MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X Review



MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X - All hail to the new 1080p king!






In context to Ray Tracing a wise man once said that, It works, but
apparently the consumers didn't think like that & the lost in market
share for Nvidia last year is a blatant proof of that hence proving
that It just doesn't work! The RTX series cards have been a hard pill to
swallow for everyone and definitely not received well by consumers who
just are not ready to shell that extra dime for Ray Tracing and DLSS
that the new Turing architecture from Nvidia cards offers. A hollow
promise at the launch and then poorly implemented feature set in games
like BF V that took away performance for a few extra reflections on the
screen followed by a mostly blurry DLSS in Metro Exodus just didn't work
for the paying consumers hence the need for a GTX card was needed more
than ever and Nvidia finally just did that. Recently they came up with
the GTX 1660 Ti 6GB graphics card that is based on the same Turing
architecture and uses a 6GB of GDDR6 memory minus all the Tensor and RT
cores that makes it a card as we knew them before RTX came around & performed as one would expect it to be if you go through our review on the MSI GTX 1660 Ti Gaming X.

But this card isn't enough as it still is a bit higher on the price tag and not truly a direct competition to the RX 590 from AMD simply due to its price so here we are today with the newly fresh out of the oven MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X lying on the table for review!





Priced in at $250 or ₹27,800 in India the card is a direct head on collider to the RX 590 which utilizes the same TU116 GPU at its core as the GTX 1660 Ti but with a few washed down features to bring down the cost and hopefully not the performance. At its heart it is powered by the TU116 based on the Turing architecture and has 6GB of GDDR5 memory working at 8Gb/s which also marks the first Turing card carrying a GDDR5 memory rather than the newer GDDR6. Having 1408 CUDA cores makes it 8% lesser than those in the GTX 1660 Ti, all of this has a boost clock of 1860Mhz which is way past the factory specifications.


What's in the Box!?






MSI has brought the GTX 1660 Gaming X in a simple and sleek packaging
with a thin cardboard box which carries black as the main color theme.
We have a large MSI logo along with the card image in the center and the
product name at eh bottom left corner with a highlight on the Twin
Frozr 7 cooler implementation. And of-course the familiar GeForce GTX
logo is back on the bottom right corner.





At the back you'll mostly find MSI telling you as much as they can about
their new cooler and the Torx 3.0 fans and how the card is fast aswell
as decorated with RGB lights all over the shroud.





Inside the box we are greeted with a humble yet adequate number of
accessories, we get a bunch of Luck the Dragon stickers, a user guide, a
booklet on how to install the graphics card, a thank you note, a driver
CD and the actual card itself.


A Closer Look






MSI has ditched their red and black color scheme with the new RTX series
cards and the same goes for the GTX 1660 aswell which comes in a
black and grey color scheme and looks pretty sleek for a card of its
stature and price point.





The card even though is quite stealthy with its gun metal color scheme
but you can still see that its original shroud design is from the
previous generation only with a few minute changes here and there. It
has a B2 bomber plane feel to it and the trims around the new fans have
RGB strips that can be easily controlled via the MSI Mystic Lights
software.





Measuring in at 247x127x46 mm this is a small card but does come with a
backplate which has  a brushed aluminum finish to it giving it that
extra bit of premium feel that is a must for the price tag for which
this card comes at. But without a doubt this backplate is one of the
most elegant ones out there and I personally love it since its that
portion of the card which would be visible in most chassis.







Underneath you won't see any big heat pipes protruding outside the
shroud and we have only three 6mm heatpipes running in and out of the
heatsink which should be adequate to cool the TU116 chip underneath
especially with the new Torx 3.0 fans on top which are 90mm each and
going by their impressive past record should do just fine.





For power the MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X relies on a single 8-pin PCIe
power connector which gives it a 225W power draw capacity on paper
however Nvidia even though without any reference model out there rates
the GTX 1660 at 120W and same is the case with this one too making it
an immensely power efficient card. However some AIBs can by default
bump this limit by 10W or so.





