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MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review

MSI launches two new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards at $279 and $299, perfect for Apex Legends.

@anthony256
Published Fri, Feb 22 2019 8:00 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:57 PM CST
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction, GTX Not RTX, & Pricing

Yes, the rumors were true - NVIDIA has just released its new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and here we have two custom MSI graphics cards out of the gate in the form of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X and the GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS.

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VIEW GALLERY - 65 IMAGES

NVIDIA is continuing to use its new Turing GPU architecture for the GTX 1660 Ti with the use of its brand new TU116 GPU that has been crafted for the perfect balance of performance, power, and cost. It'll battle the GTX 1070 in terms of performance, sometimes punching above its weight, and hurting the Radeon RX 590 (and making it near irrelevant in the process).

The new TU116 GPU has most of the technological benefits and features of the other Turing-powered cards on the market, with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti up to 1.5x faster than the GTX 1060 6GB that sees it becoming the go-to card for mainstream gamers with 1080p and 1440p displays. Especially those who are playing super-popular games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, where you can achieve 120FPS at 1080p without a problem on the new GTX 1660 Ti.

NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti isn't really a replacement for the GTX 1060 or GTX 1070, but rather a new beast that will tackle the $270-$300 market where the Radeon RX 590 has been sitting for a while now. There will be plenty of custom cards made available, as evident with MSI's new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X and VENTUS variants that we have here today to review.

Putting the 'G' in GTX

One of the more confusing elements of the new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is that NVIDIA has spent the last 6 months pushing RTX down our throats, and now we're back to GTX-branded releases. I reached out to NVIDIA asking them about this, as I was a bit confused as to how they came to naming the card with GTX branding versus continuing to use RTX.

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While the new TU116 GPU is based on the Turing architecture, it doesn't feature RT and Tensor Cores that its bigger brothers in the RTX series do. NVIDIA had to perform this surgery on the chip in order to get it to sub $300 pricing, which makes sense.

NVIDIA asked me what I would've called it if it wasn't to be called the GTX 1660 Ti and I said it would've been good to see the card named GTX 2060. Simple, and easy. RTX 2060 would be for gamers that want real-time ray tracing and other RTX features, while the GTX culls those features and sells for under $300. Instead, we now have the GTX 1060, GTX 1160, and RTX 2060 meaning there is a GTX 10 series, GTX 16 series, and RTX 20 series which can be confusing for some people.

Before I started at TweakTown, I had worked 10 years of IT retail selling computer parts and custom PCs at a small retailer here in South Australia. I can only imagine how I'd try to explain this to people buying a new card that features the new Turing GPU, but is stuck with naming scheme that is from the previous generation. This is why I'd call it the GTX 2060, sans ray tracing tech. But, each to their own.

Pricing & Availability

MSI is pricing the new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS at $279, and the higher-end GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X at $299. They're both available now, starting February 22.

Specs: TU116 vs GP106

Specs: TU116 GPU

NVIDIA's new Turing GPU architecture is a thing of beauty, sparking life into the mid-range sub-$300 segment with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, especially when you look at it spec-by-spec against the previous-gen GTX 1060. It might have the same 6GB framebuffer, but we've changed from GDDR5 to GDDR6, which results in a huge injection of memory bandwidth that helps the GTX 1660 Ti kick some serious ass at higher resolutions.

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The new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti has 24 SMs and 1536 CUDA cores versus the Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1060 and its 10 SMs and 1280 CUDA cores. TU116 is much beefier than the GP106 used on the GTX 1060. GP106 has 4.4 billion transistors, versus the 6.6 billion in TU116 - as you can see, Turing is a beast even in TU116 form. This comes at a price of die size, with the GP106 coming in at 200mm2 while the TU116 is a much larger 284mm2 chip. GP106 was made on the 14nm node, while TU116 is made one the newer, smaller 12nm process.

GPU clocks are similar at a reference level with the GTX 1060 coming in at 1506/1708MHz for base and boost respectively, while the TU116 kicks off at 1500MHz base, but boosts up further to 1770MHz. The custom cards we have here today are faster again, with some nice wiggle room for overclocking. We have 96 texture units on the TU116 versus 80 texture units on the GP106, resulting in 169.9 Gigatexels/sec of texel fill-rate performance on the TU116 versus the 120.5 Gigatexels/sec.

