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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Performance Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Middle Earth – Shadow of War

Middle Earth – Shadow of War Performance


Much like the original Middle Earth – Shadow of Mordor, the new Shadow of War takes place in a relatively open environment, offering plenty of combat and sweeping vistas. The benchmark run we chose starts on a rooftop in Minas Ithil and gradually runs through the streets and vaulting over buildings. A few explosions are thrown in for good measure too. Due to the ultra high resolution textures, even the best GPUs can be brought below 60FPS here.


 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
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Montreal
Rainbow 6: Siege

Rainbow 6: Siege Performance


Rainbow 6: Siege has been around for a while now but it is continually receiving updates and it remains one of the best co-op multiplayer games on the market. Meanwhile, its UHD Texture Pack allows for some pretty great looking unit models and insures even the best graphics cards are brought to their knees.

As with most online titles, we needed to avoid multiplayer due to the high variability of performance and randomness. Instead, the High Value Target mission in Situations was used.



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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13,264
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Montreal
Warhammer 2: Total War (DX12)

Warhammer 2: Total War DX12 Performance


Much of this game can be CPU-limited but by increasing in-game details to max, it puts a massive amount of stress on the GPU. Unfortunately, after years in beta, the DX12 implementation is still not all that great.

For this benchmark, we load up a ultra high points multiplayer saved battle between the Empire and Skaven. That means plenty of special effects with Hellfire rockets and warp fire being thrown everywhere. We then go through a set of pans and zooms to replicate gameplay.



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Wolfenstien - New Colossus (Vulkan)

Wolfenstien - New Colossus Vulkan Performance


This is the only Vulkan game in this entire review and that’s simply because this API just isn’t used all that much. It never has been. With that said, it has allowed id Tech to create an amazingly detailed world while still offering great overall performance.

For this test the Manhattan level is used so we can combine interior, exterior and preset combat elements into one 60-second run.



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Messages
13,264
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Montreal
Witcher 3

Witcher 3 Performance


Other than being one of 2015’s most highly regarded games, The Witcher 3 also happens to be one of the most visually stunning as well. This benchmark sequence has us riding through a town and running through the woods; two elements that will likely take up the vast majority of in-game time.


 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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13,264
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Analyzing Temperatures & Frequencies Over Time

Analyzing Temperatures & Frequencies Over Time


Modern graphics card designs make use of several advanced hardware and software facing algorithms in an effort to hit an optimal balance between performance, acoustics, voltage, power and heat output. Traditionally this leads to maximized clock speeds within a given set of parameters. Conversely, if one of those last two metrics (those being heat and power consumption) steps into the equation in a negative manner it is quite likely that voltages and resulting core clocks will be reduced to insure the GPU remains within design specifications. We’ve seen this happen quite aggressively on some AMD cards while NVIDIA’s reference cards also tend to fluctuate their frequencies. To be clear, this is a feature by design rather than a problem in most situations.

In many cases clock speeds won’t be touched until the card in question reaches a preset temperature, whereupon the software and onboard hardware will work in tandem to carefully regulate other areas such as fan speeds and voltages to insure maximum frequency output without an overly loud fan. Since this algorithm typically doesn’t kick into full force in the first few minutes of gaming, the “true” performance of many graphics cards won’t be realized through a typical 1-3 minute benchmarking run. Hence why we use a 5-minute warm up period before all of our benchmarks.


I was a bit worried that the blower-style card from ASUS would hit some higher temperatures but that didn’t really happen. The max it achieved was 73*C but the EVGA XC’s dual fan downdraft cooler ended up easily beating it with a peak temp of 68*C.


You can see that in order to maintain that 73*C the ASUS Turbo has to fluctuate its clock speeds quite a bit and it ends up running around 1680MHz which is right in line with its specs. EVGA on the other hand is REALLY stable after it settles around 1810MHz.


As you might imagine this small delta between the clock speed of these cards doesn’t lead to all that much more performance. In totally we are looking at about 5% which, in this game’s case, translates to about 1 frame per second.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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13,264
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Acoustics & Temperature Testing

Acoustical Testing


What you see below are the baseline idle dB(A) results attained for a relatively quiet open-case system (specs are in the Methodology section) sans GPU along with the attained results for each individual card in idle and load scenarios. The meter we use has been calibrated and is placed at seated ear-level exactly 12” away from the GPU’s fan. For the load scenarios, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice at 4K is used in order to generate a constant load on the GPU(s) over the course of 10 minutes.


