Date: November 5, 2018
Author(s): Rob Williams
NVIDIA’s third GeForce RTX card has landed, coming to us in the form of the $499 RTX 2070. In some regards, this card could be considered the most interesting of the three, as it’s not only powerful, it offers the least-expensive way to take advantage of RTX feature sets – ray tracing and DLSS. We’re taking a look at ASUS’ Republic of Gamers STRIX model, sporting three big fans and customizable RGBs.
The third GeForce RTX from NVIDIA is the RTX 2070, and in some ways, it could be the most interesting Turing GeForce so far. How could that be? Well, it’s the most affordable, for starters, priced at $499. That becomes the least-expensive way for people to join the RTX world, which of course includes special RTX features not found on other cards – including last-gen Pascal.
It’s hard to call the RTX 2070 a “replacement” for another, because there are multiple angles to look at it. From a raw performance standpoint, the RTX 2070 should come behind the GTX 1080 most often, but the opposite is true in testing. Ultimately, the RTX 2070 falls behind the GTX 1080 Ti, but in some cases, it’s not that far behind.
This review is going to be a lot quicker than I’d like, so if you have any questions that I haven’t tackled, please holler in the comments. As I’ve been focusing rather ardently on workstation stuff lately, the gaming stuff hasn’t gotten as much attention as I’d like to give it. Fortunately, workloads are clearing out, and once RTX-capable Windows comes out, it’ll be a good time to retest the whole kit and kaboodle.
As just mentioned, the RTX 2070 technically falls behind the GTX 1080 from a raw performance standpoint, but Turing brings some optimizations that help propel the card ahead quite often.
Here’s the current and last-gen lineup from NVIDIA:
|NVIDIA’s GeForce Gaming GPU Lineup|
|Cores||Base MHz||Peak FP32||Memory||Bandwidth||TDP||Price|
|RTX 2080 Ti||4352||1350||13.4 TFLOPS||11GB 1||616 GB/s||250W||$999|
|RTX 2080||2944||1515||10.0 TFLOPS||8GB 1||448 GB/s||215W||$699|
|RTX 2070||2304||1410||7.4 TFLOPS||8GB 1||448 GB/s||175W||$499|
|TITAN Xp||3840||1480||12.1 TFLOPS||12GB 2||548 GB/s||250W||$1,199|
|GTX 1080 Ti||3584||1480||11.3 TFLOPS||11GB 2||484 GB/s||250W||$699|
|GTX 1080||2560||1607||8.8 TFLOPS||8GB 2||320 GB/s||180W||$499|
|GTX 1070 Ti||2432||1607||8.1 TFLOPS||8GB 3||256 GB/s||180W||$449|
|GTX 1070||1920||1506||6.4 TFLOPS||8GB 3||256 GB/s||150W||$379|
|GTX 1060||1280||1700||4.3 TFLOPS||6GB 3||192 GB/s||120W||$299|
|GTX 1050 Ti||768||1392||2.1 TFLOPS||4GB 3||112 GB/s||75W||$139|
|GTX 1050||640||1455||1.8 TFLOPS||2GB 3||112 GB/s||75W||$109|
|Notes||1 GDDR6; 2 GDDR5X; 3 GDDR5; 4 HBM2|
Architecture: GTX & TITAN = Pascal; RTX = Turing
Nowadays, it feels like specs only tell half the story, which is actually pretty important when it comes to Turing. In some workloads, namely DirectX 12 (but including others), Turing can push GeForce quite a bit ahead over last-gen, leading a card like the 2070 to almost catch up to a 1080 Ti. Unfortunately, those are rare cases, and most seen in synthetic tests, but it gives us hope for better game optimization for the architecture in time.
ASUS’ Republic of Gamers STRIX version RTX 2070 sports a factory overclock, triple fans, customizable RGB, and a cooler that takes up just a bit more than 2 slots. It’s a good thing 2070 doesn’t support SLI… right?
