The GeForce RTX 2060 gaming graphics card was released at the very beginning of 2019, and even then it was clear that with all the advantages of this graphics adapter, it had one very significant drawback — the presence of only 6 GB of video memory. A little later, in the article «How much video memory do modern games need», we clearly showed that such a set of VRAM really limits the potential of a very powerful GPU. As if realizing its own mistake, NVIDIA introduced the SUPER version of this accelerator this summer. Now the updated GeForce RTX 2060 has the amount of memory that is appropriate to have in 2019. Do not forget about the more powerful TU106 GPU. In general, let’s use the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G as an example to see how much the GeForce RTX 2060 Super is better than the regular GeForce RTX 2060.
⇡#Specifications and design features
At the time of this writing, on the official website of GIGABYTE, I found six modifications of the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER at once. The GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G model, which will be discussed below, is somewhere in the middle between such versions as the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER WINDFORCE 8G and the AORUS GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8G in terms of its characteristics and features. The main characteristics of the hero of today’s review are shown in the table in comparison with those of the reference version of the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER.
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition (reference)||GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G (GV-N206SGAMING OC-8GC)|
|Process technology, nm||12 nm FFN||12 nm FFN|
|Number of transistors, million||10800||10800|
|Clock Boost frequency, MHz||1650||1815|
|Number of shader ALUs||2176||2176|
|Number of texture overlays||136||136|
|Number of ROPs||64||64|
|Bus width, bit||256||256|
|Chip type||GDDR6 SDRAM||GDDR6 SDRAM|
|Clock frequency, MHz (bandwidth per contact, Mbps)||1750 (14000)||1750 (14000)|
|I/O bus||PCI Express 3.0 x16||PCI Express 3.0 x16|
|Peak performance FP32, GFLOPS (based on maximum specified frequency)||7181||7899|
|RAM bandwidth, GB/s||448||448|
|Image output interfaces||DisplayPort 1.4a, HDMI 2.0b||DisplayPort 1.4a, HDMI 2.0b|
|Retail price, rub.||33 000||32 000|
You can read more about the capabilities of the Turing architecture in our large theoretical review. When comparing the specifications of the Founders Edition and our today’s test subject, it immediately catches the eye that the GIGABYTE model has a higher Boost frequency of 1815 MHz — this is 165 MHz more than the NVIDIA reference model. This is also hinted at by the abbreviation OC in the name of the device.
There was nothing unusual included with the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G: paper documentation and a CD with drivers and related software.
If you have read the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING OC review, you will find a lot in common between this model and the hero of today’s test. And all because both devices use a three-fan WINDFORCE 3X cooler. The diameter of each impeller is 80 mm, and in the photo above you can clearly see that the blades of the central fan are directed in the opposite direction, clockwise. The left and right blowers rotate, respectively, counterclockwise. This technology is called Alternate Spinning, and, according to GIGABYTE, it allows you to get rid of turbulent flows that reduce the efficiency of the cooling system. Unfortunately, specific figures are not given on the official website of the company.
Each fan blade has four «serifs» — the presence of such ribs, yet again according to the manufacturer, it helps to increase the pressure of the air flow.
The length of the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G is 280 mm, which is far from a record figure, and therefore the accelerator will fit in almost any tower case. In this case, the device occupies only two expansion slots. And the width of the test sample does not exceed 12 cm — this parameter is also critical for some PC assemblies, mainly for compact system units.
The GIGABYTE inscription, located on the end of the cooler, is equipped with RGB backlighting — in total, it has 16.7 million colors in its arsenal. The video card supports the RGB Fusion 2.0 function, it has five backlight modes configured in the software of the same name. Naturally, it is possible to synchronize the backlight with other devices of the AORUS / GIGABYTE family.
I note that next to the 6- and 8-pin power connectors there are two indicators. If they glow continuously, it means that the power cable is not connected to the connectors. If they blink, there are problems with the power supply of the device. Finally, if the indicators are not glowing, this means that the device is operating normally, everything is fine.
