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ASUS, a well-known name in the PC enthusiast community, have been in the game a long time and tend to put just a bit more into their ROG line of products. ROG (Republic of Gamers) products are aimed squarely at the enthusiasts with the types of extras they crave, more power and more style. This, as you would expect comes at a premium but not as much as you might think. The ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC is currently priced at $399 which is only $50 over the lowest priced model over at Newegg.com. Let’s take a dive into this card and see what that $50 is going to get us.
The Strix RTX 2060 OC is based on the Turing architecture using the Nvidia TU106 die the same as the RTX 2070 but the die has been cut back to 1920 CUDA cores from 2304 found in its bigger brother. This holds true for all parts of the RTX 2060 die including the Tensor and RT cores which have been pared down to 242 and 30 respectively. Memory is also reduced to 6 GB of GDDR6 at 1750 MHz over a 192-bit bus for 336 GB/s bandwidth.
This model is using the 200A variant of the TU106 die. The 200 denotes the RTX 2060 core versus the 400 found in the higher performing (and more expensive) RTX 2070. The “A” reveals that this is a binned chip from Nvidia, the only ones they will allow to have a factory based OC. The Strix RTX 2060 OC comes with a base clock of 1365 MHz which is the same as the FE but the boost clock has been raised from 1680 MHz to 1830 MHz. The actual boost was observed between 1995 MHz and 2010 MHz depending on the benchmark.
If you want a refresh on the Turing architecture and its features, head on over to our RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti review where we covered that material in detail. Below are the specifications for the ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC from the ASUS website:
|ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC Specifications|
|RT Cores / RTX-OPS||30 / 37T|
|GPU Base Clock||1365 MHz|
|GPU Boost Clock||1830 MHz (2010 MHz actual)|
|Frame Buffer||6GB GDDR6|
|Memory Clock (Data Rate)||14 Gbps (1750 MHz)|
|Memory Bandwidth||336 GB/s|
|Texture Fillrate (Gigatexels /sec)||220|
|GigaRays /sec||5 GR/s|
|Compute (GFlops)||FP16 / 14K, FP32 / 7K, FP64 / 220K|
|TDP (Watts)||160 W+|
|Price||$399.99 (Newegg), $399.99 (Amazon)|
Below we have two GPUz windows showing the specifications for the STRIX RTX 2060 OC as well as actual boost clock and temperatures during the UL Timespy benchmark when running at stock settings.
ASUS has equipped the ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC with its premium cooler which is very reminiscent of the DCuII only much more refined. It starts with MaxContact Technology, a precision machined heat spreader surface said to offer two times the die contact of traditional machining improving heat transfer. Combined with their patented Wing-blade fan design to keep your graphics card cool and quiet which is just how it should be. Building on the “quiet” ASUS has also incorporated their 0 dB technology which keeps the fans from spinning until the internal temperature reaches 55 °C at which point they will engage.
Going hand in hand with the 0 dB technology is the dual BIOS switch with a “performance” mode and “quiet” mode. Performance mode allows the fans to spin up more aggressively to keep things cool, prioritizing lower core temperatures. The Quiet mode, on the other hand, still uses the same power target and settings but reduces fan speeds giving silence the priority.
These graphics cards are also built with ASUS’ own Auto-Extreme technology which they claim greatly improves the quality of the process and reduces their environmental impact by eliminating harsh chemicals and reducing manufacturing power requirements. There is an included Youtube video giving more detail on the process. For those interested just click on the picture in the table below.
Let’s not forget the AURA lighting which is included on the shroud on either side of the three fans and on the backplate which has an illuminated ROG logo. ASUS has also included an AURA RGB header on the back end of the STRIX to aid in extending your lighting to add-in RGB LED strips. All of these and any compatible peripherals can be controlled with ASUS’ AURA SYNC software putting you in complete control of a multitude of colors and patterns to customize your build.
Another fairly recent addition is a couple of PWM 4-pin fan headers next to the AURA header. These can be connected to case fans which will be controlled by the graphics card temperature and fine-tuned using ASUS’ GPU Tweak II software creating more airflow when needed.
