The GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition was announced just a week ago during CES 2019, which NVIDIA claims to be more powerful than a GTX 1070 Ti. Priced at $349, the GeForce RTX 2060 seems like a good alternative for gamers who don’t really need the extra power of a RTX 2080 Ti but still wanted to experience themselves just what RTX is all about.

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In this review, we will be putting the capability of the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition to the test and see if it is indeed, more powerful than a GTX 1070 Ti.

Specifications

GPU GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce RTX 2060
SMs 10 30
CUDA Cores 1280 1920
Tensor Cores 240
Tensor FLOPS (FP16) 51.6
RT Cores 30
Texture Units 80 120
ROPs 48 48
Ray Cast 0.44 Giga Rays 5 Giga Rays
RTX OPS (Tera-OPS) 37
GPU Boost Clock 1708 MHz 1680 MHz
Memory Data Rate 8 Gbps 14 Gbps
Total Video Memory Size 6G GDDR5 6G GDDR6
Memory Interface 192-bit 192-bit
Memory Bandwidth 192 GB/sec 336.1 GB/sec
TDP 120W 160W

Unboxing

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (2)

Packaging wise, you’ll find a slightly fancier outer design for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition as compared to the  GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition. If you’re a big fan of Founders Edition cards, you’ll probably notice the same design on the other Founders Edition cards – RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080 and RTX 2070.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (8)

Inside the box, you’ll find the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition in its trophy form – this gives the card a premium-like appearance at first sight.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (11)

Other than the card itself, you’ll also find a small box with a quick start guide aka the user’s manual inside.

The GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (15)

Just like the current announced RTX Founders Edition cards, GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition comes with a similar dual-fan cooler which according to some, looks like a gas stove. With this design, most of the heat generated by the RTX cards now goes inside your PC case instead of being exhausted out like the blower fan cooler on the GTX 10 series cards does.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (17)

From the side, you can see the PCB of the full coverage design on the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition. Such design will further enhances the overall rigidity of the card, which makes it less prone to the notorious PCB sagging issue that usually happens to cards that comes with big heatsink.

We also noticed that the ‘GeForce RTX’ logo is no longer green, unlike the ones we’ve seen on the previous generation Founders Edition cards. The logo will still glow in green, only when it’s powered up.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (22)

If you flip the card to the other side, you’ll see the actual length of the PCB. It’s not as long as the cooler itself, but that extra filler section is now metal instead of plastic. Not too bad eh?

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (16)

The metal back plate appears to be much thicker now, as you can see from the side of the card. Apart from the heatsink screws, you’ll also find plenty of tiny screws all over the metal backplate. This means that taking the card apart will be much more challenging than before – not impossible, but difficult.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (28)

The GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition requires a 8-pin PCIe power connector to power up, which the header is located at the front part of the card. This design makes cable management easier and cleaner for some users, depends on the inner layout of the case that they’re using.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (36)

For its display output, the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition comes with 2 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI-D for the commonly seen display monitors, and a type-C connector for the next-gen VR headset. You can also use the type-C connector for other purposes such as charging your phone, transfers files with USB type-C storage devices.

Test System Setup

For our games benchmark test, we’ve selected a number of AAA titles to run at its highest possible settings using the following setup under ambient temperature of 30°C:

CPU Intel Core i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard ASUS ROG Maximus X Apex
Memory G.Skill TridentZ RGB 16GB @3200MHz
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition
Power Supply Enermax MaxTytan 1250W
Primary Storage Apacer Panther S340
Secondary Storage WD Black 6TB
CPU Cooler Raijintek Orcus 240
Chassis Cooler Master Test Bench V1
Operating System Windows 10 64bit

The test is done separately for games that support both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 at the resolution of 1920×1080, 2560×1440 and 3840×2160 using the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition against one of the fastest GTX 1070 Ti around – GALAX GTX 1070 Ti HOF.

Games Benchmark

GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition Games Benchmark 1080p

At 1080p, the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition is indeed faster than the GTX 1070 Ti in some of the AAA titles we’ve used for the test. For games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Tom Clancy’s The Division and HITMAN, the GTX 1070 Ti still have the upper hand in performance, especially with DirectX 12 enabled.

GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition Games Benchmark 1440p

As we scale up our test to 1440p, the performance difference between both cards become more noticeable. The result for HITMAN on DirectX 11 shows the most difference, up to 14% better than the GTX 1070 Ti.

GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition Games Benchmark 4K

So, what about the benchmark result for 4K? Well, we can say that the RTX 2060 aren’t really meant for 4K, same goes for the GTX 1070 Ti. Other than Grand Theft Auto V for the RTX 2060, both the RTX 2060 and GTX 1070 Ti didn’t do really well for the rest of the games with ultra settings. Lowering the settings will get you to that sweet 60 average fps, but that will depends on how much you’re willing to sacrifice on the graphical details.

Real-Time Ray Tracing Performance

Other than the latest 3DMark Port Royal upgrade from UL Benchmark, Battlefield V is the only game in the market that comes ready with one of the RTX feature, real-time raytracing.

GeForce RTX 2060 FE 1080P 1440P 4K
Battlefield V (DX12) 88 68 22
Battlefield V (DX12 + DXR) 50 38 10

Based on the performance difference above, we can see the drop in performance across all 3 different resolution. The game is still playable and enjoyable on 1080p, with noticeable difference in terms of aesthetics i.e reflections on different surfaces and shadow density on shaded areas.

You will start to experience some microstuttering in complex scene as you scale up the resolution. The game is barely playable on 1440p and totally unplayable on 4K. This will probably take sometime before NVIDIA release a proper DLSS update / patch for the game, which will take sometime before it is ready.

Temperature

The GPU idle temperature is around 38°C and hovers around 75°C most of the time during our games benchmark. Enabling real-time ray tracing feature in Battlefield V will result in a  higher peak temperature reading at 77°C.

The fan noise isn’t something to worry about as it’s not really noticeable if you have it installed in a PC that you left under the table. If you prefer to have it on your desk like what have here on our test bench, you’ll notice the fan noise slightly during some heavy benchmark.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition (45)

Final Thoughts

As for its ‘RTX performance’, we can only say that we have yet to see the full potential of it. With only one game available for us to test, it’s still too early to say if the RTX feature is something that’s worth the hype. We did enjoy the in-game aesthetics while running our set of tests, but the performance drop will still remain concerning to us as of now. As Jensen-Huang, the CEO of NVIDIA himself highlighted the performance improvement on Battlefield V with DLSS update during the CES 2019 keynote, we’re looking forward to the day when the update is finally available for us to revisit our test on real-time raytracing on Battlefield V.

Design wise, the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition is definitely leaning more towards the premium side. With a full coverage Aluminum shroud, the card is built to last and chances of getting a sagging PCB is almost near to impossible. The cooling performance isn’t bad for a  ‘reference’ card, but you can definitely expect for quieter and better cooling performance from the AIB partners cards when it’s finally available starting from January 15th.

The RTX 2060 seems to have a much stronger stance as compared to the higher-end RTX 2080, especially for its well-balanced price and performance ratio. Although it does appears to be more powerful than a GTX 1070 Ti during our games benchmark, but do note that there are still a number of games which the GTX 1070 Ti performs better across all 3 commonly used resolution for gaming (1080p, 1440p and 4K). Then again, you can still say that the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition is indeed more powerful than a GTX 1070 Ti – most of the time.

So, is it worth the upgrade for a RTX 2060? Well, that depends on what you’re using currently. If you’re upgrading from a GTX 1060, GTX 900 series or below, then that’s a definite yes. For those of you who is planning on going full force PC Master Race with 4K 60FPS for your next upgrade, the RTX 2080 Ti will be a much better choice to go for.

Pros

  • Solid, full coverage Aluminum shroud for enhanced rigidity
  • Performs closely, if not, better than a GTX 1070 Ti most of the time
  • Supports RTX games (Battlefield V for now)
  • Reasonable price point
  • Bundled with free game for a limited time (Battlefield V or Anthem)

Cons

  • Doesn’t support NVLink
  • Heat from GPU now goes inside your case
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