The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB Founders Edition Review: Not Quite Mainstream

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Launching next Tuesday, January 15th is the 4th member of the GeForce RTX family: the GeForce RTX 2060. Based on a cut-down version of the same TU106 GPU that’s in the RTX 2070, this new part shaves off some of RTX 2070’s performance, but also a good deal of its price tag in the process. And for this launch, like the other RTX cards last year, NVIDIA is taking part by releasing their own GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition card, which we are taking a look at today.

NVIDIA Announces GeForce RTX 2060: Starting At $349, Available January 15th

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Kicking off CES 2019 with a surprisingly announcement-packed keynote session, NVIDIA this evening has announced the next member of the GeForce RTX video card family: the GeForce RTX 2060. The newest and now cheapest member of the RTX 20 series continues the cascade of Turing-architecture product releases towards cheaper and higher volume market segments. Designed to offer performance around the outgoing GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, the new card will hit the streets next week on January 15th, with prices starting at $349.

We don’t yet have top-to-bottom specifications for the card, but based on the information NVIDIA has released thus far, it looks like the GeForce RTX 2060 is based on a cut-down version of the TU106 GPU that’s already being used in the GeForce RTX 2070. This is notable because until now, NVIDIA has used a different GPU for each RTX card – TU102/2080TI, TU104/2080, TU106/2070 – making this the first such card in the family. It’s also a bit of a shift from the status quo for GeForce xx60 parts in general, which have traditionally always featured their own GPU, with NVIDIA going smaller to reduce costs.

NVIDIA GeForce Specification Comparison
  RTX 2060 Founders Edition GTX 1060 6GB GTX 1070 RTX 2070
CUDA Cores 1920 1280 1920 2304
ROPs 48? 48 64 64
Core Clock 1365MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz 1410MHz
Boost Clock 1680MHz 1709MHz 1683MHz 1620MHz
FE: 1710MHz
Memory Clock 14Gbps GDDR6 8Gbps GDDR5 8Gbps GDDR5 14Gbps GDDR6
Memory Bus Width 192-bit 192-bit 256-bit 256-bit
VRAM 6GB 6GB 8GB 8GB
Single Precision Perf. 6.5 TFLOPS 4.4 TFLOPs 6.5 TFLOPS 7.5 TFLOPs
FE: 7.9 TFLOPS
"RTX-OPS" 37T N/A N/A 45T
SLI Support No No Yes No
TDP 160W 120W 150W 175W
FE: 185W
GPU TU106? GP106 GP104 TU106
Architecture Turing Pascal Pascal Turing
Manufacturing Process TSMC 12nm "FFN" TSMC 16nm TSMC 16nm TSMC 12nm "FFN"
Launch Date 1/15/2019 7/19/2016 6/10/2016 10/17/2018
Launch Price $349 MSRP: $249
FE: $299
MSRP: $379
FE: $449
MSRP: $499
FE: $599

In any case, let’s dive into the numbers. The GeForce RTX 2060 sports 1920 CUDA cores, meaning we’re looking at a 30 SM configuration, versus RTX 2070’s 36 SMs. As the core architecture of Turing is designed to scale with the number of SMs, this means that all of the core compute features are being scaled down similarly, so the 17% drop in SMs means a 17% drop in the RT Core count, a 17% drop in the tensor core count, a 17% drop in the texture unit count, a 17% drop in L0/L1 caches, etc.

Unsurprisingly, clockspeeds are going to be very close to NVIDIA’s other TU106 card, RTX 2070. The base clockspeed is down a bit to 1365MHz, but the boost clock is up a bit to 1680MHz. So on the whole, RTX 2060 is poised to deliver around 87% of the RTX 2070’s compute/RT/texture performance, which is an uncharacteristically small gap between a xx70 card and an xx60 card. In other words, the RTX 2060 is in a good position to punch above its weight in compute/shading performance.

However TU106 has taken a bigger trim on the backend, and in workloads that aren’t pure compute, the drop will be a bit harder. The card is shipping with just 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM, as opposed to 8GB on its bigger brother. The result of this is that NVIDIA is not populating 2 of TU106’s 8 memory controllers, resulting in a 192-bit memory bus and meaning that with the use of 14Gbps GDDR6, RTX 2060 only offers 75% of the memory bandwidth of the RTX 2070. Or to put this in numbers, the RTX 2060 will offer 336GB/sec of bandwidth to the RTX 2070’s 448GB/sec.

