ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Super AMP Review 6

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Super AMP Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The ZOTAC GTX 1660 Super AMP will retail at $250.
  • Almost as fast as the GTX 1660 Ti
  • Faster memory chips
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Low temperatures
  • Additional monitor outputs
  • Backplate included
  • Very energy efficient
  • New NVIDIA features: Ultra Low Latency, ReShade filter support, and Image Sharpening
  • Could be quieter in gaming
  • Runs in power limiter most of the time, which complicates overclocking, too
  • No idle fan stop
  • No hardware support for RTX and DLSS
  • Memory not overclocked
Today, we have five GeForce GTX 1660 Super reviews for you: ASUS Phoenix, Gigabyte Gaming OC, MSI Gaming X, Palit GamingPro OC and Zotac AMP.

NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1660 Super is more of an incremental update than a radical redesign of the GTX 1660. While the GTX 1660 used GDDR5 memory, the GTX 1660 Super has GDDR6, which ticks at much faster speeds, too, increasing memory bandwidth by 75%. NVIDIA also priced the GTX 1660 Super much more aggressively, at $230 MSRP, to preempt AMD's Radeon RX 5500, which is expected to launch later this year.

ZOTAC has overclocked their card to a rated boost of 1845 MHz out of the box, which only translates into a 1% performance improvement over the stock GTX 1660 Super—other GTX 1660 Super custom designs today did better here. Compared to the GTX 1660, the performance uplift is 10%, and the GTX 1660 Ti, which has 128 more shaders, is just 1% faster and almost obsolete with the entry of the GTX 1660 Super because it is so much more expensive; that is, unless we see a price drop. The MSI GTX 1660 Super is 19% faster than AMD's Radeon RX 590; the next fastest AMD card, the RX Vega 56, is 9% faster. What's also noteworthy is that the GTX 1660 Super matches GTX 1070 performance—a card that was considered upper midrange just last generation and has never been as affordable as the GTX 1660 Super. With such performance numbers, we can recommend the GTX 1660 Super for all gaming at 1080p, at highest settings in almost all titles.

Zotac's AMP edition cooler comes with excellent looks due to solid color choices and a backplate that wraps around the card, giving the card a more industrial look and feel. The dual-fan cooler delivers good temperatures of only 65°C, which are the lowest in today's test group. Unfortunately, fan noise ends up on the high side, reaching 37 dBA. I don't see any reasons for Zotac's choice to focus so much on temperatures, and ignore fan noise that much. Sure, the card can't be as quiet as the MSI Gaming X (which has a bigger heatsink), but a more balanced approach would have definitely helped. What's also missing is the idle-fan-stop feature, which completely shuts off the fans during idle, desktop work, Internet browsing, and light gaming. For a $20 premium, ZOTAC should have provided this feature, even if 28 dBA is barely audible.

We do know that AMD's Radeon RX 5500 comes with 8 GB of VRAM, whereas the GeForce GTX 1660 Super only has 6 GB. This will definitely become an important factor, mostly for marketing, to reel in less tech-savvy buyers, as upcoming consoles will have more VRAM than before and scaring people that what they buy today won't be enough tomorrow has always worked. However, our performance data shows that even the aging GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB doesn't see any significant performance deficits because of its 3 GB of VRAM—even at the highest settings with 1080p. The 4K results confirm that lack of memory will lower FPS, but 4K is unplayable either way on the GTX 1060 because of the lack of shading power; the same will be true for the 6 GB on the GTX 1660, so don't worry about that.

Turing has impressed everyone with its power efficiency, and the GTX 1660 Super can deliver here, too. Being based on the same TU116 GPU as the GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Ti, we've not been expecting anything else. Both older cards are a little bit more efficient, which is probably because the high-clocked GDDR6 memory on the GTX 1660 Super draws a bit more power, but overall, the PSU requirements are minimal. This is an important factor because NVIDIA wants people to upgrade their prebuilt gaming PCs, too, and these often come with weak power supplies of questionable quality. Less than 150 W in gaming should be no problem for any PSU, and they all include a single 8-pin power connector, too. Zotac chose not to increase their card's power limit, which of course limits performance, too. Other board partners have increased the limit, which gives NVIDIA's Boost algorithm some extra headroom to boost higher for longer. Given the low temperatures, I think an increase in power limit wouldn't have been a problem.

The lack of ray-tracing and DLSS on the GTX 1660 Super seems like a big deal at first, especially considering how much NVIDIA is promoting those technologies. While both are extremely promising, they are not the most important things to have right now, especially in a market where every dollar matters. While I have no doubt that RTX support will be growing vastly, only a few titles support it at this time, so I don't think anyone could be blamed for skipping the tech for now, waiting for it to mature.

NVIDIA's GTX 1660 Super reference pricing is $230, which is surprisingly competitive in the current landscape. This puts the card on the same price/performance level as AMD's Radeon RX 580 and RX 590 and dials up the heat on AMD and its board partners. I'm really looking forward to seeing what their new Radeon RX 5500 "Navi" card can bring to this price segment. Zotac is asking for another $20 for their AMP, which seems a bit much given the tiny performance increase and the cooler that's not optimally tuned to make the best of its capabilities. Other cards, like the MSI Gaming X and Gigabyte Gaming OC, are only another $10 more expensive and do better job here. On the other hand, if you are willing to do some manual tweaking, I'm sure the AMP can shine just as much as the more expensive options, and it has more monitor outputs, too, like the other premium GTX 1660 Super SKUs. NVIDIA's new pricing kind of obsoletes the GTX 1660 Ti, which is currently $275 and doesn't really bring much to the table to justify the extra cost; maybe NVIDIA could lower its price to $250 to clear existing inventory and then end-of-life the card. The next-fastest NVIDIA SKU, the RTX 2060, is $340 now, which leaves quite a big hole in the product stack. Maybe we'll see yet another card to fill this void at around $300, or AMD could try to capture it with an upcoming Radeon RX 5600. It looks like the $200–$300 market segment is suddenly going to become very interesting.
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