NVIDIA is still using 6GB of VRAM on the new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti but has upgraded to faster GDDR6 memory, over the 6GB of GDDR5 used on the GTX 1060. This results in a huge upgrade in memory bandwidth from 192GB/sec on the GTX 1060, to a huge 288.1GB/sec on the new GTX 1660 Ti. NVIDIA has the GDDR6 clocked at 12Gbps on the GTX 1660 Ti, down from the 14Gbps on the faster RTX cards but considerably higher than the 8Gbps on the GTX 1060. This is a huge 50% more memory bandwidth, which is absolutely huge for a card at this price point.

NVIDIA has also managed to keep the TDP at just 120W on the GTX 1660 Ti, the same 120W TDP found on the GTX 1060. Impressive stuff, the blend of Turing, GDDR6, and the 12nm node helps the company achieve impressive performance per watt numbers.

Specs: MSI GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X/VENTUS XS

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X

MSI has some of the fastest custom GeForce GTX and GeForce RTX series graphics cards on the market, and that trend continues with the flagship MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X. We have some great out of the box GPU boost clocks with plenty of room to play when it comes to overclocking.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1020 | TweakTown.com

Right out of the gate we have the same 1500MHz base GPU frequency but MSI has a mild 6% overclock on GPU boost clocks at 1875MHz (up from 1770MHz). I was able to hit 2010MHz with overclocking which is a great squeeze out of the TU116 at this price point, resulting in around 6-10% more performance in games depending on what resolution and game I was testing.

MSI keeps the 6GB of GDDR6 clocked at 12Gbps, but again I was able to overclock this up to 14Gbps without an issue.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS

MSI knocks things down a little with the GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS, with its TU116 GPU clocked at 1830MHz (a 3% increase over the reference GPU boost). It has the same 6GB of GDDR6 at the same 12Gbps bandwidth, but is a smaller card.

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It doesn't roll out with the awesome-looking TWIN FROZR 7 cooling technology, with a more 'plain' look that I actually dig. I found myself looking at the VENTUS XS card more than the GAMING X variant, just because I want to build it in a tiny, but powerful mini-ITX gaming PC.

Detailed Look

Detailed Look: MSI GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1025 | TweakTown.com

The front of the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X box, nothing out of the ordinary here.

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On the back of the box we can see MSI tells consumers the GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X features their TWIN FROZR 7 cooling technology, RGB Mystic Light tech, and 'blazing performance' which they're really not lying about here.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1024 | TweakTown.com

Out of the box it looks pretty much identical to any other mid-range TWIN FROZR 7-cooled RTX/GTX graphics card from MSI.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1020 | TweakTown.com

I love the backplate on MSI's custom cards, they just look so good.

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All you'll need is a single 8-pin PCIe power connector for MSI's new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X graphics card.

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Display connectivity remains mostly unchanged, with 3 x DP and 1 x HDMI.

Detailed Look: MSI GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1029 | TweakTown.com

MSI changes it up a bit for the VENTUS XS box, with our sample arriving as the OC Edition with slightly higher than normal reference/boost GPU clocks.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1030 | TweakTown.com

There's no TWIN FROZR 7 cooling here folks, but that doesn't matter - something you'll see in our thermal thoughts on the card later on in the review.

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Seriously, I really dig what MSI has here with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS... so much so that I kinda like the look and style, and size of the card over the GAMING X variant.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1027 | TweakTown.com

You do get a cheaper looking backplate, but I don't think you're going to care for $279.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1031 | TweakTown.com

The same single 8-pin PCIe power connector is all you need to get the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS up and running.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1028 | TweakTown.com

The same display connectivity as its GAMING X cousin, we have 3 x DP and 1 x HDMI output on the GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS.

