If you thought the 1600 series was a strange naming scheme for Nvidia when it launched at the start of the year then you are really going to think it is weird with the SUPER designation that a lot of Nvidia’s lineup has been getting as they have been refreshing things. The GTX 1660 SUPER launched a few weeks ago. Well, today I’m going to check out the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC from Gigabyte. The GTX 1660 super isn’t a huge change from the previous 1660, but it does have GDDR6 over the original GTX 1660’s GDDR5 and offers a rare look at what the newer memory offers for performance when everything else is the same. The Gaming OC adds an overclock up to 1860 MHz on the core clock from the 1785 MHz reference. So I’m excited to see how the Gaming OC performs compared to a few other cards new and old in that range.
Product Name: Gigabyte GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC 6G
Review Sample Provided by: Gigabyte
Written by: Wes Compton
Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE
As always I do confirm clock speeds with the specifications using GPUz. So the reference speed of the GTX 1660 SUPER is 1785 MHz, the Gaming OC comes in at 1860 MHz and that can be seen as the boost clock in GPUz. Also for reference our original GTX 1660 from Zotac runs at the stock 1785 MHz in the comparison testing. GPUz also documents the driver used (which was the 1650 SUPER launch driver) and the BIOS version of the card should any questions come up later as well.
The packaging for the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC isn’t going to look very different if you have seen any of their other Gaming OC models in the past few years. The box has a black background with that large mechanical eye on the front. I’m hoping with the next box redesign we get photos of the card itself on the front like a few companies have been going back too. Beyond that, you do have the bright green Nvidia wrap around on the right side that goes all the way to the back. That has the GTX branding and the model name on the bottom. Then Gigabyte has their Gaming OC 6G branding on the left that designates the specific model of GTX 1660 SUPER that this is. Beyond that it has the RGB 2.0 logo to show that the card does have RGB lighting, the Windforce logo to show the cooler name, and the OC to show that the card does come overclocked over the reference speeds. In fact, this is Gigabyte's third and fastest GTX 1660 SUPER.
Now the back of the box does show a lot more about the card including the pictures I was hoping to see. They have four sections split up. One shows how the Windforce cooler works with the two directions of fans. Next to that, they have a picture of the heatsink itself and the direct contact heatpipes. Then the bottom has the RGB Fusion 2.0 lighting showing the backlit logo on top of the card and next to that the backplate. They also have a line drawing of the rear I/o to show you what to expect for connections. The only thing missing here are a few specifications like card dimensions and the actual overclock clock speed because both of those would be easy to see online if shopping but not in a store.
Inside the box, the card comes wrapped in the standard static protective bag and sitting in a thick foam tray with a cutout shaped for the card. On top of that, they use a box to protect the top and inside the box they drop the documentation and driver/software disc. The quick guide just runs you through installing the GPU and downloading drivers. The disc is nice but I would recommend downloading the latest driver from Nvidia and software from Gigabytes website.
Card Layout and Photos
So if you have caught some of my previous video card reviews, this Gigabyte GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC isn’t going to look very much different than a few of the other Gigabyte cards that I have tested previously. That is because the Gaming OC model across all of the AMD and Nvidia GPU variations sticks with the same overall look and design. The Gaming OC model means it also has Gigabytes highest overclock on anything Gigabyte branded, Aorus models will sometimes still come in higher. Then for cooling, it has a triple fan design with their Windforce cooling and the plastic shroud. The shroud makes up most of the styling and it has an angular design molded into it that wraps around each of the fans with a flat black finish and then they use grey or silver accents which a lot of today's cards do for that color-neutral look that will match any build, using the RGB lighting to add some color. The accents are on the top and bottom in the center and then there are smaller hockey stick like accents below the left fan and above the right fan.
Now with the GTX 1660 SUPER being a much less demanding GPU than say the 5700 XT I can see right away looking through the fans that this cards cooler design is significantly smaller than the 5700 XT that I recently reviewed. The card itself is also much thinner, fitting fully into the 2 slot form factor. But we can see that Gigabyte did still use heatpipes, three to be specific. They run from the center section where they are in contact with the GPU and pull heat out across the card to allow the two outside fans to help with cooling. The cooler also has an aluminum plate that contacts the memory around the GPU to pull the heat from there as well. The Windforce cooler design is unique to Gigabyte and what it does is spin the center fan in its own direction. This means that where the fans are close to each other on both the left and right, the blades now push air the same direction so they can fit three fans without going longer on the card. Normally the fans need to be farther apart to avoid turbulence that makes noise and lowers cooling performance. All three sections of the cooling fins inside the cooler are aligned vertically so the air from the axial fans blows down across the cooler than up and out the top and down and out the bottom of the card.
