Nvidia's top-end RTX graphics cards have disappointed Team Green commercially, but the real battle is arguably at the mid-tier. Nvidia is currently catering to this market with both the newly launched GTX 1660 Ti and the ray-tracing capable RTX 2060 range, with around $70 separating them. If you want to experience the ray-tracing effects in Battlefield V and Metro Exodus though, then the RTX series is the only way to go.
Historically, Nvidia's x60 line has been the mid-range battleground, occupying that sweet spot between price and performance. With Turing, that's all changed. The GeForce RTX 2060 has been given a significant price rise over the previous-gen GTX 1060. This PNY XLR8 RTX 2060 Gaming OC currently retails for around £340 here in the UK ($349 in the States), the same price as the GTX 1070 launched for two years ago. Nvidia's graphics card ranges are getting more expensive across the board then, but does that mean you should be contemplating a step down in tier? Let's take a look.
We're used to AIB partners throwing potentially dozens of new cards at us when in a new GPU arrives, in a dizzying array of combinations. PNY has currently got just two, comprising of the single-fan mini-ITX model and this, the full-fat PNY XLR8 RTX 2060 Gaming OC dual-fan with a factory overclock.
Of PNY's two RTX 2060's, the PNY XLR8 RTX 2060 Gaming OC is the premium choice, although at £340 it's very reasonably priced compared to the competition. Its chief competition from AMD is the Vega 56 range, while inwardly at Nvidia the RTX 2060 is competing with the GTX 1070 and GTX 1070 Ti. In terms of pricing, this makes the RTX 2060 fairly competitive despite Nvidia's leap in MSRP. But it's also a graphics card that's a couple of years younger than the competition, while perhaps not offering the leap in performance that could tempt GTX 10 Series owners into an upgrade.
In terms of the look of the card, PNY's RTX 2060 XLR8 toes a pretty safe line. Their previous GTX 1060 feature a red-trimmed shroud, while the RTX 2060 keeps things fairly sparse in comparison. It's got dual 90mm fans and is almost completely black/grey aside from the XLR8 branding. It doesn't exactly scream premium but as I'm not a big fan of the usual gaming aesthetic, the neutral look does the job well enough.
Specs-wise, the PNY XLR8 RTX 2060 Gaming OC offers a sizeable bump in performance over the reference model, achieved without an increase in TDP. As you can guess from the name, the PNY XLR8 RTX 2060 Gaming OC comes with an out-of-the-box overclock. The base clock sits at the same 1385 MHz as the reference edition, while boost clock goes all the way up to 1830 MHz in Gaming Mode, offering a generous 9% overclock.
Just like the Founders Edition, the PNY XLR8 RTX 2060 OC is a dual slot graphics card, although it is slightly longer, up to 9.25” from the FE’s 9.0”, although this shouldn't make a difference for all but the smallest cases. Outputs are stripped down to a DVI port, HDMI, a single DisplayPort, and no USB Type-C connection whatsoever, which could be a frustration for VR folks looking for VirtualLink compatibility.
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GeForce RTX 2080 GeForce RTX 2070 GeForce RTX 2060 PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU Architecture Turing Turing Turing Turing Turing Turing GPU TU102-300A-A1 TU104-400A-A1 TU106 TU106 TU106 TU116 Process Node 12nm NFF 12nm NFF 12nm NFF 12nm NFF 12nm NFF 12nm NFF CUDA Cores 4352 2944 2305 1920 1920 1536 Tensor Cores 544 368 288 240 240 N/A Core Clock 1350 MHz 1515 MHz 1410 MHz 1365 MHz 1365 MHz 1500 MHz Boost Clock 1545 MHz 1800 MHz 1620 MHz 1680 MHz 1830 MHz 1770 MHz Memory 11GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 6GB GDDR6 6GB GDDR6 6GB GDDR6 Memory Speed 14 GHz 14 GHz 14 GHz 14 GHz 14 GHz 12 GHz Memory Interface 352-bit 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit 192-bit Memory Bandwidth 616GB/s 448GB/s 448GB/s 336GB/s 336GB/s 288GB/s TDP 285W 215W 175W 150W 150W 120W Power Input 2x 8-pin 1x 6-pin & 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin Founders Price $1199 $799 $599 $349 N/A $279 Normal Price $999 $699 $499 $349 $349 $279
PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 Gaming Benchmarks
For our benchmarks, we've used a test system with a six-core Intel Core i7-5820K clocked at 4.3GHz, an MSI X99 Raider motherboard, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Kingston SV300S37A480G 480GB SSD, and a Cooler Master Seidon 120V CPU cooler.
