NVIDIA RTX A2000 Review - World’s Fastest ITX Card: Low-Profile and Slot-Powered 99

NVIDIA RTX A2000 Review - World’s Fastest ITX Card: Low-Profile and Slot-Powered

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The NVIDIA RTX A2000 "Ampere" in today's review is a professional-visualization graphics card designed by NVIDIA for commercial desktops and workstations. It features a low-profile design making it fit for compact towers or rackmount workstations where space comes at a premium. The card comes in a half-height, dual-slot design and uses a self-contained air cooler (doesn't rely on rack airflow). NVIDIA hasn't stuck either the GeForce or Quadro label onto this card. The "A" in A2000 denotes the "Ampere" graphics architecture it is based on. Another important capability is that the card runs on PCI-Express slot power only—no external power connectors needed.

The RTX A2000 fits the need for a compact graphics card built with certain enterprise-grade features: the pro-vis support channel, plenty of display connectivity for a multi-monitor setup with up to four 4K displays, and contemporary software capabilities, including the full DirectX 12 Ultimate feature set. Within its segment, the A2000 can help with various 3D creativity applications, as well as help with AI-augmented applications. The reviewed RTX A2000 comes in two variants based on memory—6 GB and 12 GB. Both models feature ECC for the memory. We have with us the 6 GB variant, which we bought for €720 (including 20% VAT).

By now you must be wondering what a pro-vis graphics card is doing on TechPowerUp, and you'd be right in thinking so—this is technically the first time we're testing a professional graphics card, but this is not a professional graphics card review. I mentioned the price early on because it's the reason I bought this thing to test in the first place. The A2000 isn't a GeForce RTX 3050/3060 in a suit even though it's based on the same GA106 silicon as those two. It has its own unique hardware configuration we'll get to in a minute. At the price we bought this card for, you'll be getting an RTX 3050 in the wild (i.e. scalpers selling on eBay), whereas the card has a much stronger hardware configuration. What makes it so interesting is that for its tiny form factor, it offers a lot of performance.

The A2000 is carved out of the GA106 silicon by enabling 26 out of 30 streaming multiprocessors (SM) present on the silicon. This works out to 3,328 CUDA cores, 104 TMUs, 48 ROPs, 104 Tensor Cores, and 26 RT cores. In comparison, the RTX 3050 only gets 20 SM, 2,560 CUDA cores, 80 Tensor Cores, and 20 RT cores. The real ace up the A2000's sleeve has to be its full 192-bit GDDR6 memory bus in line with that of the RTX 3060. The RTX 3050 uses a 50% narrower 128-bit bus. Unlike the RTX 3050, the RTX A2000 uses the full PCI-Express x16 bus width.

Another major set of hardware features with the A2000 are with its power configuration. Despite having more muscle than the RTX 3050, the A2000 is optimized to meet a typical board power of just 70 W. You can be absolutely sure it's not sneakily pulling more power in short bursts because the card lacks any additional power connectors and relies entirely on the PCI-Express slot, which can deliver no more than 75 W. This is a professional-segment card, so it will strictly maintain its power limits so as to never overload the PCIe slot and damage an expensive workstation motherboard. The A2000 achieves 70 W using tighter clock speeds than its GeForce cousins, the most aggressive power-management (NVIDIA probably roped in some GeForce Max-Q engineering talent to work on this) and perhaps even highest bins of the GA106 silicon for the best electrical characteristics.

We plan to put the RTX A2000 6 GB through our usual review selection of gaming benchmarks for two reasons. First, it's the most powerful low-profile graphics card ever built and doesn't even need additional power connectors. Second, as we mentioned, under some circumstances, you may actually find the A2000 a bargain compared to scalper-priced RTX 3050 or RTX 3060 cards. Out of the box, the card comes with its low-profile expansion bracket installed, but you'll get a full-height bracket, and dongles that let you use the four mini-DisplayPort 1.4 as standard-size DisplayPorts.

NVIDIA RTX A2000 6 GB Market Segment Analysis
GTX 1650 Super$4001280321530 MHz1725 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M4 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
GTX 1660$480 1408481530 MHz1785 MHz2000 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
RX Vega 56$8003584641156 MHz1471 MHz800 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1660 Super$5501408481530 MHz1785 MHz1750 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1660 Ti$5001536481500 MHz1770 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 5600 XT$7002304641375 MHz1560 MHz1500 MHzNavi 1010300M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 6500 XT$3001024322685 MHz2825 MHz2248 MHzNavi 245400M4 GB, GDDR6, 64-bit
RTX 2060$5701920481365 MHz1680 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 5700$9502304641465 MHz1625 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2060 Super$8002176641470 MHz1650 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX Vega 64$850 4096641247 MHz1546 MHz953 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
RX 5700 XT$10002560641605 MHz1755 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3050$500
MSRP: $250
2560321552 MHz1777 MHz1750 MHzGA10612000M8 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
RTX A2000$700
MSRP: $450
332848562 MHz1200 MHz1500 MHzGA10612000M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RTX 2070$7502304641410 MHz1620 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6600$5001792642044 MHz2491 MHz1750 MHzNavi 2311060M8 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
RTX 3060$6503584481320 MHz1777 MHz1875 MHzGA10612000M12 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RTX 2070 Super$8002560641605 MHz1770 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
Radeon VII$8003840641400 MHz1800 MHz1000 MHzVega 2013230M16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit
RX 6600 XT$6002048642359 MHz2589 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2311060M8 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
RTX 2080$7002944641515 MHz1710 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Super$7503072641650 MHz1815 MHz1940 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3060 Ti$8004864801410 MHz1665 MHz1750 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6700 XT$800
2560642424 MHz2581 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2217200M12 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RTX 2080 Ti$10504352881350 MHz1545 MHz1750 MHzTU10218600M11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit
RTX 3070$9005888961500 MHz1725 MHz1750 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
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