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This Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 (yes, GTX) GPU just got benchmarked

A PC hardware enthusiast has got hold of an RTX 2070 graphics card engineering sample, flashed its BIOS, and tested it in 3DMark Time Spy.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 graphics card engineering sample

An early example of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU has just shown up online, with the card sporting Nvidia’s original GTX branding on the cooler, rather than the now ubiquitous RTX name. Not only that, but this old engineering sample had a different spec from the final RTX 2070 release, and its owner has run it through some benchmarks to see how it holds up.

The GeForce RTX 2070 was one of the best graphics cards in its day, being the first GPU to bring ray tracing in games to the sub-$500 price point. In its final form, this Nvidia GPU had 2,304 CUDA cores, a 1,410MHz core clock, and a 1,620MHz boost clock (and 1,710MHz on the Founders Edition), but it looks as though it started life with a different spec.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 graphics card engineering sample

A GeForce GTX 2070 engineering sample has just been picked up by X user Jiacheng Liu, who revealed that the GTX -branded sample of the card had just 2,176 CUDA cores enabled, although it was based on the same TU106-400A-A1 GPU core used in the final version.

Meanwhile, the card’s boost clock of 1,710MHz is the same as that of the final Founders Edition, although GPU-Z only recognized it as a generic “Nvidia Graphics Device” rather than a proper product name.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 graphics card engineering sample GPU-Z screenshots

To see how it holds up, Jiacheng Liu fired up the card in a test rig with an Intel Core i9 13900K, and ran 3DMark Time Spy, which returned a score of 9,695. The owner then tried flashing the card with a new BIOS, and GPU-Z did then recognize it as a GeForce RTX 2070, but it still only had 2,176 CUDA cores, rather than the 2,304 in the final version.

Jiacheng Liu even managed to successfully overclock the GPU, raising the boost clock to a massive 2,515MHz, and increasing the memory clock from 1,750MHz to 1,921MHz. With the new BIOS and overclock applied, the card then hit a score of 11,183 in Time Spy, which Jiacheng Liu notes is only 5% off the score of a genuine RTX 2070 with 2,304 CUDA cores in the same system.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 graphics card engineering sample 3DMark Time Spy screenshot

I always find these early engineering samples interesting, as they provide an insight behind the scenes. In a parallel universe, Nvidia might not have killed the GTX brand, and the RTX 2070 could have had fewer CUDA cores at its disposal. There might also have been a GeForce RTX 4090 Ti, with an enormous cooler attached to it.

If you’re looking to upgrade your graphics card to a GPU that can properly cope with the demands of today’s games, check out our new RTX 4070 Super review, where we run Nvidia’s latest mid-range contender through our benchmark suite.