EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC Ultra review: The new 'sweet spot' champion

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1660 and EVGA's superb XC Ultra custom design combine to (finally!) jettison AMD's Radeon RX 580 from its spot as the mainstream gaming champion.

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity ($40 on Humble) was one of the very first DX12 games, and it remains a flag-bearer for the technology to this day thanks to the extreme scalability of Oxide Games’ next-gen Nitrous engine. With hundreds of units onscreen simultaneously and some serious graphics effects in play, the Crazy preset can make CPUs and graphics cards sweat. Ashes runs in both DX11 and DX12, but we only test in DX12, as it delivers the best results for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs.

aots Brad Chacos/IDG

Interestingly, the GTX 1660 is only a few frames per second faster than the older 6GB GTX 1060, and the GTX 1660 Ti is only a few frames faster than its namesake. Those amount to performance differences of 10+ percent, however. Expect to see the raw frame rate gap widen if you’re not using the ultra-strenuous Crazy preset.

GTA V

We’re going to wrap things up with a couple of older games that aren’t really visual barn-burners, but still top the Steam charts day in and day out. These are games that a lot of people play. First up: Grand Theft Auto V ($30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gtav Brad Chacos/IDG

This is an older game, so it’s no surprise to see the GTX 1660 provide minimal performance uplift compared to its predecessor. The GTX 1660 Ti is substantially faster if you can spend more money, though. AMD’s Radeon cards are left in the proverbial dust by Nvidia’s offerings.

Rainbow Six Siege

Finally, let’s take a peek at Rainbow Six Siege ($40 on Humble), a game whose audience just keeps on growing, and one that still feels like the only truly next-gen shooter after all these years. Like Ghost Recon Wildlands, this game runs on Ubisoft’s AnvilNext 2.0 engine, but Rainbow Six Siege responds especially well to graphics cards that lean on async compute features.

rb6 Brad Chacos/IDG

That responsiveness to async compute gave the Radeon RX 580 a clear edge over the older GTX 1060, but the GTX 1660 manages to draw even with AMD’s graphics card. Both the Radeon RX 590 and GTX 1660 Ti are noticeably faster—but realistically, this game delivers screaming performance on all the hardware tested, even at the more demanding 1440p resolution.

Next page: Power, thermals, noise, and synthetics

At a Glance
  • Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1660 and EVGA's superb XC Ultra custom design result in a new mainstream gaming champion. This is the graphics card you want for 1080p gaming at 60 frames per second.

    Pros

    • Excellent 1080p/60Hz gaming performance
    • Quiet under load
    • Very quiet
    • Affordable
    • EVGA's Precision X1 overclocking software is GREAT

    Cons

    • No fancy extra features
    • Reasonable $30 premium puts it close to entry-level GTX 1660 Ti GPUs
    • Only 1 DisplayPort and HDMI port
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