In the closing months of 2018, NVIDIA finally released the long-awaited successor to the Pascal-based GeForce GTX 10 series: the GeForce RTX 20 series of video cards. Built on their new Turing architecture, these GPUs were the biggest update to NVIDIA's GPU architecture in at least half a decade, leaving almost no part of NVIDIA's architecture untouched.

So far we’ve looked at the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070 – and along with the highlights of Turing, we’ve seen that the GeForce RTX 20 series is designed on a hardware and software level to enable realtime raytracing and other new specialized features for games. While the RTX 2070 is traditionally the value-oriented enthusiast offering, NVIDIA's higher price tags this time around meant that even this part was $500 and not especially value-oriented. Instead, it would seem that the role of the enthusiast value offering is going to fall to the next member in line of the GeForce RTX 20 family. And that part is coming next week.

Launching next Tuesday, January 15th is the 4th member of the GeForce RTX family: the GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB). Based on a cut-down version of the same TU106 GPU that's in the RTX 2070, this new part shaves off some of RTX 2070's performance, but also a good deal of its price tag in the process. And for this launch, like the other RTX cards last year, NVIDIA is taking part by releasing their own GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition card, which we are taking a look at today.

NVIDIA GeForce Specification Comparison
  RTX 2060 Founders Edition GTX 1060 6GB (GDDR5) GTX 1070
RTX 2070
CUDA Cores 1920 1280 1920 2304
ROPs 48 48 64 64
Core Clock 1365MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz 1410MHz
Boost Clock 1680MHz 1709MHz 1683MHz 1620MHz
FE: 1710MHz
Memory Clock 14Gbps GDDR6 8Gbps GDDR5 8Gbps GDDR5 14Gbps GDDR6
Memory Bus Width 192-bit 192-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Single Precision Perf. 6.5 TFLOPS 4.4 TFLOPs 6.5 TFLOPS 7.5 TFLOPs
"RTX-OPS" 37T N/A N/A 45T
SLI Support No No Yes No
TDP 160W 120W 150W 175W
FE: 185W
GPU TU106 GP106 GP104 TU106
Transistor Count 10.8B 4.4B 7.2B 10.8B
Architecture Turing Pascal Pascal Turing
Manufacturing Process TSMC 12nm "FFN" TSMC 16nm TSMC 16nm TSMC 12nm "FFN"
Launch Date 1/15/2019 7/19/2016 6/10/2016 10/17/2018
Launch Price $349 MSRP: $249
FE: $299
MSRP: $379
FE: $449
MSRP: $499
FE: $599

Like its older siblings, the GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB) comes in at a higher price-point relative to previous generations, and at $349 the cost is quite unlike the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB’s $299 Founders Edition and $249 MSRP split, let alone the GeForce GTX 960’s $199. At the same time, it still features Turing RT cores and tensor cores, bringing a new entry point for those interested in utilizing GeForce RTX platform features such as realtime raytracing.

Diving into the specs and numbers, the GeForce RTX 2060 sports 1920 CUDA cores, meaning we’re looking at a 30 SM configuration, versus RTX 2070’s 36 SMs. As the core architecture of Turing is designed to scale with the number of SMs, this means that all of the core compute features are being scaled down similarly, so the 17% drop in SMs means a 17% drop in the RT Core count, a 17% drop in the tensor core count, a 17% drop in the texture unit count, a 17% drop in L0/L1 caches, etc.

Unsurprisingly, clockspeeds are going to be very close to NVIDIA’s other TU106 card, RTX 2070. The base clockspeed is down a bit to 1365MHz, but the boost clock is up a bit to 1680MHz. So on the whole, RTX 2060 is poised to deliver around 87% of the RTX 2070’s compute/RT/texture performance, which is an uncharacteristically small gap between a xx70 card and an xx60 card. In other words, the RTX 2060 is in a good position to punch above its weight in compute/shading performance.