And since the memory controllers, ROPs, and L2 cache are all tied together very closely in NVIDIA’s architecture, this means that ROP throughput and the amount of L2 cache are also being shaved by 25%. So for graphics workloads the practical performance drop is going to be greater than the 13% mark for compute throughput, but also generally less than the 25% mark for ROP/memory throughput.

I also have some specific concerns here about the inclusion of just 6GB of VRAM – especially in an era where game consoles are shipping with 8 to 12GB of VRAM – but this is something we can look at later with the eventual review.

Moving on, NVIDIA is rating the RTX 2060 for a TDP of 160W. This is down from the RTX 2070, but only slightly, as those cards are rated for 175W. Cut-down GPUs have limited options for reducing their power consumption, so

Investigating NVIDIA’s Jetson AGX: A Look at Tegra Xavier and Its Carmel Cores

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Today’s piece is a bit of an unusual review; NVIDIA’s new Jetson AGX embedded system kit isn’t really a device platform we’re expecting the average reader to think about, much less buy. NVIDIA’s shift over the last few years from offering consumer grade Tegra chipsets to more specialised silicon applications isn’t any more evident than in the new Tegra Xavier which powers the Jetson AGX. While the board’s capabilities certainly fall outside of the use-cases of most consumers, it still represents a very interesting platform with a lot of functionality and silicon IP that we don’t find in any other device to this day. So when NVIDIA reached out to offer us a sample, we decided to have a go at assembling a high-level overview of what the board and the new Xavier chip can do.

The Enterpise TLC Storage Era Begins: Rounding Up 13 SSDs With Samsung, Intel, and Memblaze

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It’s been a busy year for consumer SSDs. With all the NAND flash manufacturers now shipping high-quality 3D NAND in volume, we’ve seen more competition than ever, and huge price drops. NVMe is starting to go mainstream and Samsung is no longer sitting atop that market segment unchallenged. But not all of the interesting SSD advancements have been in the consumer realm. We’ve reported on new datacenter SSD form factors, the introduction of QLC NAND and enterprise SSDs with staggering capacities, but we haven’t been publishing much in the way of traditional product reviews for enterprise/datacenter SSDs.

Today we’re looking at several recent models that cover the wide range of enterprise SSDs, from entry-level SATA drives based on the same hardware as mainstream consumer SSDs, up to giants that deliver 1M IOPS over a PCIe x8 connection while pulling more than 20W.

AnandTech Year in Review 2018: SSDs

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Rounding out our series of articles taking a look back at 2018, the past year has been one of the most exciting years in the SSD space since the drives started to go mainstream. Competition is up and prices are down. Existing technologies like 3D NAND and NVMe are now delivering their full potential, and new technologies like QLC NAND are off to a good start.

AnandTech Year In Review 2018: Flagship Mobile

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As we’re drawing to a close of the calendar year, it is time to look back and revisit what 2018 has brought to the mobile space. Unlike the PC industry, the mobile space follows a quite unrelenting and precise release schedule – meaning that we’re guaranteed new products every year: This can be a double-edged sword for new flagship mobile devices, as new technologies can be either ready at the leading edge of a new product cycle – or in the worst case they can miss the current generation altogether by a few months and have to be relegated to the next generation. Overall, smartphone companies have an incredibly complex task at hand in attempting to deliver products that not only represent an improvement to last year’s devices, but also to be able to distinguish themselves from the current competition. In this piece, we’ll have a closer look at the distinguishing trends of 2018 and how major players have executed their strategies this cycle.

AnandTech Year in Review 2018: CPUs

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When Ryan initially asked me to write a roundup of the year’s news on CPUs, I laughed. There has been a lot going on this year, from processor releases and reviews, to security issues, to discussions about the next few years of computing. However a couple of weeks ago I wrote a script to pull every AnandTech article out of our archive to filter into my own database for analysis. It turns out that the AT staff between us have written just shy of 200 news articles and longer format reviews about CPUs this year, and here are the highlights.

ECS LIVA Z2 and Intel June Canyon NUC7PJYH Gemini Lake UCFF PCs Review

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Small form-factor PCs have become a major growth segment over the last decade. On one hand, we have UCFF (ultra-compact form-factor) PCs revolutionize the desktop PC market. On the other hand, they have had an impact on the embedded and industrial market segment also. Intel has two different CPU architectures – the Core used in the premium market, and the Atom used for the entry-level. The pricing of Atom-based SoCs make it an attractive proposition for economical desktop PCs as well as industrial motherboards and systems. Atom-based SoCs are long-life products, with Gemini Lake being the most recent SoC family in that product line. Today, we take a look at two contrasting Gemini Lake UCFF PCs – the fanless ECS LIVA Z2 and the actively cooled Intel NUC7PJYH.

