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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EVGA GTX 1660 XC Ultra power draw, thermals, and noise

We also tested the EVGA GTX 1660 XC Ultra using 3DMark’s highly respected Fire Strike synthetic benchmark. Fire Strike runs at 1080p, Fire Strike Extreme runs at 1440p, and Fire Strike Ultra runs at 4K resolution. All render the same scene, but with more intense graphical effects as you move up the scale, so that Extreme and Ultra flavors stress GPUs even more. We record the graphics score to eliminate variance from the CPU.

fire strike Brad Chacos/IDG

This is why synthetic benchmarks are good for general comparisons and for providing a level playing field in overclocking competitions, but can’t be fully relied upon. Fire Strike shows the EVGA GTX 1660 XC Ultra lagging behind the Radeon cards, but that simply isn’t true in the majority of real-world games.

We test power draw by looping the F1 2018 benchmark for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else, and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

power Brad Chacos/IDG

The GTX 1660 offers outstanding power efficiency even with EVGA’s overclock and custom cooling solution applied. It draws the same amount of energy as EVGA’s overclocked GTX 1060 SSC from the last generation, but with much improved performance—a winning combination. The Radeon graphics cards can’t even come close to matching these results.

We test thermals by leaving HWInfo’s sensor monitoring tool open during the F1 2018 five-lap power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

gpu temp Brad Chacos/IDG

Thermal results under 70 degrees Celsius are great. In the 50s? That’s ludicrous—but the EVGA GTX 1660 XC Ultra manages it while staying satisfyingly quiet (though not silent) under load. Such an impressive custom cooling solution on a 1080p-class card delivers great performance. Stay frosty.

Next page: Should you buy the EVGA GTX 1660 XC Ultra?

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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