Nvidia launched their RTX lineup 9 months ago with the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 and at the time there weren’t really games available to take advantage of the RTX specific features. RTX was one of those chicken or the egg situations where the cards to be able to handle real-time ray tracing needed to be available before any games were going to offer it as an option. Well, this years E3 showed a lot more games with ray tracing support in the pipeline and Nvidia hasn’t slowed down their RTX push, even with their launch of a few GTX cards early this year. In fact, now that they have been working with Turing for a little while now they have been able to pull a little better performance out of their cards. Of course, normally this would be when they launch their Ti cards but that was used last year so today they are introducing a few new cards with the SUPER designation. They have the RTX 2080 SUPER, RTX 2070 SUPER, and the RTX 2060 SUPER. Right now I’m going to take a look at the new RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition card to see what makes these new cards SUPER and then put it to the test through our benchmark suite as well.
Product Name: Nvidia RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition
Review Sample Provided by: Nvidia
Written by: Wes Compton
Pictures by: Wes Compton
Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE
SUPER? What’s changed
Normally before diving into testing a new GPU, I would want to dig into the architecture changes and see what is new but the SUPER lineup isn’t an architecture change nor is it a die shrink. But that isn’t to say that nothing has changed. So below I have a specification breakdown and for reference, I’ve included the GTX 1060, the RTX 2060, the new RTX 2060 SUPER, and the RTX 2070. The RTX 2060 and RTX 2060 SUPER are there for a direct comparison of what has changed. The GTX 1060 puts things in perspective for where things used to be and the RTX 2070 is there to see just how close the 2060 SUPER is getting to the old RTX 2070 model.
Now the big change is that Nvidia has added a few more SMs (Streaming Multiprocessors). Each SMs has 64 CUDA cores so by bumping that up from 30 to 34 the 2060 SUPER has 256 more CUDA cores. That also means more RT and Tensor Cores as well which brings the TFLOPS up from 6.5 to 7.2 on both the FP32 and INT32 (which for Turing run independently). This puts the RTX 2060 SUPER suspiciously close to the RTX 2070. They also played with clock speeds, bringing the core clock speed up from 1365 MHz to 1470 MHz but the boost clock is down slightly by 30 MHz. Similar to the RTX 2070 the RTX 2060 SUPER also has jumped from 6GB of VRAM to 8GB of VRAM and the controller went from 192-bit to 256-bit. That memory controller bump might be the most interesting change, the VRAM and memory was a bit of a limitation on the RTX 2060 as I talked about in my original review.
Looking through the specifications you can see how the increase in SMs and memory change things including the L1 Cache jumping in size because those are tied in with each SM. The new memory interface gives you better memory bandwidth as well. Now the changes also mean that Nvidia had to bump up the TGP from 160 Watts to 175 Watts which matches the RTX 2070. It will be interesting to see how that changes power usage in our tests and thermals, but we will have to wait to see that later on.
Nvidia’s presentation focused on a few other areas as well and I wanted to touch on a few of those. Obviously, they did put some basic information about the three new cards. The 2080 Super is faster than the Titan XP which I thought was interesting and the 2070 Super is faster than the 1080 Ti. The 2080 Super is up ahead of the GTX 2080 as well.
They also focused a lot on all of the big ray tracing games of E3 this year, as I mentioned at the start ray tracing is starting to take off when just 9 months ago at the RTX launch there were only a few demos that had it. Big games like Cyberpunk, Watchdogs, Doom, and Wolfenstein all will have ray tracing. Even more importantly all of the big engines and APIs are getting it as well which should translate to a lot of the smaller titles starting to introduce it as well.
Nvidia’s other big announcement alongside of the SUPER launch is a software introduction for Frame View. Frame View does a few different things. It is similar to FRAPS in that you can run benchmarks to track FPS but it allows looking at the FPS at the rendered FPS which is at the beginning at the pipeline and the displayed FPS which is at the end of the pipeline. You can also check out percentile FPS in a few different variations. You can also check out the video cards power usage with GPU only or TGP power usage. That right now is only supported by Nvidia cards. All of this can be outputted to excel files and also put on an on-screen overlay. The scan files can get really interesting when putting the frame rate information together with the power usage numbers. You can chart performance per watt graphs. I had a bit of a late start on my testing so I haven’t had the chance to play with Frame View too much but it could be very interesting for testing!
Before getting into testing I did also get a screenshot of the GPUz for our RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition. This is just to document the BIOS version and driver used for testing and to confirm that the card isn’t running at any higher of a clock speed than the specifications list.