Below are some of the features taken from ASUS’ website:
Retail Packaging and Accessories
The first thing we notice with the retail packaging is the bright “NVIDIA” green which appears to be consistent across most vendors stating the make of the included graphics card. The remainder of the outer packaging is much more reminiscent of ASUS with the big ROG symbol taking up a large portion of the front along with a picture of the card, the name and an “OC” notation which sets it apart from the other STRIX Gaming cards they offer. Flipping the box over we see a lot of the features that were just covered above.
Inside the outer sleeve, we find another box with the STRIX logo across the top. This box has a flap in the front to open the lid which reveals a paper sleeve containing the ASUS quick start guide and driver/support disc. Pulling out the top layer of foam we find the STRIX RTX 2060 OC wrapped in an anti-static bag and nestled into a foam pocket for protection. There aren’t a lot of included accessories, aside from the disc and guide ASUS has thrown in a couple of velcro ROG wire ties. I guess the days of the Molex to PCIe power adapters are finally gone!
Meet the ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC Gaming
As you can see above the Strix is black the only color besides black are the logos on the fans and the big ROG logo on the reverse side of the card. This makes it suitable for almost any themed build with the only hint of color coming from the RGB strips on either side of the fans which can be customized with AURA to blend perfectly. The shrouding has aggressive angles like all STRIX models and we see three of their Wing-blade fans. The card itself is quite large measuring 300 mm in length, 132 mm wide, and 50 mm thick making it a tight fit for a two slot card.
We also see the large heatsink hidden beneath the shroud which is exposed along both sides of the card to allow for better airflow. Along the outside edge, we find “Republic of Gamers” which lights up and the GeForce RTX moniker with the STRIX model barely visible beneath it. As I mentioned the back of the card has a large ROG logo which also lights up via AURA and a few angular grey lines. Minimalistic might be the best way to describe the lighting on this card.
A Closer Look
Moving in a bit, let’s start with the back of the card. Between the power connectors and the wiring, we can see one AURA RGB header which is red and used for lighting expansion and the two “FanConnect II” headers, these are 4-pin PWM/DC headers for customizing cooling and controlled with the GPU Tweak II software.
For outputs, ASUS has moved away from the DVI and USB-C ports found on the FE and opted for two HDMI 2.0b and two Display Port 1.4 connectors. You’ll also notice the case bracket is painted black matching the rest of the card.
ASUS has given the STRIX RTX 2060 OC ample power with its 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connector – much beefier than the FE with a single 8-pin. Together with the PCIe slot, this makes for a total of 300 W of power available to the card, but without some serious modifications it’ll never pull much over 200 W with the Power Target maxed out at +25%.
Included below is a picture of the BIOS switch for performance or silent operation and a small switch next to it which will disable the onboard RGB LEDs if you so choose. These are located near the I/O bracket on the top of the card.
Disassembling the STRIX was pretty straight forward, by removing the four spring-loaded screws around the core and two behind the VRM the cooler lifts off the PCB. The backplate and “Reinforced Frame” are held together through the PCB with additional screws plus a couple holding the frame to the I/O shield. The frame serves a dual purpose, it adds rigidity to the card to prevent twisting of the PCB and it’s also a heat spreader for the 6 GB of GDDR6 memory.
Below, we can see ASUS’ MaxContact Technology delivers a highly polished cooler surface which is very well finished creating a near mirror-like reflection. This heat spreader is connected directly to half a dozen heat pipes which wind through the two fin arrays. A new addition is a solid bar with thermal tape on the one array that tightens down over the VRM transferring heat directly into the fins.
The ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC is powered by an 8+2 phase VRM array controlled by the uP9512Q 4+1 multi-phase buck controller. ASUS uses two different power stages here, eight 60 A CSD95481RWJ NexFETs from Texas Instruments for the GPU core and two DrMOS for the memory. Finishing off ASUS’ “Super Alloy II” power system are the premium alloy chokes and solid polymer capacitors.