The plastic fan shroud on the front matches the backplate design extremely well here because for this mid-ranged card Gigabyte went with a cheaper plastic backplate. I always prefer thicker aluminum backplates that make direct contact with the PCB with thermal pads for better cooling and this plastic design isn’t going to do that. It is going to be more of a thermal insulator. But going with plastic does mean that they can get more creative with the design, adding in the wrap-around end and some of the molded designs on the backplate as well. It also has the Gigabyte logo in it along with two more hockey stick like accents in grey.
Looking at the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC from the edges you can see that this is a 2 slot card as I already mentioned. You can also see if you look really close the aluminum memory plate from the bottom view and you can see how the three heatsink sections are split up under each of the three fans. There is a decent-sized gap on the top and bottom for the airflow to come out, at least comparable to the thickness of the heatsink which isn’t all that thick once you add the fans on top and the PCB on the bottom.
Also upon the top edge of the card, you can see the grey accent area with the RGB backlit Gigabyte logo in the center. Then down farther, but not at the end of the card you have the power connection. They went with an 8-pin which is the same as the GTX 1660 that I tested original as well. You can also see that the PCB actually ends at the power connection, even though the cooler and shrouds goes on for another 2 inches.
For display connections, Gigabyte stuck with the standard layout. That includes three full-sized DisplayPort connections and one HDMI and that HDMI is slipped in the middle of the other ports. I mentioned it with the original 1660 launch that DVI wouldn’t be a bad addition in this price range. The backplate still has a chromed finish, not the black that some cards are going to and there is some ventilation but the card isn’t really designed to push air that direction either.
So normally I would show off the RGB lighting of the card, but this time around (and for the first time ever) the 1660 SUPER Gaming OC’s lighting didn’t work. Thankfully I’ve had a lot of the Gaming OC cards in previously so we know what you are getting. The Gigabyte logo up on top lights up and that’s about it. I would prefer it to be a cooler RGB accent over backlit branding so having this not work this time around isn’t a huge loss. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least point out it.
Test Rig and Procedures
Motherboard: Asus Crosshair VIII HERO WiFi
Storage: Corsair MP600 2TB
Cooling - Noctua NH-U12S
Power Supply - Corsair AX1200w
Case - Primochill Wetbench
As always I like to start off my testing with a few synthetic benchmarks. 3DMark especially is one of my favorites because it is very optimized in both Nvidia and AMD drivers. It's nice to not have to worry about it being favored too much either way and the repeatability of the results makes it a nice chance to compare from card to card. So how did the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC do? Well, my first test was using the older Fire Strike tests in 3DMark which are DX11 focused and it did well, really well. It actually ran with and in a few tests outperformed the GTX 1660 Ti and with the exception of the highest detail setting it ran with or outperformed the RX590 from AMD as well.
Sticking with 3DMark I then tested using the newer DX12 focused Time Spy test which has two detail settings. Here the 1660 Ti came out just slightly ahead and the RX590 dropped back in performance significantly. Nvidia’s Turing based cards like the 1660 SUPER have all performed better at DX12 tasks.
Next, I slipped in the Port Royal benchmark which takes a look at ray tracing performance now that Nvidia has extended that functionality out to some of their other models beyond the RTX lineup. No surprise though, without the RX cores that the RTX cards have the GTX 1660 SUPER didn’t handle it too well. It did however basically come in right with the 1660 Ti.
My last test was using Superposition which is built on the Unigine engine. Here I test twice at 1080p but once at medium detail and then again at an extreme detail. At the medium detail, the 1660 SUPER Gaming OC didn’t do bad, coming in just barely behind the 1660 Ti with the original 1660 being noticeably lower and the RX590 being even farther behind.
As for Virtual Reality, I love it but it is more demanding than traditional gaming. This is partially because of the resolutions needed to render for two eyes and because they render more than what is immediately visible. But also because of post effects to get the proper “fisheye” effect for it to look proper in your eyes with the HMD. You also have to have much higher expectations for frame rates in VR, skipping frames or lower FPS can actually cause motion sickness in VR. Because of that, I ran a few tests.
My first test was again in Superposition. This time I tested the VR Maximum and VR Future tests using the Vive resolution. In the VR Max test, the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC came in a whopping .07 FPS higher than the 1660 Ti but you can see that in the mode demanding VR Future test the 1660 Ti still comes out ahead. The impressive part, however, is that the GDDR6 memory and a higher overclock put the 1660 SUPER up over 12 FPS over the original GTX 1660.
