Is the factory overclocked GTX1060 precise for calculations

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti in the test: Like the GTX 1070 FE with new shaders and less memory

tl; dr:The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is based on Nvidia's Turing technology, but works without ray tracing and AI cores. So it stands between Turing and Pascal, the name should make that clear. In terms of performance in games, there is a GeForce GTX 1070 FE level, competition at a price of 300 euros, but also from AMD.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Turing

Not GeForce GTX 2050, not GeForce GTX 1160, but GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is the name of the fourth graphics card class with Turing GPU for gamers. For Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti was the best name for a graphics card based on Turing, which does not offer the essential new functions, but thanks to a more modern GPU has nothing to do with Pascal. GeForce GTX 2050 with GTX instead of RTX was not enough for Nvidia to distinguish it from GeForce RTX 2000, GeForce GTX 1160 was too close to Pascal. 1660 should now fix it: GTX instead of RTX highlights the missing functions, 1660 with less distance to 2060 than to 1060 the significantly increased performance.

But what is the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti anyway? Roughly speaking, it offers the same Turing technology as the GeForce RTX 2000 test subjects, but without ray tracing and without tensor cores. Apart from that, the architecture is identical. However, Nvidia has further reduced the number of shader units compared to the GeForce RTX 2060, but left the memory expansion at 6 GB GDDR6.

Models from PNY and Asus in the test

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti should work noticeably faster than the Radeon RX 590 and about as fast as the GeForce GTX 1070. According to Nvidia, partners will initially want at least 299 euros for custom designs.

On the following pages, ComputerBase will find out whether the calculation works out based on a simple PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 Gaming and a higher quality but also more expensive Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Strix OC.

TU116 - Turing without RT & KI cores

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti comes with a new and thus the fourth Turing GPU: the TU116. Like the larger versions, the TU116 is manufactured by TSMC in the 12 nm process, but is smaller with 284 mm² and less complex with 6.6 billion transistors - the significantly larger TU106 on GeForce RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 still has 445 mm² and 10.8 billion operations.

The TU116 has three graphics processing clusters and, like the TU104, each comes with 8 streaming multiprocessors. The number of shader units is reduced from 2,304 to 1,536 FP32-ALUs compared to TU106. in addition, as is usual with Turing, there are just as many INT32-ALUs that can perform both floating point and integer calculations at the same time. There are also no differences from the other Turing offshoots with regard to the cache organization per SM, polymorph engines and other properties such as variable rate shading. The number of units is scaled down, but remains the same in relation to the large GPUs.

It is also interesting if you compare the performance of the TU116 GPU on the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with that of the GP104 GPU on the GeForce GTX 1080. Because the GP104 is eleven percent larger, but also 23 percent faster in the configuration of the two graphics cards. This indicates that a Turing shader is faster than a Pascal shader, but Turing is also slower than Pascal per mm² of chip area in current games.

A streaming multiprocessor on the TU116 only differs in two things from the other Turing GPUs: There are neither ray tracing nor tensor cores for AI calculations on the TU116. That is why there is no longer any RTX in the name of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, but rather the well-known abbreviation "GTX". This automatically reduces the space requirement per SM, so that the TU116 turns out to be smaller than if there were a hypothetical TU116 with just as many SMs including RT and tensor cores, whereby the difference is surprisingly small. Nevertheless, the space saved enables more this to be done on a wafer and reduces production costs.

Officially, the reason for not using the special cores is that a certain basic performance is required in order to be able to use the features sensibly. This is certainly correct for ray tracing, but the argument does not work for the tensor cores and thus DLSS.

6 GB GDDR6 with less clock on the 192-bit interface

Nvidia has also redefined the memory interface. Of the 256 bits of the TU106, 192 bits and thus six 32-bit controllers are left in the TU116. This automatically means that the memory expansion is limited to 6,144 MB (or half). However, the new and fast GDDR6 memory remains, with the frequency of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti falling from 7,000 MHz to 6,000 MHz - 7,000 MHz was previously the standard at Turing.

Speaking of frequency: Nvidia specifies a base clock of 1,550 MHz for the graphics card. The average turbo should be 1,770 MHz. Nvidia allows the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti a maximum of 120 watts - as much as the GeForce GTX 1060.

