Nvidia AIB partners have officially taken the lid of their custom GeForce RTX 2060 12GB graphics cards today. PC Market (opens in new tab) (via momomo_us (opens in new tab)), a popular IT magazine in Hong Kong, has posted the first review of Nvidia's rewarmed Turing-powered graphics card. The results are... interesting.
We have our own thoughts on the RTX 2060 12GB, and we heard from at least one AIB partner that it's "focusing on miners," which seems to be backed up by the PC Market testing. It's not everyday that you see a manufacturer launching a new product from a previous lineup. Then again, the global semiconductor shortage has forced companies to take drastic measures, such as Nvidia putting a new twist on the GeForce RTX 2060 that launched over two years ago.
Some think that it's just the chipmaker getting rid of leftover Turing silicon, while others speculate that it's a stopgap solution for the graphics card shortage. The GeForce RTX 2060 12GB may be a bit of both.
Nvidia shared the specifications for the GeForce RTX 2060 12GB five days ago. The graphics card is basically the bastard child of the GeForce RTX 2060 Super and GeForce RTX 2060. Put simply, the latest addition to the Turing family retains the CUDA core count and clock speeds of the former and the memory bus of the latter, with double the memory at a slightly increased TDP.
GeForce RTX 2060 12GB Gaming Benchmarks
PC Market had Zotac's Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 Twin Fan 12GB for review. The teardown revealed that the graphics card utilizes Micron's 16Gb MT61K512M32KPA-14C GDDR6 chips, which are rated for 14 Gbps. Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2060, GeForce RTX 2060 12GB, and GeForce RTX 2060 Super run their memory at 14 Gbps, though there's often a modest amount of overclocking headroom available.
Given its specifications, the GeForce RTX 2060 12GB should compete head-to-head with AMD's Radeon RX 6600. Since the reviewer didn't have one at hand, the Radeon RX 6600 XT, more specifically the Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 6600 XT OC Edition, was used in its place. The other graphics cards include a Galax GeForce RTX 2070 Super Work the Frames Edition and a Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra W 12G.
The publication tested the graphics cards at various resolutions, but we'll concentrate on the 1920x1080 ("2K") results, since it's likely the resolution that gamers who pick up the GeForce RTX 2060 12GB would be using. PC Market's testbed was based on the Core i5-11600K, Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero, and 16GB (2x8GB) of Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4-3200 memory. The news outlet performed its tests on Windows 11 with the Nvidia GeForce Game Ready 497.07 WHQL driver.
|Radeon RX 6600 XT||GeForce RTX 2070 Super||GeForce RTX 3060||GeForce RTX 2060 12GB|
|Back 4 Blood||182||172||158||142|
|Tom Clancy's The Division 2||107||101||100||90|
|Far Cry 6||78||81||75||68|
|Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy||45||65||67||51|
|Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition||68||75||71||63|
|Watch Dogs: Legion||11||60||66||58|
PC Market's gaming tests were a bit of a mess, as the publication didn't use the same graphics preset for all the titles and enabled using ray tracing and Nvidia DLSS on some games. Obviously, the latter isn't available on Radeon graphics cards and so scores in at least one game (Cyberpunk 2077) were omitted for the RX 6600 XT. Furthermore, six of the nine games can be categorized as Nvidia promoted titles, while only two of the games are AMD promoted releases.
We calculated the geometric mean for the 1080p results for the four graphics cards to get an overall idea of their performance. The GeForce RTX 3060 and GeForce RTX 2070 Super were on average 14% and 17% faster than the GeForce RTX 2060 12GB, respectively. Meanwhile, the GeForce RTX 2060 12GB delivered on average 20% higher performance than the Radeon RX 6600 XT (bearing in mind the missing CP2077 result).
GeForce RTX 2060 12GB Mining Tests
PC Market also tested mining performance, though looking at their figures, the numbers are questionable. Specifically, the RTX 3060 looks like it was tested on old mining software, as it should have scored closer to 30 MH/s without tuning. We won't spend much time on the mining aspects, as we've already discussed the problem with OEMs pushing the RTX 2060 12GB as a mining GPU elsewhere.
Unlike Ampere, Turing doesn't feature Nvidia's anti-mining limiter, which means you can squeeze every ounce of mining performance out of the previous-generation cards. The GeForce RTX 3060 could hit up to 48 MH/s without the Lite Hash Rate (LHR) treatment, but PC Market showed it hitting just 22 MH/s. We've tested the GPU with the latest NBminer software, however, and our tuned GPU mining benchmarks show it can hit 33 MH/s. Similarly, we achieved 44 MH/s on the RTX 2070 Super and 33 MH/s on the RTX 2060 6GB, with the RX 6600 XT managing just a hair less performance at 32 MH/s.
In other words, of the four GPUs PC Market tested, the 2070 Super should easily come out in the lead for mining performance... but it didn't. The 2070 Super does use more power (128W by our figures using in-line power testing equipment), compared to 75W on the 6600 XT and 105W on the 2060 6GB, but the 33% higher hashrate more than balances that out.
A Missed Opportunity for the RTX 2060 12GB Review
Unfortunately, the card we really wanted to see in PC Market's comparative testing is MIA. How does the 12GB card stack up against the existing 6GB card? The answer is that it likely performs just a bit better in most cases, thanks to the extra GPU cores. We're still working to get a card, so hopefully we can shed some light on that aspect, but we do know that as a mining GPU, 12GB vs. 6GB shouldn't make any difference.
PC Market concludes by saying the newer RTX 30-series GPUs are more desirable, but that was always a given. What we don't know is how much the RTX 2060 12GB should cost, or how available it will be. Searching around for 2060 12GB cards in the US market indicates they're not being circulated much around here — Newegg comes up blank, while Amazon's garbage search results (opens in new tab) produce the expected list of 2060 6GB cards and 3060 12GB cards, with some RTX 3060 Ti models tossed in for good measure.
We expect the 2060 12GB will in general trail the RTX 3060 by around 15% in gaming performance, while basically matching it in mining performance (unless you work around the hashrate limiter). At the right price, gamers would likely find the card worth considering, but it looks like OEMs are aiming the 2060 12GB at miners instead.