When Nvidia launched the RTX family, it purposefully confined itself to the top three GPUs in the stack: the RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti. The company focused on refreshing the top of its product mix and on pushing new GPUs at higher price points into the market rather than launching a top-to-bottom refresh. This was partially caused, according to Nvidia, by a massive overcalculation that left hundreds of thousands of GPU inventory unsold by the end of Q3 2018 (that’s Nvidia’s FY Q3 2019, for those keeping track). Nvidia announced that it would ship very few midrange Pascal cards in Q4 to give inventory time to draw down — but the company is clearly planning to follow its existing trio of RTX launches with a new GPU, the RTX 2060. Rumors have begun to pop up suggesting an announcement at CES and launch shortly thereafter.
Tom’s Hardware has rounded up the rumors, which includes one we’ve heard before — that Nvidia will launch both a GTX and an RTX version of the 2060. Andreas Schilling of HardwareLuxx.de has revealed what he claims are the RTX 2060’s marketing materials, and we see no such distinction there. It’s not clear, in any case, that this would be a winning strategy. Splitting the market between GTX and RTX runs the risk of confusing gamers who buy one card when they intended to buy the other, and could risk pinning too much on Turing’s ray tracing performance when the GPU in question is least likely to offer that performance at a sustainable level.
#GeForceRTX2060 for desktop is real! (For those who still had doubts) Marketing material for the smallest #Turing expansion is arriving at the manufacturers marketing divisions. Beside 6 GB of #GDDR6 I can not confirm any tech specs. Stay tuned for the second week of January! pic.twitter.com/xaorlA6JLd
— Andreas Schilling (@aschilling) December 16, 2018
Even after the Battlefield V DXR patch that substantially improved overall performance, it’s hard to see how an RTX 2060 will offer much in the way of ray tracing excitement. The RTX 2070 hits 63-70fps in 1080p, but the RTX 2060 is estimated to offer only about 83 percent the resources of its larger brother (like the RTX 2070, the RTX 2060 is reportedly built on TU106).
At this point, we simply don’t know enough about how well Nvidia’s RTX GPUs will perform in future DXR games to make a call on this — beyond noting that the lower in the GPU stack you go, the less chance that these cards will be able to deliver playable frame rates over the long-term evolution of the future. While GPUs aren’t sticking around as long as CPUs these days, we’ve still seen an increase in overall time between upgrades and it’s not unusual to see readers talk about wanting three or four years of useful life from a GPU upgrade.
As far as expected price and price performance, THG has data showing that the RTX 2060 lands just behind the 1070 Ti and about 30 percent faster than the GTX 1060. Unfortunately, unless Nvidia shows a sudden willingness to price its GPU’s reasonably, it will accompany that performance jump with a price increase. Right now, the RTX 2070 is a $ 500 GPU, the GTX 1070 Ti is $ 379, and the GTX 1070 is selling for around $ 335. The 6GB flavor of the GTX 1060, meanwhile, is selling for as little as $ 209.
There’s no way Nvidia is going to leave a hole that large in its lineup, and it wouldn’t make much sense for the company to stop charging a premium for RTX features halfway down the stack. AMD’s RX 590 offers no real competition and is priced fairly high as well, at ~$ 280. Given this, we’d expect an RTX 2060 between $ 300 – $ 400 at debut, with $ 350 a reasonable target given Nvidia’s pre-existing targets.