I doubt you'll find any option that can render 50K nodes in a force-directed layout without slowing to a crawl - most implementations are O(n3), and I don't think D3's is any different.
If offline tools are acceptable, you might check out Gephi, a desktop-based tool that can deal with very large graphs.
I know question is old, but anyways.. best for large data is cytoscapejs (http://js.cytoscape.org/). I am working with graph libraries for couple years already and cytoscape is never letting me down.
Currently I am testing visjs, d3v5 and cytoscapejs v3, for really large data (even 100k nodes and 300k edges) for two situations: when I have fixed postitions or not. While d3 is working not bad when there are positions fixed and when force is "turned off" in simulation, cytoscape is working much much better for both situations. This library is using graph algorithms to compute layout, you can apply even your own algorithm for layouting. If you want layout with force you can try springy then.
For more than 1k elements in force layout, consider using canvas instead of svg. It can help with rendering performance. See example here:
You might want to try GraphGL to visualize large networks on the Web: https://gephi.org/2011/gsoc-mid-term-graphgl-network-visualization-with-webgl/
For me, it's animation that is very slow when displaying a lot of data via the d3 force-directed graph.
When I need to display a lot of nodes/links, my plan is going to be to remove the animation and have a static force directed diagram. Maybe you can try that? Yes, it's less fun, but once you have a lot of nodes, I don't think the animation is that helpful.
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