During the ongoing graphics card shortage, the industry giants Nvidia have decided to (very) quietly release a refreshed version of the RTX 2060, this time sporting 12 gigabytes of GDDR6 memory compared to its predecessor’s 6 gigabytes. At first glance, it does seem like a decent refresh, however the question being asked now is simply “why?”
Nvidia had not so long ago released their RTX 3060 graphics card, and even more recently their RTX 3050 GPU, both of which outpower the RTX 2060 due to the generation advancement and second-generation Ray Tracing cores. This, as a result, doesn’t seem like a compelling choice for gamers; they can get better value for money from other cards, even when being scalped as the re-released RTX 2060 can sell for amounts as high as £515, and for just 60 more you can find a Palit RTX 3060 with the same amount of video memory. However, a big driving factor (other than trying to get graphics card back into circulation) may be the ever-rising increase of cryptocurrency mining and its sudden rise in importance as other digital assets, such as NFTs, become available. This is further supported by the fact that the RTX 2060 does not possess the LHR (Lite Hash Rate), which would normally impose strict limits on the effectiveness in crypto mining and other related activities on the RTX 30- series, which shows that this card is more targeted towards that audience and to further drive them away from Nvidia’s gaming market. Again, since this is a card based on an older architecture, it’s also not that good for mining; however, miners are encountering the same problem as gamers, and are most likely looking to buy any graphics card they can now.
The card itself isn’t a compelling purchase no matter how you look at it, considering the current shortage in the computer hardware industry, driving up prices, the card itself not being powerful enough to compete with newer options, and with Intel’s new Arc graphics cards coming later in 2022 which have a high chance of being able to humble both AMD and Nvidia respectively, waiting seems to be the best option for system builders, just like it was during the beginning of the pandemic, 2 years ago. Nvidia seems mostly to be reusing their old silicon, especially considering the performance of the newly released (at the time of writing) RTX 3050 seems to be very similar to that of a GTX 1660, just with Ray Tracing capabilities which themselves aren’t recommended for the 3050 (which, disappointingly, is targeted as a 1080p60fps GPU in 2022).
Another use case for this graphics card may be 3D work, although the card itself isn’t the best, 3D modellers/artists may benefit from the larger pool of video memory. Again, this is only compelling if the user is upgrading from hardware that’s a few generations old or is getting a killer deal on it.
In conclusion, despite repeating myself about 15 times in different contexts, this card has a massive question mark hovering above it. Gamers won’t buy it, crypto miners won’t buy it, and despite my last statement, 3D artists most likely won’t buy it either. There isn’t a clear winner with this release, except Nvidia, which is getting rid of old stock and probably making a lot of investors happy with their “X graphics cards released this year” quota.