In VRMark I tested two tests, their Blue room which is a future-looking test and the Cyan Room which is a high detail modern test. Here the 1660 SUPER didn’t outperform the 1660 Ti, but was 3 FPS behind in the Cyan and a little over 1 FPS behind in the Blue Room test. The gap between it and the original GTX 1660 is once again significant as well with the RX590 performing similar to the original 1660 as well.
Now we finally get into the in game performance and that is the main reason people pick up a new video card. To test things out I ran through our new benchmark suite that tests 9 games at three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4k). Most of the games tested have been run at the highest detail setting and a mid-range detail setting to get a look at how turning things up hurts performance and to give an idea of if turning detail down from max will be beneficial for frame rates. In total, each video card is tested 48 times and that makes for a huge mess of results when you put them all together. To help with that I like to start off with these overall playability graphs that take all of the results and give an easier to read the result. I have one for each of the three resolutions and each is broken up into four FPS ranges. Under 30 FPS is considered unplayable, over 30 is playable but not ideal, over 60 is the sweet spot, and then over 120 FPS is for high refresh rate monitors.
So how did the Gigabyte GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC perform? Well looking at the resolution/FPS breakdown you are obviously going to want to avoid running 4k on the card, but that isn’t a surprise at all. 10 tests came in at in the playable but rough 30-59 FPS range and then 6 were unplayable at all, this includes our tests at lower medium or normal detail settings. Now at 1440p, performance improves and everything is actually playable with 9 results even being up over 60 FPS but with the 7 games in the 30-59 FPS range, I wouldn’t consider this a 1440p card. The 1660 SUPER did better at 1080p where 10 results were over 60, one was over 120 FPS, and 4 were in that playable but not ideal range. Which shows that this is a 1080p card, but you will still need to adjust the settings on some games to get gameplay up in the 60+ FPS range.
Diving into the actual results I was curious to see how the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC compared to our original GTX 1660 an the GTX 1660 Ti as well as the RX590. I was also curious to see if those four under 60 FPS results were all on the ultra detail settings. The under 60 results can be found on Borderlands 3, Metro Exodus, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and Ghost Recon. All four were on the ultra detail settings for those games with all of them in the 70-105 FPS range for the lower detail setting showing that at 1080p you will be able to play everything at a smooth framerate, you just might have to turn the detail down on a few of the most demanding games. Beyond that, I was really surprised by how close the 1660 SUPER and 1660 Ti were in games, they trade blows with them swapping places over and over again through the charts and with that the addition of GDDR6 and a bigger overclock really helped push the GTX 1660 up in performance. As for the RX590 it runs closer to the original GTX 1660 with the exception of Dawn of War 3 where the AMD cards excel.
Now some people don’t need a video card for gaming, they need the processing power for rendering or 2D/3D production or in some cases people who game also do work on the side. So it is also important to check out the compute performance on all of the video cards that come in. That includes doing a few different tests. My first test was a simple GPU Compute benchmark using Passmark’s Performance Test 9 and the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC fell right in between the original GTX 1660 and the GTX 1660 Ti. The faster memory helped, but the Ti having 1539 CUDA cores to the 1408 on the SUPER and the original 1660 still have it coming ahead in this workload.
In Blender, one of the most popular 3D rendering programs, the faster GDDR6 memory was a lot more helpful with the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC coming in 5 seconds faster than the GTX 1660 Ti, edging surprisingly close to the RTX 2060 FE.
Then In Basemark the 1660 Ti is ahead again, but only by a small amount. The Nvidia cards really excel in the OpenGL test compared to AMD. But I was most surprised by how much lower the GTX 1660 was compared to the GTX 1660 SUPER in this test with the same GPU and just the overclock and the GDDR6 being the difference.
Well, the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC did really well in Geekbench 4, coming in ahead of the GTX 1660 Ti by a big margin. Where in the newer Geekbench 5 the order is restored with the Ti being ahead.
Cooling, Noise, and Power
My last round of testing is also one of the most important when you have already decided which GPU you want. You then still have to pick from stacks of different models from all of the different manufacturers. The prices range, some look different than others, and sometimes like with Gigabyte and Asus they also have different gaming-specific higher-end brands all together like Aurous. This time around the Gaming OC is still a Gigabyte branded card but with any of those models, it is stuff like cooling performance, noise, and power that will set them apart. Short of any exceptional overclock they perform at least mostly close to each other in all of the standard tests. So here I am going to test power usage, fan noise levels across a few different situations, and cooling performance.
