Final Words

We’re now four GPUs into the NVIDIA Turing architecture product stack, and while NVIDIA’s latest processor has pitched us a bit of a curve ball in terms of feature support, by and large NVIDIA is holding to a pretty consistent pattern with regards to product performance, positioning, and pricing. Which is to say that the company has a very specific product stack in mind for this generation, and thus far they’ve been delivering on it with the kind of clockwork efficiency that NVIDIA has come to be known for.

With the launch of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and the TU116 GPU underpinning it, we’re finally seeing NVIDIA shift gears a bit in how they’re building their cards. Whereas the four RTX 20 series cards are all loosely collected under the umbrella of “premium features for a premium price”, the GTX 1660 Ti goes in the other direction, dropping NVIDIA’s shiny RTX suite of effects for a product that is leaner and cheaper to produce. As a result, the new card offers a bigger improvement on a price/performance basis (in current games) than any of the other Turing cards, and with a sub-$300 price tag, is likely to be more warmly received than the other cards.

Looking at the numbers, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti delivers around 37% more performance than the GTX 1060 6GB at 1440p, and a very similar 36% gain at 1080p. So consistent with the other Turing cards, this is not quite a major generational leap in performance; and to be fair to NVIDIA they aren’t really claiming otherwise. Instead, NVIDIA is mostly looking to sell this card to current GTX 960 and R9 380 users; people who skipped the Pascal generation and are still on 28nm parts. In which case, the GTX 1660 Ti offers well over 2x the performance of these cards, with performance frequently ending up neck-and-neck with what was the GTX 1070.

Meanwhile, taking a look at power efficiency, it’s interesting to note that for the GTX 1660 Ti NVIDIA has been able to hold the line on power consumption: performance has gone up versus the GTX 1060 6GB, but card power consumption hasn’t. Thanks to this, the GTX 1660 Ti is not just 36% faster, it’s 36% percent more efficient as well. The other Turing cards have seen their own efficiency gains as well, but with their TDPs all drifting up, this is the largest (and purest) efficiency gain we’ve seen to date, and probably the best metric thus far for evaluating Turing’s power efficiency against Pascal’s.

The end result of these improvements in performance and power efficiency is that NVIDIA has once again put together a very solid Turing-based video card. And while its performance gains don’t make the likes of the GTX 1060 6GB and Radeon RX 590 obsolete overnight, it’s a clear case of out with the old and in with the new for the mainstream video card market. The GTX 1060 is well on its way out, and meanwhile AMD is going to have to significantly reposition the $279 RX 590. The GTX 1660 Ti cleanly beats it in performance and power efficiency, delivering 25% better performance for a bit over half the power consumption.

If anything, having cleared its immediate competitors with superior technology, the only real challenge NVIDIA will face is convincing consumers to pay $279 for a xx60 class card, and which performs like a $379 card from two years ago. In this respect the GTX 1660 Ti is a much better value proposition than the RTX 2060 above it, but it’s also more expensive than the GTX 1060 6GB it replaces, so it runs the risk of drifting out of the mainstream market entirely. Thankfully pricing here is a lot more grounded than the RTX 20 series cards, but the mainstream market is admittedly more price sensitive to begin with.

This also means that AMD remains a wildcard factor; they have the option of playing the value spoiler with cheap RX 590 cards, and I’m curious to see how serious they really are about bringing the RX Vega 56 in to compete with NVIDIA’s newest card. Our testing shows that RX Vega 56 is still around 5% faster on average, so AMD could still play a new version of the RX 590 gambit (fight on performance and price, damn the power consumption).

Perhaps the most surprising part about any of this is that despite the fact that the GTX 1660 Ti very notably omits NVIDIA’s RTX functionality, I’m not convinced RTX alone is going to sway any buyers one way or another. Since the RTX 2060 is both a faster and more expensive card, I quickly tabled the performance and price increases for all of the Turing cards launched thus far.

