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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super/ RTX 2070 Super: ray tracing performance

Just how 'super' are the new cards at the next big thing in gaming graphics?

Ray tracing support in Nvidia's RTX line has proved to be contentious since the Turing architecture launched last year, but there's no doubt that developer momentum is geared towards embracing the technology. On the software side, titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Watch Dogs Legion and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will all support DXR, while on the hardware side, ray tracing support has been confirmed for both the next generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles. And by extension, that means that whatever AMD's stance is in public, the fact is that it has been working on hardware acceleration.

But actually getting worthwhile benchmarks for ray tracing support in PC video games is challenging at best, because the rendering isn't purely comprised of RT. Rather, we see hybrid rendering, where conventional 3D techniques are merged with ray tracing in creating any given scene. What this means is that plenty of game environments may only use RT lightly, meaning that the RTX hardware isn't being pushed to its fullest extent consistently throughout the benchmark. With that in mind, a pure ray tracing benchmark - like 3DMark's Port Royal - will at least allow you to compare based on (presumably) a dedicated RT workload.

On top of that, we've constructed a path-traced benchmark for Quake 2 RTX, which heavily uses the hardware acceleration. This one is really geared towards testing the RT core - in addition to running the bench, we're also moving the sun position constantly. This stops the game from using its internal temporal component to draw info from the last frame. In real gaming, Quake 2 RTX runs twice as quickly but in this stress test, every single frame derives data from new path tracing calculations - and in this manufactured scenario, not even the mighty RTX 2080 Ti can get 60fps.

On the flipside, a benchmark like Shadow of the Tomb Raider's is less indicative of potential RT performance, but more representative of this game's less stressful use of the RTX technology - the load on the dedicated hardware adjusts according to shadow coverage. It's a lighter use of the tech, so the numbers are closer - but plunge into a shadowy pit and the performance between each card radically adjusts (and unfortunately, this scenario is not represented in the bench). Meanwhile, the Provence stage we test in Battlefield 5 looks beautiful and is representative of general gameplay - but screen-filling reflections will see performance drop dramatically.

So consider these tests a work-in-progress breakdown of relative performance between all of the RTX cards for now, and we'll be looking to add to the list with more comprehensive, more challenging benchmarks in future.

3DMark Port Royal - 1080p

Quake 2 RTX 1080p, High Global Illumination

Battlefield 5 1080p Ultra, DXR Ultra, High Textures

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, 1080p, Highest, DXR

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super / RTX 2070 Super Analysis

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About the Author
Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.

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