As NVIDIA's carefully orchestrated rollout of its Turing family of GPUs and related video cards keeps steaming right along, we're back in this month with the next piece in the GeForce product stack. Last month was, of course, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti; and if you know anything about NVIDIA naming then you know that NVIDIA never does a standalone Ti card. As a suffix indicating higher performance, if there's a Ti card, then there should also be a regular card as well. And today NVIDIA is delivering just that with the vanilla GeForce GTX 1660.
For the Turing family launch, NVIDIA has been following a very straightforward top-to-bottom video card launch, and today's GeForce GTX 1660 launches this pattern. With the GTX 1
Turing our eyes on NVIDIA's new card then within the NVIDIA Turing GeForce product stack the GTX The 1660 is essentially a cut-down GTX 1660 Ti, and serves as the generation's version of the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB. Which is to say that it's a card that uses the same GPU in a slightly cut-down configuration – in this case the same TU116 introduced for the GTX 1660 Ti – while instead of making a bigger tradeoff in memory to bring the price of the card down Gone is GDDR6 in favor of more affordable, more widely available GDDR5, and better still you get a full 6GB of it.
Equally important, however, NVIDIA has (largely) stopped naming shenanigans for this generation by not using memory capacity to indicate overall GPU performance. Though I'm still not a fan of suffixes (as they tend to get unintentionally cut off), this situation is massively better than the GTX 1060 naming system. So I will give credit to NVIDIA for not making the same consumer-unfriendly decision twice in a row.
Setting up today's launch then, from a consumer perspective, the GTX 1660 may well be the most important NVIDIA video card launch of the year As what's essentially NVIDIA's $ 200 video card – with NVIDIA cheekily tacking another $ 20 on it – we're now getting into NVIDIA's high-volume desktop products. It's mainstream cards like these make up the largest chunk of NVIDIA's desktop shipments, so this is the card that will set the pace for the mainstream market for the world over.
|NVIDIA GeForce Specification Comparison|
|GTX 1660||GTX 1660 Ti||GTX 1060 3GB||GTX 1060 6GB|
|CUDA Cores||] 1408||1536||1152||1280|
|Memory Clock||8Gbps GDDR5||12Gbps GDDR6||8Gbps GDDR5||8Gbps GDDR5 (X)|
|Memory Bus Width||192-bit||192-bit||192-bit||192-bit|
|Single Precision Perf.||5 TFLOPS||5.5 TFLOPS||3.9 TFLOPs||4.4 TFLOPs|
|RTX-OPS||N / A||N / A||N / A||N / A|
|TDP||120W||120W  120W||120W|
] (200 mm2)
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 12nm "FFN"||TSMC 12nm "FFN"||TSMC 16nm||TSMC 16nm|
|Launch Date||3/14/2019||2/22 / 2019||8/18/2016||7/19/2016|
|Launch Price||$ 219||$ 279||$ 199|| MSRP: $ 249
FE: $ 299
Diving into the GeForce GTX 1660's specifications, which we find is a very familiar echo of the GTX 1660 Ti. NVIDIA is, of course, using the same TU116 GPU as before, making the GTX 1660 the company's second-tier TU116 card. However, rather than a fully-enabled GPU, the TU116 is slightly cut-down, shaving off 2 of the GPU's 24 SMs, leaving 22 enabled for a total of 1408 CUDA cores.
Otherwise there are no other changes on the GPU front. ; In particular, all of the ROPs are enabled, and clockspeeds have really gone up just now, with the official boost clock rated for 1785MHz. So, unlike NVIDIA's higher performance products, where the GPU configurations are much larger, the GTX 1660 family keeps things close, giving NVIDIA an avenue for salvaging chips but not creating a wide gap between them. As a result, the paper GTX 1660 has 92% of its larger sibling's shading / texturing / geometry throughput, and 101% of its ROP throughput. But do not let that fool you; How TU116 has been cut-down plays the second-fiddle to the memory changes.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, like the GTX 1060 3GB before it, NVIDIA's defining change for this card is not the GPU, but rather the memory. For the GTX 1060 3GB that change was tossing out half of the memory, resulting in a 3GB GDDR5 card that to this day I still think was a short-sighted decision. Thankfully, for the GTX 1660 vanilla, NVIDIA is doing something different: swapping out the cutting-edge GDDR6 for the tried and true backbone of the video card industry, which is GDDR5. GDDR5, of course, is not as fast as GDDR6 – and critically, this is where the GTX 1660 loses a lot of its performance versus GTX 1660 Ti – but it still delivers a good amount of memory bandwidth. And, better still, it means NVIDIA is shipping the card with a more appropriate 6GB of VRAM.
By the numbers then, the GTX 1660 ships with 6GB of GDDR5, which is attached via a 192-bit memory bus and operating at 8Gbps . As it happens, this means that the GTX 1660 has exactly the same amount of memory bandwidth as the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and 3GB; so it's a generational basis, NVIDIA needs to get more performance out of the same amount of memory bandwidth.
