Just in time to steal some of AMD's Radeon RX 5700 series GPU launch thunder, Nvidia has announced a nearly top-to-bottom refresh of its own GeForce RTX 20 series. From the demos that AMD has shown publicly so far, we know that it's expecting to compete with Nvidia's mid-range offerings, while the top-end GeForce RTX 2080 Ti will remain unchallenged. That isn't good enough for Nvidia, though. By beefing up its lineup but retaining the same product tier names, Nvidia is telling AMD to set its sights lower. The timing couldn't be any more of a power play.
Nvidia first started teasing “something Super” for the GeForce line right before Computex, and fans and media alike expected an announcement at the world's biggest PC components show, but there was no such news. It seems as though Nvidia instead chose to bide its time, waiting till after AMD showed its own hand at its E3 event.
The new GeForce RTX 2060 Super, GeForce RTX 2070 Super and GeForce RTX 2080 Super slot into Nvidia's product lineup in a slightly convoluted fashion. The GeForce RTX 2070 and GeForce RTX 2080 will be phased out, replaced by Super models at the same prices. However, the GeForce RTX 2060 Super will slot in above the GeForce RTX 2060, which will live on at its current price. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti will continue to serve as Nvidia's flagship for now, above the GeForce RTX 2080 Super, which might cause some confusion.
This means that GeForce RTX 2070 and 2080 buyers get a bit more bang for their buck, and GeForce RTX 2060 buyers have a new higher priced, higher performing option. This isn't as good news as we had hoped – rumours had indicated price reductions across the board, but this is not happening. At least there might be good deals to be had on the outgoing models before they disappear entirely.
With that said, it's time to begin our review of the brand new GeForce RTX 2060 Super, which should be a small improvement over the GeForce RTX 2060's performance. This is good news for those with relatively modest budgets, especially if you want to use RTX ray tracing effects in current and upcoming games. We have with us Nvidia's own Founders Edition graphics card, priced at Rs. 34,890 in India. Will it be able to carve out a market for itself? Let's find out.
Starting with the GPU itself, the GeForce RTX 2060 Super is a chip from Nvidia's Turing generation with no architectural differences compared to the ones in the non-Super lineup. This means that all performance uplift comes from the fact that this is a beefier chip with more resources, not from any improvement in efficiency in the architecture or even the manufacturing process.
Turing is still an extremely powerful and power efficient architecture, though. Despite being expensive, the first-gen Turing-based GeForce RTX 20 series have all been very good products. The biggest argument against these graphics cards used to be that no games actually supported ray tracing or Nvidia's DLSS (Deep Learning Supersampling) upscaling feature, but that situation has improved over the past year. You can read up about the Turing architecture, ray tracing, DLSS, and much more, right here in our complete guide.
Nvidia says that the new GeForce RTX 2060 Super is more powerful than the Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1080. This new GPU is based on the same basic TU106 Turing implementation as the GeForce RTX 2060 and 2070 but with beefier specifications. You get 2,176 CUDA cores and 136 texture units in 34 clusters called Streaming Multiprocessors, up from 1,920, 120, and 30 respectively for the GeForce RTX 2060. The base and boost clock speeds have also been raised, to 1470MHz and 1650MHz respectively.
This means that throughput, measured in floating point operations per second, is raised from 6.6 TFLOPS to 7.2 TFLOPS. An unspecified increase in the RT and Tensor core counts also gives this GPU more ray tracing bandwidth, up from 5 Gigarays per second to 6 Gigarays per second.
Most interestingly, you now get 8GB of GDDR6 memory on a 256-bit bus, rather than 6GB on a 192-bit bus. It's still the same 14Gbps memory but the total bandwidth has increased from 336.1GBps to 448GBps. This is the first time that Nvidia is offering 8GB of memory in this segment, matching an advantage that AMD has had for a while. On the downside, TDP has gone up from 160W to 175W.
Ray tracing remains central to the appeal of the GeForce RTX Super series, though it's more of a selling point for the higher-end models. Nvidia is quick to underscore that several very high-profile upcoming games including Cyberpunk 2077, the remastered Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Control, Doom Eternal, and Watch Dogs: Legion will all support ray tracing.