One of the worries when testing commenced was that the ASUS RTX 2070 card would sound more like a turbine at full tilt rather than the quiet GPUs we have come to expect from the Pascal generation. Luckily, while the fan can be heard as a muted “whoosh” sound, there isn’t anything to be worried about. This is one of the quieter blower-style board partner cards I’ve come across in a while.

EVGA on the other hand…well what can I say? Its quiet as a mouse and won’t be audible over the sound of other cooling devices installed in your system.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we used 10 minutes of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice running static while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 15 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption.


Looking at these numbers, I have a funny feeling we can’t consider the Turing architecture to be Pascal-beating just yet. While standard games do show that on a performance per watt perspective the 2070 is superior to a pre-overclocked GTX 1080, one has to wonder what this chart would look like if RTX features were enabled. Remember, those would technically increase consumption further since they lie dormant in non-RTX titles.

With that being said, despite running substantially cooler, the EVGA RTX 2070 does tend to consume a bit more juice. That was to be expected since it is pre overclocked.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
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13,264
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Montreal
Conclusion – A Fresh RTX Perspective?

Conclusion – A Fresh RTX Perspective?


Well this was certainly an interesting review wasn’t it? From my perspective, the inclusion of custom cards gave a very different and slightly more accurate perspective of the current GPU market. Unless some of the 10—series cards have gone out of stock by the time you read this, unlike when we test reference versus reference, you can actually go out and buy these GPUs. Interestingly, this approach benefited and caused issues for the RTX 2070.

I’ve already mentioned that this launch was completely hooped from the get go by poor communications with NVIDIA, last minute sampling from board partners and an impending trip for the HWC team. But despite all of that, it is great to see the EVGA RTX 2070 XC and ASUS RTX 2070 Turbo being part of the comparison since they are more representative of NVIDIA’s retail strategy than any Founders Edition. Alongside the custom GTX cards that showed their faces, these GPUs allowed for a pretty balanced perspective.

Speaking of balanced perspective, let’s take a look at where the ASUS reference card ends up in the overall scheme of things.


In most games very reference-spec’d GPU basically trades blows with an overclocked GTX 1080 at both 1440P and 4K. On one hand that’s a good thing given the fact these cards are evenly matched from a pricing perspective. However, that also means the RTX 2070 doesn’t bring anything new to the table in the $500 market. Its starting cost is just so high in relation to its direct 1070-series predecessors the only valid comparison point becomes that 1080.

Now talking about those 1070-seies, they do take a back seat to the RTX 2070’s framerates but I have to wonder if that even matters right now. Until NVIDIA’s RTX features are enabled in a wide swath of games the 2070’s premium over those perfectly capable GPU’s just becomes nonsensical. NVIDIA is in a tough position here since they need to increase their new series’ market share to entice developers to incorporate AI and ray tracing. However these high prices will likely keep attachment rate relatively low.


Now EVGA’s RTX 2070 XC is a different beast altogether since for 10% more than the ASUS card you get 4-6% better performance, cooler temperatures and improved acoustics. At $550 it also starts to make the $800 (!!) RTX 2080 Founder’s Edition look positively overpriced in some cases. This is an impressive card in its own right and one that makes me wonder why anyone would possibly want the $50 more expensive RTX 2070 Founders Edition.

But while I can definitely see people gravitating towards the EVGA card, that doesn’t mean it provides a good value. By and large the RTX cards haven’t improved the price to performance quotient by any perceptible amount. Remember, the GTX 1080 was launched at $550 and here we have a $500 GPU launching more than two years later that offers at most 10% better performance in today’s games.

It is only a matter of time until stock of 10-series cards have been completely expunged from retailers’ shelves and when that happens gamers who want an upgrade won’t have any choice but to turn to RTX. Competition from both Intel and AMD is a long way off. Luckily, among the current offerings the RTX 2070 is a standout for providing the best bang for buck, particularly that EVGA card. So if you absolutely want a brand new GPU, it will be a relatively safe option.

There’s no denying the problems with this launch run deep but it was nonetheless refreshing to see cards that live outside the Founders Edition sphere. NVIDIA got what they wanted: the ASUS Turbo and EVGA XC end up putting a somewhat positive spin on what could have been a very negative review cycle. But while they’re both great cards, at this point in time I don’t see any reason to recommend any RTX GPU until we can see firsthand whether those much-touted features make NVIDIA’s current premiums justifiable.
 

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