AORUS RTX 2070 XTREME Review

AORUS RTX 2070 Xtreme

SPECIFICATIONS

GPU | Node  TU106 | TSMC 12nm
CUDA Cores | Tensor Cores | RT Cores 2304 | 288 | 36
Memory Type | Frequency | Bandwidth 8GiB Micron GDDR6 | 14GHz | 448GiB/s
Output Interface 3xDP 1.4, 3x HDMI 2.0b | USB Type-C
Base Clock | Boost Clock 1410MHz | 1815MHz
Dimensions 290mm x 134,31mm x 59,9mm
API Support OpenGL 4.5 | Vulkan 1.1+ | DirectX 12 (SM6.0+)
RGB Lighting Yes | Full software control via RGB Fusion

 

Introduction

Much has been said about NVIDIA’s RTX GPUs. Be it you agree with the popular opinion or not, the point is NVIDIA’s RTX GPUs are here to stay and the industry is better off for that.Let’s not forget, someone had to build the first Ray Tracing capable GPU on the market and NVIDIA has done so in the same way they built the world’s first GPU 20 years ago.

As with all things though, we would all like the power of the RTX 2080 Ti GPU, but the high pricing simply makes this unfeasible for a great number of people. So, something a little more affordable is in order and that’s the RTX 2070 GPU, more specifically the AORUS RTX 2070 Xtreme.

Why then out of all RTX 2070 options would you buy this one? Well there’s a number of reasons for this so let’s start with a simple thing such as the warranty. GIGABYTE is offering a 4-year warranty (provided you register within 30 days of purchase) on this graphics card. Usually this sort of thing wouldn’t make it into a review, but with the reported issues on some RTX GPUs, this just may come in handy, so it’s well worth being conscious of this when looking at alternative RTX 2070 offerings. No issues have been reported on the RTX 2070’s but you never know, especially since it came out a little later than the other two.

As reasonable as the above sounds, we don’t buy graphics cards based on what may happen should they fail for whatever reason. No, we buy them primarily if not exclusively for games. In as far as that goes, this graphics card has the minerals to play any modern game at QHD or 1440P as it’s called. Be it you’re using a wide screen 21:9 3440×1440 monitor or the more common 16:9 2560×1440 setting, the AORUS Xtreme copes with these resolutions quite well. Better yet is that this card especially when overclocked, delivers performance that is pretty close to what an RTX 2080 would give you. Yes, a similar overclock on the RTX 2080 would widen that performance gap, but consider this for a moment. There’s no game right now which the RTX 2080 could run at a 4K which would not be playable with the AORUS RTX 2070 as well at the same settings.

As always though, do not simply take my word for it but rather take a look at the numbers below. I think you’ll be fairly impressed with what the AORUS RTX 2070 Xtreme is offering, and especially when overclocked as that’s when it makes an even better case for itself.

 

Testing & Performance Numbers

Test Configuration

CPU Intel Core i9 9900K @ 5GHz (1.275v)
MOTHERBOARD ROG MAXIMUS XI GENE (0602 BIOS)
DRAM G.SKILL TRIDENT F4 3200 C14 @ 4000MHz C16
STORAGE Western Digital WD BLUE 500GB SSD
PSU CORSAIR AX1500i
OS WINDOWS 10 x61 (Updated)
DISPLAY DRIVER FORCEWARE 417.01 WHQL

 

All numbers below represent an average of three runs per resolution.

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From the results you can see that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has the RTX 2080 delivering a median of 44fps, while the overclocked AORUS card gives us 40fps. In percentage it may seem large (10%), but in reality, it is just four frames per second. Hardly anything that will change your gaming experience. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the difference is even smaller at a mere three frames per second. So, if it’s not playable at those settings on the RTX 2070, the RTX 2080 wouldn’t fare better either. This is pretty much across all tested titles and others not shown here. The long and the short is that, yes the RTX 2070 is no RTX 2080 in raw graphics and compute power, but it’s close enough that it essentially doesn’t matter for most gaming (barring 4K of course where you really need an RTX 2080 Ti instead).

I highlight this not to take away from the RTX 2080, but to illustrate just how fantastic a GPU the RTX 2070 is. Delivering peak performance that places it dangerously close to the far more expensive RTX 2080.

