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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition review



When the GeForce RTX 20 series was announced, everyone was curious what the new GPUs would bring in terms of performance and features. Then we saw the prices and our enthusiasm was greatly reduced. The best graphics cards are not only fast, they are also inexpensive, and with little competition, Nvidia has made the new RTX series prohibitive for many players.

The Founders Edition models are a particularly painful pill, with a premium of $ 100 to $ 200 over the reference models. But when will we see referenced maps? The RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti are mostly out of stock, but fortunately the RTX 2070 seems to be much better in overall supply. This brings us to today's EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Black, a card sold on Nvidia's $ 499 base and sports reference watches.

GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition Specifications

GPU: Turing TU1

06
Streaming Multiprocessors: 36
CUDA Cores: 2.304
Tensor Cores: 288
RT cores: 36
Basic clock: 1410MHz
Boost Clock: 1620MHz
Memory Speed: 14 GT / s
GDDR6 Capacity: 8GB
GDDR6 Bandwidth: 448GB / s
TDP: 175W

Nvidia supplies the same TU106 GPU to all of its AIB partners who then discard the GPUs and sell factory overclocked models can. These usually have a markup, just like Nvidia's latest Founders Edition, but most cards achieve similar overclocks. Sure, binning means that the best GPUs run a bit cooler and achieve slightly higher stable overclocks, but these are usually the last one or two percent. This certainly applies to the EVGA RTX 2080 Black, which after tuning is within 50 MHz of the Founder Edition clocks.

But we do not happen. Many users will not overclock their graphics cards, so we need to consider both stock and OC performance, with the former giving more weight. This will be a shorter review as I've already covered everything you need to know about Nvidia's Turing architecture and ray-tracing (see box on the right). The main question is whether the EVGA RTX 2070 Black is a better graphics card compared to the Founders Edition and the answer for most players is yes.

EVGA is one of Nvidia's biggest partners, and it's ACX cooling setup has proven itself over the years. The RTX models look similar at first, but there are many fundamental changes. For one thing, the new cooling system is called iCX2, and while the Black model I'm presenting here does not list this feature specifically, it looks almost identical to the 2070 XC. Also new are the independently controllable HDB (Hydro Dynamic Bearing) fans, which supposedly produce less noise and have a longer life (not that I can test the life aspect).

There are a few big differences between the Black and EVGA's other 2070 models. It has only a single 8-pin PEG connector and it's an 8-phase power design. That's enough for 225W with the 75W x16 slot and should not be too limiting. The other possible downside (or bonus that depends on your perspective) is that the black guy does not actually have an RGB logo – or any lighting on the card. If you try to put together a slightly more muted PC, it will certainly make you happy.

Compared to Nvidia's Founders Edition, aside from the stylistic and aesthetic differences and basic timings, the Black weighs about 200 grams less and has no backplate. I do not know that the metal backplates seen on many cards help with cooling, but I like the protection it offers on board-mounted components. (Yes, I accidentally broke a graphics card in the past when I damaged a capacitor, but that's very rare – even out of maybe 100 cards that I've used in 20 years.) Otherwise, this is a pretty typical example graphics card

EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Black Overclocking

My focus with the EVGA RTX 2070 Black will be gaming performance and overclocking. You can expect a bit more power from the box than from the 2070 FE, but increasing the clock speed by 90 MHz (either through EVGA's Precision X1 or something else like MSI Afterburner) was a trivial task. I was more interested in seeing how much further I could push the map.

In stock the GPU runs in most games around 1750-1800 MHz. After increasing the voltage to "100 percent" (it's not clear what that means – 100mV extra maybe?) And increasing the fan speeds I finally ended up with + 150MHz overclocking on the GPU core and + 500MHz on the GDDR6 , This resulted in clock speeds of 1920-1995 MHz while playing. I had to run the fans at an aggressive 80-90 percent to keep the card stable, and a 25-50MHz (with lower fan speeds) would be better for the long haul. As far as the memory is concerned, I did not spend too much time there, since the RTX 2070 already has a bandwidth in most cases. You could probably push it to + 750MHz if you want, although individual map results vary.

I am closing both the stock and overclocked results for the EVGA 2070 Black in the charts (in green) with the 2070 FE Yellow. The overclocked 2070 FE performance is almost identical to the EVGA OC results – within one percent in all cases – so I skipped them for clarity.

EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Black Performance

My graphics card testbed consists of a Core i7-8700K overclocked to 5.0GHz to minimize CPU bottlenecks. Earlier Nvidia GPUs were tested with 399.07 or later drivers, and the AMD cards used 18.8.2 drivers. The EVGA RTX 2070 Black has been tested with the newest 416.34 public drivers for this review. Most games are old enough that luckily the drivers and optimizations are pretty well thought out.

For my primary benchmarks, I use the maxi-out settings in twelve popular games. This includes all the extras under the extended graphics menu of GTA5 (except super scaling), HBAO + in The Witcher 3 and so on. Some games penalize cards with less than 6GB or even 8GB of VRAM at these settings, but high-end cards like the RTX 2070 are usually used with higher quality settings. I've also included mid-quality tests in 1080p, though CPU bottlenecks are often a constraint at the time.

