ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Ti STRIX OC 6 GB Review 11

ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Ti STRIX OC 6 GB Review

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Introduction

ASUS Logo

Last month, NVIDIA released the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and with it split its client-segment discrete graphics lineup into the GeForce GTX series and GeForce RTX series. The RTX 20-series starts at the $350-mark with the RTX 2060, while models below it are relegated to the GTX brand. The best part? Both are based on NVIDIA's latest 12 nm "Turing" architecture. What sets the two apart is right in the name—RTX real-time raytracing technology.

NVIDIA probably figured that getting RTX to work even at 1080p requires a minimum number of RT cores and CUDA core horsepower, which cannot be scaled down beyond a certain point because enabling RTX features already exacts a roughly 30 percent performance tax, and NVIDIA wouldn't want $200–$300 graphics cards being unable to play RTX-enabled games at 1080p with acceptable frame rates. The RTX 2060 appears to be positioned on that limit. In games without raytracing, the RTX 2060 has enough muscle for 1440p resolution, but on games with RTX-enabled, playability swings halfway between 1080p and 1440p.

The easiest way out of this problem for NVIDIA would be to not bother with RTX below the $350-mark and instead focus on making the GPU as cost efficient as possible. With RTX out of the way, NVIDIA could physically remove RT cores that add billions of transistors to the silicon, making the chips smaller. Interestingly, NVIDIA also decided to axe tensor cores, specialized hardware that accelerate deep-learning neural net building and training, shedding even more transistor load. The remaining CUDA cores are very much from the "Turing" architecture and benefit from the increased IPC and higher clock-speed headroom obtained from the switch to 12 nm. The largest such GTX Turing chip is the new "TU116". The second TU116-based card was announced very recently with the GTX 1660 (non-Ti).



NVIDIA carved the GTX 1660 out of the "TU116" silicon by disabling 2 out of 24 streaming multiprocessors, resulting in a CUDA core count of 1,408 and 88 TMUs, which is still higher than what the "Pascal" based GTX 1060 6 GB packs. With 48 ROPs and a 192-bit GDDR5 memory bus driving 6 GB of memory, the rendering and memory subsystem is practically carried over.

Today, we're reviewing the ASUS GeForce RTX 1660 Ti STRIX OC, which is the company's premium offering based on this GPU, featuring a large triple-fan, triple-slot cooler, RGB support, dual BIOS, a metal backplate and an overclock out of the box. Seems the ASUS STRIX ticks all the feature checkboxes, but it isn't cheap at $330.

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Market Segment Analysis
 PriceShader
Units
ROPsCore
Clock
Boost
Clock
Memory
Clock
GPUTransistorsMemory
RX 570$150 2048321168 MHz1244 MHz1750 MHzEllesmere5700M4 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX 580$185 2304321257 MHz1340 MHz2000 MHzEllesmere5700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1060 3 GB$1851152481506 MHz1708 MHz2002 MHzGP1064400M3 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1060$2001280481506 MHz1708 MHz2002 MHzGP1064400M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
RX 590$2602304321469 MHz1545 MHz2000 MHzPolaris 305700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1070$3101920641506 MHz1683 MHz2002 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX Vega 56$370 3584641156 MHz1471 MHz800 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1660 Ti$280 1536481500 MHz1770 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
ASUS GTX 1660 Ti
STRIX OC
$3301536481500 MHz1860 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1070 Ti$4502432641607 MHz1683 MHz2000 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RTX 2060 FE$3501920481365 MHz1680 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1080$5002560641607 MHz1733 MHz1251 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5X, 256-bit
RX Vega 64$400 4096641247 MHz1546 MHz953 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1080 Ti$7003584881481 MHz1582 MHz1376 MHzGP10212000M11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit
RTX 2070$4902304641410 MHz1620 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit

Packaging and Contents

Package Front
Package Back




You will receive:
  • Graphics card
  • Documentation
  • Driver disc
  • ASUS zip ties

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back

The ASUS card follows the theme set by their previous GeForce 20 cards. A backplate is included, too. Dimensions of the card are 30.0 x 13.0 cm.

Graphics Card Height

Installation requires three slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include two standard-size DisplayPort 1.4a and two HDMI 2.0b.

NVIDIA has updated their display engine with the Turing microarchitecture, which now supports DisplayPort 1.4a with support for VESA's nearly lossless Display Stream Compression (DSC). Combined, this enables support for 8K@30Hz with a single cable, or 8K@60Hz when DSC is turned on. For context, DisplayPort 1.4a is the latest version of the standard that was published in April, 2018.

At CES 2019, NVIDIA announced that all their graphics cards will now support VESA Adaptive Sync (aka FreeSync). While only a small number of FreeSync monitors have been fully qualified for G-SYNC, users can enable the feature in NVIDIA's control panel, no matter whether the monitor is certified or not.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

The board uses a single 8-pin power connector. This input configuration is specified for up to 225 watts of power draw.

Multi-GPU Area

The GeForce GTX 1660 does not support SLI. Instead, ASUS used that area to place some additional features. The first (from the left) is the dual-BIOS switch that toggles between the default "performance" BIOS and "quiet" BIOS which comes with a more relaxed fan curve and includes idle-fan-stop, too. Moving further to the right, we see a big button used to turn off the RGB illumination of the card completely (until next reboot). The solder pads further to the right are used for voltage measurement and tweaking.


Unfortunately, ASUS didn't label these points, probably to ensure they won't get into trouble with NVIDIA.


In addition to that, a bunch of nicely labeled solder pads were added to measure various voltages directly.


You also get two 4-pin PWM fan headers to sync your case fan to the graphics card's fans and an addressable RGB header to connect other RGB components.

Disassembly

Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

The large ASUS heatsink uses three double-length heatpipes to keep the card cool.


Once the main cooler is removed, a black die-cast baseplate becomes visible. It covers most of the card and provides cooling for memory chips and VRM circuitry.


The backplate is made out of metal and protects the card against damage during installation and handling.

On the next page, we dive deep into the PCB layout and VRM configuration.

High-resolution PCB Pictures

These pictures are for the convenience of volt-modders and those who would like to see all the finer details on the PCB. Feel free to link back to us and use them in your articles or forum posts.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back


High-res versions are also available (front, back).

Our Patreon Silver Supporters can read articles in single-page format.
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Jul 1st, 2022 08:59 EDT change timezone

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