How long might we be waiting for next-generation graphics solutions from both AMD and Nvidia? We had hoped to see new products in the coming months, but in the midst of a pandemic, nothing is certain. That being the case, add-in-board partners are using this lull between present and forthcoming architectures to introduce new variants of existing products.
GeForce RTX 2070 Super, arguably the pick of the Nvidia bunch, has been identified as a key contender for a minor refresh, and following on from KFA2's reworked WTF card, we're now turning our attention to Palit's GamingPro Premium.
Palit now has eight different RTX 2070 SKUs in its arsenal, but while the various GameRock and JetStream are familiar around these here parts, the new GamingPro is an interesting addition insofar as it ships with a triple-fan cooler. Better yet, as the GP slots in below the aforementioned GR and JS models, pricing ought to be favourable. We've yet to see any retailer listings here in the UK, but we're told the card is imminent, and Palit's suggested retail price is £480 for a regular model or £495 for the overclocked 'Premium' variant.
Under £500 is in our estimation the sweet spot for an RTX 2070 Super in mid-2020, and despite occupying the third-rung slot in Palit's product stack, the GamingPro design is reasonably sleek. With a fair few cards taking a bigger and brighter approach, we actually appreciate the streamlined overall look. The matte-black plastic shroud will suit most builds, the Palit logo across the top is the only RGB illuminated section, and unlike most competitors, the GamingPro Premium isn't overly ostentatious. Heck, even the single lighted zone has a purpose; the logo illuminates green when core temp is under 50ºC, blue between 50ºC and 80ºC, and orange when things get toasty.
The cooler does spill into a third slot, yet dimensions of 288mm x 112mm x 50mm are relatively petite by today's standards, and at under a kilogram in weight (964g to be precise), the Palit card doesn't place too heavy a burden on the PCIe slot. It is nice to see a full-size backplate included as standard, but at the lower end of the RTX 2070 scale there are going to be compromises, and that is reflected in the choice of construction material. The plastic shroud exhibits signs of flex, the backplate isn't the thickest, and some might lament the fact that the six internal heatpipes aren't nickel-plated. Personally, I don't mind it, as the visible elements of copper give the card an almost industrial, old-school look.
Cooling performance is the key criterion for any partner card, and though the GamingPro design is shorter and thinner than flagship GameRock models, the availability of three fans and a full-length aluminium heatsink should prove more than adequate for a GPU of this ilk. The central block makes good contact with the GPU and is flanked with thermal pads for memory, and a secondary plate also lined with thermal pads helps draw heat away from the VRMs.
Said heat is dispersed by a 90mm fan in the centre and 75mm fans either side, and all three offer 0dB functionality, whereby the fans turn off at low load to allow for near-silent operation when idle. The only caveat to that is that the fans momentarily spin to 100 per cent at first boost, creating a brief crescendo of noise that we could do without. With any luck this is something Palit will be able to fix with a BIOS update.
Power is sourced by a six-plus-eight-pin combination, and as mentioned earlier, the GamingPro Premium is overclocked out of the box. Palit raises boost clock to 1,815MHz for the RTX 2070 Super's 2,560 shaders, however the 8GB GDDR6 memory remains at a reference 14Gbps. 1,815MHz seems a popular speed for factory-overclocked cards, though what's written on the box doesn't always tell the full story; our logs reveal that Palit card frequently hitting speeds as high as 1,920MHz during our benchmarks. For comparison's sake, the aforementioned KFA2 WTF, which ships with the same advertised frequency, operates at between 1,890MHz and 1,905MHz.
Keep it simple appears to be the motto for partners' choice of display outputs. Palit does exactly that with three DisplayPort 1.4a and a single HDMI 2.0b.
The GamingPro design can ultimately be deemed a safe addition to Palit's portfolio. Pricing is going to be crucial, so while we await to see whether or not retailers adhere to the sub-£500 SRP, let's run the benchmarks to see what's what.