The first midrange RTX card has been a long time coming, but now itís finally here. Is this the reasonable performer the masses will want? Letís take a closer look at whatís going on under the hood.
The 20-series from Nvidia represents the biggest leap in consumer graphics hardware in years. The introduction of both dedicated deep-learning hardware as well as real-time ray tracing opens up a future pathway for graphics qualitatively different to what we have to day.
The demonstration of hybrid raster and ray-traced graphics in titles like Battlefield V are impressive. However, we are still a long, long way from having fully ray-traced graphics in real time. A glimpse of what this could be like comes in the form of a fully ray traced version of Quake 2. However, this requires the top-end RTX 2080 to be playable at all. Despite the game being decades old at this point.
So the RTX 2060 is (at the moment) the cheapest GPU that offers ray tracing and deep-learning hardware. Does it make sense as a product however? The devil is in the details. Tiny Turing Just like its bigger brothers, the RTX 2060 is running the latest Turing architecture. Itís just that the hardware itself is somewhat cut down. In terms of raw performance in traditional rasterized graphics, the RTX 2060 sits around the same place on the board as the GTX 1070 Ti. Given itís recommended retail price and the price of 1070s at the moment, thatís already a point in its favor. It sports 1920 CUDA cores at a base clock of 1.365 Ghz and a boost clock of 1.68 Ghz. You get 6GB of GDDR6 memory with a 192-bit bus.
Peak Performance? The RTX 2060 provides 5 Gigarays of real-time ray tracing. That doesnít mean much by itself, but it is half as much as the RTX 2080 Ti. Even that top end card is barely providing playable frame rates in software that supports RTX right now. However, Battlefield 5 has received aggressive optimisation and even on the 2060 the effect is still playable and quite impressive. Whether anyone else can squeeze that much from this more modest hardware remains to be seen. We will however say that if you main reason for buying an RTX card is the ray tracing feature, it may not be worth it this generation.
As a card that provides the latest technology and 1070 Ti performance at a more reasonable price, itís actually pretty great. Itís not price-competitive with the GTX 1060 and customers in that bracket have been priced out in the RTX range. If we had to choose between buying a GTX 1070 Ti today or this RTX 2060, the 2060 would get the nod. Itís a competent 1440p gaming card and the deep learning and RTX hardware could prove useful in less intensive professional applications that can make use of them.