A couple of weeks ago, we reported on a rumor of forthcoming GT 1030 graphics cards from NVIDIA, and this week, their existence has been confirmed. Its launch creates a new battle: Radeon RX 550 vs. GeForce GT 1030, although based on the specs alone, it looks like the RX 500 is going to come ahead (but its price will scale).
The rumor leading up to the launch of the GT 1030 showed that the card could come equipped with either 384 or 512 CUDA cores, but based on the models available right now, it appears that the variant with 384 CUDA cores is going to be more common. At this point, we can't find a 512 core version of the card available, so it could become exclusive for OEM use like some other models in NVIDIA's (and AMD's) lineups.
With its 384 cores, the GT 1030 would weigh in at around 1.5 TFLOPs at peak, although that might be a little generous (the GTX 1050 has 640 CUDA cores and peaks at 2.3 TFLOPs, with fairly similar clock speeds). According to the product pages from EVGA and ZOTAC, the card has a 64-bit memory bus and 6GHz memory speed, pushing a total of 48.06 GB/s of bandwidth.
The GT 1030 has a base clock of 1290MHz, which falls short of the GTX 1050's 1354MHz, but GPU Boost can push that to 1544MHz, which is a massive gain over the GTX 1050's 1455MHz. So while the 1030 has fewer cores, it does at least help to make up for that with higher top-end clock speeds.
Even so, this is a modest card that will be used for modest uses. 1080p gaming shouldn't be a real problem for MOBA-esque games, but more advanced titles will struggle. With all of NVIDIA's latest technologies under-the-hood, the GT 1030 would make for an ideal HTPC card. While the cards have fans, the 30W TDP means that even at full-tilt, these cards shouldn't make too much noise.
The SRP of the GT 1030 appears to be $79.99, although cards can be found for $10 less right now. If you're on a serious budget, or simply need a feature-rich HTPC card, the GT 1030 can definitely fit the bill.