Nvidia’s RTX 2060 12GB has landed. Sadly though, it’s not the bargain we hoped it might be. A store in the UK by the name of Punch Technology has stock of a Zotac version. And It’s, uh, £515. That’s not quite the market flooding bargain we hoped for. If that £515 turns out to be a representative retail price of the card, then the RTX 2060 12GB is a dud.
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The hope was that the RTX 2060 12GB was to be something of a market circuit breaker. The veteran Turing TU106 GPU was resurrected to deliver reasonable performance at a relatively decent price. As it's an older card produced on a less cutting edge 12nm process with cheap-ish GDDR6, Nvidia and its partners should be able to produce them in large numbers. It’s almost three years since the release of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, so it's not like Nvidia has to try and recoup R&D costs.
According to Tom’s Hardware, an OEM stated that "This will be more of a mining focused card so HQ is not going to do a big media push on it." If that’s the case, then gamers hoping for an affordable Christmas stocking stuffer are likely to be disappointed. Again.
The strange thing is, the RTX 2060 is not a very good mining card, at least not with Ethash, which is Ethereum’s PoW algorithm. According to whattomine.com, a 2060 can be expected to produce about 30 MH/s at 120W, or a bit more with a bit of tuning. Compare that to a 6600 XT at 32.5 MH/s at 80W and we’re left wondering why the 2060 12GB is appealing to miners at all. Perhaps the answer is obvious. If miners can actually buy RTX 2060 12GB’s by the pallet, but not cards like the RTX 3060 or RX 6700 XT, maybe they’re simply buying whatever they can get their hands on.
There's also the lack of mining limiter on the RTX 2060 12GB, which may see it offer greater efficiency for mining workloads than an RTX 3060 12GB.
We’re still hopeful that RTX 2060s can find their way into the hands of gamers. The original RTX 2060 Super trades blows with the AMD RX 6600. This means it has the potential to be a solid 1080p gaming option, but not at over 500 quid it won’t. If Nvidia could have made the RTX 2060 12GB an LHR card, and sold it for less than the RX 6600, the RTX 2060 12GB could be a sleeper hit with many gamers who are crying out for an affordable GPU. Perhaps there’s a reason Nvidia isn't doing that. The future RTX 3050 Ti could be the card to fit into that pricing and performance tier.
Right now things aren’t looking good if you’re a gamer on the hunt for a new GPU for the holidays. Let’s hope 2022 is a better year. We’ll have Intel’s Arc cards to add to the fray, and we’re hoping a third player will really shake up the market and help put us on the path towards ending the staggering influence of miners on the gaming GPU market.