The rollout of NVIDIA’s Turing architecture has been more or less controversial, and no, that’s not an insult but an observation of the launch as a whole. I’ve reviewed both GeForceflagships and talked about initial long-term impressions ad nauseum, and we just had to wait for the mainstream-friendly graphic cards to arrive.
Now I finally have one in the form of Gigabyte’s GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING OC 8G. This card does everything well enough for intermediate/hardcore PC gamers, even exceeding the stock models in almost every critical aspect. To be fair, RTX Founders Edition modules are great if you’re adamant about going OEM, and having some bragging rights about spending more for a reference GPU. However, the majority of us live in reality and will happily take partner models (although Gigabyte is a strong and prevalent manufacturing partner since forever).
The 2070 GAMING OC is already a winning combination, but I should talk about the looks anyway. It’s a stark contrast to the relatively understated industrial look of NVIDIA’s variants. This isn’t a surprise since most AIB models have added flair with an emphasis on straight angles, RGB logos and a sweet-looking metal backplate.
Gigabyte differentiates with 11 inches of length, slightly lowered 4.4.inches of height and 2 inches of width. The 2070 GAMING OC is indeed wider but cuts some unexpected fat at 1.87 lbs. As a result, the slimmer and longer PCB design should have better vertical clearance for small form factor builds.
Despite some clever(ish) downsizing, Gigabyte still managed to include three 80mm ‘windforce’ fans. This effectively means improved cooling internals through copper heat pipes and 3D active fan heat dissipation not only for stock performance and noise, but additional range to compensate for individual settings. There’s also reduced airflow turbulence thanks to Gigabyte turning the middle fan in the opposite direction for smoother output pressure.
Otherwise, the 2070 GAMING OC sports an array of three DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b and VirtualLink-capable USB Type-C ports—unlike the Founders Edition, Gigabyte ditches the DVI-DL output entirely. The power consumption is also a little higher with a 6 pin + 8 pin ATX connector and 221-watts in order to accommodate the additional factory overclock. I personally recommend getting a power supply that makes a minimum of 600W to run this card.
It’s been a couple months since the RTX launch and the more expensive flagships are great—albeit not groundbreaking. This means two things: that a lot of the pressure is lifted for the GeForce RTX 2070 to fulfill unrealistic expectations, and that this card is an noticeable leap above the prior GTX 1080, especially the GTX 1070. In short, Gigabyte’s GAMING OC variant is just more of an already good thing for mainstream performance.
The RTX 2070 GAMING OC sporting the same 2304 CUDA cores, 8GB of GDDR6 memory/256-bit. Things improve however with a small 15MHz gaming mode (1725MHz) boost over the OEM Founders Edition (1710MHz) and another 30MHz (1740MHz) Gigabyte clearly has the advantage in numbers. We’ll have to take these figures at face value since NVDIA failed to provide a sample card at the time of testing, I say just stick with AIB models anyways.
Clearly, the RTX 2070 feels right at home running games and application at 2560×1440 (QHD) and maintaining high refresh rates across the board on ‘high’ or ‘ultra’ quality settings. Couple this card with the proper 100Hz/144Hz or G-Sync monitor you can expect nothing short of buttery-smooth gameplay without a hiccup.
If you’re looking to game at 4K resolutions however, that is going to come with a lot of compromise in quality or nothing at all. We already saw that steady ultra HD performance was barely possible with the RTX 2080 Ti, but you can still achieve acceptable 3840×2160/4096×2160 if you tone down the quality for many titles.
For people eager to overclock you can download the Aorus Engine utility, which allows you quick access to fan control, lighting and core frequency adjustments. The UI is easy to navigate and the main screen has everything you need to toggle between clock mode without drama or bricking your machine. Many appreciate that OC, Gaming and Silent modes can be switched on the fly, and a User profile mode that can be tweaked via the ‘Professional Mode’.
Speaking of which, the interface is optimized for everything from GPU boost, GPU voltage, and the ability to target specific power/temperature numbers. If you ever used utilities from EVGA and ASUS then you’ll know exactly what to expect when diving in, although I think Gigabyte is probably the easiest to use and understand if you’re a novice and want to toy around with some settings.
Even before the higher than stock specs and features, Gigabyte’s GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING OC is already better and ahead of NVIDIA at a relatively cheaper price ($549.99 MSRP). Considering the elevated hype and the lukewarm response that followed the RTX rollout, this card seems downright ideal – though you can probably find even cheaper and with less aggressive cooling.
Even with its trick three fan design though, the OC 8G feverishly whirls away because of a larger power draw, and things only get hotter in tighter spots. So, you could place this in a small form PC but you’ll need to keep a close eye as those fans go nearly into overload. Fortunately, this is a very specific scenario and the 2070 GAMING OC 8G is positioned nicely as an upgrade to Maxwell and lower-end Pascal models. Nothing short of excellent if you’re after absolute QHD/1440p gaming prowess below $600.