MSI GTX 1660Ti Gaming X Review
Published: 22nd February 2019 | Source: MSI | Price: |
The release of the GTX 1660Ti has unquestionably muddied the Nvidia waters. Until now there is usually a place for everything and everything in its place. The range has been relatively clear cut. The GTX 1050Ti for those who play simpler titles. GTX 1060 and 1070 for those needing more performance at an affordable price, the GTX 1080 and Ti for those who need a lot of horsepower. Then came the RTX cards which neatly fit into the scheme with the RTX 2060 having 1070Ti performance and RT features, the RTX 2070 being about the GTX 1080 but with RT features, and the RTX 2080 matching the price and performance of the GTX 1080Ti, but again with Tensor and RT elements. The RTX 2080Ti then moved into the flagship role. The GTX 1660Ti is designed to replace the GTX 1060, with around GTX 1070 performance, and priced at the low end somewhere between the GTX 1060 and GTX 1070, and at the high end around the base model RTX 2060s. Except without the RT feature set. It's extremely confusing.
With the release of the MSI GTX 1660Ti Gaming X, the gap between the top of the GTX 1660Ti range - designed to be a Turing GPU but without the expensive RT and Tensor hardware - is now so close to the price point of the most basic of the RTX 2060 cards. With this in mind, you need to really consider exactly what it is that you want from your graphics card and buy accordingly. For every person who happily concedes the loss of the ray tracing and DLSS elements to ensure that you have the coolest, fastest GTX 1660Ti there will be someone who only cares about absolute performance, or has an inflexible budget, for whom the Gaming X is tough to justify.
It isn't for the lack of performance. If you're upgrading from a much older card, then the Turing GPU at the heart of the GTX 1660Ti has oodles more performance than you'd get from a GTX 1060 and definitely a GTX 960 or older. The ability to run parallel integer and floating point operations brings a lot of performance benefits in higher frame rates and thus more responsiveness. If you're the type of gamer who plays multiplayer games, where every frame counts, then the Gaming X might be the very thing to take you to new heights. We hate to reference any of the Battle Royale titles currently flooding the market, but clearly this is the perfect card if you're bitten by the current hotness that is Apex Legends. Heck, even if you're mainly gaming on any of the competitive multiplayer titles around - DOTA2, League of Legends, Warcraft and the like - then you'll be very pleased with what the GTX 1660Ti Gaming X brings to the party.
At this end of the market though, the balance between extra features and raw performance is heavily weighted towards performance. You spend infinitely more time looking at your screen than you do peering through the side window of your case. Nvidia's current range is now so clogged up with older GTX 1060/1070 cards, which are lowering in price as they move towards the end of its line, and as it stands the RTX 2060 is already competitively priced.
Right now there isn't much wiggle room for a card which purports to lose the RT elements in a cost-saving measure, only to have a partner vendor bump it back up with high-quality cooling and lighting until it's almost overlapping the most affordable RTX 2060 graphics cards. In the war of looks vs performance, we can see most PC gamers siding on the performance side of the spectrum.
All of this means that the enticement offered by the MSI GTX 1660Ti Gaming X is entirely dependant upon your personal preference. If you don't mind sacrificing a little performance to obtain a card which looks great, offers RGB lighting, and has a great cooler. If, however, you don't really care about how warm or loud your card is, because you've got headphones on and just want the best performance, you'd probably be best doing what we'd do, if our money were on the line, and grabbing a base model 1660 Ti or an RTX 2060.