The modern gamer does not have to choose between compactness and performance. The potential of gaming laptops is only slightly inferior to large PCs, and the only compromises you make when buying a mobile device is noise. Among the variety of gaming laptops, there are many options with different technical characteristics. Against the backdrop of a significant difference in cost, the question often arises of the advisability of overpaying for laptops with a more powerful graphics accelerator. We tried to answer this question in this review by comparing the GeForce RTX 2070, GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti mobile video cards. Let’s see what they can do in Full HD resolution, and how well the RTX models cope with ray-traced effects.
First, let’s try to understand the range of NVIDIA mobile solutions. The company produces two versions of each video card — there are high-performance models (informally referred to as Max-P) and ultra-efficient Max-Q versions with lower frequencies and reduced power. GeForce Max-Q is used in thin laptops, while regular model video cards are used in simpler overall models. Also, graphics adapters with modified frequency characteristics have recently appeared (GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile Refresh). Since NVIDIA does not focus on updated versions, there is a discrepancy in the characteristics in different sources. We tried to summarize all the data on the available variants of the GeForce RTX 2070, GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti in one table. For clarity, it also indicates desktop versions of video cards (Desktop).
|Video adapter||GeForce RTX 2070 Desktop||GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile Refresh||GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile||GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q Refresh||GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q||GeForce RTX 2060 Desktop||GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile||GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q||GeForce GTX 1660 Desktop||GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile||GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q|
|Number of transistors, million pieces||10800||10800||10800||10800||10800||10800||10800||10800||6600||6600||6600|
|Process technology, nm||12||12||12||12||12||12||12||12||12||12||12|
|Core area, sq. mm||445||445||445||445||445||445||445||445||284||284||284|
|Number of stream processors||2304||2304||2304||2304||2304||1920||1920||1920||1536||1536||1536|
|Number of tensor cores||288||288||288||288||288||240||240||240||–||–||–|
|Number of RT cores||36||36||36||36||36||30||30||30||–||–||–|
|Number of texture blocks||144||144||144||144||144||120||120||120||96||96||96|
|Number of render units||64||64||64||64||64||48||48||48||48||48||48|
|Base core frequency, MHz||1410||1260||1215||900||885||1365||960||975||1500||1455||1140|
|Boost frequency, MHz||1620||1445–1485||1440||1125||1185||1680||1200||1185||1770||1590||1335|
|Memory bus, bit||256||256||256||256||256||192||192||192||192||192||192|
|Memory frequency, MHz||14000||14000||14000||11000||14000/12000||14000||14000/11000||11000||12000||12000||12000|
|Memory size, GB||8||8||8||8||8||6||6||6||6||6||6|
|Supported version of DirectX||12 (12_2)||12 (12_2)||12 (12_2)||12 (12_2)||12 (12_2)||12 (12_2)||12 (12_2)||12 (12_2)||12 (12_1)||12 (12_1)||12 (12_1)|
|Interface||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0|
|Power TDP/TGP, W||175||115||115||80||90/80||160||90||65||120||80||60|
The mobile version of the GeForce RTX 2070 uses the TU106 processor in the same configuration as the desktop version, but the frequencies are reduced by about 200 MHz. With more stringent power and temperature limits, the actual frequency difference should be even higher. The updated Refresh version slightly increases the base value and Boost while maintaining a TDP of 115W. This became possible thanks to the use of low-voltage GDDR6 memory chips. The economical version of the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q has lower frequencies and can be equipped with GDDR6 memory at different frequencies.
In the case of the mobile GeForce RTX 2060, different frequency options are possible even for the regular Max-P version. At the same time, there are also versions with different GPU frequencies on the market, although the standard frequency formula provides for 960/1200 MHz (Base/Boost). There was information about the Refresh version of the GeForce RTX 2060, but without clear specifications. The GPU frequencies of the economical Max-Q version are not greatly reduced, but the memory used is slower. TDP for this series is at the level of 65-90 watts. This is much less than 160 W for the desktop GeForce RTX 2060, but the frequencies of the desktop video card are noticeably higher.