The Lenovo ThinkPad A285 (12.5-Inch) Review: Ryzen Pro Gets Down to Business

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A couple of months back Lenovo released the ThinkPad A285; a 12.5-inch business-class notebook featuring AMD’s Ryzen Pro mobile processor, complimenting their 14-inch A485 Ryzen Pro powered model. These are the first two Lenovo ThinkPad models to feature AMD’s Ryzen APU, and with it the latest generation of their Pro series, offering enhanced security, and manageability, over the normal consumer variants.

Intel’s Architecture Day 2018: The Future of Core, Intel GPUs, 10nm, and Hybrid x86

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It has been hard to miss the fact that Intel has been vacuuming up a lot of industry talent, which brings with them a lot of experience. Renduchintala, Koduri, Keller, Hook, and Carvill, are just to name a few. This new crew has decided to break Intel out of its shell for the first time in a while, holding the first in a new tradition of Intel Architecture Days.

Through the five hours of presentations, Intel lifted the lid on the CPU core roadmaps through 2021, the next generation of integrated graphics, the future of Intel’s graphics business, new chips built on 3D packaging technologies, and even parts of the microarchitecture for the 2019 consumer processors. In other words, it’s many of the things we’ve been missing out on for years. And now that Intel is once again holding these kinds of disclosures, there’s a lot to dig in to.

The MSI B450 Tomahawk Motherboard Review: More Missile Than Axe

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From the few second-generation AMD B450 and X470 motherboards we have tested, the majority have been refreshed models of pre-existing boards. Over time, the vendors have had the opportunity to make minor tweaks and upgrades to keep ahead of current technological advances and inevitable design choices. MSI has tried to tick both boxes with the new B450 Tomahawk which comes with an extended CPU heatsink, USB 3.1 Gen2 support and RGB LEDs.

The Seagate BarraCuda (500GB) SSD Review: Getting Back In The Game

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Seagate has been one of the top names in the storage industry for decades, but it’s almost exclusively for their hard drives. The company has been largely absent from the consumer SSD market, and their enterprise SSDs have never particularly stood out above the competition. By comparison, rival Western Digital managed to acquire SanDisk and with it a 50% stake in one of the largest NAND flash manufacturers. Seagate’s acquisitions have been less fruitful: they bought controller designer SandForce right around when SandForce drives disappeared from the market for good. Since then, Seagate has had to buy controllers and NAND on the open market and provide product differentiation through firmware or by integrating their drives into storage appliances.

But, after over five years since we last reviewed a Seagate consumer SSD, Seagate is bacl. Earlier this year the company re-entered the consumer SSD market with their BarraCuda SATA SSD, and today we’re taking a look at it. Seagate’s new drive adopts Toshiba’s 3D TLC NAND, but is held back by the outdated Phison S10 controller.

Qualcomm Tech Summit, Day 3: Snapdragon 8cx, the New ACPC SoC

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For the final day of Qualcomm’s 3rd Annual Tech Summit, the focus is on its Always Connected PC (ACPC) platform. This is Qualcomm’s attempt to bring mobile processors to standard laptops by enabling Windows on Snapdragon devices. So far we have seen two generations of processors, both based on the preceding mobile chip for flexibility. Now Qualcomm has announced that the ACPC market will get its own dedicated chip, called the Snapdragon 8cx. Here’s what we know.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Pre-Dive: Going Into Detail on 2019’s Flagship Android SoC

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Following today’s early-on coverage of the Day 2 coverage of Qualcomm’s Tech Summit event in Maui, Hawaii, we recap the major story of the day: The new Snapdragon 855 platform. The new platform follows this year’s extremely successful Snapdragon 845 SoC, which we saw power pretty much the vast majority of 2018’s flagship devices.

Qualcomm isn’t standing still, and the Snapdragon 855 represents a new generation, bringing a refresh of the SoC IPs as well a brand new 7nm manufacturing process. Let’s dwell more into today’s details and analyse how the new SoC platform will raise the bar for 2019.

Qualcomm Tech Summit, Day 1: Announcing 5G Partnerships and Snapdragon 855

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The third annual Qualcomm Tech Summit has just started, and the first announcements from Day One have been made. To start this event, Qualcomm President Cristano Amon is sharing the company’s vision for 2019, primarily around 5G networks and 5G enabled devices. The Tech Summit has a few surprises in store over the next couple of days, including the upcoming announcement of the company’s first 5G mobile platform, Snapdragon 855.

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