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.
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.
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.
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