For the past few GPU generations, Nvidia has been selling its own Founders Edition graphics cards, competing with its own partners including Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Zotac, Galax, and Inno3D. These are positioned as more premium than partner cards and are officially priced higher. The good news for India is that these are available for purchase directly from Nvidia's website, and prices are usually quite favourable here.
Nvidia has retained the same basic design for the GeForce RTX Super series that it introduced with the GeForce RTX 20 series, with two fans and a wraparound shroud. The only differences are that the space between the fans now has a shiny mirror finish, and there's a green Super badge on the model name which doesn't exactly scream high-end. You can see that the PCB itself is a lot shorter than the shroud.
The GeForce RTX logo on the top of this card glows green when it's turned on. There's no native way to control it, and if you want to change the brightness you'll have to use a third-party tool. The company itself suggests EVGA's Precision X1 graphics card tuning utility. A little-known fact is that Nvidia has actually used RGB LEDs on previous Founders' Edition cards, but in order to change the colour you'll have to experiment with flashing a third-party BIOS onto it. The GeForce RTX 2060 Super Founders Edition should be no different, but this process is not for the faint of heart and can have unintended consequences.
Being a mid-range card, only a single 8-pin PCIe power connector is required. There's one DVI, two DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one VirtualLink Type-C port on the rear which can be used as an additional DisplayPort output as well as a USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps) port for your PC. Manufacturers of custom cards will be able to offer different combinations of ports.
Unlike many partner cards, the fans on the GeForce RTX 2060 Super Founders Edition never spin down, but they can barely be heard even when this card is under heavy load. Nvidia says that its own cards are designed to run quietly, and also use high-quality power circuitry and specially designed fans for top-notch thermal and acoustic performance.
Nvidia is promising better graphics performance than the venerable GeForce GTX 1080 delivered, and you'd had to spend over Rs. 60,000 for one of those cards when they were current. Scores should be only very slightly poorer than those of the GeForce RTX 2070 which isn't even a year old. However, partner cards sell for as little as Rs. 38,000 now which means the new GeForce RTX 2060 Super isn't breaking much new ground. It would have been nice to step up by nearly one full performance tier at the same price as the GeForce RTX 2060, but at least the price difference is fairly minor.
We tested this card using our standard test bench, consisting of an AMD Ryzen 2 2700X CPU, Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming 7 Wifi motherboard, 2x8GB of G.Skill F4-3400C16D-16GSXW DDR4 RAM, a 1TB Samsung 860 Evo SSD, and Corsair RM650 power supply. We used our trusty Asus PB287Q 4K monitor. Nvidia supplied us with a pre-release driver, version 431.16. We used Windows 10 (1903) in order to run RTX-enabled games and benchmarks.
Starting with 3DMark as usual, we see that performance is clearly higher across the board than with the GeForce RTX 2060, with the improvement ranging from 10 percent to over 25 percent. Unsurprisingly the biggest gain comes in the new real-time ray traced Port Royal test. As promised, scores matched those of the GeForce GTX 1080. On the other hand, our Unigine Valley test, running at 1920x1080 with 8xAA using the Ultra preset, showed only a slight improvement.
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super Founders Edition||Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2060 OC 6GB||Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC 6GB||MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X||Asus Strix GeForce GTX 1080|
|3DMark Port Royal||4,998||3,904||NA||NA||NA|
|3DMark Time Spy||8,771||7,953||6,641||4,273||NA|
|3DMark Time Spy Extreme||4,044||3,616||2,980||NA||NA|
|3DMark Fire Strike||18,682||16,578||14,324||11,421||17,437|
|3DMark Fire Strike Extreme||10,049||9,005||7,267||6,017||9,608|
|3DMark Fire Strike Ultra||5,285||4,552||3,463||3,168||5,200|
|Unigine Valley (1920x1080, Ultra, 8xAA)||95.5fps||92.3fps||78.6fps||68.9fps||106fps|
Jumping right into the ray tracing test, we used Battlefield V with and without RTX ray traced reflections. We had to stick to 1920x1080 using the Ultra quality preset but the good news is that the game was playable at around 70-80fps on average even in heavy battle scenes with ray tracing enabled. That's great news for people hoping to get a foot in the door, even though the effects are subtle. With ray tracing off, we saw around 115-125fps.