Nvidia also released a hype video for the new SUPER lineup with a SUPER hero feel this morning. You can check that out here as well.
A lot of times launch samples or reference cards don’t come with any packaging. But with Nvidia moving to selling some of their Founders Edition cards a few years ago one of the bonuses of that was the move to having proper packaging for the cards. The SUPER cards didn’t change anything here. They have that same trippy stripped box design as the other RTX cards and the RTX wrap around that all Nvidia cards have is there. Down on the bottom and on the end of the box the model number is still there only this time it has that SUPER logo.
Inside the box, I do still love how when you get these you open the box up to find the card sitting there like a jewel for you. Nvidia even goes out of the way to use a clear plastic on the card itself so you can see it. The RTX 2060 SUPER doesn’t have too much going on other than that. There is a small tray that slides out of the foam that has the documentation and there isn’t a dongle or anything.
Card Layout and Photos
So if you have had the chance to check out the original RTX 2060 Founders Edition most of the 2060 SUPER isn’t going to be a huge surprise. That isn’t to say that you won’t like it though, I personally loved the changes Nvidia made with the RTX cards. The biggest change, of course, was switching to a dual fan design and going with an axial fan cooler rather than the blower fan design that has been a staple with reference cards for basically ever. Why the big change? Well, all of the aftermarket cards have been using two or more fans for a while now and Nvidia has positioned their Founders Edition cards to be a premium experience. Physically the Founders Edition cards have been premium, but aftermarket cards have made them look bad with cooling performance for years. Now the 2060 SUPER does have one big change and you can see it right between the two fans. The area that used to be black has now been chromed and in that the RTX 2060 logo has that bright green SUPER logo with it as well. Time will tell on what people think of the chrome, I think it looks really good but like the silver that the RTX use for the rest of the card, it might only work in specific builds. RGB fans should love it though, reflecting your lighting. Love it or hate it, you can say for sure that it was a bold choice.
The fans themselves haven’t changed. You still have that aluminum cap on the center as well that was also used on the blower fan design and the silver ring around the fans doesn’t stand out as much now that the center is chrome. But you can see that the fan fills up the full height of the card and while the RTX cards are a touch taller than the old blower style, they still stick within the normal PCI height which most aftermarket cards don’t seem to do anymore.
The end of the cooler is completely capped off but you can see how Nvidia has designed the top and bottom edges of the RTX 2060 SUPER to handle the airflow. Unlike the blower cards, this does mean the warmed air is blowing into your case not out the back anymore though. I also love that while the heatsink is directly visible on both views Nvidia was careful to give it a nice black finish.
While the black is no longer between the fans they did keep the black strip along the top. It still has the GeForce RTX branding which lights up. Still no updates on doing anything other than green for the lighting which is a shame. The logo used to be rubber with a transparent green over it but with the RTX cards, Nvidia went with a chromed looking transparent plastic that looks really good with the lighting off if you don’t want that green. Of course, that green SUPER logo is still going to be there though.
Like I mentioned the end of the card wraps around. The all metal casing has a nice rounded edge on the front and the back here. They did still keep the dual mounting screws for server and OEM use when you want to properly support the card to prevent dropping. The end also has the power connection, just like the original RTX 2060 and RTX 2070. For power, it uses a single 8-pin. I still prefer a normal top mounted power though.
Around on back the silver backplate was a big change with the original RTX launch, in the past it was black. I like that the whole card matches now but having the backplate silver means that you will see it more. Given that most cases and builds focus on black, the silver is going to stand out more. The backplate, like the rest of the shroud, is a thick heavy duty metal. It has grooves cut into it for styling around the chrome RTX logo in the middle. Alongside of that is the bright green SUPER logo as well.
Nvidia didn’t change anything from the RTX 2060 to the 2060 SUPER as far as the display connections. This is their highest model to still get DVI. You also get two DisplayPort connections and one HDMI for the full mix of what most people use. The small Type-C connection in the bottom right is a special USB-C VirtualLink port. This can be used like a normal USB Type-C connection including using it for SSDs and other devices including displays. I’m most looking forward to the VirtualLink usage though where VR headsets in the future can use that one port for power, display, and USB which right now you have to hook up all three into a box. Imagine just plugging in one thing for VR.
I also pulled our original RTX 2060 out and took a few comparison shots of the two cards together. The only difference is the chrome in between the fans and the bright green SUPER logo on the front and on the backplate.
If you were curious what the top logo looks like lit up or what RGB lighting looks like on the chrome I also have a peek at that as well.