A reference to the question of how tall Turing is

If you compare the properties of the Pascal and Turing GPUs, you can see some interesting details. For example, that Turing needs significantly more chip area per shader than Pascal - despite smaller manufacturing. The GP104 is only eleven percent larger, but offers 67 percent more FP32 ALUs. Since neither ray tracing nor tensor cores play a role in the TU116, the classic chip must be responsible for this. If you also consider that the TU116 also has a smaller memory interface than the GP104, it becomes clear that the additional Turing properties such as separate integer units and other new features such as variable rate shading cost massive amounts of chip space.

If one again compares the TU116 and the TU106, it becomes clear that ray tracing and tensor cores cost space, but the proportion is not large: With 50 percent more shader units and the larger memory interface, the TU106 is only 64 percent larger than the TU116. This means that RT and Tensor cores cannot occupy too much chip area, especially since the packing density is only slightly in favor of the TU106.

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti from Asus (Strix) and PNY (XLR8) in detail

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is not available as a Founders Edition, only custom designs will be available in stores. In this test, ComputerBase compares two extremely contradicting examples.

The PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 OC is aimed at purists. The small and simple cooling system, no RGB and the relatively low clock rate are available at the lowest entry price of 299 euros. The Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Strix OC is completely the opposite: a high clock rate, an elaborate cooling system, RGB and numerous other features cost 50 euros extra. The class difference is also clear in the weight: The PNY graphics card only weighs 414 grams, the Asus counterpart a whopping 1,190 grams.

The PNY GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 is aimed at purists

The PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 OC is only 17 cm long, the PCB is only 15 cm. Only in terms of width is PNY more generous at 12.5 cm. The cooling system is also kept simple: There is an aluminum cooler, three heat pipes and an axial fan with a diameter of 95 mm.

It doesn't stop at low temperatures, at least 1,000 revolutions per minute are always present. The average turbo clock is 1,815 MHz, so the TU116 GPU is overclocked by 45 MHz. An eight-pin power plug is required, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 OC can draw a maximum of 120 watts - this in turn corresponds to Nvidia's reference specifications. The memory operates at the normal 6,000 MHz. Monitors can be connected to a DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0b and a dual-link DVI output.

The Asus GTX 1660 Ti Strix is ​​a real premium model

The Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Strix OC does not differ in terms of properties from the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Strix OC, all features are included. The PCB is aimed at overclockers and, at 29 cm, is almost twice as long as that of PNY. The graphics card itself is even 30 cm long due to the cooler.

The cooler is the well-known Strix dual-slot cooler in the 2.1-slot version, although Asus uses less material than, for example, the GeForce RTX 2060 Strix. The radiators are less voluminous and the number of heat pipes shrinks to three. Three axial fans with a diameter of 85 mm provide fresh air. This is the type of fan newly introduced by Asus with the GeForce RTX series, which is supposed to generate more air pressure at the same speed. The fans stop at low temperatures and thus on the desktop. From a GPU temperature of 56 degrees Celsius, they start up at around 850 revolutions per minute.

The graphics card has a second BIOS called performance, which lets the fans spin faster and offers lower temperatures. On the Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Strix OC, however, the performance BIOS is completely useless, only the Quiet BIOS, which is active at the factory, should be used.

Asus offers a lot more clock speed

Asus overclocks the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti significantly. The average turbo is specified at 1,860 MHz, 90 MHz more than the standard. In connection with the maximum power consumption, which has been increased to 130 watts, the clock rate is significantly higher than with PNY. If that's not enough, you can activate "OC Mode" using Asus' own GPU Tweak II software. This increases the GPU clock by a further 30 MHz to 1,890 MHz and the power target to 110 percent. The 6,144 MB GDDR6 memory, on the other hand, is always controlled at 6,000 MHz. An eight-pin power plug must also be connected to the graphics card in this case.

In addition, the Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Strix OC offers complex RGB lighting. This can also be switched off using a tool or directly by pressing a button on the PCB. The graphics card can also control two PWM fans connected at the end with the help of the Asus tool. Monitors can be controlled at two DisplayPort or two HDMI connections.

On the next page: test system and test results

  • Wolfgang Andermahr email
    ... has accompanied every graphics card launch since 2005 - regardless of whether it is AMD or Nvidia - with news, benchmarks and technical analyzes.