Should I buy an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060?

Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Some of you will already be enjoying Nvidia's RTX 30-series, which comes as a replacement to a handful of the cards in the RTX 20-series. The RTX 2060 is not on that list, however, and there has been no replacement announced for this entry-level RTX graphics card.

The RTX 2060 sits in a strange position in the stack, it's the entry-level RTX card but don't forget there's a whole range of mid- and entry-level 16-series cards below it. It is a great 1080p graphics card in its own right, at least, with the necessary chops for moderate ray tracing and Nvidia's AI-buffed supersampling technology, DLSS.

So there's plenty of reason to be scouting for the RTX 2060 this Black Friday, but should you buy this card now or wait for the inevitable RTX 3060? And, if you should, what price should you be looking out for? The answers to all this and more below.

What is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060?

Nvidia RTX 2060 specs

Release date - January 2019
GPU - Turing TU116
Lithography - 12nm
CUDA cores - 1,920
Base clock - 1,365MHz
Boost clock - 1,680MHz
Memory capacity - 6GB GDDR6
MSRP - $299

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 was introduced way back in January, 2019 and it joined the RTX 20-series roster as the cheapest of the lot at $349. That was later dropped to $299 as AMD readied up its RX 5000-series cards, in order to stay competitive, and also to make way for the RTX 2060 Super at $399. Yeah, the 20-series was an exceptionally packed lineup for Nvidia towards the end there.

As for specifications, the RTX 2060 brandishes a TU106 GPU with 1,920 CUDA Cores. It clocks to 1,680MHz as standard, although GPU boost is known to breeze past these limits in operation, and it also comes with 6GB of GDDR6 memory and a rather tight 192-bit memory bus.

It's the cheapest card to support Nvidia's new fangled RT Cores and Tensor Cores too, for ray tracing and AI acceleration respectively. That means you can get DLSS upscaling in-game, which can help push the RTX 2060 performance just that little bit further in select games.

What are the alternatives to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060?

The main competition to the RTX 2060 right now is AMD's RX 5600 XT. Some pricing and BIOS shenanigans at launch meant that the RX 5600 XT ended up squaring off with the RTX 2060, and depending on the game you choose they often trade blows back and fourth. They're also similarly priced around the $300 mark, if you want a decent card with the fastest innards. Although you can pick up slightly slower RX 5600 XT's for $10-30 less.

There's no other direct competition to this card just yet, unless you're willing to spend a little more on an RTX 2060 Super, but Nvidia is undoubtedly close to announcing the RTX 2060's successor. We're as certain as we can be that Nvidia will launch an RTX 3060 eventually, although whether it will arrive this side of New Year is another thing entirely. With stock hard to come by for all other RTX 30-series cards, we're expecting Nvidia to wait until the last moment when it's stockpiled plenty of cards before unleashing what is sure to be the most popular RTX 30-series card unto the world.

With the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 both offering significant core count and performance improvements over their 20-series compadres, we suspect the RTX 3060 will be a card worth waiting for.

Should I buy the Nvidia RTX 2060 and at what price?

This is a tricky one, because I know that I personally would wait for the RTX 3060 to at least be announced before making my mind up. There's a good chance this card will be significantly faster than the RTX 2060, and offer greater ray tracing capabilities, and likely arrive for a similar price too. 

There's also a good chance that it will sell out almost immediately and you'll be waiting well into 2021 for a chance to pick one up. That's why, if you're looking for 1080p gaming, and not extreme refresh rates, and nothing else (I know, it's a stretch) then the RTX 2060 at a good deal this Black Friday may be a reasonable call. If you can pick one up for under $275 (another stretch) then you've snagged yourself a fantastic bargain. 

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.