Test Rig and Procedures
Our Test Rig Configuration (with affiliate links)
CPU - Intel i9-7960X
Motherboard - Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex
Memory - HyperX DDR4 Predator 3000MHz
Storage - Kingston A1000 960GB M.2 SSD
Cooling - Noctua NH-U12S
Power Supply - Corsair AX1200w
Case - Primochill Wetbench
To start off my testing I always like to work with a few synthetic benchmarks. They don’t translate directly to in game performance numbers but they are consistent and both AMD and Nvidia optimize for them meaning they give you a good look at what you should expect performance wise. Especially when comparing from card to card which in this case is exactly what we want to see. I’m really curious how the RTX 2060 SUPER compares with the old RTX 2060 model as well as the RTX 2070 which at least specification wise it is getting close too. I’m also curious where the 2060 SUPER stands compared to the GTX 1080.
3Dmark is one of the most popular synthetic benchmarks and over the last few years, they have been expanding their testing to touch on different areas. 3DMakr has the Fire Strike benchmark which is a little older and tests DX11 performance. I ran all three versions, and the performance gap between the RTX 2060 and the RTX 2060 SUPER is large here. The 2060 SUPER also pulled ahead of the base clocked RTX 2070 as well but not the overclocked and Founders Editions. That was also enough to pull ahead of the GTX 1080 FE as well.
Now the 3DMark Tim Spy tests are DX12 focused and the Turing based cards have performed better at DX12 as a whole so I was curious how the 2060 SUPER would do here. Here it outperformed the overclocked RTX 2060’s and the referenced clocked RTX 2070 as well as the water cooled Vega 64. The RTX 2070 and higher, as well as the 1080 Ti, are still ahead in performance.
The 3DMark Port Royal benchmark is new and specific to ray tracing performance. I only have results from the RTX cards here but I was surprised to see the 2060 SUPER edge out the RTX 2070 FE. It should be close but ray tracing driver improvements between the 2070 FE launch and now also account for some of that improvement.
Lastly, I also used the Unigine Engine based Superposition benchmark to run a few tests. I tested at 1080p twice, once at normal detail and again at the extreme detail setting. Then I tested with ultra-high resolutions in the 4k and 8k tests. There weren’t any big surprises here, the RTX 2060 SUPER came in between the RTX 2070 FE and the reference clocked RTX 2070 which put it ahead of the GTX 1080 and the Vega 64 and way ahead of the original RTX 2060.
I love VR gaming but it is more demanding than traditional games because of the frame rate that is required for things to feel smooth. To test this there aren’t enough tests that you the reader can also run for comparison so I only have the SteamVR benchmark and VRMark to test with. Hopefully, we see more options soon. The SteamVR test is dated and was just a simple test to make sure a video card can handle the basic VR experience, all of the RTX cards have maxed out this result so there isn’t much to learn from that test.
The VRMark test, on the other hand, lets us look at a few aspects. So orange room is a lower end test similar to the SteamVR test which shows current day basic game performance, blue room is future looking for much more demanding games, and cyan fits in the middle with demanding current day VR game performance. The orange room results are basically off the charts so there isn’t any point in worrying about those. Blue room, well none of the cards have reached the FPS target on it but you can see that the 2060 SUPER is getting up there, falling in between the 2070 FE and the 2070 reference clocked card once again. Then the cyan room shows that with 190 FPS the 2060 SUPER is going to handle anything you throw at it for current day VR titles.
Now we finally get into the in game performance and that is the main reason people pick up a new video card. To test things out I ran through our new benchmark suite that tests 16 games at three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4k). I also slipped in a few variations on the same games for comparisons like DX11 to DX12, OpenGL to Vulkan, and a couple of games are just tested at their highest setting and lower but still high detail options to show the performance difference when things are turned down slightly. In total, each video card is tested 75 times and that makes for a huge mess of graphs when you put them all together. To help with that I like to start off with these overall playability graphs that take all of the results and give an easier to read the result. I have one for each of the three resolutions and each is broken up into four FPS ranges. Under 30 FPS is considered unplayable, over 30 is playable but not ideal, over 60 is the sweet spot, and then over 120 FPS is for high refresh rate monitors. This covers all of the games tested except Final Fantasy XV that we have a score rather than an FPS because they like to be different.