Nvidia's DLSS, or Deep Learning Supersampling, is an upscaling and smoothening algorithm that works with certain games using the dedicated Tensor core hardware on the GPU. It effectively reduces the resolution that the GPU has to push out, so you can expect a slight dip in image quality. Using DLSS with ray tracing, we saw the frame rate bounce back up to 90-100fps on average.
Next, we fired up Shadow of the Tomb Raider which recently gained ray tracing and DLSS support. First, we ran through our standard test configurations using the game's built-in benchmark. At 4K, using the Highest quality preset with TAA enabled, we got a 37fps average, compared to 31fps with the non-Super GeForce RTX 2060. The numbers for the two GPUs at 2560x1440 were 70fps and 62fps respectively, and at 1920x1080, they were 104fps and 96fps respectively.
Just for fun, we tried out Nvidia's RTX-flavoured re-release of Quake II. Despite how old the base game is, the RTX renderer can bring today's hardware down to its knees. We ran it at 1920x1080 with global illumination quality set to Medium, and got around 70fps. The game was completely unplayable at 4K. This game is a surprisingly great way to experience ray tracing – even right at the beginning, shooting the default pistol in a dark room shows how an energy bolt can cast and disperse tiny amounts of light as it travels.
We stuck with 1920x1080 for ray tracing tests. First, with all the same settings but ray traced shadows enabled at medium quality, we saw a drop from 104fps to 86fps. Turning the shadow quality up to High, the score fell further to 61fps but it was hard to discern the differences in visual quality as the benchmark progressed. We wanted to see if DLSS could compensate, and with it enabled, we got 93fps and 70fps respectively.
Of the other games we ran through, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gave us 28.9fps, 52.9fps, and 74.6fps at 4K, 2560x1440, and 1920x1080 respectively when running the game's internal benchmark at the Ultra quality setting. Far Cry 5 ran at 45.5fps, 81fps, and curiously only 89fps at the same three resolutions.
In all these cases except the last, we saw small but significant improvements in performance compared to the GeForce RTX 2060. The GeForce RTX 2060 Super is clearly not suitable for 4K gaming at high settings, but it does very well at 2560x1440.
As we've seen, you get a nice little bump in performance with the GeForce RTX 2060 Super compared to its non-Super predecessor. There is a price bump from Rs. 31,000 to Rs. 34,890, but it's minor enough for the choice between these two options to be a no-brainer. Nvidia is also throwing in two RTX showcase games, Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Control, together valued at around Rs. 3,600 in India. This pretty much eliminates the difference. Unless Nvidia reduces the price of the non-Super GeForce RTX 2060, there's no reason for anyone to buy it anymore.
One big problem that the GeForce RTX 2060 Super fixes is the Rs. 20,000 price gap that used to exist between the GeForce RTX 2060 and 2070 despite their relative closeness in terms of performance. If you were budgeting for a GeForce RTX 2070, you now have this new option at a much lower price.
It still seems that gamers who want a great experience at 1920x1080 and don't care for ray tracing will still be served well enough by the far more affordable Turing-based Geforce GTX 1660 Ti and GeForce GTX 1660. If you do want to bask in shadows and reflections though, at least you now have an option well below Rs. 40,000 that delivers playable quality.
That brings us specifically to this graphics card, the GeForce RTX 2060 Super Founders Edition. Nvidia's own graphics cards look great and run super quiet. This implementation of the GeForce RTX 2060 Super GPU is highly polished – literally and figuratively – and definitely has its appeal. Still, we hope to see custom partner models selling for much less in India – keep an eye out for higher performing factory-overclocked versions as well.
With less than a week to go for AMD's Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700XT to go on sale, we'll soon see what their prices will be like in India and how they stack up against Nvidia's latest volley. Those factors will affect our opinion, but Nvidia at least does not seem as though it's afraid of competition at all.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super Founders Edition
Price: Rs. 34,890
Ratings (out of 5)
Value for Money: 4