The outer side of the accelerator circuit board is covered with a metal backplate. It performs three functions: it protects the device elements from bumps and chips, increases the rigidity of the structure, preventing the video card from bending under its own weight, and additionally cools the board elements, since the plate is in contact with the PCB through thermal pads.
As for the I / O panel, the grille houses three DisplayPort outputs of version 1.4 at once, as well as one HDMI 2.0b and USB 3.1 Gen1 C-type, which supports the VirtualLink function. Most of the back panel is occupied by perforation.
The video card is disassembled quite simply: to do this, you need to unscrew four screws with springs that attract the heatsink to the GPU, and also remove three more screws that secure the cooler to the field effect transistors of the device. Continuing the story about WINDFORCE 3X, I would like to note that the cooling system is based on four heat pipes. Direct contact technology is used. Copper elements are adjusted so that the entire GPU is covered with heat pipes. And yet in the very center there is a small gap — I think it will somewhat reduce the efficiency of the cooling system.
A separate aluminum plate is responsible for removing heat from the memory chips and power converter elements.
The GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G power subsystem works according to the 6 + 2 scheme, where six channels ensure stable GPU operation. The remaining two phases are required by the VRAM chips. As we know, the Founder Edition version works in the same way, but lower-quality modifications of the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER can have only five phases for the GPU. At the same time, it is clear that the VRM-zone of the hero of the review has some «holes» — apparently, the same printed circuit board is used in other, more powerful GIGABYTE 3D accelerators.
The GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G is equipped with GDDR6 memory chips manufactured by Micron.
⇡ # Testing methodology and stand
|Test stand configuration|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-9900K, 8 cores and 16 threads, 3.6 (5.0) GHz|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING|
|RAM||G.Skill Trident Z F4-3200C14D-32GTZ, DDR4-3200, 2×16 GB|
|Storage device||Samsung 970 EVO|
|Power Supply||Corsair AX1500i 1500W|
|CPU cooling system||NZXT Kraken X62|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Pro x64|
|Video card software|
|NVIDIA||GeForce Game Ready Driver 431.60|
The potential of the TU106 GPU is well known. Basically, the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER is used for games in Full HD and WQHD resolutions. The article «Overview of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER and GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER» reviewed the level of performance of this video card in comparison with a large number of other modern accelerators. Well, in this article, we will study the capabilities of the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G exclusively, comparing it with the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition model.
|Name||Graphics quality||Anti-aliasing for Full HD and WQHD||Smoothing for Ultra HD||API|
|The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Novigrad and surroundings||Config — Ultimate, NVIDIA HairWorks — Max, Post-Process — Max, HBAO+||AA||AA||DirectX 11|
|GTA V, city limits||Max. graphics quality, advanced quality settings — on, image resolution scaling — off, 16 × AF||FXAA + 4 × MSAA||Without anti-aliasing|
|Fallout 4 Commonwealth District||Maximum quality||TAA||TAA|
|FarCry 5, the beginning of the game, the cut to the fall of the car from the bridge||Configuration — «Maximum», HD textures — on.||TAA||TAA|
|FarCry New Dawn, built-in benchmark||Configuration — «Maximum», HD textures — on.||TAA||TAA|
|Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Kefalonia||Configuration — «Highest»||high||Without anti-aliasing|
|Watch_Dogs 2, San Francisco and surroundings||For Full HD and WQHD: configuration — «Ultra», HBAO +, shadow from objects in the headlights — 4 cars, HD textures — on.
For Ultra HD: all the same, but textures — «Medium», shadows — «Medium»
|Temporal filtering MSAA × 2, SMAA||Without anti-aliasing|
|HITMAN 2 Finish Line Mission||For Full HD and WQHD: maximum quality
For Ultra HD: all the same, but shadows and textures — “Normal”
|SSAA × 1.5||SSAA × 1|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider, built-in benchmark||For Full HD and WQHD: maximum quality, but no DXR
For Ultra HD: all the same, but shadows and textures — «Medium»
|SMAAT4x||Without anti-aliasing||DirectX 12|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Utulek Complex||For Full HD and WQHD: maximum quality
For Ultra HD: all the same, but shadows and textures — «Medium»
|MSSA × 2||Without anti-aliasing|
|Battlefield V, The Last Tiger Mission||Configuration — «Ultra», DXR — off.||TAA High||TAA High|
|Metro Exodus, built-in benchmark||For Full HD and WQHD: benchmark preset — «Ultra»
For Ultra HD: benchmark preset — «Normal»
Gaming performance was measured using the well-known FRAPS program. It allows you to get the rendering time of each frame. Then, using the FRAFS Bench Viewer utility, not only the average FPS was calculated, but also the 99th percentile. The use of the 99th percentile instead of the minimum frames per second is due to the desire to clean up the results from random bursts of performance that were provoked by reasons not directly related to the operation of the main components of the platform.
