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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review feat. Palit

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review feat. Palit

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review Palit GeForce RTX 2060 review 09The Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 is the latest Nvidia Turing card – and, happily, it’s also far cheaper than anything else in Nvidia’s current range. That means it’s the most affordable way to get your hands on Nvidia’s Turing architecture and all of its new ray-tracing technology. We’ve locked and loaded a Palit-made card for our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review. Read on to find out how it stacks up.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review – The RTX 2060 Core

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 is the most affordable Turing card. That bodes well for your wallet, but it also means that the specification will be cut back in order to meet that price.

For starters, the RTX 2060 has 1,920 stream processors. That’s 384 short of the RTX 2070, and 1,024 fewer than the beefy RTX 2080. It’s an easy enough change for Nvidia to make – the RTX 2060 uses an underlying Turing core called TU106, which is the same core as the RTX 2070.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review Palit GeForce RTX 2060 review 10That’s still plenty of stream processors, though, and the rest of specification is still solid. You get 6GB of GDDR6 memory clocked to 7,000MHz. That’s the same speed as the rest of the Turing cards. The core arrives with a reference speed of 1,365MHz and a boost pace of 1,680MHz. That latter clock speed is actually better than the RTX 2070’s stock boost clock. It’s also better than the majority of cards from the older Pascal range.

The Turing architecture doesn’t just improve the manufacturing process and tweak the internals – it’s also got dedicated hardware for Ray-tracing and AI-powered super-sampling.

Ray-tracing is a new technology that renders light in a more realistic way. It’s great on paper, but it’s had a difficult birth. Only one current game supports the technology – Battlefield V – with other supported titles not yet released, or patched.

Ray-tracing also puts extra load on a graphics card, so it’s tricky to know right now if it’ll be viable on an RTX 2060 – as this is the weakest Nvidia card to support the technology. The RTX 2060 has 30 dedicated ray-tracing cores – six fewer than the RTX 2070 and 16 fewer than the RTX 2080.

AI-powered super-sampling, or DLSS, is a technique that improves anti-aliasing performance by using artificial intelligence while also allegedly improving GPU performance. It’s a bold development, but we’re still waiting for Nvidia and for game developers to patch it into existing and future titles.

So, in short, the RTX 2060 is the most affordable Nvidia Turing graphics card. It’s still got a formidable specification, but it’s still subject to the vagaries of Turing’s launch – including the question marks over its big-name features.

Don’t be too concerned about this chip’s description as a cut-back or mid-range GPU, though. Compare its attributes with the cards that the RTX 2060 is replacing, and Nvidia’s latest chip doesn’t look bad at all.

In terms of its naming strategy, it’s replacing the GTX 1060. That was a far weaker chip: it only had 1,280 stream processors, a 1,708MHz peak speed and both older memory and no Ray Tracing or super-sampling hardware. It was also available in a weak 3GB memory version.

When its power levels and price are considered, the RTX 2060 is a replacement for the GTX 1070 Ti. Its core specifications compare well with that part, too. The GTX 1070 Ti had 2,432 stream processors – so more of them – but no Ray-tracing cores and a weaker peak speed 1,683MHz. It had 8GB of memory, but using older GDDR5 hardware and with slower speeds.

Click here for our huge guide on 4K monitors – from finding the best features to picking the right panel!

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review Palit GeForce RTX 2060 review 07Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review – The Palit GamingPro Card

In this Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review we’ve tested the RTX 2060 using one of Palit’s cards. It’s a GamingPro model that has a smart black heatsink and two 90mm fans. There’s an effective copper heatsink, and Palit’s ThunderMaster utility gives users flexible fan control and overclocking options.

The GamingPro model runs at the RTX 2060’s stock speeds. If you want some extra speed, though, a GamingPro OC version is available. That model retains the RTX 2060’s stock speed of 1,365MHz, but it improves its boost clock from 1,680MHz to 1,830MHz.

Head here for our latest graphics card reviews – including Nvidia RTX!

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review – Pricing

We’ve used the Palit GeForce RTX 2060 GamingPro card in this review because we need to test the RTX 2060’s reference design so we’ve got a baseline for performance.

