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MSI GTX 1660 Ti Gaming X 6G
Date 23rd February 2019
Author booj
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer MSI


Test Setup and Benchmarks


Benchmarks
Now itís time to see how this thing performs! We tested at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. 4K gaming isnít advisable with the 1660 Ti. Itís certainly possible but youíll have to compromise too much image quality. All the cards appearing below were retested in January 2018 with the latest available drivers to coincide with the Radeon VII and RTX 2060 releases.


Letís start with the ubiquitous 3DMark Time Spy. We see the 1660 Ti absolutely destroying the GTX 1060, something that weíll see repeated throughout the tests. It even challenges the GXT 1070 Ti here.


Firestrike Extreme isnít as impressive for the 1660 Ti though.


Ghost Recon Wildlands is a still very demanding game even at the very high (not ultra) preset. We can start to see a picture forming of the card's overall performance now. The 1660 Ti is generally ahead of the GTX 1070 and it really murders the 1060.


Total War: Warhammer II is a turn-based strategy game developed by Creative Assembly. It can be quite CPU bound but the Battle benchmark we use here puts the stress back onto the graphics cards for an effective comparison. Nvidia cards traditionally perform well in this game. We didnít have a Vega 64 on hand to test but the 1660 Ti shows the Vega 56 a clean pair of heels. Weíre starting to see the 1660 Ti is a capable 1440p card at high settings.


Far Cry 5 is a first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft. It looks fantastic yet seems to be well optimized and is easily able to run on a wide variety of hardware. The Vega 56 gets its nose ahead of the 1660 Ti which is not unexpected given that Far-Cry 5 supports several Vega-specific features. Still, 98 FPS at 1080p is a solid result for the 1660 Ti and it does look great on a high refresh rate monitor.


Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a third person action-adventure game developed by Eidos Montreal. Everyone loves Lara! This game is due to receive support for Nvidiaís RTX series cards. Though right now thereís no ETA for the RTX patch, it looks gorgeous regardless. The 1660 Ti convincingly beats the 1070 and basically ties with the 1070 Ti. Impressive!


Middle-earth: Shadow of War is an action role-playing game and sequel to Shadow of Mordor. It was developed by Monolith Productions. Thereís a group of cards around the 85-85fps mark at 1080p.


Grand Theft Auto V doesnít need much of an introduction. This behemoth of a game is developed by Rockstar and is one of the most popular games of all time. It can be a bit inconsistent in its performance but despite its veteran status, itís still very demanding, especially on VRAM requirements when the MSAA is turned up.


Lastly, for those curious about compute scores, hereís the Geekbench Open CL GPU compute scores. The Turing architecture really shows a huge improvement over Pascal in this test.

Overclocking
Overclocking the MSI GTX 1660 Ti is much like overclocking other Nvidia Turing cards. There isnít a huge amount of headroom as Nvidiaís boost technology does very well at maximizing the clocks when thermal and power conditions allow.

Nvidiaís OC Scanner is a ridiculously easy one-click tool that tests the card and finds its maximum stable overclock. OC scanner was able to essentially match our manual overclock. Our time with the card was limited to just one business day! As result, OC testing was quick and dirty. We essentially fired up MSIís Afterburner tool, set the power limiter to its maximum and the voltage to +100mv, then gradually increased memory clocks and core clocks individually until we saw artifacting. After the limits of both were found, itís a simple matter of combining both together. Fan speed was set to a constant 65%, which is about the threshold of where the fans become annoyingly noticeable. We ended up with a peak boost clock or around 2070 MHz with fluctuations between about 2020 and 2050 MHz.

Click to Enlarge

The memory fared well too, able to be overclocked an additional 1450 Mhz from the base 12Gbps to 14.9 Gbps. The end result was quite a nice improvement in Time Spy. Whether overclocking Nvidia GPUs is worth in this day and age is up for debate. As always your OC mileage may vary.


Temperatures, Power & Noise levels
The MSI Twin Frozr cooler makes the reference coolers of competing cards look totally inferior. With a temperature controlled ambient temperature of 24c, the MSI is easily the coolest running card tested. With its low TDP, thatís not really a surprise compared to the likes of the 300W Radeon VII!


Low temperatures are important for maintaining maximum GPU boost. With temperature peaking at just 63c with the fan at auto, our sample was able to sit on 1950MHz, and not drop at all! Excellent!