GeForce: Turing versus Pascal
  List Price
(Turing)
Relative Performance Relative
Price
Relative
Perf-Per-Dollar
RTX 2080 Ti vs GTX 1080 Ti $999 +32% +42% -7%
RTX 2080 vs GTX 1080 $699 +35% +40% -4%
RTX 2070 vs GTX 1070 $499 +35% +32% +2%
RTX 2060 vs GTX 1060 6GB $349 +59% +40% +14%
GTX 1660 Ti vs GTX 1060 6GB $279 +36% +12% +21%

The long and short of matters is that with the cheapest RTX card costing an additional $80, there’s a much stronger rationale to act based on pricing than feature sets. In fact considering just how amazingly consistent the performance gains are on a generation-by-generation basis, there’s ample evidence that NVIDIA has always planned it this way. Earlier I mentioned that NVIDIA acts with clockwork efficiency, and with nearly ever Turing card improving over its predecessor by roughly 35% (save the RTX 2060 with no direct predecessor), it’s amazing just how consistent NVIDIA’s product positioning is here. If the next GTX 16 series card isn’t also 35% faster than its predecessor, then I’m going to be amazed.

In any case, this makes a potentially complex situation for card buyers pretty simple: buy the card you can afford – or at least, the card with the performance you’re after – and don’t worry about whether it’s RTX or GTX. And while it’s unfortunate that NVIDIA didn’t include their RTX functionality top-to-bottom in the Turing family, there’s also a good argument to be had that the high-performance cost means that it wouldn’t make sense on a mainstream card anyhow. At least, not for this generation.

Last, but not least, we have the matter of EVGA’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Black GAMING. As this is launch without reference cards, we’re going to see NVIDIA’s board partners hit the ground running with their custom cards. And in true EVGA tradition, their XC Black GAMING is a solid example of what to expect for a $279 baseline GTX 1660 Ti card.

Since this isn’t a factory overclocked card, I’m a bit surprised that EVGA bothered to ship it with an increased 130W TDP. But I’m also glad they did, as the fact that it only improves performance by around 1% versus the same card at 120W is a very clear indicator that the GTX 1660 Ti is not meaningfully TDP limited. Overclocking will be another matter of course, but at stock this means that NVIDIA hasn’t had to significantly clamp down on power consumption to hit their power targets.

As for EVGA’s card design, I have to admit a triple-slot cooler is an odd choice for a 130W card – a standard double-wide card would have been more than sufficient for that kind of TDP – but in a market that’s going to be full of single and dual fan cards it definitely stands out from the crowd; and quite literally so, in the case of NVIDIA’s own promotional photos. Meanwhile I’m not sure there’s much to be said about EVGA’s software that we haven’t said a dozen times before: in EVGA Precision remains some of the best overclocking software on the market. And with such a beefy cooler on this card, it’s certainly begging to be overclocked.

Power, Temperature, and Noise
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  • CiccioB - Tuesday, March 05, 2019 - link

    Kid, as I said you lack basic intelligence to recognize when you are just arguing about nothing.
    The number I'm using are those published by AMD and nvidia in their quarter results.
    Now, if you are asking me the links for those reports it means you don't have the minimum idea of what I'm talking about AND you cannot do a simple search with Google.
    So I stand my "insults": you have not the intelligence to argue about this simple topic, so stop writing completely on this site that has much better readers than you and is not gaining anything by your presence.
    Reply
  • Korguz - Tuesday, March 05, 2019 - link

    ahh here are the insults and name calling... and you are calling me a kid ??

    i can, and have done a simple google search.. BUT, i would like to see the SAME info YOU are looking at as well, but again.. i guess that is just too much to ask of you, is it wrong to want to be able to compare the same facts as you are looking at ? i guess so.. cause you STILL refuse to post where you get your facts and info from, i sure dont have the time so spend who knows how long to do a simple google search...

    by standing by our insults, just shows YOU are the child here.. NOT me, as only CHILDREN resort to insults and name calling...

    as i said in my reply farther down :
    you refuse post links, OR mention your sources, simply because YOU DONT HAVE ANY.. most of what you post.. is probably made up, or rumor, if AT posted things like you do, with no sources, you probably would be all over them asking for links, proof and the like... and by YOUR previous posts, all of your info is made up and false..

