Power, Temperatures, & Noise

Last, but not least of course, is our look at power, temperatures, and noise levels. While a high performing card is good in its own right, an excellent card can deliver great performance while also keeping power consumption and the resulting noise levels in check.

NVIDIA GeForce Video Card Voltages
Model Boost Idle
EVGA GTX 1660 Super Ultra SC 1.05v 0.618v
GeForce GTX 1660 1.043v 0.656v
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 1.005v 0.65v

Using the same TU116 GPU as the GTX 1660 Ti and the GTX 1660 (vanilla0, the voltages are unsurprisingly similar. 1.05v is essentially a universal limit for NVIDIA Turing GPUs at stock, while the idle voltage of 0.618v is a bit lower than what we’ve seen on other TU116 cards thus far.

GeForce Video Card Average Clockspeeds
Game GTX 1660 Super
(Ref Clocks)
EVGA
GTX 1660 Super SC Ultra
GTX 1660 Ti GTX 1660
Max Boost Clock 1935MHz 1980MHz 1950MHz 1935MHz
Boost Clock 1785MHz 1830MHz 1680MHz 1785MHz
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 1860MHz 1905MHz 1875MHz 1875MHz
F1 2019 1860MHz 1905MHz 1890MHz 1875MHz
Assassion's Creed: Odyssey 1875MHz 1920MHz 1905MHz 1890MHz
Metro: Exodus 1860MHz 1905MHz 1890MHz 1875MHz
Strange Brigade 1860MHz 1905MHz 1890MHz 1890MHz
Total War: Three Kingdoms 1860MHz 1890MHz 1890MHz 1875MHz
The Division 2 1845MHz 1875MHz 1875MHz 1860MHz
Grand Theft Auto V 1875MHz 1920MHz 1905MHz 1890MHz
Forza Horizon 4 1875MHz 1905MHz 1905MHz 1890MHz

The situation with clockspeeds is also very similar, though not entirely a carbon copy of the GTX 1660 (vanilla). Even with NVIDIA’s slightly higher TDP, our GTX 1660 Super card sees a very slight drop in clockspeeds, typically coming in one bin (15MHz, or under-1%) below the original card. In this case it’s a tradeoff we’re glad to take, since as we’ve just seen, the extra memory bandwidth on the GTX 1660 Super more than makes up for any clockspeed deficit, launching the Super card well ahead of its GDDR5-based predecessor.

In any case, the GTX 1660 Super once again comes in well ahead of NVIDIA’s official boost clock specifications. Even under The Division 2, average clockspeeds beat the spec by 60MHz, and in other games It’s more frequently 75 to 90MHz above.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption - Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Load Power Consumption - FurMark

Shifting to power consumption, our results are in line with NVIDIA’s specifications, as well as what we’d expect for yet another TU116 card. With its 125W TGP, the GTX 1660 Super draws ever so slightly more power than either the GTX 1660 Ti or the GTX 1660, particularly in Tomb Raider where the CPU gets a bit more of a workout as well. But on the whole, it’s right in the ballpark with other 120W(ish) NVIDIA cards, with power consumption at the wall for the entire testbed not exceeding 200W.

For the midrange segment, the GTX 1660 Super (and the GTX 1660 Ti) are the cards to beat when it comes to power consumption and efficiency. Everything else at this power level performs much slower, or it’s faster while requiring more power. Though faster cards aren’t too far off, as the RX 5700 can attest to.

Idle GPU Temperature

Load GPU Temperature - Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Load GPU Temperature - FurMark

As for temperatures, EVGA has delivered one cool running card. Even at its full, factory overclocked speeds, the EVGA GTX 1660 Super SC Ultra never cracks 70C, and under FurMark’s pathological workload it’s the second-quietest card in these cards.

Idle Noise Levels

Load Noise Levels - Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Load Noise Levels - FurMark

The tradeoff for those temperatures, however, is noise. The EVGA card that delivers chart-topping temperatures also delivers some of the worst noise results among this collection of cards.

The culprit here would seem to be EVGA’s decision to bias the card towards cooling performance rather than acoustics. Which given how far the card is from its 83C thermal throttle point, seems overdone. EVGA could easily back off on the fan speed a bit, let the temperatures drift up to the low 70s, and deliver essentially the same gaming performance (perhaps losing 1 bin in the process) while generating a lot less noise. We have a number of 120W open air cards in these cards, including the GTX 1660 3GB and GTX 960, both of which move just as much heat with much less noise, so it can be done. And, to be fair to EVGA here, their SC Ultra card is by no means a tornado, barely hitting 50 dB(A) in these intensive, open case tests, but the best cards strike a proper balance between noise and performance, maximizing the latter while minimizing the former.

Ultimately, I suspect part of the engineering challenge EVGA is dealing with here is that the SC Ultra cooler is their smallest GTX 1660 cooler. The triple-slot XC cards (represented here with the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660) have just one fan and much bigger heatsinks to work with. Similarly, EVGA also sells longer dual-slot cards (also called XC) which get the benefit of a longer heatsink. The physics of more heatsink mass (and more/bigger fins) can’t be ignored, which is why smaller cards often need to run faster fans. Still, even if the SC Ultra cooler isn’t particularly big, I do think there’s room for a better fan balance here.

Tangentially, as I mentioned in the EVGA SC Ultra overview, this is actually our second card. The original was even hotter and louder; it reached 75C and 54.6 dB(A) under Tomb Raider in that test. Considering that these GTX 1660 Super cards are operating near or at their power limits and are TDP-capped by the VRMs and monitoring hardware – and thus, one card can’t draw significantly more power than another identical card – it points to a cooling problem with the card itself. EVGA has since taken the card back to figure out what’s going on, but I suspect what they’ll find is poor thermal transfer between the GPU and heatsink, perhaps due to a bad TIM application or a problem with the heatpipes. Ultimately it’s rare that we get dud video cards, but it does happen now and then.

Synthetics Final Words
POST A COMMENT

65 Comments

View All Comments

  • krazyfrog - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    The chart on the first page says the GTX 1660 SUPER has GDDR5 memory instead of GDDR6. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    Some days you can't even get the small things right...

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • craxton - Friday, January 17, 2020 - link

    the super has gddr6 memory, there chart must be wrong. Reply
  • nevcairiel - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    Seems like a healthy boost for only swapping out the memory. Should make a good mid-tier card. Reply
  • Smell This - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    The owners of the GTX 1660 Ti took one in the **nuggets**, but it's good to see the price/performance curve trending down.

    AMD’s Radeon RX 5500 series have a mark on which to aim __ hard to say that nVidia didn't see that coming. The RX 590/580/570's might take a bit of a haircut but good to know that Polaris lives on ...
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    How so? The Ti might be a poor choice now that the Super is available for purchase, but that wasn't the case until this week. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    Because *rabble rabble rabble*, that's why. Reply
  • Cellar Door - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - link

    This always happens, just ignore those comments - an 8 month later comparison of products.

    This launch is very good for the mainstream segment, as AMD now has to deliver a compelling product in this price bracket, that has to beat the nvidia counterpart on the perf/$

    This is win for everyone.
    Reply
  • Gasaraki88 - Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - link

    Ti users can just overclock the memory. I rather have the extra processing cores. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, November 8, 2019 - link

    Agreed, 15% is the high end of what you can do, but the TI overclocked should beat this card by a lot more than 3%. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now