With the release of the RTX 2070, you may have seen some benchmark numbers and also that the price is pretty similar to the one of the GTX 1080 starting at just below $500. So you may be left wondering which one would be the better buy and what you can expect of the new 20-series of RTX graphics cards from NVIDIA. I’ll try to go over this topic in today’s article.
Differences between RTX 2070 and GTX 1080
There are a ton of differences between NVIDIA’s Pascal and Turing architecture (in other words the 10- and 20-series) and covering all of them in this short article probably isn’t that useful and interesting to most people which is why I’ll just cover the main differences.
First and foremost is the biggest new feature which also is the reason for the new naming of the cards, going from GTX to RTX: real-time ray tracing. In essence, it is a different approach to creating an image compared to the rasterization you’re used to and works by tracing the path of a ray of light backwards into the 3D space. This leads to a more impressive image, as reflections, shadows and so on would be way more realistic. If you want to know more about ray tracing, this article by PCGamer goes pretty in-depth about this technology.
Another pretty big and exciting new addition is the support of deep learning super-sampling (DLSS), which works by rendering the image on a lower resolution and upscaling it afterwards via deep learning algorithms. As you might expect, this allows for better performance/higher framerates while still keeping image quality high.
Other features include things like 14Gbps GDDR6 instead of the GDDR5(X) found on Pascal graphics cards. If you want to learn all about the new Turing architecture you might want to check these articles from PCGamer andvideocardz.
So the RTX cards are better than the previous GTX 10-series of cards, right?
Well, technically yes, but in reality, these features are not yet implemented in any games as of this moment and it is likely that it will take some time for them to be implemented in many of the games already released or released in the near future. Some titles that are supposed to get ray tracing include Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Metro Exodus while other games like PUBG and Final Fantasy XV should get DLSS in the future. As such, you shouldn’t get too excited about ray tracing and DLSS just yet if you decide to buy one of the new RTX cards.
Performance comparison and conclusion
Just like the price that is pretty similar to the one of the GTX 1080, the performance of the RTX 2070 is also very comparable to the GTX 1080. As you can see in the videos from Hardware Unboxed and Tech YES City, the RTX 2070 slightly edges out the GTX 1080 in most games, allowing for a single-digit percent advantage.
Considering all of these previous points, which one you should buy definitely comes down to the price of the respective graphics cards in your region. If they are close in price like they are in the US, where the cheapest, decent third-party graphics cards are around $475, the RTX 2070 is definitely preferable if you can pick one up for $500. It houses a ton of new architectural features which may not be supported at the time, but they definitely don’t hurt your performance either. If the price difference is bigger than 10%, or if you want to go down the path of buying used, then the Pascal cards are also worth a consideration. Even though they are over two years old by now, they still deliver amazing performance.