NVIDIA To Split GeForce Into GTX And RTX Branding? GTX 1160 Surfaces.
It's fair to say that NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 20-series launched to a mixed reception in September. Featuring groundbreaking technology (including, but not limited to, real-time raytracing), it also broke new ground in pricing for a consumer-class graphics card range. Despite the recent rollout of game updates supporting RTX-exclusive features in titles such as Battlefield V and Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition, few remain sold on the cards and their eye-watering cost.
The Vortez reviews of select NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series can be found here
Into that sceptical atmosphere comes the GeForce RTX 2060, potentially following an announcement at NVIDIA's CES Keynote on January 6th. It's widely anticipated that the RTX 2060 will follow the relatively high price expectations of the rest of the 20-series (making it a $300+ GPU rather than $180-230 'mid-range'), dashing the hopes of mainstream gamers who may still be eager to experience RTX features below the RTX 2070's $499 MSRP.
The potential ramifications of NVIDIA pegging their 'mainstream' xx60 GPU at $300+ are significant. Quite apart from anything else it would at a stroke price out a huge swathe of gamers, leaving them to the welcoming arms of AMD or the second hand market. Game developers too could decided to put RTX-exclusive feature development on the back-burner due to a considerably smaller audience. However all may not be as it seems.
A report last week by Videocardz.com stated that NVIDIA may be planning to bifurcate their GeForce brand into distinct GTX and RTX segments. Their GeForce RTX 20-series would start with the RTX 2060 at a base level, built around the TU106-200 GPU and reaching the heights of the RTX 2080 Ti. Meanwhile GeForce GTX would continue as the GeForce GTX 11-series, of which there's currently only evidence for a GTX 1160 based on a new TU116 GPU.
As you would expect, GeForce GTX 11-series cards would not support RTX real-time ray-tracing (i.e. not incorporate RT cores), but could in theory support a smaller subset of RTX features made available through other aspects of the Turing architecture still present on the TU116. It could also be smaller while offering similar or better rasterisation performance, potentially keeping prices down for consumers yet still representing a nice performance bump over the 10-series.
Evidence for the GTX 11-series is mounting. This week a pre-launch support page (since changed, see above for original) for an upcoming Lenovo notebook series revealed a GTX 1160 as one of three potential GPU options, available with 3GB or 6GB of VRAM. Of course, it may simply be an SKU exclusive to notebook OEMs, but NVIDIA have made a point of retaining approximate parity between desktop and notebook ranges (to their credit).
We have criticised NVIDIA for their muddled GPU nomenclature in the recent past, particular with the many different versions of the 'GTX 1060'. Splitting the range in this manner would however draw very clear distinctions between GTX and RTX class cards, hopefully making it an awful lot less confusing to consumers who don't have enthusiast-level knowledge of the technical minutiae.
As with every other rumour, take all of this with a proverbial mountain-sized pinch of salt. NVIDIA's CES Keynote, at which presumably all will be revealed, is scheduled for 8pm (Pacific Time) on January 6th, or 4am GMT on January 7th in the UK.
SOURCE: Tomshardware.com, Videocardz.com