However TU106 has taken a bigger trim on the backend, and in workloads that aren’t pure compute, the drop will be a bit harder. The card is shipping with just 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM, as opposed to 8GB on its bigger brother. The result of this is that NVIDIA is not populating 2 of TU106’s 8 memory controllers, resulting in a 192-bit memory bus and meaning that with the use of 14Gbps GDDR6, RTX 2060 only offers 75% of the memory bandwidth of the RTX 2070. Or to put this in numbers, the RTX 2060 will offer 336GB/sec of bandwidth to the RTX 2070’s 448GB/sec.

And since the memory controllers, ROPs, and L2 cache are all tied together very closely in NVIDIA’s architecture, this means that ROP throughput and the amount of L2 cache are also being shaved by 25%. So for graphics workloads the practical performance drop is going to be greater than the 13% mark for compute throughput, but also generally less than the 25% mark for ROP/memory throughput.

Speaking of video memory, NVIDIA has called this the RTX 2060 but early indications are that there will be different configurations of RTX 2060s with less VRAM and possibly fewer CUDA cores and other hardware resources. Hence, it seems forward-looking to refer to the product mentioned in this article as the RTX 2060 (6GB); as you might recall, the GTX 1060 6GB was launched as the ‘GTX 1060’ and so appeared as such in our launch review, up until a month later with the release of the ‘GTX 1060 3GB’, a branding that does not indicate its lower-performing GPU configuration unrelated to frame buffer size. Combined with ongoing GTX 1060 naming shenanigans, as well as with GTX 1050 variants (and AMD’s own Polaris naming shenanigans also of note), it seems prudent to make this clarification now in the interest of future accuracy and consumer awareness.

NVIDIA GTX 1060 Variants
Specification Comparison
  GTX 1060 6GB GTX  1060 6GB
(9 Gbps)
GTX 1060 6GB (GDDR5X) GTX 1060 5GB (Regional) GTX 1060 3GB
CUDA Cores 1280 1280 1280 1280 1152
Texture Units 80 80 80 80 72
ROPs 48 48 48 40 48
Core Clock 1506MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz
Boost Clock 1708MHz 1708MHz 1708MHz 1708MHz 1708MHz
Memory Clock 8Gbps GDDR5 9Gbps GDDR5 8Gbps GDDR5X 8Gbps GDDR5 8Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 192-bit 192-bit 192-bit 160-bit 192-bit
TDP 120W 120W 120W 120W 120W
GPU GP106 GP106 GP104* GP106 GP106
Launch Date 7/19/2016 Q2 2017 Q3 2018 Q3 2018 8/18/2016

Moving on, NVIDIA is rating the RTX 2060 for a TDP of 160W. This is down from the RTX 2070, but only slightly, as those cards are rated for 175W. Cut-down GPUs have limited options for reducing their power consumption, so it’s not unusual to see a card like this rated to draw almost as much power as its full-fledged counterpart.

All-in-all, the GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB) is quite the interesting card, as the value-enthusiast segment tends to be more attuned to price and power consumption than the performance-enthusiast segment. Additionally, as a value-enthusiast card and potential upgrade option it will also need to perform well on a wide range of older and newer games – in other words, traditional rasterization performance rather than hybrid rendering performance.

Meanwhile, looking at evaluating the RTX 2060 itself, measuring generalizable hybrid rendering performance remains unclear. Linked to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (1809), DXR has been rolled-out fairly recently. 3DMark’s DXR benchmark, Port Royal, is due on January 8th, while for realtime raytracing Battlefield V is the sole title with it for the moment, with optimization efforts are ongoing as seen in their recent driver efforts. Meanwhile, it seems that some of Turing's other advanced shader features (Variable Rate Shading) are only currently available in Wolfenstein II.

Of course, RTX support for a number of titles have been announced and many are due this year, but there is no centralized resource to keep track of availability. It’s true that developers are ultimately responsible for this information and their game, but on the flipside, this has required very close cooperation between NVIDIA and developers for quite some time. In the end, RTX is a technology platform spearheaded by NVIDIA and inextricably linked to their hardware, so it’s to the detriment of potential RTX 20 series owners in researching and collating what current games can make use of which specialized hardware features they purchased.