However, this version of the chip is near-impossible to buy in both the UK and the US. Instead, Palit has made more inroads with its GamingPro OC card. If you’re looking to buy that, it’ll cost you around £339 in the UK.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review Palit GeForce RTX 2060 review 03Unsurprisingly, every other big graphics card company has released its own versions of the RTX 2060.

In the UK, prices for RTX 2060 cards range from £320 for a basic, stock-speed model to £430 for cards with more fans, higher-quality components and heftier overclocks. In the US, entry-level models are around $349 and high-end versions top out at around $420.

Whether you want to pay for a high-end version is up to you. Remember, though, that the RTX 2060 is one of the weaker GPUs in the Turing range – so you likely won’t need three fans unless you want to run them very slowly in order to keep the noise down.

And, while overclocks are nice, they’re only going to give you a handful of extra frames in gaming – so only the keenest of speed freaks need apply. It’s also something you can do at home, from Windows, if you’re comfortable with tweaking clock speeds.

Crucially, most of the RTX 2060’s prices undercut the GTX 1070 Ti that it’s replacing. That’s good – it means that you can buy the new card, get comparable performance and new features, and save some cash.

Click here to read the latest tech headlines – perfect for staying informed!

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review 1080p averagesNvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review – Performance

The card in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review may be Nvidia’s most affordable and low-end Turing card, but this GPU is no slouch.

If you want to play today’s most demanding titles at 1080p or 1440p – or on equivalent resolutions, like widescreens – the RTX 2060 will handle it.

The RTX 2060’s weakest 1080p game was Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Even then, the latest Turing card delivered a minimum of 42fps with an average of 52fps. Those results are still easily playable – if you turn up the game’s graphics, it’ll still run smoothly. And, as our results graphs show, the RTX 2060 was quicker in every other game at 1080p, with the majority of titles getting beyond the critical 60fps marker.

Ghost Recon was also the RTX 2060’s weakest 1440p game. However, in this trickier test the new card still returned a minimum framerate that got beyond 32fps – so it’ll still run reasonably well here. Indeed, in a lot of games it’s going to be able to run at 1440p with a smooth 60fps framerate.

The RTX 2060 won’t run many games at 4K, though. It handled some games at 4K – like Witcher 3, Middle Earth: Shadow of War and Battlefield 1 – but even then, you’re still  going to experience slow gameplay in particularly intense scenes. In most games, the RTX 2060’s 4K minimums slipped below 30fps, which means unplayable performance.

Those results mean that you’re only going to be able to play games at 4K if you run less-demanding titles or if you tone down graphics quality.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review 1440p averagesThe RTX 2060 is a mixed bag when it comes to screens with high refresh rates. The RTX 2060 will handle plenty of games at more than 100fps when played at 1080p. Every esports title will run smoothly at beyond 100fps. However, it won’t get to beyond 100fps at 1440p in most games. If you want high refresh rates at 1440p, you’ll need a more powerful – and more expensive – card.

The RTX 2060’s thirty ray-tracing cores worked in Battlefield V when we enabled its RTX feature. However, there’s a noticeable hit on performance when this lighting technology is enabled. In a Battlefield V benchmark at 1080p the RTX 2060 averaged 85fps. With ray-tracing activated, this score dropped to 52fps.

With the game running at 1440p the card’s original Battlefield V score of 64fps dropped to 31fps. An average framerate of 31fps means that you’re going to experience slowdown in intense scenes.

Ray-tracing does look excellent, but Nvidia’s new technology does cause a significant impact on performance. That’s less of an issue on pricier cards where there’s more graphical grunt to throw around – but it pushes the RTX 2060 to the edge of its abilities. Ray-tracing will run smoothly at 1080p, but it’s problematic at higher resolutions, where games will start to feel sluggish.

It’s no surprise that enabling ray-tracing causes such a performance hit – lighting is extremely intensive to render, especially when it’s a future-proofed technique like this.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review 1440p minimums Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review 1440p minimums Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review 1440p minimums Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review 1440p minimums Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review 1440p minimumsTheoretical tests show the RTX 2060’s relatively position in the rest of the range when it comes to ray-tracing. In 3D Mark’s new ray-tracing benchmark, Port Royal, the RTX 2060 scored 3,802 points. That’s almost 800 points behind the RTX 2070, and more than 2,000 points behind the RTX 2080.

