ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2060 Review
All the things we've said about the RTX 2060 remain true here, and then some.
Whenever a partner card appears it is usually a step up from the reference design, both in overall performance thanks to the improved cooling, and general usability. After all, lower temperatures mean lower fan speeds, which mean less noise, which is just much easier to live with all around. There are few things worse than starting a game and within 30 seconds your system is doing a reasonable impression of an industrial vacuum cleaner. The cooler on the ASUS Strix is up to their usual high standards, with a lot of bracing keeping the PCB stable even under harsh loadings, whilst the combination of high fin density, fat heat-pipes and three fans dissipate more than enough heat to keep anyone satisfied. Even with a serious overclock in place we couldn't get it to break through the 60°C mark, which allows for much more consistent boost clock speeds as well as quieter use.
The boost clock speeds deserve a special mention. Peak boost clocks are all very well for advertising blurb, but we'd always take a card that can maintain a high average clock over one that can hit a huge peak clock once in a blue moon. The Strix not only managed higher average boost clocks in both stock and overclocked setups than the nVidia managed when overclocked, but what really leaves us satisfied is the quality of that boost clock. The nVidia had an difference between the peak clock and the average clock of around 4%, but the ASUS ROG Strix averages 1.1% lower at stock and a scarcely believable 1% gap between peak and average when overclocked. It's this tiny gap that brings home the bacon. All our gaming is in lengthy sessions and so having a card which is capable of maintaining a particular frame rate gives a more consistent experience. Consistency allows you to focus on improving your skills, which makes you a better gamer. Instead of random frame drops frustrating, it's buttery smooth all the way.
It isn't only in the world of performance or quietness that the Strix makes itself known either. As always with a ROG product there are some extras which are nice to have. The design of the cooler shroud will be familiar to anyone who has followed the latest ASUS designs, with the AURA Sync lighting surrounding the fans and giving a nice glow to the lower half of your case. On the inside end there are connectors for system fans letting the card give itself more cool air if necessary, whilst you can also connect a RGB LED Strip to the Strix, should you want to take part in the new RGB craze without investing in a controller or brand new motherboard.
Like any ROG product there is a bit of a price premium to pay over and above the standard RTX 2060, but with the better cooling, better performance and improved user-friendliness we don't feel it's the fiscal equivalent of empty calories. Instead this is pushing the capabilities of the Turing GPU hard enough that it gets very close to the RTX 2070 and runs almost everything smoothly at 1440, let alone the 1080P resolution for which it is designed. If you've fancied GTX 1080 performance with all the bells and whistles of the RTX design, then the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2060 is a fantastic choice and worthy winner of our OC3D Gamers Choice award.