspire 5 we tested comes with an Intel Core i7 1355U, although it comes with a much more affordable Core i5 version as well. Moreover, it comes with a 16:10 aspect ratio FHD+ display, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD storage, and an Nvidia RTX 2050.
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050 Laptop GPU
CPU: Intel Core i7-1355U
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4
Price: Rs 72,990
The HP Victus 15.6 is the black sheep here sporting the only AMD Radeon GPU in its price segment. The laptop features a redesign from its previous generation including a reworked hinge, more rounded edges, and a brand-new AMD GPU. The Radeon RX 6500M powering the HP Victus 15.6 is paired with an equally capable AMD Ryzen 5 5600H along with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage, both of whom are upgradable. In terms of specs, the AMD Radeon RX 6500M laptop GPU features 4GB GDDR6 VRAM and is based on the RDNA 2 architecture. Fun fact, the same architecture is used by the PS5 GPU as well, which is roughly equivalent to an RTX 2070 Super, in terms of overall performance.
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6500M
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Price: Rs. 55,990
Showing signs of aging at this point, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 used to be the default laptop for most gamers in India. It came with good build quality, a robust chassis, great cooling performance, and an Nvidia GTX 1650. A GPU, which lasted for way longer than anyone ever anticipated. Regardless, the GTX 1650 comes with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM and around 50-65W TGP. There is no exact number for this particular GPU mainly because it spawned various variants during its life cycle. But despite that, a lot of manufacturers sold the GTX 1650 as is, instead of specifying whether it is a Max Q or mobile variant or not. The laptop is further paired with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, 8GB DDR4 memory, and 512GB SSD.
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Laptop GPU
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Price: Rs. 55,800
The reason for choosing the Dell G15 as a good laptop for representing the RTX 3050 is due to one main reason. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 comes with 90W TGP, which is the highest in its class. Simply put, it is the most power an RTX 3050 can have in a gaming laptop. In terms of other specs, the Dell G15 comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H APU, 16GB DDR4 memory, and 512GB SSD.
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 laptop GPU
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800H
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Price: Rs. 92,900
Starting off with 3d Mark’s TimeSpy and TimeSpy extreme benchmarks and we see some really interesting results. For the uninitiated, the TimeSpy benchmark tests a laptop’s GPU and CPU in a series of tests which become more detailed as the test proceeds. Here’s the result of the TimeSpy benchmark test for these laptop GPUs.
As you can see the RTX 3050 easily comes out on top. But what’s surprising is the fact that the Radeon RX 6500M easily trumps the GTX 1650 and the RTX 2050 despite being in the same price range. The same story continues if we test these budget laptops' GPUs against 3D Mark’s TimeSpy Extreme benchmark. The RTX 3050 comes out on top, with AMD Radeon RX 6500M just behind it. Meanwhile, the RTX 2050 is in the last place, and above it is the famous Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. Lastly, in 3D Mark's FireStrike and Firestrike Extreme, the story also remains the same.
Scoring high in benchmarks is one thing but running a game smoothly at high FPS is another thing. Although you can guess from synthetic benchmarks how a particular GPU will perform its real-world performance can’t judged without comprehensive gaming tests. And that’s exactly what I did. I also made sure that the game selection represents different genres from gaming to RPG to action adventure to action titles.
Starting off with the Metro Exodus, the most demanding title from our roster, it is clear that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 performs the best scoring 68FPS in medium graphics preset and 50FPS in high graphical preset. The AMD Radeon RX 6500M did not disappoint me here as it too scored 65FPS in medium preset and a respectable 48FPS in high graphics preset. Meanwhile, the RTX 2050 and GTX 1650 battled each other for the last position. The next game I tested is the Dirt 5, which was amongst the first “next-gen” titles that also launched on PS5, and Xbox Series X alongside PC and older consoles. Here too the Nvidia RTX 3050 scored the most with 80FPS in medium and 65FPS in high preset. Meanwhile, the AMD Radeon RX 6500M is comfortably in the second spot at 69FPS and 56FPS at medium and high graphics preset. The GTX 1650 scored 41FPS in medium graphics preset meanwhile the RTX 2050 was barely able to cross 40FPS in the same settings.
After that, I tested AC Valhalla and it is a game that really tanks these GPUs because of its high VRAM requirement. And since these laptop GPUs are limited to 4GB GDDR6 VRAM they all feel the stress while running the game at high graphical preset.
The next games on the list are Gears 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Both these titles are GPU-bound. Meaning they rely much more on your system’s GPU to run better and a little less on the CPU. Ergo, they are perfect for this test, and surprisingly to no one, the FPS test results in Gears 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider mirror what we’ve been seeing so far. The RTX 3050 is at the top, with the AMD Radeon RX 6500M below it. Right below it is the GTX 1650 and at the bottom is the RTX 2050.
At the top, in terms of Value for money laptop GPU, is the AMD Radeon RX 6500M. But the main issue with it is not as widely available as other laptop GPUs on this list. So if you’re a fan of the HP Victus 15.6 laptop featuring the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H then you should go with the Radeon RX 6500M for around Rs 55,000.
However, if you want a different gaming laptop then you can also find an RTX 3050-powered laptop for much cheaper than what we tested. And because the RTX 3050 and the RX 6500M have enough performance difference between them, you can easily go for a slightly lower TGP variant of the former for a much affordable price than the cost of the Dell G15 used in this comparison.