NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER Review Featuring MSI

Manufacturer: MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER Review Featuring MSI

When the original “SUPER” cards were introduced earlier this year NVIDIA was offering new configurations of existing silicon, with additional SMs – and thus more CUDA Cores – enabled, among other differences. This GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER launch is different, as it retains the identical configuration of a TU116 GPU found in the original (i.e. non-SUPER) version. This new GPU even runs at the same Base/Boost clocks as its predecessor!

So what makes this GTX 1660 SUPER, well, super? NVIDIA has upped the memory from 8 Gbps to 14 Gbps, which results in a jump from 192.1 GB/s to 336 GB/s available memory bandwidth on the same 192-bit bus. The big question then becomes, how memory bandwidth-constrained was the GTX 1660 to begin with? And can this new card come close to a GTX 1660 Ti? The gaming benchmarks to follow will answer that, and since we aren’t looking at any architectural or other significant changes let’s skip ahead to the important stuff: performance. (But first a quick look at specs.)

The GTX 1660 SUPER Explored

The new GTX 1660 SUPER sits between the GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti in price (and presumably performance, which we will look at next), though you might notice the higher memory speed and bandwidth with the SUPER, which also has a slightly higher TDP (125W vs. 120W) compared to the GTX 1660/1660 Ti.

GTX 1660 GTX 1660 SUPER GTX 1660 Ti
GPU TU116 TU116 TU116
Architecture Turing Turing Turing
SMs 22 22 24
CUDA Cores 1408 1408 1536
Tensor Cores N/A N/A N/A
RT Cores N/A N/A N/A
Base Clock 1530 MHz 1530 MHz 1500 MHz
Boost Clock 1785 MHz 1785 MHz 1770 MHz
Texture Units 88 88 96
ROPs 48 48 48
Memory 6GB GDDR5 6GB GDDR6 6GB GDDR6
Memory Data Rate 8 Gbps 14 Gbps 12 Gbps
Memory Interface 192-bit 192-bit 192-bit
Memory Bandwidth 192.1 GB/s 336 GB/s 288.1 GB/s
Transistor Count 6.6B 6.6B 6.6B
Die Size 284 mm2 284 mm2 284 mm2
Process Tech 12 nm 12 nm 12 nm
TDP 120W 125W 120W
Launch Price $219 $229 $279

Pricing is very interesting here, and at $229 this more capable GPU starts at just $10 more than the launch price of the GTX 1660. Does this mean a price drop for the non-SUPER original is coming? Does GTX 1660 Ti pricing still make sense? We can at least answer the latter question by comparing the cards on the test bench.

The MSI GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming Card

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The MSI GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER GAMING card is identical to the previous GTX 16 series cards we’ve looked at from MSI, and its Twin Frozr 7 thermal design is an efficient one. The two TORX 3.0 fans offer a mix of standard and dispersion fan blades, and these begin at a zero RPM idle, rising modestly under load as the default fan profile seems to favor low noise.

The overall build quality of this card is solid, and the backplate is a nice touch. The card also features RGB lighting, and compatibility with MSI’s Mystic Light synchronization as well as manual software control.

GTX 1660 SUPER Performance

PC Perspective GPU Test Platform
Processor Intel Core i7-9700K
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-3200 32GB (16GBx2)
Storage CORSAIR Neutron Series XTi 480GB SSD
Power Supply CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit (1903)
Drivers Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.2
GeForce Game Ready Driver 441.07

As the GTX 16 series primarily targets the 1080p gaming segment and recent GPU reviews have presented benchmarks at 2560×1440, I quickly tested this new 1660 SUPER card against the earlier 1660 and 1660 Ti at 1920×1080. While just a couple of games were tested at 1080p this should at least provide a look at the performance difference between these GPUs (plus an AMD Radeon RX 580 for the sake of comparison), tested with a pair of demanding DX11 and DX12 titles at “ultra” settings.

Far Cry 5 (1080)
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Right off the bat the 1660 SUPER shows a massive gain over the vanilla 1660 in Far Cry 5 at 1080p, with a 23% increase in average frame rate. The SUPER is also just ~4% (and 4 FPS) behind the GTX 1660 Ti in this test.

Note the differences between these MSI cards: while each of the three GTX 16 series GPUs tested are MSI Gaming models, the 1660 and 1660 Ti are the overclocked Gaming X version, while this new 1660 SUPER is a standard Gaming version. Another thing to consider is the lone RX 580 (also an MSI Gaming X card) on these charts, which is lagging a bit behind the NVIDIA GPUs – though it’s admittedly an older card at this point. It’s definitely time for some mainstream Navi cards!