Click to Enlarge

Power consumption figures are impressive. Our test PC measured 112W at idle and 361W under peak load. Bear in mind this is a peak reading including an overclocked CPU, several fans, AIO pump and RGB accessories. Power supply efficiency also plays a role. HWinfo reported a peak GPU power consumption reading of 124.65 W, which matches well with the 1660 Tiís specified 120 W TDP.

The noise levels of the MSI 1660 Ti Gaming X are very good as expected. At idle of course itís completely silent as the fans donít spin. Under full load any dB reading was meaningless due to the influence of our AIOís fans. Under normal use, unless you have poor case airflow or live in the Simpson desert, the MSI can be considered effectively silent. It starts to become noticeable once the fans are manually set to about 55% and of course its gets louder from there, but then any cooler does when you start to push it towards its maximum.

Conclusion
As the most affordable Turing card released to date, the GTX 1660 Ti is obviously a very important card for Nvidia. It slots in below the RTX 2060, though it leaves a gaping hole above the GTX 1050 Ti, for now at least. When it comes down to it, the GTX 1660 Ti is an excellent card, but in our opinion Nvidia has priced the card too high, at least in Australia. At $509 for this MSI, itís about $50 too much by our reckoning. The GTX 1060 it replaces was never this expensive. Having said that, prices will stabilize in the medium term and MSI and other vendors should eventually have models well below the $500 mark. A $400 to $450 GTX 1660 Ti would be something we could sink our teeth into. That would bring it more into line with US pricing too.

MSI have produced an excellent GTX 1660 Ti. Itís cool, quiet, power thrifty and itís a good choice for a gamer with a high refresh rate 1080p monitor. If youíre into MOBA or MMORPG games, the 1660 Ti will fly through them at very high FPS while demanding games with all the eye candy are perfectly playable at 1080p and even 1440p. Whether the premium MSI is worth it to you is between you and your finances. Itís got great build quality, is built like a battleship and it looks great with its nice RGB lighting. Youíre also likely to get consistently high boost clocks compared to a lesser model. In conclusion, the GTX 1660 Ti is an excellent graphics card. If it was a bit cheaper, it would be an unequivocal recommendation. If youíre coming from an older card like a 700 or 900 series Maxwell, youíll be very happy, but if you have something like a GTX 1070, well, letís just say you made a very very good purchase.

Pros:
Excellent 1080P gaming performance
Has its nose in front of the GTX 1070
Cool & Quiet
Low power consumption

Cons:
A $500+ card canít be considered mainstream

4/5 ocows

Just one more thing... about that pricing. While the likes of the RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 deliver excellent performance and have great potential with their forward looking feature sets, their pricing has received criticism. Nvidia is asking gamers to have a lot of faith in their vision of a ray traced future. While ray tracing is indeed the holy grail of rendering, the truth is it will be a long time before ray tracing fully replaces rasterization. Whatís important is how these cards perform in the here and now. Gamers who have been using Pascal based cards arenít jumping onto the new RTX series in the numbers Nvidia would like. This is evidenced by Nvidiaís January revenue guidance update, including the following quote: ď..sales of certain high-end GPUs using NVIDIA's new Turingô architecture were lower than expected These products deliver a revolutionary leap in performance and innovation with real-time ray tracing and AI, but some customers may have delayed their purchase while waiting for lower price points and further demonstrations of RTX technology in actual games.Ē

That brings us to the GTX 1660 Ti. As the ďGTXĒ designation denotes, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti omits the RT and Tensor Cores that are at the heart of the Nvidiaís RTX technologies. This leads to a significantly reduced die size, in turn allowing Nvidia to reduce its manufacturing costs and deliver a more affordable card. The MSI we are reviewing here comes with a launch price of $509. Some cheaper models will likely launch around the $450 mark and pricing should gradually decline over the following months. $500 is simply not mid-range pricing. Weíll see how the market reacts, but Nvidia may have missed a trick by not being more aggressive in its pricing. If this card was $400, weíd be singing its praises from the rooftops. A missed 8800GT moment? Letís see what AMD brings to the table later in the year with its Navi range. As of right now itís hanging on by a thread in the mid to high end market, at least without some hefty price cuts to its Vega models. The GPU market really needs some competition.

Feel free to discuss this review in this thread!

Page 1: Introduction and Features
Page 2: Test Setup, Benchmarks, Overclocking and Conclusions



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All original content copyright James Rolfe.
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