During testing, the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G was further overclocked to stable core and memory frequencies.
⇡ # Cooling system efficiency, noise level, power consumption and overclocking
The GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G fans only spin when the GPU temperature reaches 60 degrees Celsius or more. The rotational speed does not jump, but changes smoothly — without a sharp, unpleasant and noticeable increase in the noise level to the ear. Then the impellers of the WINDFORCE 3X cooler pick up speed — in the default mode, after a few minutes, they reach 68% of the maximum possible frequency. From a distance of 30 centimeters, the sound level meter recorded 38.6 dBA — the video card can be heard well from such a distance on an open test stand, but its operation cannot be called loud. If suddenly the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G turns out to be the noisiest component of the system, then in a good case the computer will emit even less noise than the previously indicated 38.6 dBA. In this operating mode, the video card system does not allow the GPU to heat up above 73 degrees Celsius.
At the same time, I believe that the characteristics of the video card operating in the default mode are well chosen. So, in any program for overclocking a video card, we can increase the fan speed to 75% — the noise level will rise to a still comfortable figure of 40 dB, while the GPU temperature will decrease to 71 degrees Celsius. If you turn on the fan speed to the maximum, then the noise level will increase to 47.7 dB, and the GPU temperature will drop to 61 degrees Celsius.
In games, the GPU frequency of the test model varies from 1875 to 1950 MHz — we again see that NVIDIA video cards operate at higher frequencies than indicated in the technical specifications. With manual tuning, the video card overclocked to a quite typical Boost frequency for the TU106 — 1913 MHz. Thanks to GPU Boost 4.0 technology, the real frequency of the graphics chip was consistently above 2000 MHz, in games it varied from 2025 to 2085 MHz. Samsung memory also overclocked to the standard figure — 1979 (15832) MHz. To achieve stability, it was necessary to increase the power limit in MSI Afterburner by 30%. In overclocking mode under load, the cooler fans already spin up to ~2400 rpm, which leads to an increase in noise level up to 39.4 dB. The maximum GPU temperature was 75 degrees Celsius. The power consumption level of the test bench has also increased: from 260 to 305 watts, if we talk about the peak performance achieved in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
|3DMark, Graphics score, points|
|1815/1750 MHz||1913/1979 MHz||Growth, %|
In 3DMark Time Spy, this overclocking resulted in an average 8% increase in points. In the games that we will talk about next, a similar situation is observed.
⇡ # Performance in games
In all my articles that touched on the performance level of the GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, it was said that the TU106 chip performs very well in modern games. In short, the speed of this GPU is enough to play any AAA projects in Full HD and WQHD resolutions using the maximum graphics quality. As you can imagine, the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER is even faster. In our detailed review of the Founders Edition versions, the difference in FPS between these models is 3-30%. Such a large run-up is due precisely to the lack of video memory observed in the GeForce RTX 2060 in a number of applications, even at Full HD resolution.
For example, in The Witcher, in which both tested video cards feel very comfortable, the difference between the SUPER version and the regular GeForce RTX 2060 is 11% in Full HD resolution. However, in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the 8GB version is already 20% faster than the 6GB version.