Since I’ve been talking overclocked performance, it seems appropriate to mention that this performance is possible largely due to the cooler. The WINDFORCE Stack 3X cooling solution manages to keep temps under control even under a tough FurMark GPU stress test. Peak temperatures were 68’C using the default fan profile, where GPU boost clocks would settle at 1890MHz at the lowest. During heavy gaming sessions however, the boost clock remains at a healthy 1935MHz and 2010MHz with the applied overclock of +100MHz and + 725MHz on the memory. High clocks all around and in fact they are much higher than the GIGABYTE claimed at 1,815MHz Core frequency. During testing, not once did the frequency come anywhere near this number and speaks well to what GIGABYTE has put together here.As impressive as the cooling solution is though, it has to be said that it isn’t the equivalent of what you may find on some competitor products.

Given that this is GIGABYTE’s 2nd highest RTX 2070 SKU (Assuming there’s a RTX 2070 Water Force model coming), and certainly their premier air-cooled SKU, one would have expected an even beefier cooler. If only to maintain an even higher boost clock during load, which this card is most certainly capable of.

In terms of PCB design, GIGABYTE hasn’t done anything to write home about but they have upgraded the power delivery system offering a 10+2 (10 phases for the GPU and two phases for the memory) solution as opposed to the reference 6+2 design. This doesn’t translate into anything you can use out the box, but when running the card at the overclocked settings, the improved power delivery will make sure to keep the clocks consistent and any power related performance capping can largely be eliminated (within NVIDIA’s guidelines of course). For the extreme overclocker, this may not be the card for you. It uses a familiar uP9512 voltage controller and there are some voltage modifications you can try (See Buildzoid’s video below and subscribe to the channel while you’re at it 🙂 ), finding an XOC BIOS for the GPU may prove difficult and as such the overclocking credentials that GIGABYTE touts are moot at best and irrelevant at all other times. The value in this card simply isn’t in XOC nor is it in any meaningful way built for that.

 

 

That aside, aesthetic qualities are a thing these days. Here one does feel GIGABYTE may have managed to make the most visually striking GPU around (excluding the other AORUS cards which have this same cooler). Three fans with full RGB illumination around the circumference makes for some interesting colour schemes. For instance, using the RGB Fusion software, you can configure each fan’s colour separately. Not only that, you can configure the colour on these fans independently from the rest of the GPU LED’s as well which brings us to the rest of the LED lighting and the metal backplate.

This plate not only serves to protect components during installation but also houses a fully lit AORUS logo. Believe it or not this is one of only two distinguishing features between the Xtreme model and the more pedestrian one and that means If this card costs too much for your, you could consider the other version of this SKU.

Last, but not least are the seven display outputs. This is two more than the reference cards and it may comer in handy as you can use up to four independent displays simultaneously. You can use three HDMI outputs in tandem with a USB-C or DP 1.2 port or use three Display ports and a fourth option being an HDMI or USB-C output. Plenty of flexibility here and a GIGABYTE exclusive for now, at least on RTX 2070 models.

As a package, this is a fair offering, that ticks all the right boxes and delivers better performance than expected by some margin. The card runs cool enough without sounding like a jet engine and of course has the 0dB or Fan-stop mode as well, where it makes no noise at all.

If you care for packaged goodies, GIGABYTE has included a VGA holder, which is basically an easy to assemble standoff which prevents the GPU from sagging and torsion. A small addition but one that’s highly appreciated.

For all the above, the AORUS RTX 2070 deserves a perfect score, but what prevents that is the lackluster software and the seemingly cheap plastics used on the heat sink shroud. It isn’t obvious in pictures and materially it doesn’t matter, however it is something worth mentioning. Software side though, the AORUS engine leaves a lot to be desired especially when compared against what Precision X and MSI’s Afterburner offer in their packages. In fact, you’re better off using either of these and the AORUS RGB fusion (Shown below) for the LED lighting.

 

Overall and in closing, this is a fantastic example of the RTX 2070 and I’m unsure if you can actually buy an RTX 2070 that’s faster anywhere. It runs cool, overclocks well (for gaming) and looks the part. No word on pricing yet, but whatever it may end up being, this is a fantastic card for any gamer.

Price $619.99
Homepage www.gigabyte.com 
Warranty 4 Years

 

 

 

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