Here’s a slideshow of some of the IC’s on the STRIX RTX 2060 OC PCB, right-click to see a larger image:
ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC on the test bench:
Test System and Benchmark Methods
Our test system is based on the latest mainstream Intel platform, Z370, and uses the i7-8700K 6c/12t CPU. The CPU is overclocked to 4.7 GHz on all cores/threads with cache set to 4.3 GHz. The clock speeds used provide a good base to minimize any limitations the CPU may have on our titles, particularly when using the lower resolutions, and should be attainable with a good air cooler or better. System memory is in a 2×8 GB configuration at 3200 MHz with CL15-15-15-35-2T timings which is a middle of the road option that balances performance and cost.
|Test System Components|
|Motherboard||ROG Maximus X APEX|
|CPU||Intel i7 8700K @ 4.7 GHz / 4.3 GHz Cache|
|CPU Cooler||EVGA CLC 240|
|Memory||2×8 GB G.Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz CL15-15-15-35|
|SSD||Toshiba OCZ TR200 480 GB (OS + Applications)|
|Power Supply||EVGA 750W G3|
|Video Card||ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC (417.71 drivers)|
Thanks go out to EVGA for providing the CLC 240 CPU Cooler and 750 W G3 Power Supply to cool and power the system, G.Skill for the Trident Z DRAM, and Toshiba OCZ for the 480 GB TR200 SSDs storage running the OS, benchmarks, and games. With our partners helping out, we are able to build matching test systems to mitigate any differences found between using different hardware. This allows for multiple reviewers in different locations to use the same test system and compare results without additional variables.
Below are the tests we run with a brief description of the settings. We have made some significant changes since the last update adding a few new titles and dropping some of the older games. More details can be found in the GPU Testing Procedure article which we have updated with our latest benchmarks.
- UL 3DMark Time Spy – Default settings
- UL 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) – Default settings
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider – DX12, “Highest” preset (will add RTX when it has been patched)
- The Division – DX12, Ultra preset, VSync Off
- Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation – DX12, Crazy preset, GPU focused
- Far Cry 5 – Ultra defaults
- F1 2018 – Very High defaults, TAA, and x16 AF, Australia track, show FPS counter
- World of Tanks: Encore Benchmark – Ultra defaults
- Battlefield V – Ultra defaults
Our first set of benchmarks hail from Underwriters Laboratories who acquired Futuremark back in 2014. Earlier in 2018, a rebrand occurred and since that time, Futuremark is now UL. The benchmarks have not changed, just the name. We chose to stick with 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) and 3DMark Time Spy as these tests give users a good idea of performance on modern titles.
3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) is a DX11-based test which UL says the graphics are rendered with detail and complexity far beyond other DX11 benchmarks and games. This benchmark runs at 1920×1080. 3DMark Time Spy is a DX12 benchmark designed for Windows 10 PCs. It supports new API features such as asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, multi-threading, and runs at 2560×1440 resolution.
Looking at the results of our synthetic benchmarks we can see the STRIX RTX 2060 OC with its higher boost clocks easily outpaces the RTX 2060 FE. This is going to be a common theme throughout our testing. You may also notice that two separate OC results were added for this card. One result was using the OC scanner denoted by “scan” and the other was a manual OC pushed to the limit while retaining stability.
Moving on to the gaming benchmarks, we have updated our testing suite to bring more modern titles into the mix. Gone are GTA V, Crysis 3, and Rise of the Tomb Raider, which were replaced with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, World of Tanks: enCore benchmark, F1 2018, Battlefield V, and Far Cry 5. We kept The Division and Ashes of the Singularity (though we updated to AOTS: Escalation). The games should provide a good view of the overall performance of the card. Many of these are DX12 games.
Ray Tracing will not be tested here even though BF V and Windows have now been updated to support it. In the future, SoTR will have it along with many other titles so we will circle back when appropriate.
Here again, the Strix easily topped the Founder’s Edition as well as outpacing the Vega 64 with the RTX 2070 still in the lead.
It appears that FC5 and the Division are a bit friendlier to the Vega 64, in particular, The Division where the Vega even outperformed the RTX 2070. The Strix still made a strong showing topping the Vega in FC5 but only when overclocked.
What’s interesting in these two titles is that the STRIX, once overclocked, was keeping pace with the RTX 2070. Just keep in mind that the RTX 2070 is a Founder’s Edition and was running at stock so there’s still performance left on the table. None the less, it’s still a good showing for the ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC!
Here again, once overclocked the STRIX was topping all other cards in our group even if it’s just one FPS.
2560×1440 and 4K UHD Results
Below are the higher resolution results starting with 2560×1440 and the gaining in popularity 3840×2160 (4K UHD). These resolutions are more fitting for the cards we are testing as the 1080p results with these cards can have a ceiling on them from the CPU (even at 4.7 GHz).
