ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC Edition 6GB GDRR6 review — a mid-range card with high-end trim
ASUS held nothing back as they slapped on the Axial-tech fans, AURA RGB and dual-BIOS onto the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, making the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti one of the, if not the, most beautiful and premium GTX 1660 Ti in the market.
+ Axial-tech fans on a mid-range card!
+ Aggressive outlook with subtle RGB effects
+ FanConnect II and AURA headers are nice to have
+ Good performance versus older generation cards
+ Silent even when under load
+ Excellent cooling performance allows for high maintained boost clocks
- No RGB on backplate
- VRM cooling is now handled by metal brace instead of the heatsink
The rumored GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is finally official. It packs Turing shaders and drops the RT and Tensor cores for good ol’ rasterization horsepower. Designing a GPU without the RT and Tensor cores also makes for a smaller die, thus translating to cost savings for NVIDIA, and of course, you.
Then there are the questions: how much less performance are you getting versus a GeForce RTX 2060, and also should you upgrade from your Pascal card? We have here the ASUS’ ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC Edition 6GB GDDR6 to play around with, so let’s go.
While the RTX was supersized on the packaging of ASUS’ ROG Strix GeForce RTX cards, the GeForce GTX branding here is less in your face. Also a shift we notice from the previous generations is the way they show the model number in a separate block. NVIDIA clearly wants you to know that the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is a member of the GeForce GTX family. The rest of the packaging’s appearance is pretty similar to the GeForce RTX cards, and the product image interestingly shows the use of Axial-tech fans here.
The back of the box is where we find more details. And sure enough, there’s the highlight explaining more about the Axial-tech fans. Considering ASUS used the older Wing-Blade fans for the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2060 and RTX 2070, seeing it here is indeed somewhat of a surprise.
There isn’t much in the packaging of the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, but there’s a CD too many. Time to go green ASUS, and give us one of those fancy ROG pendrives that you throw in with your premium ROG motherboard.
The ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti looks indistinguishable from the flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, partly due to the use of the Axial-tech fans here. The shroud around it appears to have been reworked as well, with a rougher texture which we noticed since we reviewed the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2060.
The backplate is where we find some cost savings. Just like the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1060, ASUS for some reason decided that the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti’s backplate doesn’t need the RGBae treatment. You get a printed ROG logo, and that’s it.
My favorite feature from the GeForce RTX cards is here too. I loved the brace on ASUS ROG Strix cards because it looks great while also helping to support the weight of the cooler. Seeing it on the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti was somewhat unexpected as the last flagship GeForce GTX under the ROG Strix branding didn’t come with such strong branding. Here the brace is also important for the cooling, helping to cool down the VRM as well as the VRAM.
The entire card is a 2.5-slot design, a bit thicker than ASUS’ ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1060 2-slot design despite both cards touting the same 120W TDP. More surface area for heat dissipation is always good, but for those of you who are using cases with very limited room for graphics cards, you might want to make sure this baby fits.
It touts the same outputs as the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2060. No USB-C port here for VirtualLink. According to NVIDIA, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti fully supports VirtualLink, and it is up to whether board partners like ASUS wants to include it. ASUS probably decided against it, as people who get the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti probably aren’t going to be spending on expensive VirtualLink VR headsets anyway.
On the other end of the card we find ASUS’ AURA SYNC header, as well as two FanConnect II headers. We also see that ASUS is using just three heatpipes here, down from the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2060’s five. Even the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1060 has four heatpipes, but the older card sports a thinner heatsink as compared to the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.
As we have no RGB on the backplate now, you will have to settle for the illuminated RGBae accents on the front shroud. It really needs no introduction as all the cards we recently reviewed all feature the same general design. It looks good, and if the GeForce RTX 2060 cards from other brands are anything to go by, the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti may be one of the the best looking GeForce GTX 1660 Ti out there.
ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC Edition 6GB GDDR6
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (TU116)|
Boost – 1890 MHz; Base – 1530 MHz
Boost – 1860 MHz; Base – 1500 MHz
|Cores||1536 CUDA cores|
|Memory Clocks||12 000 MHz|
|Display outputs||2 x DisplayPort 1.4
2 x HDMI 2.0b
|Power connector(s)||1 x 8-pin|
|Dimensions||30 x 13.2 x 5 cm|
As usual, ASUS slaps a pretty impressive overclock out of the factory for their ROG Strix OC Edition cards. NVIDIA specifies a boost clock of just 1770 MHz, but ASUS goes ahead and offers up to 1890 MHz out of the box. As with any recent NVIDIA card, we can expect to see effective boost clocks to be much higher depending on the thermal headroom offered by the cooling solution. The TDP specified by NVIDIA is just 120W, but with a single 8-pin power connector, we are looking at maximum theoretical power draw of 225W, which is just short of double the TDP. More than enough for any overclock you have in mind.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.125 GHz|
|Motherboard||ROG Rampage V Extreme|
|Memory||4 x 4GB Kingston HyperX Predator 3000 MHz CL15|
|Storage||256GB Samsung 850 EVO SATA SSD
512GB Plextor M9PeY PCIe 3.0×4 NVMe SSD
256GB Toshiba PCIe 3.0×4 NVMe SSD
1TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V850 Gold|
|GPU Driver||GeForce 418.91|
The GeForce 418.91 drivers were specially released for us to test the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti by NVIDIA.