The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti uses a GPU without RT cores and tensor units, which does not allow full use of tracing-based effects or DLSS anti-aliasing. But this video card is close in performance to the GeForce RTX 2060 and has a lower price tag. The mobile version is only 45 MHz behind the desktop card in terms of base frequency, although the average Boost Clock differs by 420 MHz. Well, traditionally there is an ultra-economical version of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q with a more significant reduction in frequencies and a modest TDP of 60 watts.
We will compare the performance versions of mobile video cards GeForce RTX 2070, GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. This comparison is based on three laptops:
Two laptops are based on the Intel Core i7-9750H, one is based on the new AMD Ryzen 7 4800H. These are different systems, but both processors are top models of the gaming segment of approximately the same level.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX502GW и GeForce RTX 2070
This is a performance laptop based on the Intel Core i7-9750H processor, which at a base frequency of 2.6 GHz provides Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz. Equipped with 32GB DDR4-2666 memory and 512GB Intel SSDPEKNW512GB NVMe M.2 SSD.
All characteristics are reflected below in the screenshot of the HWiNFO utility.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 mobile graphics card has standard specifications. This is a TU106 GPU with 2560 stream cores, a base frequency of 1215 MHz with a Boost Clock of 1440 MHz. The effective memory frequency is 14000 MHz.
The GPU temperature easily reaches 86-87 C on Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition for a long time.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX502GW provides the ability to accelerate the laptop due to the Turbo mode. Operating modes are switched through the Armory Crate utility or through the ROG button. By default, the laptop works in Performance mode, Turbo has improved cooling (by increasing the speed of the fans), and the frequencies of the video card have been increased. For clarity, we tested in both modes to evaluate the potential of the GeForce RTX 2070 in standard mode and with a slight overclock.
The overclocking itself provides for a core acceleration of 100 MHz and an increase in the final memory frequencies by 300 MHz.
In Turbo mode, GPU frequencies were kept in the range of 1400-1450 MHz.
Users can choose the maximum frequencies themselves through MSI Afterburner or another utility. But severe power limitations and poor cooling do not give much room for increasing frequencies. Manual overclocking of mobile video cards is often very small and slightly different from the standard Turbo mode.
ASUS TUF Gaming A15 FA506 и GeForce RTX 2060
Laptop powered by the new AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor @ 2.9GHz (up to 4.2GHz Turbo). Equipped with 32GB DDR4-3200 memory and fast SSD NVMe M.2 Micron 2200V MTFDHBA1T0TCK.
The full specifications of the laptop are presented in the screenshot of the HWiNFO utility.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 video card has not quite standard characteristics. The TU106 processor runs at a base frequency of 1005 MHz and a Boost Clock of 1350 MHz, but the memory frequency is limited to 11000 MHz.
In the game mode, the Boost frequencies of the GPU varied in the main range of 1450–1550 MHz, the temperature did not exceed 77 °C.
Testing was carried out in two modes. By default, the laptop runs in Performance mode, there is also a Turbo mode with higher graphics card frequencies and a more aggressive fan control algorithm. In the second case, under load, the fans stably spin up to 5500 rpm.
The GPU frequency is increased by 100 MHz with memory boost up to 11240 MHz.
In games, Boost frequencies are close to the level of 1550-1600 MHz at GPU temperatures within 75 °C.
Acer Nitro 7 AN715-51 и GeForce GTX 1660Ti
The laptop is based on the Intel Core i7-9750H processor, which at a base frequency of 2.6 GHz provides Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz. Equipped with 16GB DDR4-2666 memory and 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD WD PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G-1014.
All characteristics are reflected below in the screenshot of the HWiNFO utility.
The standard performance version of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti mobile video card based on GPU 116 with 1536 stream cores, 192-bit memory bus and 6 GB of video buffer on GDDR6 chips with an effective frequency of 12000 MHz is used.
In game mode, the actual Boost frequencies are in the range of 1575-1605 MHz with periodic peak bursts. A long test of Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition warmed up the video card to 82 ° C.
This is the only video card in testing for which manual overclocking was used, for which the maximum fan speed mode (6100 rpm) was activated along the way. The core frequency is increased by 150 MHz, the memory by 1000 MHz. This is an affordable maximum without a clear loss in stability.
The average Boost Clock exceeded 1700 MHz at a core temperature of 73 °C.