It’s is easy to see from the results above that the RTX 2060 is not a 4K graphics card. Drop that back to 2560x1440p resolution and the STRIX performed very well in all but Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. Even at Ultra/High settings, the RTX 2060 makes a great 1440p graphics card more frequently than not eclipsing the magic 60 FPS threshold. Some titles may need a bit of adjustment in quality settings but overall this card shines here.
Ballefield V Raytracing Results
The only thing to say here is that playing Battlefield V with ray tracing enabled really kicks this card in the pants (as it does with the entire RTX line) dropping the FPS nearly in half at all resolutions. At 1080p the game was still playable, but trying to run at 4K with RT enabled was just torturous and completely unplayable.
As was mentioned earlier there were two overclocking results recorded. Using the OC scanner only generated a 30 MHz bump over the stock boost clocks and was relatively disappointing. The only thing that made any difference performance wise was the added memory speed which was set manually. In the end, using GPU Tweak II manually generated the best results and this STRIX RTX 2060 overclocked very well. An overclock of +98 MHz to the core and +1914 MHz for the memory using GPU Tweak II was established. This overclock was completely stable through all testing and resulted in a maximum boost clock of 2130 MHz which is quite impressive for a factory overclocked card. The power limit was set to full at +25%, the voltage remained untouched, and the fans were left on auto with the BIOS switch in the “Quiet” position. The temperatures were well controlled never going over 60 °C and the card still remained very quiet, inaudible over the sound of the AIO cooler for the system. There was a bit left in the tank still at that point and I was able to run some benchmarks at 2150 MHz, but completing all the gaming tests was not possible.
GPU Tweak II
GPU Tweak II is an easy to use interface for overclocking your ASUS graphics card. It has an easy mode which offers a couple of presets and an advanced mode that offers all the available options which a user can set manually. This is also the interface for customizing any case fans connected to the “FanConnect II” headers on the STRIX.
Temperatures and Power Use
We test power consumption by running through the game benchmarks of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and F1 2018 at both stock speeds, and while overclocked. We monitor temperatures throughout this testing with the peak temperature what is listed in the data below. In order to more accurately simulate real gaming conditions, the benchmarks are extended (time) to allow the card to settle.
As you can see, temperatures were very well controlled. ASUS has done a great job on their cooling solution for the STRIX RTX 2060 OC. The idle temps may seem a bit high but remember the fans aren’t spinning at all – this is their “0 dB Technology” in action which keeps the fans still until a temperature of 55 °C is reached.
The power consumption under load is a bit higher than we saw from the Founder’s Edition but that’s understandable since the STRIX RTX 2060 OC does boost considerably higher under stock operations and even overclocked the STRIX had 100 MHz on the FE.
The performance from the ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC was top notch at stock and even better overclocked. As with their other ROG products, ASUS doesn’t hold back adding in all kinds of little extras and sticking to tradition, they beefed up the power section. Even though an 8+2 phase power delivery system isn’t necessary for the RTX 2060 it ensures ample clean power and keeps things running cooler by spreading the demand out over more phases which should help extend the longevity of the card itself. Speaking of longevity the Strix RTX 2060 OC comes with a 3-year limited part and labor warranty honored by ASUS.
We have to give ASUS kudos for the cooler itself where their Wing-blade design and MaxContact technology really paid off. During normal use and overclocked the GPU never went over 60 °C and the fans maintained a modest 1100 RPM the majority of the time. This kept everything cool and quiet showing the improvements they have made over the years has really paid off.
Overclocking was very straightforward using the GPU Tweak II software and the STRIX reached an impressive 2130 MHz giving it on average a 7% boost over stock which was already approximately 5% above the Founder’s Edition stock performance level. This added up to 10 or more FPS in the titles we tested with some gaining up to 20 FPS.
The STRIX also has the AURA RGB LEDs in the shroud and backplate which are controllable with the AURA software and through AURA Sync which can coordinate the STRIX with all of your compatible peripherals allowing for full customization of your systems color and lighting scheme. If RGB LED’s aren’t your thing, just switch them off completely with the onboard switch.
ASUS has priced the ROG STRIX RTX 2060 OC at $399 and it can be found for that price currently at both Newegg and Amazon. That’s only $50 above the $349.99 MSRP from Nvidia and in my opinion, it’s definitely worth the premium considering what you get for it!
– Shawn Jennings (Johan45)