Or, to put things in the context of the Turing generation, this is only 2/3 rds the GTX 1660 Ti's data rate 12Gbps GDDR6, so the aggregate bandwidth reduction is significant, dropping from 288GB / sec to 192GB / sec. However, as we'll see here for the GTX 1660 – and as we've seen before with other video cards that ships with multiple memory speeds – video card performance scaling is far less than 1-to-1 with memory speeds. So while this causes the GTX 1660 to fall behind the GTX 1660 Ti by a decent gap, TU116 is not completely hamstrung by GDDR5.
Finally, draw the last one parallel to the GTX 1060 3GB, like its predecessor NVIDIA is targeting same 120W TDP. The GTX 1060 cards all shipped with the same TDP, as it will be for the GTX 1660 cards as well. The net result is that the vanilla GTX 1660 is essentially much less power efficient than its Ti sibling, delivering less performance for the same power consumption. And while the NVIDIA's TDP option is functionally arbitrary, it gives the company a retail outlet for marginal TU116 chips that are a little more hooked on the juice (the best chips, of course, going into laptops). The upshot is that because the GTX 1660 has fewer SMs vying for power, it means it can boost just a bit higher, giving the card a higher average clockspeed. This also helps to keep the two GTX 1660 cards a bit closer in performance than the specs otherwise indicate – at least when the vanilla GTX 1660 is not memory-bandwidth bound.
Price, Product Positioning, & The Competition  In the Pascal generation, the GTX 1060 3GB was NVIDIA's $ 199 "sweet spot" video card. However, like the rest of the new generation of Turing, the GTX 1660 is subject to price inflation. The GTX 1660 Ti came at $ 279 – which was $ 30 higher than before – and similarly the GTX 1660 is getting a $ 20 price point up to $ 219. The GTX 1660 is basically a take on a $ 200 video card.
Like the last month's GTX 1660 Ti launch, today's GTX 1660 launch is a pure virtual launch for NVIDIA and its board partners. meaning that NVIDIA is not doing any kind of retail reference card here, and all the cards hitting the shelves are customized vendor cards. In practice, expect most (if not all) of these cards to look like the GTX 1660 Ti cards that just hit the market; With the same GPU running at the same TDP, it's fast and efficient for board vendors to reuse their designs, even with the change in memory types. TU116 is, of course, pin-compatible with itself, although I'm not sure if GDDR6 and GDDR5 can use the exact same PCBs as the new memory has a different pin count
NVIDIA is calling today's launch a hard start, Although I'm not convinced that it will be quite as hard a launch as the last month's GTX 1660 Ti. We really had to go through a few board partners before we could secure a sample, as other board vendors did not have samples available (thanks, EVGA!). So I get the distinctive impression that local offices and distributors cut their dashes to receive their cards ahead of today's launch date. At the time this article goes live, we should have a better idea of how well-stocked this launch is.
Looking at the product stacks, within the NVIDIA product stack this card is set to replace the GTX 1060 3GB, with the previous GTX 1660 Ti having done the same to the GTX 1060 6GB. In practice, the channel has been largely depleted of the GTX 1060 6GB cards in any way, but whatever cards are left has just been rendered outdated for retail purposes, as the GTX 1660 is all-around better for the same price or less. Meanwhile, the remaining GTX 1060 3GB cards – which were largely under $ 200 to begin with – will soon face the same destiny.
Otherwise, NVIDIA is once again playing this launch straight in terms of bundles. There will be no game bundles for any of the GTX 1660 series, so the value of the product is the value of the video card itself. The outgoing GTX 1060 cards, on the other hand, qualify for the NVIDIA's Fortnite bundle, although it goes without saying that Fortnite is a free game to begin with.
Meanwhile, in terms of the intended market, like the GTX 1660 Ti before it, NVIDIA It is targeting the vanilla GTX 1660 on the mainstream market, and is particularly pitching it as an upgrade from GTX 960, GTX 760, R9 380 and other ~ $ 200 mainstream video cards from earlier this decade. Turing cards have not been a true generational upgrade over their Pascal predecessors, and the GTX 1660 is no different; The new card is about 28% faster than the GTX 1060 3GB replaces.
As for NVIDIA's loyal opposition, the launch of the GTX 1660 will continue to exert pressure on AMD's aging Polaris video cards. The GTX 1660 is faster than all of them – including the fastest RX 590 – so AMD and its board partners will have little choice but to cut prices. This means that AMD is able to position their cards as spoilers to the GTX 1660 – and $ 219 RX 590 cards are already popping up – but they can not take NVIDIA in terms of performance or power efficiency. AMD will have an edge in pack-in bundles though, as they're continuing to offer their Raise the Game Bundle, which for the RX 590 is the full 3 game pack.