Are you looking to build your own budget gaming PC that can play triple-A games and perhaps even enable ray-tracing while you’re at it? If so, you may want to get one of the best Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics cards in 2020.
Why the 2060? Well, the RTX 2060 is the entry-level GPU to get if you want to enable ray-tracing for cheap. While the Radeon RX 5600XT offers more performance, the card, sadly, doesn’t offer ray-tracing at all.
So, what is this feature? Basically, it helps improve the lighting conditions in your game, as well as improve some other graphical effects as a result of said lighting. This particular thing is so taxing, hence the need for a somewhat beefy GPU.
While the Nvidia RTX 2060 cards are a bit less powerful than AMD’s new discrete GPUs, they do offer some Nvidia-exclusive features such as DLSS 2.0 and the NVENC encoder that allows you to stream games without a performance penalty.
I also like the fact that Nvidia’s drivers are more stable than AMD’s so if you want more peace of mind, then getting a card from team green just makes sense.
While there are plenty of different options out there, you do not have to worry because I will be posting my top recommendations in this article, so read ahead to find out what they are.
Best Nvidia RTX 2060 GPUs
1.EVGA Geforce RTX 2060 KO
This graphics card was released as a response to AMD’s newly released RX 5600 XT graphics card. This is one of the better AIB cards on the market and I will explain why.
First of all, this is a two-slot graphics card which should fit a lot of PC cases without any problems. It comes with dual fans to help keep the graphics card relatively cool at all times.
As you can expect from an AIB partner card, the RTX 2060 KO from EVGA has higher clock speeds than the reference design.
It has a boost clock of 1,755 MHz but it can go higher, provided that the GPU’s temperature is in check.
If you have a relatively cool room temperature, this thing can easily clock at 1900+ MHz without any problems.
You get 6GB of GDDR6 memory and it has a backplate which not only looks good but it also does a good job of cooling down the components as well.
People that still use an old gaming monitor will be pleased to know that this GPU still has a DVI connector.
All in all, the EVGA Geforce RTX 2060 KO is a no-compromises AIB partner card that you should look into when you are shopping for a good entry-level ray-tracing graphics card.
2.Asus ROG Strix RTX 2060
Asus is nothing short of amazing when it comes to graphics cards and its ROG Strix RTX 2060 graphics card is a definite looker.
It is a triple-slot graphics card so you will need a lot of space in your chassis to fit this thing in. It has three fans to keep the GPU’s temperatures in good operating levels.
Despite its fans, this particular GPU does come with the 0dB cooling technology which means that the said fans will not spin until it reaches a certain temperature threshold (which is 60C by default).
The ROG Strix RTX 2060 is also one of the highest clocked 2060s on the market. Right out of the box, you are guaranteed to get at least 1860MHz when it boosts and it goes higher if you can maintain its temperatures at a healthy level.
Of course, since most PC components now come with RGB lighting, you will be happy to know that this one has some great light elements on the card itself. You can control the color scheme by using the company’s Aura Sync program.
My only complaint here is that this card is so massive and heavy but that just means that it is a robust product worth considering.
3.MSI Geforce RTX 2060 Gaming Z
One of the most popular RTX 2060 graphics cards on the market, the MSI Geforce RTX 2060 Gaming Z has a lot to offer.
It has two ‘TORX’ fans that are specially engineered to ensure optimal airflow where it is needed. You see, the GPU’s heat pipes are situated in a way that allows for great airflow all throughout which means that you can keep this card relatively cool even during long gaming sessions.
This card also has the company’s Zero Frozr technology which is similar to Asus’ 0dB technology where the fans don’t spin until it hits 60C which makes this an appealing card for complete silence.
It does have a stylish backplate that covers the entire area and it also does a pretty good job of reducing the VRM temperatures as well.
There are some RGB lighting zones on the card which you can tweak using the company’s Mystic Light program.
4.Gigabyte Geforce RTX 2060 Gaming OC
Part of what makes Nvidia graphics cards really good is its ability to boost beyond factory specifications so long as the card remains relatively cool even under extreme load.
To do that, companies use robust cooling solutions to ensure that the card performs admirably well at all times.
Yes, you have three fans, more heat pipes, and other implementations, but none has worked as effectively as the Gigabyte RTX 2060 Gaming OC.
This unit has three fans but what makes it unique is that the middle fan actually spins in the opposite direction.
You see, when the fans of the graphics cards spin in the same direction, this can lead to turbulence which means that the cooling performance of the card is not as effective as it should be.
Gigabyte’s implementation is that the middle fan spins in the opposite way so that turbulence will not happen and, thus, the card runs cooler than its competition.
As a result of better cooling performance, you can expect higher and more consistent boost clock speeds which mean better overall gaming performance.
The only thing to worry about here is that this card is massive so you will need to make sure that your chassis has a lot of clearance to accommodate this card.
If you want an RTX 2060 GPU with great cooling performance, the Gigabyte Gaming OC will not disappoint.
5.Zotac Gaming RTX 2060 Twin Fan
Zotac might not be as popular in the US than in Europe and Asian countries but it certainly deserves a mention in this article.
The Zotac Gaming RTX 2060 Twin Fan is a relatively compact graphics card that can even fit into an ITX chassis.
What’s impressive here is that despite the card’s relatively small size, it still packs a lot of punch. Normally, smaller GPUs tend to have abysmal cooling solutions but not this one.
Equipped with the company’s IceStorm 2.0 fans, the GPU remains cool no matter how many hours you intend to play your favorite PC games.
What’s more, the card has an OC scanner feature that gives you the ability to overclock the card with a press of a button. This takes a lot of the guesswork off of your shoulders so that you can eke out the best performance this card can offer.
It does have some lighting on the side of the card, though I would say that its implementation is not as good as the others on this list.
Still, if you want a relatively small RTX 2060 card, this one deserves your attention.
6.Asus Turbo RTX 2060
Now, I am not a fan of blower-style graphics cards mainly because it is not as good as the ones with dedicated dual or triple-fan designs, but there are some situations where this particular method of cooling makes sense.
If you have a small PC chassis, then getting a blower-style card definitely makes a lot of sense and if you are building your gaming PC, you can look at the Asus Turbo RTX 2060.
The card has an all-black aesthetic which makes it look quite sexy and this should have no problems fitting into your motherboard.
Its temperatures could be improved but this is one of the only blower-style graphics cards that you can find on the market anyway.
7.Gigabyte Geforce RTX 2060 Mini ITX OC
When building inside an ITX case, it is important that you get a graphics card that has a smaller form factor so that you can fit it inside the chassis without any problems.
One of the best RTX 2060 cards that you can fit inside a relatively small chassis is the Gigabyte RTX 2060 Mini ITX OC.
As the name implies, it does have higher boost clocks compared to the reference design but the thing that you have to remember is that its cooling performance is not as good as its bigger brother, the gaming OC.
Because it only uses a single fan, you could hear it boosting at all times when you are playing a demanding game. It is quite audible so if you choose this one, you should bear this in mind.
It is a pretty simple card but what is great here is that it can fit into any case without any problems.
The Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 is the entry-level card to get if you want to enable ray-tracing in your games.
Its performance is comparable to the 1070Ti though it can match the 1080 in some games.
The good thing about getting this card is that it is inexpensive and should provide you with considerable performance across the board.
If you are looking for the best for your next gaming PC, the cards on this list should be adequate for your needs.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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