Because this is a pre-overclocked card, please be aware that scores will be slightly higher than the reference design.
|Techgage Gaming GPU Test PC|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8700K (3.7GHz, 6C/12T)|
|Motherboard||EVGA Z370 FTW|
CPU tested with BIOS 1.09 (August 20, 2018)
|Memory||G.SKILL TridentZ (F4-3400C16-8GSXW) 8GB x 2|
Operates at DDR4-3400 16-16-16 (1.35V)
|AMD Graphics||AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8GB; Radeon 18.8.2)|
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (8GB; Radeon 18.8.2)
AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB; Radeon 18.8.2)
AMD Radeon RX 570 (4GB; Radeon 18.8.2)
AMD Radeon RX 550 (2GB; Radeon 18.8.2)
|NVIDIA Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (11GB; GeForce 411.51)|
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (8GB; GeForce 411.51)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (8GB; GeForce 416.34)
NVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 399.07)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB; GeForce 399.07)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB; GeForce 399.07)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (8GB; GeForce 399.07)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB; GeForce 399.07)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB; GeForce 399.07)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB; GeForce 399.07)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB; GeForce 399.07)
|Storage||Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB (SATA 6Gbps)|
|Power Supply||Corsair RM650x (650W)|
|Chassis||NZXT S340 Elite Mid-tower|
|Cooling||Corsair Hydro H100i V2 AIO Liquid Cooler (240mm)|
|Et cetera||Windows 10 Pro (64-bit; build 17134)|
A total of eight games are included in our current test suite. Some have appeared here before, while others make their first appearance: Monster World Hunter, Fortnite, and F1 2018. I had planned to include PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as a ninth title, but the results were too sporadic to inspire any sort of confidence (an issue not seen in Fortnite, by comparison).
Here’s the full list of tested games and developer allegiances, as well as synthetic tests also used:
For our apples-to-apples testing, the graphics settings seen above apply to every one of our tested resolutions so as to deliver standard apples-to-apples results. In most cases, each configuration is tested twice, with more runs added if the initial results make the extra testing necessary. Fortnite is the only game tested three times by default due to its variable nature.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will replace Rise of the Tomb Raider in our suite as soon as its RTX enhancements come along. Similarly, those same RTX enhancements can’t be taken advantage of until Microsoft releases its DXR API to the wild, something expected to happen with the Redstone 5 fall update. For now, we’re largely stuck to traditional testing. Speaking of, let’s get on with it.
All ten of these GPUs will be able to handle 1440p resolution in current games, Battlefield 1 included. Note that this isn’t necessarily reflective of online gameplay, but the results should scale the same. The more GPU horsepower you throw at the game, the higher your framerates and / or detail can be. Most of these GPUs would hit 144Hz at 1080p at Ultra, while some would have to degrade some of the options to make those kinds of framerates happen.
At 4K, the RTX 2070 STRIX hits a clean 60 FPS on average, and at max detail, that’s a great looking 60 FPS. In all three resolutions, the Vega 64 sits close behind NVIDIA’s RTX 2070.
Mankind Divided is one of those rarer titles that will continue to punish graphics cards for at least a few years to come. If you mindlessly select the Medium or higher preset, you’ll probably find yourself fine-tuning things further if your rig is anything but high-end (or super-duper high-end).
Whereas the RTX 2070 hit 60 FPS at 4K in BF1, only the RTX 2080 Ti managed to hit 60 FPS at the same resolution in Mankind Divided. At 4K, you can hit reasonable framerates the top GPUs by dropping some of the detail, but the smaller cards will struggle. All of the cards will deliver solid 3440×1440 performance, though the lower cards will need to adjust detail levels for an added boost.
For either 1440p or ultrawide, the RTX 2070 and every other GPU listed here will get the job done. For those with 144Hz dreams, the RTX 2080 Ti is the only card managing to hit that at max detail, though it wouldn’t be challenging to hit it on some of the cards beneath it with a few tweaks.
At 4K, the RTX 2070 manages to inch past 60 FPS, and sits behind the 1080 Ti. Despite that GPU being spec’d at about 4 TFLOPS higher, you really wouldn’t know it when you compare it to the 2070. Overall, the 2070 delivers very strong performance, easily exceeding the GTX 1080 in every test.
