The best graphics card you can acquire right now is RTX 3090, but what if you want something not so extremely expensive, but that also has ray tracing support? Both RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 are extraordinary candidates but will likely appeal differently to you depending on your needs. So we’re going to weigh in on the RTX 2060 vs. RTX 2070 debate and help you figure out what’s best for you.
If you’re looking to build a gaming rig or simply upgrade your GPU with a new one, you’re probably willing to spend a certain amount of money to get the performance you want. However, there’s been an interesting trend in the GPU market, especially from Nvidia’s side, where the price points are more spread apart than the performance marks.
At first, it might seem like a no-brainer to go with the RTX 2070 simply because the model number is bigger. Also, if you dig a little bit deeper and notice the price gap, that might even further assure you to get that GPU. Still, there are certain points that you should consider before making a decision.
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As the name suggests, both of these GPUs come from Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 line, and both are made using the 12nm manufacturing process which is, in fact, an optimized 14nm node from TSMC. They also each have 10.8 billion transistors and their die size is identical at 445 mm2. That, for the large part, is where the similarities end.
Let’s take a look at some technical specifications for both of these first and analyze where the differences lie and why some matter more than others.
|Model Name||Shader Processors||Texture Mapping Units||Render Output Units||Ray Tracing Cores||Tensor Cores|
|GeForce RTX 2060||1920||122||48||30||240|
|GeForce RTX 2070||2304||144||65||36||288|
It may seem that roughly 400 more shader processors will make RTX 2070 a lot better at the shading process, but the truth is that this is not enough to make a noticeable difference. Sure, shading will be a tougher job for RTX 2060 vs RTX 2070, but it’s actually not a key difference, performance-wise.
However, things are harder to miss at the number of texture mapping units. Although RTX 2070 comes off stronger, it’s very important to note that even their score of 144 is not on the level of many other cards in the same price range. RTX 2060 ranks the lowest in this category in their tier in our GPU hierarchy and is a lot closer to the tier below.
Basically, while there’s some margin between these two in that department, neither can really be proud of their texture mapping units.
Where RTX 2070 shows more of its shine is in the number of ROPs and in the number of ray tracing cores. Both of these are directly responsible for a better output, and when all of these little benefits are put together, there’s a clear advantage.
Another disadvantage for RTX 2060 is in the number of tensor cores. However, neither of these GPUs are truly powerful enough to take advantage of ray tracing. But, fortunately Nvidia’s upscaling solution, DLSS 2.0 is starting to get a lot traction, allowing users with RTX GPUs to get a lot more FPS in games.
Games that have implemented DLSS version 2.0 provide a significant increase in performance while maintain image quality. In fact, some games even manage to improve image quality with DLSS enabled.
The slight difference in RT cores is almost negligible when compared to the powerhouse that is RTX 2080 Ti. Still, both of these GPUs offer ray tracing, which is not something a lot of GPUs out there can boast about.
|Model||L2 Cache (MB)||Base core clock (MHz)||Boost core clock|
|Memory Size (GB)||Bandwidth|
Because there’s only a slight disparity between the amount of cache memory, you might be tempted to think it doesn’t matter as much. However, specifically, the L2 cache is vital for the computing speed. Really, RTX 2070 is in line with every other RTX 20 series GPU, bar the mammoth 5.5 for RTX 2080 Ti, and equally crazy 6 MB for Titan RTX.
The next interesting point for comparison is clock speed. The base core clock metric doesn’t offer many surprises in favor of RTX 2070, but boost clock will certainly draw more attention as this is the only number that gives an advantage to RTX 2060, but it can be deceiving.
If every other metric in this RTX 2060 vs RTX 2070 comparison was level, then 2060’s boost clock might be advantageous, but that’s simply not the case. The reason why this metric doesn’t matter as much is that there need to be several different factors involved for RTX 2060 to reach that 1680 MHz burst, and that will simply not happen often.
Next up is the area in which RTX 2070 dominates and removes all doubt about which card is better. They both use GDDR6 which was the standard at the time of their release, but the advantages in size, bandwidth and bus width make RTX 2070 a far better choice for stuff like 4K gaming and video editing.
Neither of these support NVLink nor SLI, so there’s no room for performance improvement that way. Although game or driver support for SLI these days is almost gone, so it’s never really a good idea to go down that path, even if its available.
The reason why many people are getting a good GPU is to have a more enjoyable gaming experience. If you think you won’t be able to get a top-notch performance out of either RTX 2060 or RTX 2070, you’d be wrong. Below is a good comparison video for how both of these GPUs perform in relatively modern games.
With a simple eye test, we can tell that the rough 10% difference is noticeable, but that it also depends on the game. The gap is a lot smaller in games with more linear level design. It was somewhat expected that RTX 2060 would perform better in those types of games, but it’s also interesting that RTX 2070 doesn’t increase its performance there either.
Below is a more comprehensive test that highlights the FPS performance of RTX 2060 when compared to RTX 2070.
As expected, there is a noticeable difference across the board, but it’s also important to note that outliers don’t make things look good for RTX 2060. On the other hand, RTX 2070 had a clear advantage in the spec section and it simply outperforms its opponent in the gaming performance department as well.
It’s time for RTX 2060 to finally show why it’s a worthy contender for your next GPU. At $349, it’s significantly cheaper than RTX 2070, which goes for $499. While RTX 2070 is without a doubt a better card, it’s the fact that it’s approximately 30% more expensive, while only bringing a 10-15% improvement in terms of performance boost, that should really be the deciding factor when choosing between these two.
Another point of interest is 2060’s 165W power need which is below 2070’s 185W. This would translate to the former needing a 500W PSU, while the latter would need to bump it up to 550W. The power consumption might seem less significant, but when it comes to the choice of needing to upgrade your PSU to accommodate the GPU, it’s definitely better to go for a lower-consuming card.
However, it’s probably important to consider the fact that the RTX 2070 was discontinued pretty early which means you might not have a lot of luck finding a new on on the market. Your only options for a 2070 may be on the second-hand market.
RTX 2060 vs RTX 2070: The Verdict
Overall, it’s plain to see that RTX 2070 is the superior card in this duel, but the question should really lie in the performance-per-dollar metric. In this category, RTX 2060 is simply a better choice. Of course, if you’re looking for a superior performance, then RTX 2070 is the smartest decision.
However, if you’re willing to spend $500 for a GPU, then it might be better to compare the price points of RTX 2070 and RTX 2070 Super. If you’re on a tighter budget, then it will presumably be a better choice to go for RTX 2060.
Of course, if you’re willing to wait a bit more, the RTX 3000 series’ mid-range and budget options easily outperform both RTX 2060 and RTX 2070.