So how did the RTX 2060 SUPER Founders Edition perform? In short, really good. At 1080p it had four games up over 120 FPS and a whopping 15 in the 60-119 range. The two outliers were the two in the 30 to 59 range. As usual one of those was Ashes of the Singularity at 56.5 FPS which is always much lower than the average FPS. The second was the newly added Metro Exodus game at ultra detail which at 59.23 FPS was extremely close to moving into the next bracket. At 1440p there were still three up over 120 FPS and 13 over 60 FPS and 5 under 60. Given the 2060 SUPER basically came in between the RTX 2070 FE and the RTX 2070 running at the reference speeds I’m not surprised that 1440p performance is looking good, not perfect but smooth in most games. Then at 4k, you can see a dropoff where we now have most games running below 60 FPS and two under 30 FPS. This was an improvement over the RTX 2060 FE though which only had two in the 60 FPS range previously and had 3 under 30 FPS. You can see in both 4k and 1440p where the increased VRAM capacity and controller size have helped when we get into the higher resolution games at high detail settings.
Before getting into the detail results I did want to take a look at Final Fantasy XV which doesn’t use FPS scores so I couldn’t include it in with the others. I tested this one twice once using the high detail setting and again taking a look at DLSS performance. In the normal test, the 2060 SUPER came in below the RTX 2070 FE, big shocker right? This also meant it was ahead of the 1080 with 11 Gbps memory and well ahead of the Vega 64 as well. In the DLSS vs TAA test, the result was similar as well but notice how big the jump is between the RTX 2060 models to the 2060 SUPER.
If you are crazy like me and love looking through all of the detail results, I have even more than normal with the addition of four new titles into my testing. These will eventually be replacing a few of the older titles but right now there is some overlap. Looking through everything though there are a few takeaways. For starters, the 2060 SUPER seems to fall directly in between the RTX 2070 FE and the RTX 2070 that was running the stock clocks (remember Nvidia brought out that cheaper RTX 2070 for a while at launch that ran at a slower speed than the OCed and FE models). The only exception was in AOTS which the 2060 SUPER was a little behind and that was enough to keep it below 60 FPS on that specific test. DX12 performance, just like I have seen with other Turing based cards was better than DX11 and Vulkan performed well but AMD sees a bigger jump in Vulkan based games.
Now some people don’t need a video card for gaming, they need the processing power for rendering or 2D/3D production or in some cases people who game also do work on the side. So it is also important to check out the compute performance on all of the video cards that come in. That includes doing a few different tests. My first test was a simple GPU Compute benchmark using Passmark’s Performance Test 9. No big surprises if you have been paying attention to the other results. The 2060 SUPER came in a little behind the overclocked and FE RTX 2070s but ahead of the overclocked RTX 2060 and the reference clocked RTX 2070. This was still behind the GTX 1080 and the 1070 Ti as well as the Vega 64 though.
Blender is the most important of our tests here as it is an extremely popular 3D rendering program and all of the RTX cards do extremely well in Blender and this was no different, as you can see the 2060 SUPER is right up near the top of the charts just behind the 2070 FE.
With Basemark I ran their Compute benchmarks in both DX12 and OpenGL, the 2060 SUPER is up near the top of the charts here once again with all of the RTX cards with of course the 2070 FE ahead of it and the overclocked 2060 well behind.
I feel like I’m repeating myself over and over, but once again the 2060 SUPER was right up with the RTX 2070 FE with a big gap between it and even the overclocked RTX 2060 in the Geekbench OpenCL benchmark.
Cooling, Noise, and Power
My last round of testing is also some of the most important once you have decided on which GPU model you want. That is because most cards with the RTX 2060 SUPER GPU are going to be close in performance give or take on the overclock, but cooling, noise, and power are all things that change from card to card and company to company. They also get even more important when you get into smaller form factor builds, huge builds heat and power isn’t a big deal. I’m curious how the 2060 SUPER FE will compare to the RTX 2060 FE given they have the same cooler design. It should be a good way to see what the extra SMs, memory, and different clock speeds changed.
For the first tests, I wanted to check out power usage. For this, I used out Kill-A-Watt and monitored the total wattage pulled from our entire test system. I ran two tests with two different load types. I used the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark in the combined test which loads up the video card and CPU in a similar way to most games. In that test, our system pulled 388 watts at peak which was surprise surprise very close to the RTX 2070 and 22 watts higher than the RTX 2060 FE but this was about right compared to the increase in TGP from the original 2060 to the SUPER. The second test was using AIDA64’s stress test just loading the GPU. This wattage is lower because it isn’t putting any load on the CPU or other components but it puts a more solid load on the video card itself. The difference here was 14 watts. Keep in mind however that neither of these is loading up the Tensor or RT cores so with all of the RTX cards you could see more power draw using those specific workloads. Overall the 2060 SUPER does get a jump in power draw, but not any more than expected.