We will be running in-game benchmarks where available, at the specified resolution(s) and at the maximum graphics preset, unless otherwise specified. Average framerates during gameplay will be recorded with Fraps, in the event of a benchmarked game not having an in-game benchmarking tool. Temperatures will be recorded with HWiNFO, and the maximum temperature in a 45-minute long Superposition stress test run will be reported. Fan speeds will be according to the default fan curve as defined by the manufacturer. At 4K we will turn off anti-aliasing (AA) where possible, or set it to the lowest available setting, as it is unrealistic and absolutely unnecessary to use AA at that resolution. The latest drivers available will be used, unless otherwise specified. Default clocks will be used, unless otherwise specified.
There’s no raytracing here, so we can’t do the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark. We ran SuperPosition on it though, and a score of 5160 places it right in the middle between the GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce RTX 2060.
The ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti actually comes up closer to the GeForce RTX 2060 than the GeForce GTX 1060.
The trend continues in Far Cry 5…
And here it actually beats the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. Rainbow Six Siege is quite a peculiar game but it appears to be able to take advantage of the new features that Turing brought to the board.
Meanwhile in AC: Odyssey it once again comes up close behind the GeForce RTX 2060.
Surprisingly the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti did well in Battlefield V, giving me a playable experience even at 4K. It was somewhat unexpected from a mid-range card like this, but it proved itself worthy.
In The Division, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti comes up behind the GeForce RTX 2060 again, but the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1060 is left really far behind in the dust.
The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti visibly slots between the GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce RTX 2060, but it actually performs closer to the latter rather than the former. It’s just 12% slower than the GeForce RTX 2060 on average, but a whopping 40% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060. It isn’t great for 4K, but it’s going to be a great card for 1440p at the same TDP as the GeForce GTX 1060.
The ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti maintained a temperature reading of below 60°C throughout most of the 45-minute Superposition run we use to gauge the cards we test. Boost maintained at around 1950 MHz. We are looking at it running cooler than any of the cards we have tested recently. The Axial-tech fans do their job quietly, even when under load. Turning the fans up to the maximum speed and the sound level ramps up just a tiny bit, testament to ASUS’ engineering prowess.
ASUS still provides physical switches in case you don’t want to install their software to manage the RGB effects or fan curve. ASUS’ dual BIOS feature is pretty cool because instead of tweaking the power limits to throttle the cooler card to make it run cooler with less noise, the Q-mode here just plays around with the fan curve for a quieter card. Same performance level, just quieter operation. Of course it’s worth noting that with GPU Boost you will probably see lower clocks as well as it adjusts to your reduced cooling performance.
In terms of software, ASUS is still using GPU Tweak II to tune the card and AURA to play around with the RGB effects. If you have installed GPU Tweak II and AURA, the physical switches can be forgotten about. Overclocking, fan curve adjustments and whatever you need to max out your card is all available in GPU Tweak II.
So the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is about 12% slower on average versus the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2060. So it will definitely have to be at least 12% cheaper. ASUS somewhat surprised us when they told us the price of the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. It was going to be RM1599, which is a good 32% less. You are giving up on RT cores and Tensor cores, but then again there is like a total of 4 titles out there that takes advantage of the technologies out there now.
If you are coming from a GeForce GTX 1060 or GeForce 1070, you probably won’t be seeing too much of a benefit from upgrading to the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. NVIDIA isn’t even targeting you with this GPU. But if you are coming from an slower card then yes you might really want to consider upgrading to the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. It comes with everything Turing has to offer, sans RT and Tensor cores, allowing it to deliver better performance in games that can take advantage of its newer features. The TU116 powering the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is a strong mid-range GPU, and ASUS packed the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with high-end features, making this a very solid card for gamers who aren’t into DLSS, RTX and all that jazz.
Our utmost gratitude to ASUS Malaysia for providing the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC Edition 6GB GDDR6 in this review, and also NVIDIA for the information and drivers used for this review.