The RTX 2060 Founders Edition Benchmarked with 39 Games vs. the RX Vega 56 & vs. the GTX 1070 Ti

The GeForce RTX 2060 is the fourth GPU based on NVIDIA’s Turing architecture.  The Founders Edition (FE) of the RTX 2060 is similar to the RTX 2070 FE that we reviewed last October although it is less powerful.  It is also less expensive at $349 compared with the RTX 2070 which launched at $499 for entry-level partner cards, and even less expensive than the GTX 1070 Ti or a premium RX Vega 56.

The RTX 2060 is NVIDIA’s mainstream RTX card and it will be available globally on January 15.  The RTX 2060 reference Founders Edition and NVIDIA’s partner RTX 2060 versions will be available for purchase also on January 15 starting at the same $349 pricing and up for factory-overclocked cards.  For a limited time, gamers who purchase a RTX 2060 from participating etailers will get either Anthem or Battlefield V bundled with it.  Like the GTX 1060 it replaces, the RTX 2070 has 6GB of vRAM, but it is now equipped with GDDR6 instead of GDDR5.

Instead of repeating the same information from our RTX 2080 launch review, we will highlight the differences between the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060, and then we will focus on its performance by benchmarking it with an expanded 39-game benching suite including Battlefield V and Just Cause 4 to see how capable it is.

We will pay particular attention to the RTX 2060’s performance versus its main and higher-priced competitor, the overclocked aftermarket PowerColor Red Devil RX Vega 56, and also versus the GTX 1070 Ti, both of which generally sit above the $400 price range.  We will also compare performance by using a total of eleven video cards, and will measure how far the RTX 2060 has progressed versus the GTX 1060 at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440.

The RTX 2060 is based on the same TU106 GPU used for the GeForce GTX 2070, but it has been modified and cut down to use a 192-bit memory interface instead of 256-bit.  The GeForce RTX 2060 supports all of the same new features that NVIDIA’s Turing architecture brings including ray tracing and DLSS.  The RTX 2060 features 1920 CUDA Cores, 30 RT Cores, 240 Tensor Cores, and a minimum GPU Boost clock of 1680 MHz as shown in NVIDIA’s table below.

The RTX 2060 FE’s TDP is 160 Watts and power is provided by a single 8-pin power connector.

RTX Technology – DLSS and Ray Tracing

Tensor Cores are specialized execution units that perform the core compute function used for Deep Learning.  The RTX 2060’s 240 Tensor Cores are used to improve gaming performance using Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). DLSS as used in Final Fantasy XV uses a neural network to extract features of a game’s rendered scene and combines details from multiple frames to construct a high-quality final image. Turing GPUs then use a portion of the samples for rendering and use AI to compose the final images. DLSS results in image quality similar to Temporal AA (TAA) which are used for most new games, but with higher performance.

Ray tracing realistically simulates a scene by back tracing light paths to their originating light source. Ray Tracing is used in film, product design, architecture, and now in gaming.  Battlefield V uses DXR hybrid ray tracing for reflections that look incredibly realistic, but it incurs a major performance hit.  The RTX 2060 uses 30 RT cores for ray tracing compared with 36 RT cores used in the RTX 2070.

In early 2019, EA and DICE are expected to release an update to Battlefield V which will incorporate DLSS support. Pairing DLSS with ray tracing can significantly improve performance. NVIDIA reports that in their in-house early testing, RTX 2060 pairing DLSS with DXR enabled simultaneously can provide performance on a par with framerates with DXR disabled.

Here are BTR’s RTX 2060 performance results from the two games that support either DLSS or DXR – Final Fantasy XV and Battlefield V.

DLSS is only supported at 4K resolution in Final Fantasy XV, but it still provides significantly higher performance than by using TAA.  It also appears that Ultra DXR is playable in Battlefield V at ultra 1920×1080 now with a RTX 2060, but we are looking forward to a significant speed-up when DLSS is introduced and we will review it for our readers then.

BTR received a RTX 2060 review sample on an extended loan from NVIDIA recently, and we have put it through its paces.  We test all of our eleven cards with recent drivers on a clean installation of Windows 10 64-bit Home edition, using  Core i7-8700K with all six cores overclocked to 4.7 GHz by the BIOS, and 16GB of Kingston’s 3333MHz DDR4.

First, let’s unbox the RTX 2060 FE.