The rest of the theoretical tests also highlight the RTX 2060’s relative strengths and weaknesses. The RTX 2060 is a noticeable step behind the RTX 2070 in 3D Mark’s Fire Strike and Time Spy benchmarks. It’s further back from the RTX 2080. Unsurprisingly, the RTX 2060 offers near-identical performance to the GTX 1070 Ti.

It’s no surprise that the RTX 2060 was a step or two behind the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 – that’s exactly what we expected. However, we’re pleased to report that the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1070 Ti are almost identical in gaming and theoretical benchmarks.

That’s good, because you’re not losing out on any raw performance. And, importantly, the RTX 2060 has ray-tracing and DLSS – features that aren’t properly supported by the older card. The Turing GPU will also get better driver support when compared to the GTX 1070 Ti.

The RTX 2060 is a fast graphics card. It’ll handle any game at 1080p and 1440p, and it’ll also run many games – especially esports titles – on 1080p high refresh-rate panels and on some VR headsets.

As a single-screen gaming card, and as a replacement for Nvidia’s GTX 1070 Ti and GTX 1060, it’s very good indeed. You don’t need to worry about heat or noise, either. The RTX 2060’s relatively modest specification means that you won’t encounter issues in the vast majority of systems and scenarios.

However, the cheapest Turing card is also the first to find its performance limits. Ray-tracing delivers a big hit to performance, so it’s only really worth enabling this technique if you’re playing at 1080p. This card can’t handle 4K in most situations, either, and it’ll only run high refresh-rate screens effectively at 1080p. If you’re interested in any of those high-end scenarios then you’re going to have to save up for a beefier GPU.

Our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review has used Nvidia’s GeForce driver version 417.71. We’ve tested the RTX 2060 on a Core i7-8700K system with a 5GHz overclock.

The rest of the graphs in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review – the ones with thumbnails – detail 1080p and 1440p minimums, 4K minimums and averages, and theoretical tests.

Need a new PC? Here’s our ultimate guide to the best desktops for every price and scenario.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review – Conclusion

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review Palit GeForce RTX 2060 review 05Our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review illustrates that this is a good graphics card. It’s got enough power to handle several key gaming scenarios. It’ll run 1080p and 1440p games at 60fps and beyond, high refresh rates at 1080p, widescreen panels and some VR headsets. It’ll play any esports game without breaking a sweat.

However, this card’s relatively low price and cut-back specification do mean some significant limitations. The RTX 2060 won’t run high refresh rate screens effectively beyond 1080p, and it can’t handle 4K gaming.

Ray-tracing remains virtually unproven, too. If other games follow Battlefield V, you’ll only be able to use ray-tracing on the RTX 2060 if you’re playing at 1080p – or if you make big graphical compromises elsewhere. We’re looking forward to more Ray-tracing games to be released to make a proper judgement.

The RTX 2060 is a sensible evolution and iteration of the Turing architecture. It’s a solid leap forward and is sure to be hugely popular.

If you’re searching for a mid-range card for single-screen gaming, this is the one to buy. That’s because it’s cheaper than other Turing cards and still has plenty of power. Just remember that it’s worth saving up for an RTX 2070 or RTX 2080 if you’re going to be more ambitious about your PC gaming in the medium- to long-term.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review starts from $349 in the US and £320 in the UK.  Discuss our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The GoodRecommended Award

  • A superb mid-range card
  • Cheaper than other Turing GPUs
  • Impressive 1080p and 1440p performance
  • Loads of board partner options

The Bad

  • Ray-tracing is performance-intensive
  • Not capable of proper 4K gaming
  • High-end scenarios are off-limits

The Specs

Stream processors: 1,920
Base clock: 1,365MHz
Boost clock: 1,680MHz
Memory: 6GB, 192-bit 7,000MHz GDDR6
Connectivity: PCI Express 3.0
Display Outputs: DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b
Max Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
TDP: 160W
Power connections: 1 x 8-pin
Supported APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 2.2, Vulkan 1.1, CUDA 7.5

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060

About Author

Mike Jennings

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