Something to look forward to: For quite some time now gamers looking for mid-range solutions have had the same somewhat unexciting options to choose from: the GTX 1060 or AMD’s most recent renaming of the Radeon RX 470. According to an almost endless list of leaks, however, Nvidia is finally set to reveal a new graphics processor and rectify that problem with the RTX 2060 and GTX 1160, both of which should boast performance much closer to the 1070 than the 1060.
The GeForce RTX 2060 is set to become the cheapest ray tracing enabled card, and it’s expected to perform at 1070 levels and be priced somewhere in-between the 1060 and 1070 price brackets. The GTX 1160, on the other hand, is for gamers that don’t want to waste money on the dubious value of ray tracing and simply want the best value they can get. It will allegedly come with a different die with no raytracing cores and slightly less CUDA cores than the 2060, with pricing that would match today's 1060.
Possibly hoping no one would notice because it was Christmas, Gigabyte registered a whopping 39 different models of the 2060 with the Eurasian Economic Commission this week. First spotted by Komachi, the registration shows three different tiers of 2060 differentiated by the amount of VRAM they have: 3GB, 4GB and 6GB. Each of the memory tiers are divided by the type of memory, the older and cheaper GDDR5X or the faster GDDR6, and then each of those are divided by cooler type and PCB design.
If the memory and cooler are the only variables between the cards, performance variation should be limited to 10-15%. There’s no pricing information yet, nor which models could come to which regions, or if Gigabyte will manufacture them at all. It isn’t uncommon for companies to register designs that don’t end up hitting stores. Images of one model was leaked to VideoCardz a fortnight ago, and it shows a pretty standard design and cooling solution.
More recently they posted images of the Founder’s Edition version of the card, which features the exact same design as the 2070, suggesting that the 2060 is a trimmed-down RTX 2070. Separate promotional images leaked around seem to confirm the RTX branding and design.
A month ago, Tom’s Hardware noticed the RTX 2060 had been entered into the Final Fantasy XV benchmark database, where it performed 30% better than the 1060 and about 6% worse than the 1070. That benchmark was at 4K, however, giving the 1070 an advantage because it has more VRAM. Yesterday, the GPU was also seen in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database, where it once again achieved 1070-like performance with 49 fps on the 1440p “crazy” setting.
Despite three different leaks claiming to know the specs, they’re still quite nebulous. Possibly the most reliable is a Geekbench entry for an unidentified laptop, which says RTX 2060 GPU has 6GB of RAM, 30 compute units and a boost clock of 1200Mhz. On the other Turing cards, each compute unit corresponded with 64 CUDA cores, 8 tensor cores and one ray tracing core, giving the 2060 1920 cores, 240 tensor cores and 30 ray tracing cores.
For comparison, the desktop RTX 2070 has 2304 CUDA cores, 288 tensor cores and 36 ray tracing cores. The 2060 could certainly suffer in ray tracing-based titles, given that the RTX 2070 only manages 60 fps with ray tracing on low in many instances in Battlefield V running at 1080p.
According to 3Dmark entries, the base clock of the 2060 laptop will be 975Mhz, while the Max-Q variant will be running at 960Mhz – both of which are substantially lower than the 1100Mhz or so the 1070 Max-Q operates at. The memory speed, meanwhile, drops from 1750Mhz to 1500Mhz when going Max-Q.
Taiwanese laptop manufacturer CJScope accidentally revealed on a product page (which has since been taken down) that the mobile 2060 can boost to as much as 1620Mhz and have a base clock of 1320Mhz when the power limit is less enforced. That laptop, where the purported 2060 was listed in, carried a full 95W desktop processor and weighed nearly 4kg, so it is a decent indication of what desktop speeds might be like. Confusingly, however, it lists the core count as 1536, which is only 2% higher than the 1060.
As for the GTX 1160, only two leaks substantiate its existence. The first is from leaker BullsLab Jay, who told VideoCardz that that the 1160 would be based on the TU116 core rather than the TU106 that the 2060 is meant to use. The second is basically a hard confirmation from a Lenovo product page, that lists the 1160 as coming in a new laptop model in 3GB and 6GB configurations. Both leaks agree that the card will be launched somewhere between January 8 (the first day of CES) and the 15th of that same month.
Also worth noting are the rumored GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti GPUs, although information about those is too scarce at the moment, so don’t go placing any bets.
With all these rumors flying around, it won't be long before it's all revealed. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang is set to take the stage at CES 2019 on January 6, at the MGM Conference Center in Las Vegas at 8 pm Pacific Time (10pm ET, 4AM +1 GMT).