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
Relative Performance Relative
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


View All Comments

  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    "The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Review, Feat. EVGA XC GAMING: Turing Sheds RTX for the Mainstream Market"

    The same idea, restated:

    "NVIDIA Admits, With Its GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Turing, That RTX Isn't Ready For The Mainstream"
  • just6979 - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    Why disable all AMD or NVidia specific settings? Any using those cards would have those settings on... shouldn't the number reflect exactly what the cards are capable of when utilizing all the settings available. You wouldn't do a Turing Major review without giving some numbers for RTX ON in any benchmarks that supported it... Reply
  • CiccioB - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    Yes, the test could be done with specific GPU features turned on, but you have to clearly say what are the advantage of each particular addition on the final image quality.
    Because you can have (optional) effects that cuts frame rate but increase the quality a lot. So looking only at the mere final number you may conclude that a GPU is better than another because it is faster (or just costs less), but in reality you are comparing two different kind of quality results.
    It's not different than testing two cards with different detail settings (without stating which they are) and then trying to understand which is the better one only based on the frame rate results (which is the kind of results that everyone looks at).
  • jarf1n - Sunday, February 24, 2019 - link

    load power consuption is wrong,if you want see only gpu measured,measured only gpu like techpowerup doing.
    its clear if you measure total load,its not show it right.

    134W 1660ti
    292W vega 56

    its clear that gtx 1660 ti is much much better gpu for at least FHD and QHD also.

    huge different.
  • CiccioB - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    Well, that however does not tell the entire story.
    The ratios versus the total consumption of the system is also important.
    Let's say that for a gaming PC you already have to use 1000W. A card that suck 100W more just wastes 10% more of your power. Meanwhile if your PC is using 100W, such a card will be doubling the consumption. As you see the card is always using 100W more, but the impact is different.

    Let's make a different example: your PC uses about 150W in everyday use. You have to buy an SSD. There are some SSD that consumes twice the power of others for the same performances.
    You may say that the difference is huge.
    Well, an SSD consumes between 2 and 5W. Buying the less efficient (5W) is not really going to have an impact on the total consumption of your PC.
  • ilkhan - Sunday, February 24, 2019 - link

    Coming from a GTX970 and playing on a 2560x1600 monitor, which card should I be looking at? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    You'd likely want an RTX 2060, if not a bit higher with the RTX 2070.
  • Mad Maxine - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    Price is still crap for the performance. We live in a age now that sees Hardware and software no longer growing. And a GPU from 2012 Can still run all modern games today. Market is not going to be huge for Overpriced GPUs that are really not that much of a improvement from 2012. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, February 25, 2019 - link

    Telemetry is growing. You are "your" data. Reply
  • bhanavi - Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - link

    Thanks you so much for the information

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