If we compare video cards by the minimum FPS, then in this case the difference between them in a number of games reaches a multiple. The thing is that in some programs the lack of video memory manifests itself chaotically — very noticeable and unpleasant jerks are observed on the display screen. In general, the lack of VRAM is clearly felt in applications such as Watch Dogs 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, HITMAN 2 and Far Cry 5 — in almost half of the games tested! With my graphics quality settings set to 85-95%, the GeForce RTX 2060 video memory is loaded in Fallout 4, Battlefield V, Far Cry New Dawn and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This means that in these games, you may also experience low VRAM at other levels, and consequently, you will have to deal with FPS drops. And again I urge you to look at the average frame rate of the GeForce RTX 2060 — it is very good at Full HD resolution, which cannot be said about the minimum FPS.
In some games, the lack of video memory in the GeForce RTX 2060 manifests itself in the form of “brakes” that are noticeable to the eye. In other games, the picture is quite smooth, but the minimum FPS still sags quite strongly. For example, in Far Cry 5, the minimum frame rate difference between the test samples reaches 83%! A similar picture can be seen by turning on the built-in Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark — in this game, the minimum FPS of the 8 GB GeForce RTX 2060 is 35% higher.
It is the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G’s extra 2 GB of VRAM that avoids all these problems associated with a lack of video memory.
However, it would be wrong not to recognize a noticeable increase in the performance of the GPU itself. The SUPER version of the GeForce RTX 2060 has become noticeably faster, and in some cases the video card even catches up with the GeForce RTX 2070 model, which, as you know, has been discontinued. The speed of the novelty is sometimes enough even to play in Ultra HD resolution.
In some games, I deliberately used the maximum graphics quality settings, but for tests in 4K, turned off anti-aliasing and lowered the quality of shadows and textures to «Medium». Firstly, this approach clearly shows the difference between the GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER in Ultra HD resolution, since it is the shadows and textures that “eat off” most of the video memory. We can see that the TU106 used in the 8GB version is noticeably faster. There are games in which the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER demonstrates a conditionally comfortable (with drawdowns of at least 30 frames per second) FPS, and the “simple” GeForce RTX 2060 can no longer boast of such “quickness” — in the case of a second video card, not only the quality will have to be reduced shadows and textures, but also other graphics settings of the 3D application.
GeForce RTX 2060 are the most affordable graphics cards that support ray tracing at the hardware level. The only thing we know is that enabling DXR in games leads to a significant increase in VRAM consumption. The activation of «beams» in Battlefield V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, along with the use of maximum graphics quality in Full HD resolution, negates the presence of RT-blocks in the 6-gigabyte model. But the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER looks great against this background. Obviously, the addition of only 2 GB of VRAM provided the video card with a good start for the future — that, perhaps, we figured out the leitmotif of today’s review.
The updated 8 GB version of the GeForce RTX 2060 is exactly the kind of Middle-end graphics card that gamers need in 2019, and maybe in 2020. Here is a modern model that supports hardware ray tracing — and in the case of the SUPER modification, the presence of RT blocks does not look like a sham and marketing lure. I dare say that buying a GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER is the surest and most affordable way to comfortably play Cyberpunk 2077 in Full HD with DXR enabled next year when it finally releases.
At the same time, the increased performance level of the updated and fully unlocked TU106 chip should be noted — due to four additional streaming multiprocessors, the SUPER version of the GeForce RTX 2060 is faster than the regular GeForce RTX 2060 in some games by 20% or even more. And yet, I personally think that the main thing in the new product is a full-fledged 8 GB of memory, which video cards really need if you want to play modern games at maximum or close to that graphics quality settings, even in Full HD resolution. Yes, an 8 GB GeForce RTX 2060 costs more than a 6 GB modification ($20 on average), but, in my opinion, such an overpayment is absolutely justified if you are considering only these two models for purchase. If the GeForce RTX 2060 initially had 8 GB of VRAM, then the advantages of the new product would not look so significant.
As for the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G model specifically, I have no particular complaints about it. Here is one of the most affordable video cards based on a full-fledged TU106 chip, with an efficient and not very noisy cooler, as well as quite reasonable dimensions that allow it to be used in almost any tower case. GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC 8G is already overclocked out of the box, but if you want, you can always increase the performance of this accelerator by another 8-10% without degrading its temperature and noise performance too much. So the video card can be safely recommended for purchase.