Test System Specs

Our New GPU Test Rig

Welcome to the latest revision of our GPU test bed, with our system being upgraded from the Intel Core i7-7700K to the Core i7-8700K. The CPU is cooled by the Corsair H115i PRO cooler, with the 8700K overclocked to 5GHz. We've stayed with GIGABYTE for our motherboard with their awesome Z370 AORUS Gaming 7.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1060 | TweakTown.com

We approached our friends at HyperX for a kit of their kick ass HyperX Predator DDR4-2933MHz RAM (HX429C15PB3AK4/32), with 2 x 8GB sticks for a total of 16GB DDR4-2933. The RAM stands out through every minute of our testing as it has beautiful RGB lights giving the system a slick look while benchmarking our lives away, while the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard joins in with its own array of RGB lighting.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1061 | TweakTown.com

Detailed Tech Specs

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K @ 5GHz
  • Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO
  • MB: Z370 AORUS Gaming 7
  • RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Predator DDR4-2933
  • SSD: 1TB OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2
  • SSD: 512GB OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2
  • PSU: InWin 1065W PSU
  • Chassis: In Win X-Frame
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

Additional Images

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1063 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1064 | TweakTown.com
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Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike - 1080p

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4000 | TweakTown.com

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 01 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike - 1440p

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 02 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike - 4K

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 03 | TweakTown.com

3DMark TimeSpy

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4001 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 04 | TweakTown.com

3DMark TimeSpy Extreme

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1080p

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1440p

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 4K

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 09 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1080p

1080p Benchmarks

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4012 | TweakTown.com

Apex Legends is a surprise hit from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment, with the new 60-player battle royale game coming onto the scene in February and changing the game, literally. It's an actual blast to play and we will now be using it in all of our graphics card content going forward.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 27 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4009 | TweakTown.com

EA and DICE put everything they had into Battlefield V which runs the latest version of the Frostbite engine, and really stretches its legs in terms of graphics quality and squeezing the most from our cards. It's one of the best looking engines and best looking games on the market, until the new slew of games launches over the coming months, that is.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 26 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4010 | TweakTown.com

Overwatch is one of the most popular games on the market, from legendary game developer Blizzard. It's a game that looks great but doesn't require a huge amount of GPU grunt, but it's tested for another reason: high-FPS for enthusiast/professional gamers. Overwatch in our testing is to provide a two-fold result: first, it's a popular esports title and second it gives us a look at what we need to run it at 1440p for 144/165Hz displays and at 4K on those new 144Hz HDR G-Sync displays.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 20 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 21 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4004 | TweakTown.com

Rainbow Six: Siege has been a strong entry into the franchise, popular for its realistic feel and great graphics. Stable as a rock for benchmarking, right up to 3440x1440 and 4K.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 22 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 23 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry New Dawn was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry and last used in Far Cry 5. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 24 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 25 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1440p

1440p Benchmarks

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4012 | TweakTown.com

Apex Legends is a surprise hit from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment, with the new 60-player battle royale game coming onto the scene in February and changing the game, literally. It's an actual blast to play and we will now be using it in all of our graphics card content going forward.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 58 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4009 | TweakTown.com

EA and DICE put everything they had into Battlefield V which runs the latest version of the Frostbite engine, and really stretches its legs in terms of graphics quality and squeezing the most from our cards. It's one of the best looking engines and best looking games on the market, until the new slew of games launches over the coming months, that is.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 56 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4010 | TweakTown.com

Overwatch is one of the most popular games on the market, from legendary game developer Blizzard. It's a game that looks great but doesn't require a huge amount of GPU grunt, but it's tested for another reason: high-FPS for enthusiast/professional gamers. Overwatch in our testing is to provide a two-fold result: first, it's a popular esports title and second it gives us a look at what we need to run it at 1440p for 144/165Hz displays and at 4K on those new 144Hz HDR G-Sync displays.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 50 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 51 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4004 | TweakTown.com

Rainbow Six: Siege has been a strong entry into the franchise, popular for its realistic feel and great graphics. Stable as a rock for benchmarking, right up to 3440x1440 and 4K.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 52 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 53 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry New Dawn was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry and last used in Far Cry 5. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 54 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 55 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 4K

4K Benchmarks

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4012 | TweakTown.com

Apex Legends is a surprise hit from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment, with the new 60-player battle royale game coming onto the scene in February and changing the game, literally. It's an actual blast to play and we will now be using it in all of our graphics card content going forward.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 118 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4009 | TweakTown.com

EA and DICE put everything they had into Battlefield V which runs the latest version of the Frostbite engine, and really stretches its legs in terms of graphics quality and squeezing the most from our cards. It's one of the best looking engines and best looking games on the market, until the new slew of games launches over the coming months, that is.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 116 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4010 | TweakTown.com

