Today the sale of the GTX 1660 starts. It is the new middle class of Nvidia. We have summarized all benchmarks and information.
Nvidia expands the GTX 16 series
With the Turing generation, Nvidia has tried a different approach to launch. The flagships RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 were launched first, while the smaller graphics cards RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 came onto the market later. But besides all the new features there was another special feature: Nvidia increased the prices of the graphics cards significantly. The RTX 2060 with a price tag of 330 Euro is actually the logical successor of the GTX 1060 but no longer a middle class card.
In order to also handle this area, Nvidia has therefore launched the GTX 16 series. The company is not only reviving the GTX lettering, but is also confusing with a rather illogical name. Although the GTX 16 series doesn’t need any raytracing features, it’s not a simple rebrand of the Pascal generation. In addition to the 12nm structure of the chips, Turing features such as Nvidia Adaptive Shading are also possible with the new graphics cards.
Nvidia also launched the GTX 16 series from the top. Three weeks ago the GTX 1660 Ti came onto the market, which inherits the GTX 1070 and with a current price of 250 Euros also keeps the competition in the form of AMD’s Radeon RX Vega under control. However, the real successor to the mid-range is the GTX 1660, which was launched today and is priced at the same level as the GTX 1060, but is superior in terms of performance.
GTX 1660: almost the same number of shaders but significantly less memory bandwidth
The impression that the GTX 1660 is the actual successor of the GTX 1060 (oh God, this confusion of names!) is first shown in the technical data. There it is very similar to the former Pascal middle class. The GTX 1660 gets the TU116 chip of the 1660 Ti in slightly trimmed form. So not 1,536 shaders are used, but only 1,408 shaders. The GTX 1060 on the other hand has only 1,280 shaders. The shaders of the GTX 1660 clock with 1,530 MHz base clock even somewhat faster than the 1660 Ti, which only clocks to 1,500 MHz in base clock. The boost clock of 1,785 MHz is also higher than the 1,770 MHz of the big brother. Both clock rates are also slightly above those of the GTX 1060, which clocks at 1,506 and 1,709 MHz respectively. Nvidia itself regards the GTX 1660 as the successor of the GTX 1060 3 GB with an MSRP of $199.
However, the greatest similarity is to be found in memory. The GTX 1660 has 6 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory installed, which clocks at 4,000 MHz. Due to the 192 bit interface, a memory bandwidth of 192 GB/s is possible. The memory including the connection is therefore exactly the same as with the GTX 1060. This is also where the biggest cut in comparison to the GTX 1660 Ti takes place. The bigger model has 6 gigabytes of GDDR6 memory with a memory bandwidth of 228 GB/s installed. So while there are only 8 percent less shaders in the little brother istalled, the memory bandwidth is 33 percent less. The TDP is the same for both cards: 120 Watt are on the data sheet.
Benchmarks: this is what the GTX 1660 achieves
Since we didn’t receive a sample of the GTX 1660 for the launch, we rely on benchmarks of our colleagues from Hardwareluxx. The detailed results can be found in their report.
The benchmarks already show what has become apparent in the technical data. The GTX 1660 is the actual successor of the GTX 1060 and competes against the RX 580 or RX 590 from AMD. The Turing graphics card leaves the RX 580 and its own predecessor loose in the game. The performance is between 5 and 15 percent higher than that of the two main competitors.
The GTX 1660 is therefore mainly a match for the RX 590. In benchmarks of the games, it is slightly inferior to the RX 590 in Project Cars 2, Star Wars: Battlefront II and Destiny 2. The RX 590 is clearly beaten in Battlefield V (12 percent slower) and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (13 percent slower, 8 percent slower than the RX 580). The two cards in Call of Duty: WWII are on the same level. The GTX 1660 Ti is slightly faster in Far Cry 5 (3 percent) and Kingdom Come: Deliverance (1 percent), while the RX 590 is 17 percent faster in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, 14 percent faster in Final Fantasy XV and 13 percent faster in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. However, the RX 590 can clearly catch up in WQHD, which is probably not least due to the memory. However, the variance is very large.
The GTX 1660 consumes significantly less power and stays cool
However, there are big differences to the RX 590 in terms of power consumption. Like the GTX 1660 Ti, the GTX 1660 is also very economical. Thus, under gaming load it consumes 131 watts, significantly less than the RX 590 with 200 watts. However, it also needs a little more power than the GTX 1060, which only needs 105 watts. Those who value efficiency will be much better off with the GTX 1660 than with the RX 590. The same can also be seen in the temperature. The EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC Ultra tested by Hardwareluxx is significantly cooler under load at 59 degrees Celsius than the RX 590 at 66 degrees Celsius. The Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti performs similarly well.
Conclusion: Bad times for the RX 590
With the GTX 1660 Nvidia has finally served the true middle class. However, the performance plus compared to the actual predecessor GTX 1060 is somewhat modest. Of course, the newer Turing graphics card is clearly superior to the Pascal GPU between 5 and 15 percent, but nothing has changed in price. The Nvidia MSRP is at $199, which the retailers will probably undercut in the coming weeks. The GTX 1660 Ti impresses with a GTX 1070 level and a significantly lower price. The GTX 1660 is certainly not a reason for owners of the GTX 1060 6 GB or an RX 580/590 to upgrade.
However, those who do not upgrade in this price category, but look around in general, have a solid partner in the Turing middle class. With significantly lower power consumption and possibly soon a better price than AMD’s RX 590, Nvidia has an easy game here. The cheapest GTX 1660 currently costs $224.99.