We tested the GeForce RTX 2060 against a variety of the biggest AAA titles, both new and classic. Each test was performed at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K screen resolutions on the Ultra graphics preset. We've also used our benchmark database of graphics card performance to see how the PNY RTX 2060 XLR8 stacks up against the RTX 2060 Founders Edition and a variety of other graphics cards.
PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 18-Game 1080p Benchmarks
1080p resolution is arguably a little overkill for the GeForce RTX 2060, but there's an argument to be made that it's the 2060's natural home. During our testing, the GeForce RTX 2060 repeatedly bumped up against a CPU bottleneck. At this screen resolution, the PNY RTX 2060 is hitting 60fps/Ultra with ease, bar Metro Exodus, which is a case in and of itself. For everything else, the RTX 2060 absolutely blitzes it, and there's enough headroom to ensure the RTX 2060 should be capable of doing 1080p ray tracing for a good while to come.
PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 18-Game 1440p Benchmarks
Nvidia's x60 range has never typically catered to the 1440p, but with the arrival of the GeForce RTX 2060 we can see it can definitely hold its own at this resolution. Understandably there are a few dips under 60 frames per second, so automatically turning every game to Ultra is off the table. If you're willing to make a small handful of visual sacrifices, a 1440p monitor is a great fit for the PNY RTX 2060, but we wouldn't bank on raytracing effects at this resolution.
PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 18-Game 4K Benchmarks
And finally we come to 4K resolution, and this is well and truly outside of the domain of the RTX 2060. You could theoretically play at 4K with a PNY RTX 2060 6GB if you're prepared to drop down to Medium visuals, but we'd argue a resolution bump simply isn't worth a big drop in visual fidelity.
PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 Relative Performance
Here we compare the performance of the PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 relative to the graphics cards around it. Here you can see that at higher resolutions the value-add favours the higher-end graphics cards while at 1080p the RTX 2060 really comes into its own.
In terms of generational leaps, the PNY RTX 2060 is delivering close to double the frame rates of the GeForce GTX 1060 across nearly all resolutions. The gap is closest at 1080p but widens at higher resolutions. The new generation may have been accompanied by an unfortunate price increase but this is matched by an impressive leap in gaming performance.
It should be said that while the GeForce RTX 2060 is a phenomenal 1080p video card, if you're pairing it with a high refresh rate monitor then it's in your best interests to make sure have a high-end CPU with great clock speeds.
While not a factor for a lot of games, in the case of Hitman 2, and Far Cry New Dawn in particular, our test bench Intel Core i7-5820K really did hold it back at this resolution. In Far Cry New Dawn an RTX 2060 should be capable of around 88 fps at 1080p/Ultra, but CPU limitations brought this crashing down to 72 frames per second. Overclocking to 4.3 GHz brought it up in line with expectations but be warned, a slow CPU will bottleneck this GPU at 1080p. It's definitely something to bear in mind if you want to get the maximum performance out of PNY RTX 2060.
PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 6GB Relative Value For Money
With this information, we can then extrapolate the data yet further and determine value for money. The PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 6GB clearly isn't the fastest graphics card in the world, as the above charts determine, but at $349 does it offer better value than the competition?
Using the data above, we've set the PNY RTX 2060 as the baseline in terms of value for money at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. The lower the figure, the less money you are paying per frame of performance relative to the RTX 2060. Conversely, the higher the figure, the less value for money you are getting.
Any graphics card that sits above the RTX 2060 in the chart is better value for money. Any card that has a higher number than the RTX 2060 has worse value for money.
The prices used were the cheapest available on NewEgg for new graphics cards at the time of writing. A few are well above MSRP because stocks have run dry and their prices have escalated.
Unsurprisingly it's the top-end graphics cards that offer the least value, but value almost becomes immaterial if you want to hit 4K/60. Yes, the RTX 2080 Ti is prohibitively expensive, but it's also the only graphics card that can do what it does. That's how it justifies the lofty the price tag, but anyone looking for value would do well to look towards the GeForce RTX 2060 or AMD's reduced price Vega 56. Both graphics cards offer consistently great value.
Overall, we have to say we came away impressed by the PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060. It's a little no-frills but still offers a noticeable performance advantage over stock-clocks, averaging around 8% frame rate gains. The generational $100 price rise can be a little hard to swallow, but the RTX 2060 consistently offers great value for money despite this, alongside top-notch 1080p performance and competitive 1440p frame rates. It's not the card you're looking for if you're pinning your hopes on 4K gaming, but as an entry point into raytracing at 1080p it's a recommended buy.