Metro Exodus (1080p)
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In Metro Exodus we not only see lower frame rates at 1080/Ultra with this more demanding game (run in DX12 mode), but we see an another very small difference between the new GTX 1660 SUPER and the GTX 1660 Ti. This time the SUPER is ~13% faster than the original 1660, and only around 5% slower than the 1660 Ti in this test. When considering the price difference here – $229+ for the 1660 SUPER vs. $279+ for a 1660 Ti – the SUPER looks like a much better value.

Granted, these were just two benchmarks. For extended testing the new GTX 1660 SUPER was added to the ever-expanding reference results at 2560×1440, and while these mainstream GPUs are not going to average 60+ FPS in every game at 1440/Ultra, we have been testing cards at this higher resolution to help push the GPU and ensure that the CPU has as little to do with the results as possible.

On to the 1440 benchmarks!

Far Cry 5 (2560×1440)

Far Cry 5 – as well the rest of the games to follow – was benchmarked using the highest preset settings. Also note that the GTX 1660 SUPER results will be just behind the GTX 1660 Ti near the bottom of each chart below.

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Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (2560×1440)
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Metro Exodus (2560×1440)
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Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2560×1440)
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World of Tanks enCore (2560×1440)
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Just as with the quick look at 1080p performance, the results at 2560×1440 show just a slight disparity in performance between the new 1660 SUPER and the GTX 1660 Ti. Only 2 – 4 FPS separate these cards, though the starting prices are $50 apart. And this is from a card that is being introduced at a premium of only $10 over the vanilla GTX 1660. Have I mentioned that the pricing of the GTX 1660 SUPER is aggressive?

Power, Temps, and Noise

Power Draw (Total System)
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No sooner did I begin updating the power chart than I realized there was no data for the GTX 1660/1660 Ti to compare to the GTX 1660 SUPER with the new test bench. This will be corrected. Meanwhile, writing this a few hours before launch, I can at least provide the power draw with this 1660 SUPER against other recently-tested cards on this platform, and this was quite low with a max draw under 200W during a full gaming load test.

Temperatures and Noise Levels

We have looked at these MSI Gaming cards before, and the Twin Frozr 7 cooler with the 1660 SUPER as tested is identical to that of the GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti Gaming X cards we’ve tested. The results? Excellent, and the thermals come with little in the way of audible noise.

At idle these coolers use a zero RPM fan mode, so idle temps will vary based on ambient air and case airflow. In this instance I recorded 38 C in a ~20 C room at idle. Under load this rose to 63 C. This load temp came with the fans spinning up to 34% (1374 RPM), for a recorded noise level of just 32.0 dBA. For reference the noise rose to just 32.9 dBA at 40% fans, hitting 36.9 dBA when manually forcing the fans to 50%. This is a quiet cooler.

Conclusion

The GTX 1660 SUPER offers performance just a bit lower than a GTX 1660 Ti, marking a significant performance uplift vs. the original GTX 1660. Pricing will be the key here, as the 1660 SUPER’s $229 launch price (the MSI Gaming card tested retails for $229.99) is just $10 above the current GTX 1660 price, and a full $50 below the GTX 1660 Ti’s base price. Might the Ti come down a bit? We shall see. Regardless, the pricing of the SUPER is outstanding considering its performance.

This launch, which precedes the upcoming November launch of the GTX 1650 SUPER, also based on the TU116 GPU, marks an expansion of the current lineup from NVIDIA. No, the existing GTX 1660 and 1650 cards will not be discontinued; the GTX SUPER cards will exist alongside the standard GTX cards, creating more diversity (and its resultant complexity) as seemingly each $10 price point will have some variant of one of these GPUs.

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I was not expecting performance with this new 1660 SUPER card to be as close to a 1660 Ti as it ended up, and demonstrating that the TU116 GPU needs plenty of memory bandwidth to really shine. If I was in the market for a GPU in the $200 – $250 range right now the GTX 1660 SUPER would be a very tempting option considering its proximity to the tested $309 1660 Ti (MSI Gaming X)’s performance levels, though we haven’t tested the upcoming Radeon RX 5500 yet. This segment is likely to get more interesting soon, but for now NVIDIA is in a pretty comfortable position with the performance of these 16 series cards.

This MSI GTX 1660 SUPER in particular is an outstanding graphics card, with the same high build quality, low temps, and low noise output we’ve come to expect with this design and its Twin Frozr 7 cooler. Considering this base Gaming model is hitting the market at $229.99 I find it to be an easy recommendation for a stock 1660 SUPER.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.

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