The RTX 2060 is the most affordable RTX graphics card, making it your best shout for gaining the hardware to do real-time ray tracing and frame-rate-boosting DLSS without overpaying. This model debuted at £330, got more expensive over time as the worst of the GPU supply shortage hit, and was impossible to find below RRP even after its next-generation successor, the RTX 3060 launched two years later.
Now the RTX 2060 has finally dipped in price, making it an ideal time to pick up what is still a powerful and feature-complete graphics card for 1080p or even 1440p gaming. You can pick up a compact EVGA RTX 2060 SC model for just £212 on Amazon right now, a 52% drop from its peak price and a fair deal for the level of performance on offer.
Taking a look at the reviews of the era (2019) can be helpful in evaluating the RTX 2060's performance even today. Erstwhile hardware editor Katharine scored the card highly on launch, calling it 'just as good as the GTX 1070 Ti for a fraction of the price' - unaware of the horrors of the GPU price surges to come. Regardless, the card is shown to be a dependable performer for 1080p and 1440p gaming, with even a (now-dated) Core i5 8600K system producing 75+ fps in titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Total War: Warhammer 2, Monster Hunter World and The Witcher 3 - and that's at 1080p max settings. At 1440p, you're looking at similarly impressive performance - 59fps in Assassins Creed Odyssey on very high settings, 45fps in Monster Hunter World on highest settings, and 60+ fps in Shadow of The Tomb Raider on max settings.
New games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Crysis 3 Remastered will push the RTX 2060 harder, but three years on it remains a pretty solid option - especially as you have the option to boost frame-rates with DLSS in the titles that support it.
Overall, I think this is an awesome choice for anyone upgrading an older PC or doing a budget build. You get bags of performance, all the features you need, and all without the horror of trying to survive the rush on stock that occurs when a new graphics card comes out. New RTX 40-series cards are expected this year, but the latest scuttlebutt is that it might just be one card - the RTX 4090 - that will actually arrive in 2022, and that for an unreasonably high price with power demands to match. Nvidia may not produce an RTX 3060 successor until mid to late 2023, so you're looking at an awful long wait if you're determined to get the budget end of the latest generation. Still, you should research the issue and decide for yourself - just remember to pop back here if you opt to pick up this heavily discounted RTX 2060!