Next, I wanted to check out the noise levels of the dual fan cooler on the Founders Edition. To do this I ran three tests. One at 100% fan speed, one at 50% fan speed, and a third testing the noise level when doing our thermal tests which show the loudest the fan should get in normal usage. At 100% fan speed, the 2060 SUPER was right with all of the RTX Founders Edition cards which were quieter than the old blower on the 1080 Ti but louder than the blower fans on the mid-range GTX FE cards. 50% fan speed, on the other hand, was a little better, once not really cranked up the dual fans aren’t too bad. Of course, when compared to aftermarket cards there is still room to improve. This was especially obvious in the third test where I monitored noise levels with the card under a 30+ minute solid load.
My last round of testing was thermal tests. For this I did two different tests, one with the stock fan profile putting the card under load again using AIDA64’s stress test and then a second time with the fan turned up to 100%. The idea is to see what the fan profile is set to let the card run for temperature and then see if noise wasn’t a concern how cool it would run in the same test with the fans up. The delta between those lets us also see how much more room is left for cooling should you want to overclock or make your own fan profile. Now with the stock fan settings, our 2060 SUPER did run two degrees higher than the original 2060 FE and this was just above all of the original RTX cards but still well below the much higher temperatures than the older Founders Edition cards ran. Turning the fan up dropped temps from 66 down to 52 which wasn’t really a lot. This is where you can see how the nearly RTX 2070 GPU configuration running on the 2060 cooler changes things with the older 2060 FE being 6 degrees cooler.
While doing stock fan profile testing and after I had the card nice and warmed up I did also get a few thermal images as well. I just wanted to look for any hot spots and to see how hot the outside of the card is running after the all metal fan shroud warms up. On the backplate, you can see a warmer area near the middle of the card where the GPU is but you can also see how the backplate is pulling that heat out away from there. The top view gives a good look at where the warmed air is blowing out the top and bottom edge. But I think it’s the fan view that is the most interesting with noticeable hot spots on the bottom right of the fans compared to the other ¾ of the fan. I don’t know if maybe airflow on the top portion is a little easier. It wasn’t a concerning temperature difference, just interesting enough to point out.
Overall and Final Verdict
The RTX 2060 was and still is a solid card, which gets you good performance and access to the Tensor and RT Cores without breaking the bank like some of the higher end RTX cards. In fact, even with the introduction of the GTX 1660 Ti the RTX 2060 was still a compelling option when game bundles were taken into account. So I was really excited to see that Nvidia gave the RTX 2060 the SUPER treatment. What did that actually end up being? Well, this wasn’t a standard overclocked rerelease, they actually increased the core counts up very close to the RTX 2070 and went with the higher VRAM capacity and 256-bit memory interface. In reality, the RTX 2060 SUPER is a lot closer to the RTX 2070 than it is to the RTX 2060. In fact, in my testing I found that it outperformed the “reference” clocked RTX 2070 in just about every test, falling right in between that and the RTX 2070 FE which came with a little bit of an overclock.
Like the previous 2060 Founders Edition, you still get that solid all-metal design which no aftermarket card comes close to with their plastic fan shrouds. The increase in performance means what was a solid 1080p card is now a contender at 1440p as well. The cooler design only had one change which was the addition of the chrome in between the fans, I think it looks good but chrome can be very polarizing and I’m sure this will be no different. Then again the all silver design of the RTX Founders Edition cards was and is still polarizing as well, Nvidia must just be going with that. I also wish they would have taken this update as a chance to open up the lighting options on that top logo, we all get it green IS Nvidia but we want to be able to change that to whatever matches our build/style. The dual fan design is a big improvement over older blower cards when it comes to performance but they are still noisy compared to the aftermarket options.
Now for pricing Nvidia priced this card at $399, aftermarket card pricing isn’t announced yet but this like the original RTX 2060 looks like a good value to me. You are getting performance above the RTX 2070s with the stock clock speeds which were priced at $499 back in October. In addition, Nvidia has a game bundle which gets you Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Control which are both titles you can expect to use Ray tracing and DLSS. The debate on if RTX is worth it is still there of course, but game titles with support for ray tracing and DLSS are in the pipeline as E3 this year has shown. I know if I was considering the RTX 2060 before the 2060 SUPER is a MUCH better deal, especially with a lot of the original 2060 overclocked cards being at the same price.
Live Pricing: HERE