Power usage is the first I’m going to check out. For this, I ran two tests. On both, I monitored the power usage of our test system using a Kill-A-Watt. To put things under load I first use 3DMark to replicate a gaming load on both the CPU and GPU. How did the Gaming OC end up doing? Well in the 3DMark workload it matched the 1660 Ti once again. This is less to do with the memory upgrade and more to do with the overclock that Gigabyte gave the Gaming OC, but still funny considering how much they have traded blows this entire review. In the AIDA64 workload, the Ti does edge ahead slightly and the 1660 and 1660 SUPER are a little closer as well.
In my next set of tests, I wanted to take a look at the fan noise. For this I setup out decibel meter and tested a few situations. First I took a look at 50% and 100% fan speeds which give us a look at the noise range, especially if you want to push the cooler to its limits. The Windforce triple fan design did well here, not even reaching the middle of the pack at 100% fan speed and similar at 50%. This matches where the card lands on the fan RPM chart as well. Then the last test I did was to put the card under load using AIDA64 for a half-hour until temperatures evened out. From there I measured the noise level of the Gaming OC under a full load. Here it was the second quietest card tested!
My last round of tests were looking at the overall cooling performance and thermals. For this, I used AIDA64 once again to load the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC and each result is after a half hour or more when temperatures have leveled off. I tested with the stock fan profile and then again with the fans turned up. Both results are right near the bottom of the chart with the Gaming OC matching the original GTX 1660 at stock speeds and matching the EVGA cooler on the GTX 1660 Ti. The 13 degree improvement with the fans running at 100% also shows that there is still a lot of headroom left in cooling as well.
While doing the stock fan profile thermal tests I also used our thermal camera to get a look at the Gaming OC to see if there were any hot spots. What I found was on the fan side you can see that the heatsink under the left fan is running warmer but not hot. Up on the top edge, you can see the heat being pushed out, but I was surprised at how cool things are down at the end past the end of the PCB, I think that area runs cooler because of the improved airflow on the heatsink when there isn’t a Pcb to block things. Then the picture of the back does show that same difference with the backplate running extremely cool past the PCB (of course) and at 109f it isn’t really all that hot at the hottest points, but the plastic backplate does insulate.
Overall and Final Verdict
Well, I came into the review looking to find out how much of an improvement adding GDDR6 to the original GTX 1660 would give the GTX 1660 SUPER and what I found was it makes a lot bigger difference than you would expect. The Gaming OC does also come with a big overclock where our original GTX 1660 did run the reference clock speed. But the combination of the two ended up pushing the performance of the GTX 1660 SUPER right up in contention with the GTX 1660 Ti, even though it has more CUDA cores. The SUPER and the Ti were nearly equal in our gaming tests and really only in a few of the compute workloads the Ti would be preferred.
As for the Gaming OC itself, you get the same color neutral styling that all of the Gaming OC cards come with. The triple fan Windforce cooler also impressed in both thermal and noise tests. Being at the bottom of the chart (in the good way) in all of those tests. Noise testing at 100% fan speed was a little louder, but real-world results in the under load tests showed how quiet you can expect the card to be for you in game. The triple-fan design does end up being long to fit all three fans, expecting past the PCB a few inches. Other than that the card does actually conform to the normal PCI 2 slot width and height which is rare these days for video cards. The plastic backplate isn’t my favorite feature, I would prefer a higher-quality aluminum backplate, but given the mid-range GPU I do understand keeping the cost down. The plastic backplate also helps cover the long cooler past the PCB as well. My only other issues were RGB related. Our sample did have an issue with the lighting working, which was a first. But even without that problem, I would still prefer that the Gaming OC cards go with using RGB for accents rather than just using it for a backlit brand logo like they do. So maybe it not working was a good thing lol.
Of course, as always, pricing will make or break this card. The Gigabyte GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC was selling at $249.99 but is currently a little higher now that it is out of stock. At the original price it is priced really well with the other GTX 1660 SUPER’s on the market. More importantly, it is priced less than the GTX 1660 Ti’s and at least right now AMD doesn’t have anything to compete in this price/performance range with the RX590 not really coming close in performance and the RX5700 running almost $100 more. So right now at least, the GTX 1660 SUPER is in a great spot, especially for anyone who wants good 1080p performance without the premium that RTX cards will cost you for ray tracing performance.
Live Pricing: HERE