To round out this first performance page, Far Cry 5 tells us pretty much the same story we’ve seen from the other titles. The 2070 places just above the middle of our ten-strong fleet, consistently “just behind” the 1080 Ti, and ahead of AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 64.
For 4K, anything above and including Vega 64 and RTX 2070 would be able to hit 60 FPS with graphics tweaks. The Ultra detail level was used for testing here, so there’s a lot of room for optimizing performance. As for ultrawide and 1440p, any one of these cards will deliver a great experience.
Fortnite is far from being a beefy game, but as a de facto eSports title, high framerates is the name of the game. Fortunately, you don’t need to go too high-end to get great framerates at 1440p. There, the Vega 56 hits 72 FPS, and the RTX 2070 nearly hits 110 FPS. The ultrawide resolution isn’t too much more punishing, with even the bottom GPU coming close to 60 FPS.
For 4K, the bottom-half of the table struggle. Even the RTX 2070 fails to hit 60 FPS, but this is another title that offers a fair bit of graphics customization, so hitting a clean 60 FPS will be just a few clicks away. When you see a card like the RTX 2080 Ti only hit 78 FPS at 4K, it reminds us just how crazy it is that 4K/144Hz displays are actually a thing. If only games more commonly supported multiple GPUs!
At least the last time I checked, Monster Hunter World does not support ultrawide monitors. It’s also a game that doesn’t inspire much confidence about optimization, but it’s at least been consistent in our testing when it comes to delivering scalable, repeatable numbers.
At 4K, and High detail, this game is outright punishing. It takes an RTX 2080 Ti to breach 60 FPS, and even the RTX 2070 falls short of 45 FPS. Again, this testing wasn’t done at low detail, so further improvements can be made to get higher framerates out of these lower-tier GPUs.
I have not had time to experiment or test with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, so RotTR remains here for another article. I have heard mixed reaction about the reliability of Shadow so far, so I’m not entirely sure it’s going to even prove that trustworthy. Tie into that the fact that RTX support is supposed to drop soon, and Microsoft pulled the Windows 10 build that opens its support, we’re dealing with a bit of a strange situation here.
Nonetheless, at 1440p, all of these GPUs handle the game at max detail with ease. Ultrawide starts to push things, but even still, the lowest-ranking GPU of the bunch manages to come awfully close to 60 FPS.
At these maxed-out detail levels, and 4K resolution, only the RTX 2080 and higher broke 60 FPS. The RTX 2070 sits at a pretty respectable 51 FPS. To beat a dead boar, this game offers a lot of customization to make hitting 60 FPS easy if you are at least close.
Wildlands helps us wrap this page up with another example of just how good today’s GPUs are at handling 1440p resolution in games, with the bottom-ranking GTX 1070 once again scraping 60 FPS.
At 4K, the game proves very punishing, with the RTX 2080 Ti yet again standing alone at the top, above the 60 FPS mark. For ultrawide, the RTX 2070 is the first card in the cart to exceed 60 FPS, though again, whittling down some settings will make that possible for the next few cards ranking below it.
In the DirectX 11 Fire Strike tests above, the RTX 2070 scales pretty much as expected. It doesn’t fail in keeping ahead of the Vega 64, and well ahead of the GTX 1080. The RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti easily keep ahead, which is to be expected.
What’s not to be expected is the DirectX 12 Time Spy performance:
I’m not sure I gave it much thought for the RTX launch back in August, but these new Turing cards seem to tear up DirectX 12 workloads. Scaling in Fire Strike was expected, but in Time Spy, Turing’s strengths help the RTX 2070 to catch up to the GTX 1080 Ti, while at the same time pulling well ahead of the Vega 64.
The RTX 2070 exhibited great performance in the DirectX 12 Time Spy test in 3DMark, and it shows the same kinds of gains in the Blue Room VRMark test. Interestingly, that test is DirectX 11 (Cyan is DX12), so further Turing optimizations managed to seriously boost performance here. Once again, the RTX 2070 matches the GTX 1080 Ti.
In the grueling 1080p Extreme test, the RTX 2070 places just about the same spot we’d expect it to. In the 4K Optimized test, which uses lesser demanding settings to make 4K easier to manage, NVIDIA shows crazy strength, with AMD not appearing until eight cards into the chart.
