EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO review: Ray tracing gets affordable

The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO makes some smart compromises to hit a truly compelling $300 price point.

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

F1 2019

The latest in a long line of successful racing games, F1 2019 is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options, making it a much more reliable (and fun) option than the Forza series. It’s built on the latest version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine, complete with support for DX12 for the first time. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies.

f1 2019 Brad Chacos/IDG

Real-time ray tracing

Unlike AMD’s rival Radeon cards, Nvidia RTX GPUs pack dedicated hardware to enable real-time ray tracing, though the cutting-edge lighting effect can put a big damper on performance depending on the implementation. Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology claws back some of those frames in games where it’s available, though.

To see if the EVGA KO’s unique cut-down TU104 GPU performs differently than the TU106 GPU in standard RTX 2060 models, we’ve compared its ray tracing performance against Nvidia’s Founders Edition in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Metro: Exodus at 1440p resolution. (Spoiler: The KO isn’t faster.) Tomb Raider lacks DLSS, and we’ve tested it with ray-traced shadows set to both Medium and Ultra. Metro Exodus supports DLSS. We tested it using the RTX preset in the benchmark, which sets its ray tracing to High and activates DLSS. A more intense Ultra setting is also available, but we didn’t test it here.

rtx Brad Chacos/IDG

Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2019 benchmark for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

power Brad Chacos/IDG

Here’s where the switch from TU106 to a cut-down TU104 GPU makes a slight difference. The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO sucks down slightly more power than the Nvidia Founders Edition. Not by much though. It’s interesting to note, but it isn’t a practical consideration in the real world.

We test thermals by leaving GPU-Z open during the F1 2019 power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

Despite its small stature and reused cooling design, the EVGA RTX 2060 KO stays nice and cool, never going above 73 degrees even in its overclocked form. It’s not all roses though. Subjectively, the EVGA KO gets louder than most graphics cards in this price range to hit those chilly temperatures, and it’s more audible than the Founders Edition’s dual fan setup or the whisper-quiet cooler on the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT. Our review sample had some slight coil whine during especially intense gaming scenes as well.

Still, the sound levels aren’t bad, and the KO proves quieter than AMD’s recent blower-style reference coolers. It’s a reasonable compromise to hit the $300 price point. The EVGA KO’s wonderful idle fan stop feature, which Nvidia’s Founders Edition card lacks, makes it much preferable to use when you’re not gaming, as it’s silent during desktop use.

Next page: Should you buy the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO?

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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