SAN FRANCISCO — Nvidia rolled out its first mid-range GPU based on the company’s Turing GPU architecture, promising to make available to more PC gamers real-time ray-tracing graphics capability in a card that retails for just $349.

The GeForce RTX 2060, introduced by Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during the company’s pre-CES event in Las Vegas on Sunday night, features 6 GB of GDDR6 memory and 240 Tensor cores capable of delivering 52 teraflops of deep-learning compute. Nvidia says that the horsepower can improve the gaming performance of the RTX 2060 through an Nvidia feature known as Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS).

Nvidia maintains that the RTX 2060 is 60% faster on current titles than its previous-generation GTX 1060, Nvidia’s most popular GPU.

Ray tracing — wherein computers model the flight of light rays within a scene bouncing off of surfaces — is considered the gold standard of computer graphics. Prior to Nvidia’s introduction of the Turing architecture last August, real-time ray tracing was out of reach.

But the Turing architecture features a ray-tracing engine that speeds up the ray-tracing process by six times the performance of Nvidia’s Pascal GPU. Nvidia rates the Turing at 10 giga-light-rays/second, making real-time ray tracing possible.

During the event on Sunday, Huang painted the introduction of Turing — which he said represented the greatest single-generation increase in GPU performance — as an important milestone in the evolution of graphics technology.

“AI and ray tracing are two fundamental pieces of technology that we believe will define the next generation of computer graphics,” he said.

Nvida CES 2019 Jensen Huang holds the GeForce RTX 2060 during a pre-CES event in Las Vegas. (Source: Nvidia)

DLSS uses the power of deep learning and AI to train the GPU to render crisp images. It uses a deep neural network to extract multidimensional features of the rendered scene and intelligently combine details from multiple frames to construct a high-quality final image. According to Nvidia, this results in an image with similar quality as traditional rendering but with higher performance.

Nvidia last year introduced higher-end Turing-based graphics cards GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2070. But those cards retail for $799 and $599, respectively — significantly more than the RTX 2060.

Huang said that RTX 2060 would be available globally starting Jan. 15 from every major OEM, system builder, and graphics card partner.

“PC gaming companies are so excited about it, a whole slew of new PCs are being built to welcome this next gen of gaming,” he said.

Nvidia also announced that more than 40 new laptop models in 100-plus configurations featuring Turing GPUs would be available later this month. Turing-based laptops will be available across the GeForce RTX family, from RTX 2080 through RTX 2060 GPUs, said the company.