NVIDIA is once again reviving an old name in its graphics chip lineup, but this time it's for thoroughly modern technology. As AnandTech reports, the company has introduced an GeForce RTX 2050 laptop GPU that may sound 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 put it mildly, 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'll 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 higher-end chips. This is partly meant for 'in-between' laptops that don't have the chassis space or batteries for RTX 30 GPUs.
The company has also revealed two entry-level chips, the MX550 and MX570, although it's shy on 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. Like with past MX chips, these are meant for thin-and-light portables where integrated graphics might not be good enough.
There's another issue beyond the branding: the release window. NVIDIA doesn't expect the RTX 2050 or new MX parts to reach shipping laptops until spring 2022. That's an usually long lead time, and suggests NVIDIA is announcing the GPUs now to clear the slate for CES in January. Whatever the reasoning, you'll have to be patient if you want a laptop with modern NVIDIA graphics but find RTX 3050-equipped systems beyond your reach.