The introduction of the GeForce GTX 1660Ti, or just the 16-series GPUs in general, was a pretty … strange one. It sits between the brand new 20-series GPU cards from Nvidia, and the current 10-series Pascal GPUs, and Nvidia promised this series to be the “all the performance of the 2060 GPUs and above, just without the ray-tracing capabilities”. Well, now we have a chance to see it in action.
Model Name: GeForce® GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X 6G
Graphics Processing Unit: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660 Ti
Interface: PCI Express x16 3.0
Cores: 1536 Units
Core Clocks Boost: 1875 MHz
Memory Speed: 12 Gbps
Memory: 6GB GDDR6
Memory Bus: 192-bit
Output: DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4) / HDMI 2.0b x 1
HDCP Support: 2.2
Power consumption: 130 W
Power connectors: 8-pin x 1
Recommended PSU: 450 W
Card Dimension: 247 x 127 x 46 mm
Weight (Card / Package): 869 g / 1511 g
Afterburner OC: Y
DirectX Version Support: 12 API
OpenGL Version Support: 4.5
Maximum Displays: 4
VR Ready: Y
G-SYNC® technology: Y
Digital Maximum Resolution: 7680 x 4320
Taking it out the box, I was genuinely surprised at the size and weight of it - in comparison, my previous GTX 1060 Gaming X GPU was bigger, and beefier, than this model. Not totally, unexpected, but a relief all the same. Moving on, we noticed the solid backplate embossed with the MSi Dragon logo, and a simple LED panel to light up some branding. However, the custom cooler and fans give the MSi GeForce GTX 1660Ti it’s notorious look, and with a new standard paint job - a grey spray on top of black fans - is a pleasant refresh from the previous red-and-black aesthetic.
A simple installation as always; line-up the PCIe slot, listen for a click, secure the bracket. Easy peesy (just make sure you have two slots available on the back of your case). Booting up the ol’ Steam library to start, I thought a fitting test would be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, purely because it is still a pretty demanding title. The GTX 1660 Ti Gaming X did rather well, supporting Geralt at an average frame rate of 60-70fps on Ultra, and 80-90fps on High.
Far Cry 5 sat comfortably at around 90fps on Ultra settings, pushing closer to 100fps in some scenes, Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran comfortably at 80fps using DirectX 12 API, and [Rise of the Tomb Raider[/i] - using DX11 - blasted past at 110fps on average. Battlefield V faired closer to 60fps on Ultra with a few dips in performance, but was far more stable on High.
The MSi GeForce GTX 1660Ti Gaming X edition promises the mid-tier 16-series GPU experience at an enhanced level, noticeable from the edgy, yet clean, aesthetic that MSi has always used in their dedicated graphics cards. The new 1660Ti line-up of GPU's promises better performance of a GTX 1070, but not so much as the RTX 2060 series, so it is made to be a good middle ground. However, the one factor that blows the previous generation out of the water is the launch price - the GTX 1070 launched at $499, but the GTX 1660Ti launches at an MSRP of $250 - half the price for the similar, slightly better, performance.
The review model we received was the MSi GeForce GTX 1660Ti Gaming X, which will obviously not conform directly to MSRP. However, at the moment, you can pick up the GPU from R5,999 roughly, whereas, a 1070 of the same variant - MSi GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X will set you back R7, 599 roughly - that is if you can find new stock. As you can see, while you may not be saving half your money, you are still saving a good R1,700 that you can invest elsewhere in your build.
This is where the real fun begins. Before I get into the results of my overclocking tests with the GTX 1660Ti, I will lay out my testing methodology. All tests were run twice for consistency in results.
3DMark as a testing programme
3DMark Fire Strike as a benchmarking tool (DirectX 11, 1080p)
MSi Afterburner as overclocking utility
Ambient room temperature (may change during Winter)
To explain the above, I used 3DMark Fire Strike as I enjoy the separation between the graphic and physics tests, and the combined test as well. Also, while Unigine Heaven is a great tool, I am not a fan of the inconsistency in the results, and I feel the 3DMark gives a more accurate representation of demanding games than Heaven. Okay, now the results.
First, the baseline result with no external overclocking settings applied, only the factory overclock applied. Fire Strike scored the GTX 1660Ti at 13 051, with an average frame rate of 74,92fps. With a simple power limit adjustment (107%) and a temperature limit adjustment (89-degrees max.), the GTX 1660Ti Gaming X garnered a 500 point increase, sitting at 13 562, with the same fps result, but with a better result in the combined score (22fps in base - 25fps in slight OC).
As I pushed the card more, adjusting the core clock (+140) and memory clock (+100) speeds, the GTX 1660Ti Gaming X was able to max out at 13 917, with a 77.46fps average frame rate on the graphics test, and a 26fps average on combined. This is as far as the card itself would push, without touching voltage limits, which is questionable outside of BIOS overclocking.
In saying this, the GTX 1660Ti was able to run stable at 2100MHz throughout testing, without ever reaching above 65-degrees at 100% fan curve, at max overclock. This is still a 225MHz improvement over the factory OC you get out of the box, and at a max power draw of 130w, it’s impressive. As you can see, manually overclocking didn't really yield a major benefit in terms of performance, but the overclocking ability and stability of the card was truly impressive. If you are like me, and you like squeezing every bit of juice of your parts, then you should be pretty satisfied.
Max OC Test
My only concern is that for an extra R2,000, you can get yourself an MSi RTX 2060 Gaming Z, which obviously offers higher performance, ray tracing, and DLSS. Personally, I would try to save up for the beefier model, but if you are one who doesn't really care about upping your resolution or features, then the 1660Ti is perfect.
Overall, I really loved the MSi GeForce GX 1660Ti Gaming x - not just for the performance it provides, but for what it does outside of gaming. The 1660Ti makes 1080p PC gaming affordable and accessible, also the overclocking potential is amazing, and I love the new design aesthetic. It promises to be an affordable 1080p gaming card with high refresh rates, and it does that perfectly well. The overclocking potential is amazing, and I love the new design aesthetic.
Loves games with deep character development and a rich storyline. Also, shooty-shooties. Loathes microtransactions. Likes to use sarcasm and metaphors.
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6 March 2019
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