Overwatch is one of the most popular games on the market, from legendary game developer Blizzard. It's a game that looks great but doesn't require a huge amount of GPU grunt, but it's tested for another reason: high-FPS for enthusiast/professional gamers. Overwatch in our testing is to provide a two-fold result: first, it's a popular esports title and second it gives us a look at what we need to run it at 1440p for 144/165Hz displays and at 4K on those new 144Hz HDR G-Sync displays.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 110 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 111 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4004 | TweakTown.com

Rainbow Six: Siege has been a strong entry into the franchise, popular for its realistic feel and great graphics. Stable as a rock for benchmarking, right up to 3440x1440 and 4K.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 112 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 113 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry New Dawn was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry and last used in Far Cry 5. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 114 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 115 | TweakTown.com

Thermals, Power, Noise

Thermals

MSI never fails to impress when it comes to thermal performance on their TWIN FROZR 7 cooled graphics cards, and the new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X is no exception. Under full complete load at any resolution for 30-60 minutes I recorded temperatures of 65C, with all settings on auto. I didn't touch fan curves, fan speeds, overclocking, or anything else and still only hit 65C maximum.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 12 | TweakTown.com

Power

Another benefit is the 120W TDP that the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti rolls out with, which saw our full Core i7-8700K test bed consuming a total of 220-230W under load. I was running gaming and synthetic benchmarks under this test, ranging between the aforementioned 220-230W in tests like Heaven, and games like Apex Legends and Metro Exodus.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 11 | TweakTown.com

Noise

With the fans on auto I couldn't hear the card making much noise at all under gaming loads, and when under 60C the fans will disable completely for absolute silent use.

Overclocking

MSI provides some pretty decent out of the box boost GPU clocks on the faster GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X graphics card, with 1875MHz boost GPU easily achieved without touching MSI Afterburner. However, cranking things up was a fun experience as my sample was able to get to over 2000MHz (just) with a max of around 2010MHz or so.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1020 | TweakTown.com

This resulted in 8-10% more performance in synthetic and game benchmarks, without using more power. The card ran 2C hotter at 67C total, so I played with the fan speeds to see if I could get the GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X running cooler, while overclocked. With the fans at auto the GPU was hitting 67C, fans at 75% the card hit 59C and at 100% fan speed I saw the temps drop to 56C.

It might not sound like much, but this results in a few more precious FPS in your favorite games. For example, the overclocked MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X pushes up to 77FPS (from 75FPS) in Far Cry New Dawn at 1440p. In Rainbow Six Siege we're looking at 95FPS at 1440p versus 90FPS, and 121FPS at 1080p versus 113FPS at stock clocks.

Performance Thoughts & Final Thoughts

Performance Thoughts

Seriously, NVIDIA is offering some seriously good performance here with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and MSI is taking advantage of its cooling technology and custom card goodness with the GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X where it can offer huge performance that easily beats AMD's Radeon RX 590 in 1080p and 1440p.

1080p - MSI's new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X is quite the card for high FPS gaming at 1080p, with new releases like Apex Legends pushing over 100FPS average on Ultra graphics (minus AA) and even better performance in a better looking game like Battlefield V. The MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X is capable of a damn good 116FPS average at 1080p in Battlefield V on Ultra (again, with AA disabled). This is just 9FPS away from the RTX 2070, 6FPS off of the Radeon RX Vega 64, and neck and neck with the RX Vega 56.

In my favorite game, Overwatch, the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X pumps out a rather impressive 164FPS average which beats out the RX Vega 64 (by a single 1FPS). There's a larger 30FPS gap between the GTX 1660 Ti and the GTX 1070 Ti and RTX 2060, and even larger 40-60FPS leap to the GTX 1080 and RTX 2070. Still, if you've got a 1080p monitor with a faster 120/144/165Hz refresh rate, the new MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X would be a perfect card for Overwatch.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1023 | TweakTown.com

Rainbow Six Siege is another huge favorite amongst gamers, with the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X capable of 175FPS average at 1080p. This hands down beats the GTX 1080, and RX Vega 64.