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Starting at the top with 4k, this is not the actual target for the RTX 2070 – at least not without half resolution DLSS. The EVGA 2070 Black makes a respectable 45 fps and overclocks it to 50 fps, which is only slightly faster than a GTX 1080. If you are serious about running 4k gaming, especially at max (or almost max) settings, the 2080 Ti is likely justified, but most people would be more than happy for a less extreme setup.

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1440p is the place where the RTX 2070 performs best and delivers 60 fps or more in almost every game. The occasional game like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided or Assassin's Creed Odyssey will drop below 60 and you may have to discard some settings, but most games are easily playable. As with the 4k test, the EVGA Black is a bit slower than the 2070 FE, but when both are overclocked, it's a total heat.

If you expect 144fps with your 1440p 144Hz display, you'll have to drop the quality pretty much in most games. Or look forward to the DLSS games, which are usually about 35 percent faster than native plus TAA and offer a similar image quality. It's not all apples to apples, but almost all AA methods involve some compromises – either in performance or in blurring or other artifacts.

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CPU bottlenecks, even with an overclocked i7-8700K, become a factor at 1080p – especially at lower quality settings. Breaking 100 frames per second is usually feasible, with a few exceptions – some games are not made with the intention of achieving high frame rates. The EVGA RTX 2070 Black continues to do well, and the overclocking networks are up 10 percent at 1080p Ultra (and 8 percent at 1080p media). That's a bit less than reference cards on the GTX 900 and GTX 10 series (15-20 percent improvements were possible, depending on the particular GPU), and Nvidia now seems to get higher average clock speeds, even without overclocking. 19659027] Image 1 of 6

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All GeForce RTX cards are in terms of value, high-end deals, meaning they tend to the lower regions of the charts, considering only the GPU FPS per monetary unit. Add the cost of a decent PC to the mix and change the value contribution, with the higher-performing cards moving up. Both diagrams have meaning, depending on what you are aiming for.

If you just want to upgrade your graphics card, look at the first three charts. The midrange cards are at the top of the charts, AMD's RX 570 and RX 580 are especially good values. On the other hand, if you build a new gaming PC, the last three charts are more relevant. The GTX 1080 Ti is still doing well there, with the RTX 2080 and the RTX 2070 at the top. However, as expected, the EVGA RTX 2070 Black is higher than the 2070 Founders Edition.

EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Black: Better Option than Founders Edition

In my first review of the RTX 2070 Founders Edition, the $ 599 asking price was clearly deterrent. Slightly better than GTX 1080 performance for $ 100 more, after more than two years of waiting? Not so impressive, especially if we're still waiting for raytracing and DLSS games. The EVGA RX 2070 Black corrects this complaint, which leads to a much more attractive package. And if you want the extra power of overclocking, I'm pretty sure the 2070 Black will handle the same 90MHz bumps in the core clock without any serious effort.

Looking at the GPU market as a whole, however, even at $ 499 EVGA card is still only a small improvement over a GTX 1080. Yes, real-time ray tracing can look impressive, and DLSS is at least interesting. I wonder how many players would notice the difference between DLSS upscaling and DLSS. I suppose we need DLSS games to test this (and not just tech demos), but dozens of games released in the last year or two have offered scaling resolution. DLSS may do better, but I would like to do double-blind tests with a number of experts to see if we can beat DLSS. Can select non-DLSS scaling.

Anyway, that's a topic for another day, just like Ray Tracing Gaming Performance. Theoretically, the RTX cards are much better than the previous generation GPUs, but we need games – many games – that use the RTX features before an upgrade is required.

You would need to run a GPU that's a few generations old before I say the RTX 2070 is considering it. And if you've seen no need to upgrade to a GTX 1080 or RX Vega 64 in the last two years, a similar performance with some new "useful in the future" features should not change your mind. Where RTX cards are most practical, it's a new PC build where differences in GPU pricing are less of a concern for a system that costs $ 1,250 or more. Anyway, at the price of $ 499 there is no point in hardware of the previous generation. You could save maybe $ 50 by buying a GTX 1080 now, although the production of the GP104 GPUs is likely to have stopped, it will probably not be in a few months. But even if the RTX 2070 is only 10-15 percent faster on average, it's only 10 percent more money. I would say, go for it. Do you need (or do you want at least) a $ 499 graphics card? Only you can answer that question, and it's probably best to first look at your monitor. Is it at least 1440p resolution? If not, I would try to upgrade the display before worrying about an RTX graphics card.

While Nvidia's RTX 2070 Founders Edition is a very capable card, it's not worth the markup – especially on higher-clocked models like the EVGA 2070 XC Ultra's beating speed and price. It's a mantra that I've often repeated in our best graphics card tip: Buy the cheapest model, unless there are certain features or style elements you want. The only thing EVGA RTX 2070 Black may lack is RGB lighting, if that's your thing.

If you're ready to jump on an RTX 2070, the EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Black is at the top of your list. There are currently two alternatives with the same price, the Gigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce and the Asus RTX 2070 Turbo. All three bear the same reference clocks, the main difference is aesthetics and cooling.


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