Which graphics should you pick in your next laptop? The Nvidia RTX 2060, or is it worth paying more to go up to 2070? In this comparison we’ll take a look at the differences in gaming performance and more to help you decide which is worth it. Starting with the differences in specs, the 2070 has 20% more CUDA cores, but lower boost clock speeds. The 2070 also has 2gb extra VRAM, and the memory is faster. Performance of both of these options will vary based on power limit, I’m comparing both with the same 115 watt limit, which is the highest they both allow, so expect worse results with a 90 watt or 80 watt 2060 for instance.
The two laptops I’m testing with have the exact same specs inside, and were kindly provided by Metabox here in Australia, it’s basically the same Clevo chassis as the Eluktronics THICC-15 in the US, or XMG Apex 15 in Europe. It’s using a Ryzen 7 3700X desktop processor and 32gb of memory in dual channel, as we’ve got the same chassis I can do a very fair comparison and cover thermals, battery life and more. I plan on comparing the laptop graphics with a full desktop PC too.
Both laptops were tested with the same version of BIOS, Windows, and Nvidia drivers, so let’s get into the results.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool. I’ve got the 2070 shown by the red bars, and 2060 shown by the purple bars below. I’ve also tested all setting presets available, which are arranged on the left with lowest at the bottom to highest up top. As expected, the 2070 was faster at all settings, with a 17% higher average frame rate at ultra.
Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode by running through the same section of the game on both laptops. The 1% low performance was similar at low and medium, then the 2070 was ahead. Meanwhile the 2070 was ahead in average FPS regardless of setting level, coming out 14% faster than the 2060 at ultra settings.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games benchmark. There’s less of a difference at the lower setting levels as presumably the game is less GPU heavy there, the 2070 was just 2% faster there, but at the highest setting preset it’s now reaching 15% higher average FPS. Control was tested by walking through the same part of the game on both laptops, and as more of a GPU heavy title, the 2070 saw the biggest improvement out of all 15 games tested with a 20% higher average FPS at high settings.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the games benchmark and also had good gains with the 2070. At the highest ultra setting preset the average frame rate was 16% higher than what the 2060 machine was able to produce. Borderlands 3 was also tested using the games benchmark tool, and there were even further gains with the 2070 laptop, which was around 20% faster at max settings, the second biggest improvement out of all 15 games tested. Apex Legends was tested in the World’s Edge map running through the Drill Site on both laptops, and the 2070 was around 16% faster at max settings, with a bit less of a difference at minimum where we’re presumably less GPU bound. The Division 2 was tested using the game’s benchmark tool, and there was a smaller difference this time, the 2070 had a 12% lead at ultra settings. Monster Hunter World was tested running through the main town in the same manner on both machines. Interestingly the 1% low had a boost with the 2060 at low settings, but otherwise the results were quite close. Average FPS was also about the same at low, then the 2070 was otherwise ahead, with a 13% boost to average FPS at max. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the games benchmark tool using Vulkan, the 2070 was 12.5% faster in this test at max settings. Likewise Metro Exodus was also tested using the games benchmark, though there was a larger improvement this time, with the 2070 nearly 17% faster with the highest extreme preset.The Witcher 3 tends to be a more GPU heavy game, and I’ve tested it by passing through the same part of the game on both laptops. There was an above average result seen with the 2070, which was nearly 16% faster than the 2060 at ultra settings. CS:GO was tested with the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and as this test seems to be more CPU dependent than GPU, it saw the second smallest difference out of all titles tested, with the 2070 9% faster than the 2060 at highest settings. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested using the games built in benchmark, and the improvement with the 2070 at max settings was very similar as this test seems to depend more on processor power. Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the games benchmark tool, and this game saw the smallest difference out of all titles tested, with the 2070 just 5% faster with the ultra setting preset.
In terms of overall improvement, over these 15 games the RTX 2070 graphics was performing 14% better in terms of average FPS. As you can see, the performance difference can vary a fair bit between games. Tests that depend more on CPU power like Far Cry New Dawn, CS:GO or Assassin's Creed are towards the bottom, while more GPU heavy titles like control saw up to a 20% boost on the 2070.
Outside of gaming I’ve also got some 3DMark results and the 2070 was almost scoring 30% higher in the firestrike graphics score, or 16% higher for time spy.
As both machines have the same cooling solution and thermal paste we can accurately compare temperature differences. I’ve tested both laptops with the Unigine Heaven benchmark for an hour, and interestingly the 2070 was a couple of degrees warmer, but either way quite close and could just be down to tolerances in manufacturing. This may be due to the difference in clock speeds, I was seeing the 2060 hit higher speeds, which makes sense as this is the case when we compared specs earlier. When looking at the total power draw from the wall though the 2070 was drawing about 6% more, so not too much extra when compared to the performance differences noted earlier. Both have the same 62Wh battery, and due to the 3700X processor neither have integrated graphics, so apart from having pretty terrible battery life, I was seeing the 2060 system last about 12% longer in my YouTube playback test, which the Nvidia GPUs would be handling.
I haven’t just tested games, I’ve tested DaVinci Resolve with the Puget systems benchmark, and the 2070 was scoring almost 21% higher than the 2060. This is meant to be a GPU heavy workload so that result lines up with the best improvement we saw in the games. Adobe Photoshop was also tested with the puget systems benchmark, and the scores were much closer together here as the GPU doesn’t seem to play anywhere near as much of an important role. Adobe Premiere was tested with the Puget systems benchmark too, the difference is a little bigger but again not a major difference worth concerning yourself with when picking one or the other. When looking at raw export times though, Premiere did seem to gain a little more improvement with the 2070, completing nearly 10% faster. The puget systems test previously tests more than only export times, such as live playback and more, but either way not a huge difference. SPECviewperf tests out a number of professional 3D applications, and although results would vary based on the particular test, in general for the most part the 2070 was ahead.
Now for the final difference, the price. This will depend on where you live, but in general expect the RTX 2070 to cost more money, as it’s a higher tier graphics option. In the US the THICC-15 from Eluktronics is only sold with the 2070, so that’s not too useful for comparing prices. Here in Australia we’re looking at paying $400 AUD more to go from the 2060 to the 2070, or around 17% more money. This equates to around $250 USD. In Europe the XMG Apex 15 costs about 9% more money to go from the 2060 and 2070, which sounds pretty reasonable for the on average 14% boost to gaming performance, but again the price as a percentage will vary based on other hardware customizations.
Honestly I think the 2060 offers a great gaming experience for most people, the 2070 is really only for those looking for some of the best performance you can get at the moment in a laptop form factor, so you’ll need to decide if you want to pay this extra money to get that. For some workloads it may be worth paying the additional price just for the extra VRAM, especially if you plan on holding onto your machine for many years yet. I should be able to do some fairly interesting comparisons between desktop graphics and laptop graphics if I stick a 3700X in my test PC, let me know if you’d be interested in seeing that. Anyway also let me know which graphics you’d pick for your next laptop and why down in the comments.