Planned NVIDIA Turing Feature Support for Games
Game Real Time Raytracing Deep Learning Supersampling (DLSS) Turing Advanced Shading
Anthem   Yes  
Ark: Survival Evolved   Yes  
Assetto Corsa Competizione Yes    
Atomic Heart Yes Yes  
Battlefield V Yes
Control Yes    
Dauntless   Yes  
Darksiders III   Yes  
Deliver Us The Moon: Fortuna   Yes  
Enlisted Yes    
Fear The Wolves   Yes  
Final Fantasy XV   Yes
(available in standalone benchmark)
Fractured Lands   Yes  
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice   Yes  
Hitman 2   Yes  
In Death     Yes
Islands of Nyne   Yes  
Justice Yes Yes  
JX3 Yes Yes  
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Yes Yes  
Metro Exodus Yes    
Outpost Zero   Yes  
Overkill's The Walking Dead   Yes  
PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds   Yes  
ProjectDH Yes    
Remnant: From the Ashes   Yes  
SCUM   Yes  
Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass   Yes  
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Yes    
Stormdivers   Yes  
The Forge Arena   Yes  
We Happy Few   Yes  
Wolfenstein II     Yes, Variable Shading

So the RTX 2060 (6GB) is in a better situation than the RTX 2070. With comparative GTX 10 series products either very low on stock (GTX 1080, GTX 1070) or at higher prices (GTX 1070 Ti), there’s less potential for sales cannibalization. And as Ryan mentioned in the AnandTech 2018 retrospective on GPUs, with leftover Pascal inventory due to the cryptocurrency bubble, there’s much less pressure to sell Turing GPUs at lower prices. So the RTX 2060 leaves the existing GTX 1060 6GB (1280 cores) and 3GB (1152 cores) with breathing room. That being said, $350 is far from the usual ‘mainstream’ price-point, and even more expensive than the popular $329 enthusiast-class GTX 970.

Across the aisle, the recent Radeon RX 590 in the mix, though its direct competition is the GTX 1060 6GB. Otherwise, the Radeon RX Vega 56 is likely the closer matchup in terms of performance. Even then, AMD and its partners are going to have little choice here: either they're going to have to drop prices to accomodate the introduction of the RTX 2060, or essentially wind down Vega sales.

Unfortunately we've not had the card in for testing as long as we would've liked, but regardless the RTX platform performance testing is in the same situation as during the RTX 2070 launch. Because the technology is still in the early days, we can’t accurately determine the performance suitability of RTX 2060 (6GB) as an entry point for the RTX platform. So the same caveats apply to gamers considering making the plunge.

Q1 2019 GPU Pricing Comparison
Radeon RX Vega 56 $499 GeForce RTX 2070
  $449 GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
  $349 GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB)
  $335 GeForce GTX 1070
Radeon RX 590 $279  
  $249 GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
(1280 cores)
Radeon RX 580 (8GB) $200/$209 GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
(1152 cores)
Meet The GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB) Founders Edition
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  • RIFLEMAN007 - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    Those people can stick with the lower-end card, this card is in a separate class, why are people comparing them in the first place lol. This card should be compared with the Vega 56 on the AMD side....
  • Manch - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    That's a logical fallacy.

    10 gallons of premium gas ($2.60) is only 00.002498438476% more than regular ($2.50) in my $40K truck.

    However for my my $500 riding lawnmower that would be .1904751904762%

    If we were to take your example to the extreme, then you would need to add in the cost of electricity, factor in the percentage of your heating/cooling bill, house structure, lot, cost of living, price of your birth...and anything else that's a factor in the operation of the computer, because otherwise you would be making the common mistake of calculating price/performance as though computers operate without existence...

    In actuality premium being typically 10 cents more per gallon is in fact 4% more, bc like GPU's you are comparing the product to a similar product.

    In the case of the 580 & 2060, a 75% increase in price for 50% more performance with the caveat of DLSS & RT are also included.
  • CiccioB - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - link

    Yours is a fallacy in logic.

    You are comparing single time purchasing cost to expendable resources. Your logic in fact is good when you buy a serve class HW where the purchase cost of the mere HW is only a fraction of the cost of the entire cost needed to male it run, with energy and cooling system taking the bigger part of the bill.

