EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO review: Ray tracing gets affordable

The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO makes some smart compromises to hit a truly compelling $300 price point.

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Should you buy the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO?

If you’re on the hunt for a solid 1440p graphics card, or one capable of feeding an ultra-fast 144Hz 1080p monitor, the $300 EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO should be on your shortlist, especially if you’re interested in real-time ray tracing capabilities. It’s a steal.

evga rtx 2060 ko 1 Brad Chacos/IDG

At $350, the normal price for GeForce RTX 2060 models, we tend to recommend the Radeon RX 5700 for 1440p gaming, as it’s slightly faster and has 2GB more memory, bringing it to 8GB of GDDR6 in total. But EVGA’s cheap RTX 2060 is much more appealing at $50 less. It’s almost as fast as the RX 5700 in most games, trading blows with the excellent Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT, which costs $290.

AMD’s Radeon RX 5600 XT had a messy launch, however, with some models being much faster than others thanks to a last-second BIOS upgrade. The first wave of faster cards on store shelves will probably require users to upgrade their BIOS to get the additional performance. The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO is significantly faster than Radeon RX 5600 XT models that don’t get upgraded memory speeds, and that’s the majority currently—faster, upgraded models are few and far between.

EVGA’s card doesn’t have to deal with any of that software headache. It just works out of the box. And that price. At $300, the KO undercuts most dual-fan RTX 2060 models by $40 or more, delivering excellent gaming performance at a steep discount. Better yet, at $300 and with performance comparable to the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT, you’re basically only paying a $10 premium for real-time ray tracing. The cutting-edge lighting technology is still is in its infancy, with only a handful of games supporting it thus far, but it’s very much on the upswing and well worth the investment in for such a minimal surcharge.

evga rtx 2060 ko 6 Brad Chacos/IDG

Nvidia’s own GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition dropped to $300 to counter the Radeon RX 5600 XT, and it’s also worth considering. We prefer the premium metallic look of the Founders Edition, and Nvidia’s card runs a bit quieter under load, but the 2060 FE lacks the EVGA KO’s crucial idle fan stop feature, which creates a silent desktop browsing experience. They’re both solid options, though it remains to be seen how many Founders Edition cards Nvidia makes available at this price. That luxurious shroud ain’t cheap. EVGA’s card has seen high demand too, however.

EVGA cut some corners to achieve this awesome price. The KO sports a plastic shroud reused from a lower-end GTX 1660 design (albeit augmented by a fetching metal backplate), and its fans get a little loud to maintain chilly temperatures. The port selection is basic. Overclockers will want to look elsewhere, as you can’t increase the card’s power limit, and the miniscule performance boost provided by the pricier EVGA RTX 2060 KO Ultra isn’t worth the extra $20. At $320, it’s probably worth looking instead for a quieter, fuller-featured RTX 2060 model on sale for a few dollars more.

Don’t let that dissuade you though. This is a great, no-frills graphics card for people who just want to put their graphics card in their system and play. The $300 EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO delivers everything you need for a kick-ass gaming experience, even ray tracing, and it made some reasonable sacrifices to hit a truly compelling price point—no confusing BIOS upgrades required. It’s highly, highly recommended. You can find more feature-packed GeForce RTX 2060 models, but they’ll cost you a whole lot more.

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