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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition review: Mainstream gaming has come a long way

By Koh Wanzi - 7 Jan 2019

Test setup & gaming performance

Test Setup

The detailed specifications of our new graphics card testbed system is as follows:-

  • Intel Core i7-8086K (4.0GHz, 12MB L3 cache)
  • ASUS ROG Strix Maximus X Hero (Intel Z370)
  • 4 x 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3000 (Auto timings: CAS 15-15-15-35)
  • Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Acer Predator X27, 4K monitor

The full line-up of graphics cards and their driver versions are listed below:

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (ForceWare 417.54)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (ForceWare 416.33)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (ForceWare 399.24)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (ForceWare 417.35)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (ForceWare 417.35)
  • PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 590 (Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.3)

Test cards compared
  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition
  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition
Core Code
  • GP106
GPU Transistor Count
  • 4.4 Billion
Manufacturing Process
  • 16nm
Core Clock
  • 1,506MHz (Boost: 1,708MHz)
Stream Processors
  • 1,280
Stream Processor Clock
  • 1,506MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMUs)
  • 80
Raster Operator units (ROP)
  • 48
Memory Clock (DDR)
  • 8,000MHz
Memory Bus width
  • 192-bit
Memory Bandwidth
  • 192GB/s
PCI Express Interface
  • 3.0
Power Connectors
  • 1x 6-PIN PCIe
DVI Outputs
  • 1x
HDMI Outputs
  • 1x
DisplayPort Outputs
  • 3x
HDCP Output Support
  • Yes

 

Benchmarks

Next up, here's a list of all the benchmarks used:

  • 3DMark
  • VRMark
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Far Cry 5
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Tom Clancy's The Division

We used the Fire Strike Extreme benchmark and stress test in 3DMark for our temperature  and power consumption tests respectively.

 

3DMark

The synthetic 3DMark benchmark tests graphics and computational performance at different resolutions, starting at 1080p and going all the way up to 4K. A series of two graphics test, one physics test, and then a combined test stress your hardware in turn to assess its performance.

The GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition is roughly on par with the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, a card that's actually really competitive against the GeForce GTX 1080 in its own right. All things considered, this is pretty impressive performance for a mainstream card. 

In fact, the GeForce RTX 2060 is around 42 per cent faster than the GeForce GTX 1060 in the 1080p Fire Strike benchmark, a decent improvement in a single generation. It also beat the GeForce GTX 1070 by around 11 per cent in the same benchmark. 

 

VRMark

Futuremark’s VRMark benchmark is designed to assess a PC’s ability to handle high-performance headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. If a PC passes the Orange Room test, it is ready for the latter two systems. The second graph also shows how the cards fared against the benchmark's target of an average FPS of 109. 

There are less stark differences between cards in VRMark, and it looks like the CPU may be starting to become a limiting factor for the faster cards. The GeForce RTX 2060 had no problems with this benchmark, going nearly neck-and-neck with the GeForce RTX 2070. It was also around 42 per cent ahead of the GeForce GTX 1060. 

 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity has long been the poster child for the performance benefits a low-level API like DirectX 12 can bring. It is based on the Nitrous engine and can be extremely punishing thanks to the huge number of onscreen units and the sheer level of detail accorded to each unit. However, the CPU does become the limiting factor at lower resolutions and settings. 

Once again, the GeForce RTX 2060 demonstrated significant improvements over the GeForce GTX 1060. At 1080 and Crazy settings (DirectX 11), the former was roughly 31 per cent quicker. It also turned out very similar numbers as the GeForce GTX 1070, although it was overall around 26 per cent behind the GeForce RTX 2070. 

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Mankind Divided features just about every trick to make your game look pretty, including things like volumetric and dynamic lighting, screenspace reflections, and cloth physics. Even though it was released in 2016, the game is capable of bringing even the most powerful systems to their knees. 

The GeForce RTX 2060 was more than capable of running the game at 1080p and Ultra settings, pushing well above 60FPS. It was 46 per cent faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, which trudged along at under 50FPS. It was even slightly quicker than the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, no small feat for a supposedly mainstream card. 

 

Far Cry 5

The latest installment in the Far Cry series is actually an AMD launch title, so it'll be interesting to see how the green camp fares here. 

The GeForce RTX 2060 again had no trouble running the game at 1080p and Ultra settings. It was approximately 26 per cent faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, but it fell behind the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti this time. 

 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

In Shadow of War, NVIDIA's latest Turing card once again proved itself very capable at 1080p and Ultra settings. It might have been roughly 21 per cent behind the GeForce RTX 2070, but it still handily beat the GeForce GTX 1070 and 1060 by 16 per cent and 47 per cent respectively. 

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

NVIDIA has mentioned Shadow of the Tomb Raider a lot lately, largely because it will be one of the first games to support its RTX technology through a post-release patch. At the time of writing however, the patch hasn't dropped yet, so the results still deal with conventional performance metrics. 

The GeForce RTX 2060 did well here as well, giving the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti a good run for its money. 

 

Tom Clancy's The Division

In the The Division, the GeForce RTX 2060 managed a 38 per cent advantage over the GeForce GTX 1060 at 1080p and Ultra settings. The card really looks like it's capable of handling just about any game at 1080p and max settings, which is an exciting prospect for the hoards of gamers out there. 

  • Performance 8
  • Features 9.5
  • Value 8
The Good
Good improvement over the GeForce GTX 1060
Compact size works well in smaller systems
Stellar build quality
Will run any game at 1080p at max settings
Reasonable price
The Bad
Ray tracing acceleration requires more widespread developer support to be actually useful
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