Metro Exodus continues to punish our cards since we have it on the Extreme setting, I think I'll have to re-run the entire suite at High or Ultra because it's simply too harsh on the cards. Still, the new MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X is capable of just 33FPS average, losing by 1FPS to the GTX 1070, and by 4FPS by the Radeon RX Vega 56.

Far Cry New Dawn is another new game, with the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X just 1FPS shy of 100FPS at 1080p, beating out the GTX 1070 but losing to the Radeon RX Vega 56. Another good result from NVIDIA here, even in new games like Far Cry New Dawn at 1080p.

1440p - NVIDIA might be aiming at 1080p with its new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti but that doesn't mean you can't get a good sub $300 graphics card for 1440p gaming, right?

Starting with Apex Legends we have 81FPS on the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X, a great result if you are gaming on a 1440p 60Hz monitor. You could drop the in-game visual detail to low/medium to reach 100-120FPS average, which is what plenty of gamers do. Hell, I do it on my 4K 144Hz panel in order to get close to 120-144FPS average and that's on an overclocked GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

We're getting the same 80FPS+ performance in Battlefield V at 1440p, beating the GTX 1070 and losing to the RX Vega 56. Overwatch runs like a dream at 1440p on the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X with 105FPS average, so again dropping details down a bit you'll hit 120-144FPS easily so 1440p 120/144Hz monitor owners will be at home with the GTX 1660 Ti in Overwatch.

Rainbow Six Siege cranks along at 113FPS average, while Far Cry New Dawn hits 75FPS average. 1440p 60Hz monitor owners in single player games like Far Cry New Dawn will be fine, as well as Shadow of the Tomb Raider which sees 62FPS average on the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X. 1440p 60FPS for AAA titles, and 1440p 120-144FPS+ for esports games. Awesome.

Final Thoughts

We're looking at running brand new games like Apex Legends at 1080p on the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X at over 100FPS average on Ultra graphics (AA disabled as always). That means the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is taking swings at not just the similarly-priced Radeon RX 590 but the higher-end Radeon RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 graphics cards that at the time of writing, were on Amazon for $400-$500 for the RX Vega 56 to $500-$650 for the RX Vega 64.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X & VENTUS XS Review 1031 | TweakTown.com

Not too damn bad for a card that sells for less than $300... able to beat the best that AMD can offer in the $400-$650 markets, as AMD has nothing else that can fight the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti until you get to $699 with the just-released Radeon VII. Even in games like Apex Legends, Battlefield and Overwatch you'll be hitting some seriously high FPS numbers on the GTX 1660 Ti.

What I want to see now is the reaction from AMD. All they have is the Radeon RX 590 which is sold for $279, the same price as the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS which performs better than the RX 590. The overclocked GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X is a much better buy at $299 as you don't just get a superior graphics card, but you get the NVIDIA gaming ecosystem with things like GeForce Experience, ShadowPlay, Ansel, and other NVIDIA technologies and features.

The gamers buying a $150-$300 card find those things worth swaying to another brand for. GeForce Experience is a one-stop-shop for all things gaming, and ShadowPlay is a huge part of capturing those intense and memorable gaming moments. AMD might have similar features on the Team Red side of things, but we all know NVIDIA is vastly ahead of the game there.

AMD Radeon graphics card owners do however get the world of cheaper FreeSync-based monitors, but with nothing between the Radeon RX 590 and Radeon RX Vega 56, the money you save on a faster GeForce GTX 1660 Ti can be spent on a G-Sync compatible screen. But yet again NVIDIA is there waiting, as they recently announced support for various FreeSync gaming monitors on GeForce graphics cards, which is going to keep gamers or get new ones, to join Team Green.

All-in-all, the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is a great release for a great price, and MSI once again nails it with its custom take in the form of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X. For just $279 you're getting some damn good performance, without all of the unnecessary RTX bloat.

TweakTown award
Performance (overclocking, power)95%
Quality (build, design, cooling)90%
General Features (display outputs, etc)90%
Bundle, Packaging & Software90%
Overall91%

The Bottom Line: NVIDIA nails the $279-$299 segment with the RTX-less GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, offering oodles more performance over the GTX 1060 and thrashing the Radeon RX 590 which sells for the same price. MSI's new GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X and VENTUS XS are perfect custom cards for under $300.

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Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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