    maybe YOU should stop posting your info and facts from rumor sites, and learn to talk with some intelligence your self.
    Reply
  • Qasar - Tuesday, March 05, 2019 - link

    sorry CiccioB, but i agree with Korguz.. i have tried to find the " facts " on some of the things you have posted in this thread.. and i cant find them.. i also would like to know where you get your " opinions " from. Reply
  • CiccioB - Wednesday, March 06, 2019 - link

    Quarter results!
    It's not really difficult to find them..
    Try "AMD quarter results" and then "nvidia quarter results" in Google search engine and.. voilà, les jeux sont faits. Two clicks and you can read them. Back some years if you want,so you can have a history of what has happened during the last years apart the useless comments by fanboys you find on forums.
    Now, if you have further problems at understanding all those tables and numbers or you do not know what is a gross margin vs a net income, then, you can't come here and argue I have no facts. It's you that can't understand publicly available data.

    So if you want already chewed numbers that someone has interpreted for you, you can read them here:
    https://www.anandtech.com/show/13917/amd-earnings-...

    I wonder what you were looking for for not finding those numbers that have been commented by every site that is about technology.

    @Korguz
    You a re definitely a kid. You surely do not scare me with all those nonsense you write when the solution for YOUR problem (not mine) was simply to read more and write less.
    Reply
  • Korguz - Thursday, March 07, 2019 - link

    CiccioB you are hilarious !!!
    did you look up the word hypnotize, to see what it means, and how it even relates to this ? as, and i quote YOU " Or you may try to hypnotize the third view " what does that even mean ??

    i KNEW the ONLY link you would mention.. is the EASY one to find.

    BUT... what about all of these LIES :

    " GCN was dead at its launch time"
    " 9 years of discounted sell are not enough to show you that GCN simply started as half a generation old architecture to end as a generation obsolete one? "
    " that is Hawaii, which was so discounted "
    " starting with Fiji and it's monster BOM cost "
    " AMD is selling Ryzen CPU at a discount like GPUs and both have a 0.2% net margin "
    " One is that AMD is discounting every product (GPU and CPU) to a ridiculous margin "
    " a "panic plan" that required about 3 years to create the chips. 3 years ago they already know that they would have panicked at the RTX cards launch and so they made the RT-less chip as well "

    i did the simple google search for the above comments from you, as well as variations.. and guess what.. NOTHING comes up. THESE are the links i would like you to provide, as i cant find any of these LIES . so " It's you that can't understand publicly available data. " the above quotes, are not publicly available data, even your sacred " simple google search " cant find them.

    lastly.. your insults and name calling ( and the fact that you stand by them ).. the only people i hear things like this from.. are from my friends and coworkers TEENAGE CHILDREN. NOT adults.. adults don't resort to things like this, at least the ones that i know... this alone.. shows how immature and childish you really are... i am pretty sure.. you WILL never post links to 98% of the LIES, RUMORS, or your personal speculation, and opinions, because of the simple fact, you just CAN'T, as your sources for all this... simply doesn't exist.

    when you are able to reply to people with out having to resort to name calling and insults, then maybe you might be taken seriously. till then... you are nothing but a lying, immature child, who needs to grow up, and learn how to talk to other people in a respectful manner... maybe YOU should take your OWN advice, and simply read more and write less. Have a good day.
    Reply
  • D. Lister - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    @CiccioB

    Navi will still be GCN unfortunately.
    Reply
  • CiccioB - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    If so don't cry if price will remain high (if not higher) for the next 3 years.
    We already know why.
    Reply
  • Simplex - Friday, February 22, 2019 - link

    "EVGA Precision remains some of the best overclocking software on the market."

    Better than MSI Afterburner?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, February 22, 2019 - link

    I consider both of them to be in the same tier, for what it's worth. Reply
  • Rudde - Friday, February 22, 2019 - link

    In what way does 12nm FFN improve over 16nm? The transistor density is roughly the same, the frequencies see little to no improvement and the power-efficiency has only seen small improvements. Worse yet, the space used per SM has gotten worse. I do know that Turing brings architectural improvements, but are they at the cost of die space? Seems odd that Nvidia wouldn't care about die area when their flagships are huge chips that would benefit from a more dense architecture.

    Or could it be that Turing adds some kind of (sparse) logic that they haven't mentioned?
    Reply

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