    Here we are saying that you have bought a $40K truck and adding that $50 comfortable chair is not that expensive instead of buying that other bare wooden chair.
    Yes with the latter you would have $50 more in your pocket but at the cost of diminished comfort which you could have enjoyed for a $50/$40K % more in the truck purchase.

    And yet, about consuming, buying an AMD card to have the same performance than nvidia's is going to use more "fuel" and so cost more as much as you use it for as long as you use it.
    It's like buying a $40K truck engine that AMD has to sell at $10 to have the same performance and appeal (seen the fact that is not really that "smart") of a $20 muscle car.
    You can see why many go directly for the $20 car despite the AMD discount on their crap product.
  • Manch - Friday, January 11, 2019 - link

    Wow, OK. Pick anything not consumable then. Although a GPU can be considered expendable as they tend to go obsolete in the life time of a set of tires. Hardly a one time cost or do you not upgrade? The consumability of the product isn't the point nor does it have any bearing though.

    His point would be fine if you were comparing an entire system DIY or prebuilt system. Lets say a Dell vs HP. All things equal except for the GPU and the price reflected that, OK fine. But were comparing only the GPUs. @ 3k it's 4.7% @ 1.5K it's 11% of total cost. Then if were comparing system price, then total system perf comes into play not just the GPU perf. Thats the trap you both are falling into.

    Lets be clear. I'm not advocating the AMD card or the Nvidia card. I'm merely pointing out the trap he and yourself is falling into with such an argument.

    TBF if you're looking at a card with 2060 perf, then you're not considering the 580. If you're looking to make a 1080 gaming machine, the 580 is fine, the 2060 is overkill along with your 3K system.
  • eva02langley - Monday, January 7, 2019 - link

    And cost 75% more. Also, we are talking about FPS so it is a non-linear comparison. Anyway it is still not awesome value.

    If Navi is 15% faster than a Vega 64 and cost 100$ less than a RTX 2060, you understand the 2060 RTX is still fairly overpriced. There is still no value here and you might be able to grab a similar card for less if you find a good deal.
  • D. Lister - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - link

    "If Navi is 15% faster than a Vega 64 and cost 100$ less than a RTX 2060..."

    What if it is 100% faster than Vega 64, and they give it away for free? Heck, what if they threw a big chocolate cake into the deal and Lisa Su personally came to my house to spoon-feed it to me while a hot chick cosplaying as Ruby stripped for my entertainment? C'mon, my fantasy may be slightly more unrealistic than yours but it is certainly a lot more fun.
  • CiccioB - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - link

    Problem is that most probably AMD has to price their high end card to that low price to have a chance to sell it.
    If, as it seems, Navi has not RT, DLSS, mesh shading (without speaking about multi-projection which helps a lot in VR, and Voxel effects acceleration which, alas, have not been developed up to now due to their lack of support on the crappy console HW) they will run only in the lower segment of the market.
    Their possibly high frames will all be fake as the use of a single advanced effect supported by the competition will make them fall as fast as a falling lead stone.
    Yet, we will have hoards of AMD fanboy crying out for the "Gameswork" tricks and bells and twists and nvidia payment to the developers an all the things we have already heard since AMD solutions have not been able to keep up with nvidia's advanced solutions that do not require simple brute force, that is since AMD acquired ATI, when the simple reality is that they have been behind in technological development and requires the market to slow down to not leave them in the dust.
  • zepi - Monday, January 7, 2019 - link

    I don't know what mushrooms you are eating, but I want some of those as well.

    RX580 is totally beaten by RTX 2060. Not quite double the performance, but not far from it. Not to mention perf/w, perf/money, noise, etc. characteristics, which are boatloads better than on the AMD card.
  • zepi - Monday, January 7, 2019 - link

    Sorry, RX 580 noise levels seem to be quite reasonable. I've been watching mostly Vega since it is only thing that is actually a proper upgrade for me.
  • sing_electric - Monday, January 7, 2019 - link

    Not sure what you mean by "watching," but if you mean "waiting for a price drop," I wouldn't hold my breath. The HBM2 memory on those boards is significantly more expensive than the stuff found on Nvidia's, plus, the cards are very power hungry (which not only is a concern for the user, but also means that they need circuitry on board to deliver that large amount of power, which also adds to the cost to make the card).

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