MSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS OC Edition £199 Review

Conclusion

MSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS OC Edition Review

 

***Edit**

MSI has informed us their price for this card will now be £229 - taking this in to consideration just go and buy one of the other brands (Zotac, Gigabyte, EVGA, Palit) Cards that hit MSRP or if you can find a few quid more go and buy the Ventus 1660 Ti.


Conclusion

With the launch of the GTX 1660Ti and GTX 1660 Nvidia have placed their two newest Turing cards in about the most competitive sector of the graphics card market. Whilst we might all pine for cards which are capable of bringing us 60 FPS 4K gaming, the reality is that by far the biggest market segment is 1920x1080 gamers. This is partly for cost reasons, 1080 displays and the hardware necessary to power them is a lot more affordable than a 4K setup, but also partly because consoles are 1080 in the majority and a lot of so-called AAA titles come from console roots. Game development is a cripplingly expensive business and so having a product that works on the largest selection of hardware will always be attractive to publishers, and thus that's how the market stays. 

We don't mean to keep harping on about the importance of getting the pricing right, but budgetary restrictions are the number one reason that people are looking for graphics cards at around this price point. If money was no object we'd all just get the best card money could buy and put it in our 16 core systems and get on with our lives. We don't though, or at least most of us don't, and therefore the difference between one card and another is largely a matter of the cost. With the GTX 1660Ti we felt that some - like the MSI Ventus and ASUS Phoenix (although the cooler on this isnt great and in our professional opinion should be £20 or £30 cheaper) - got the price right by hitting the point that Nvidia expected to sell it, whilst others - the Gaming X and Strix spring to mind - added so much expensive hardware to the recipe and therefore street price that the waters got muddied and it was hard not to look at a card such as the RTX 2060 (at MSRP) and go for that instead.

With the slightly cut-down nature of the GTX 1660, and therefore cheaper price tag, it is a much clearer card to consider. Instead of 20 or thirty pounds more to get a significantly better card it's a hundred pounds between this MSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS OC Edition and the most bargain-basement RTX 2060. It comes in at around £20 cheaper than an AMD RX 590, and almost equal to a mid-spec RX 580. Performance though is, at stock, much more like the RX 590 which makes the Ventus a seriously attractive prospect. It easily handles all of the titles in our test suite at 1080 with all the image quality settings maxed out we might add, whilst you can just about get away with gaming at 1440P if you're willing to detune the MSAA anti-aliasing a little bit whilst still hitting the all important 60 frames per second we so love.

Where the Ventus XS feels like an old-school card, and rewards you if you're happy getting under the hood, is in the overclocking. It used to be that you could buy the model below the one you really wanted, thus saving yourself some money, but overclock it back up to the performance of the stock card you wanted. For example an RX 580 overclocked matches a stock RX 590, or an overclocked GTX 1060 matching a stock GTX 1070. With the MSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS OC Edition we managed to overclock both the GPU core and the memory enough to make it hit the same performance that we saw from the 'stock' GTX 1660Ti Ventus XS OC Edition. The performance at stock is good but when overclocked it is so capable that it's truly spectacular for the money and well worth investing a few hours tinkering even for a beginner.

One thing we would stand firm on is at this price point its really not worth paying any extra than the basic £199 MSRP. When MSI asked us if we wanted to see the Gaming X which we now know costs £259 which is the same as a basic 1660 Ti we actually said no. It wasnt worth wasting our time on because at this price point there is litterally no reason to buy it. To back that up and a little insider knowledge is there wont even be an Asus Strix variant because the price points are so close they know it would end up costing more than a 1660 Ti and lets face it - that would be ridiculous.

If you are gaming on a tight budget and plan to game around the 1080 resolution but want to play all the latest titles with full image quality then the MSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS OC Edition is a no-brainer, combining cool temperatures with very attractive pricing and wins our OC3D Gamers Choice Award. If you have more money to spend than this then your life is simple. Look at the 1660 Ti or the 2060, dont bother buying factory overclocked or cards with massive over priced coolers. They just dont need it.

***Edit**

MSI has informed us their price for this card will now be £229 - taking this in to consideration just go and buy one of the other brands (Zotac, Gigabyte, EVGA, Palit) Cards that hit MSRP or if you can find a few quid more go and buy the Ventus 1660 Ti.

Discuss the MSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS OC Edition in our OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

14-03-2019, 09:05:10

AlienALX
I gotta say, not bad. Not bad at all.

Also this. Dear MSI. Why can you make such a cheap GPU look lovely, but your high end ones look like da poop? Pls explain.

Thanks for the review all Quote

14-03-2019, 09:23:29

tgrech
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post
Also this. Dear MSI. Why can you make such a cheap GPU look lovely, but your high end ones look like da poop? Pls explain.
This @ the whole PC "gaming" hardware market.Quote
Reply
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