The power consumption of the RTX 2070 seems to match the Vega 56, and sits 10W behind the faster RTX 2080. Overall, not too much to comment on here.
The GeForce RTX launch has been interesting, and perhaps a little strange. When the RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 hit the market, anyone who reviewed the cards had to offer the caveat that the special RTX features (DLSS, ray tracing) wouldn’t be available for launch. I doubt many at that time expected we’d be into November and still not have those features available to us.
NVIDIA was clear about the fact that the October update of Windows 10, with its DirectX DXR API, would be required to unlock full support of Turing’s RTX feature set. Well, that build of Windows 10 turned out to be a debacle in itself, with Microsoft having to pull it mere days after its release. Currently, it looks like the replacement build won’t drop until late this month.
What that ultimately means is that the wait to truly explore what RTX has to offer is going to have to wait. I haven’t heard many updates about RTX lately, and I assume it’s simply because NVIDIA has no idea when Microsoft will be able to get its part of the equation out the door. I still believe RTX is something worth being excited over. It’s just the wait that sucks.
When I found out NVIDIA wasn’t sampling the RTX 2070 itself, and was instead letting its partners handle the sampling, I had wondered why that might be. I am still not quite sure why, because the RTX 2070 is a great card at its asking price. Perhaps NVIDIA thought reviewers had too many Founders Editions in their labs, which would be fair for many of us.
On the topic of price, this ASUS STRIX commands about $100 more than the RTX 2070 suggested price of $500. I hate to admit at this point that I’m not sure if that premium is worth it, but like most of these things, it really depends on how much you weigh overclocking ability, and perhaps cooling ability. The STRIX includes a triple fan solution, which in my tests offered a lot of headroom..
In addition to boosted clocks (which might be attainable with manual overclocking on other cards), the ROG STRIX includes customizable RGBs, a dual BIOS, and again, the triple fan cooler that will probably improve upon the 2070 FE ever-so-slightly. But that’s just a guesstimate based on the fact that there are three fans here instead of the two on the RTX 2070. At the same time, ASUS’ STRIX is a beefy card, taking up just over 2 slots.
This review is far more abbreviated than I’d like. I’ve been focusing largely on workstation stuffs in recent weeks, and haven’t been able to dedicate as much time to gaming as I’ve wanted, and likewise haven’t been able to test out this card as thoroughly as I’d like. That’s why the title of this review references NVIDIA in general, and not ASUS’ card, because I have simply not been able to dig into its feature set properly yet, and thus feel I can’t do it justice.
That all said, general performance expectations of the RTX 2070 based on our testing can be seen in this table:
Game Performance Expectations
|RTX 2080 Ti||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★||★★★★||★★★★|
|GTX 1080 Ti||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★||★★★||★★★★|
|RX Vega 64||★★★★★||★★★★||★★★||★★||★★★|
|GTX 1070 Ti||★★★★||★★★||★★||★||★★|
|RX Vega 56||★★★★||★★★||★★||★||★★|
|GTX 1050 Ti||★★||★||★||★||★|
|144Hz values based on 1080p resolution with high detail goals.|
★★★★★ 60 FPS? More like 100 FPS. As future-proofed as it can get.
★★★★ Surpass 60 FPS at high quality settings with ease.
★★★ Hit 60 FPS with high quality settings.
★★ Nothing too impressive; it gets the job done (60 FPS will require tweaking).
★ Not recommended.
The ASUS STRIX model I tested here is pre-overclocked, which is unfortunate from the perspective that it’d be ideal to test “reference” clocks all-around. Sometimes, that’s impossible to avoid, but the fortunate thing is, NVIDIA’s Turing series is pretty overclockable, so you should be able to match or at least get awfully close to this card’s performance if you want to put in the effort to manually tweak the settings.
Ultimately, I’ll be visiting this card again soon, but since I’m overdue on an RTX 2070 look, I just wanted to get this live and revisit later when the time is right. If you have questions not covered in this article, about this GPU or life in general, please leave a comment below.
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