The IO shield on the MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X has four ports namely as
one HDMI 2.0a port and three DisplayPorts 1.4 that are 1.4a ready hence
can support upto 8K 60Hz display. The DVI port is long gone which makes
this card both slim and also leaves more room for exhaust vents which
might be a part of MSI's mastering aerodynamics plan with this card.


Benchmarks and Overclocking 






Installing the MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X was easy and it powered up like a

breeze once we booted up the system. Since this is a very short card one
won't have any issues when installing it in most to any case out there
which is how it should be for a mainstream card.

GPUZ reported the correct frequencies with 1530Mhz on the clock and 2001Mhz on the memory with boost reaching 1995Mhz courtesy to GPU Boost
4.0



For testing the MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X graphics card our new test bench was as follows -



CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X @3.9Ghz

Motherboard: Asus X370 Crosshair VI Hero

RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB 3200Mhz

Cooler: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB

Graphics Card: MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X

Storage: Kingston A400 256GB

Secondary Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB

Power Supply: Corsair AX860i 860W

Case: Cooler Master H500M

OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Sleeved Cables: TweakedPC





Overclocking any Turning architecture card right now is not the easiest of affairs in
terms of reaching high frequencies as Nvidia has locked the power target
on these cards which is 107% in case of the MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X. This greatly
limits one to add more numbers to the frequency to the GPU or the memory
due to deficiency of maximum power supplied. My sample isn't the best
out of the lot and hence I could only manage a 140Mhz increase on the
clock along with a 950Mhz on the memory and anything more than that mostly resulted in crash, system
freezes or poor results so we settled down to 1670Mhz on the clock and 2476Mhz as the
boost frequency which kept us in the 2100Mhz to 2145Mhz range in game
courtesy to GPU Boost 4.0 at default fan curve.


3DMark Fire Strike & Time Spy






Fire Strike and Time Spy by 3D Mark is a test suit that plays a
cinematic scene to determine the FPS, GPU temperature and CPU
temperature scaling everything via a cumulative score. It is a great
tool to benchmark your GPU since the render is mostly GPU & memory
dependent.


Shadow of the Tomb Raider






Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by
Eidos Montréal in conjunction with Crystal Dynamics and published by
Square Enix. It continues the narrative from the 2015 game Rise of the
Tomb Raider and is the twelfth mainline entry in the Tomb Raider series.

Based off the Dynamics' proprietary Foundation engine like its
predecessor SOTTR is a visual treat and heavily optimized for PC
platform. We are running it at Highest graphical preset in
DX12 mode benchmarked using the game's build in tool.


Far Cry New Dawn 






Far Cry New Dawn uses an enhanced version of the Dunia 2 engine. Unlike its predecessor the
game now uses DirectX 12 API, the development team have optimized the game
extensively to take advantage of hardware capabilities. Furthermore, Far
Cry New Dawn is a testament to achieving proper visual fidelity while keeping
overall polygon count in check. Testing is done at Ultra preset using the build in benchmark to keep the results
standardized.


Assassin's Creed Odyssey 






Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a 2018 action role-playing video game
developed by Ubisoft Quebec and published by Ubisoft. It is the eleventh
major installment, and twentieth overall, in the Assassin's Creed
series and the successor to 2017's Assassin's Creed Origins.

Using the AnvilNext 2.0 graphics engine the game
though better optimized than Origin is still very taxing even on the
best of systems out there. We are running the game's build in benchmark
at Ultra presets.


Battlefield V






Battlefield V is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA DICE
and published by Electronic Arts. Battlefield V is the sixteenth
installment in the Battlefield series.

Masking use of the ‎Frostbite 3 engine the game is extremely beautiful
both in terms of graphics and story-line, I've tested the game in D3D12
mode at maxed out settings on full HD resolution.


Metro: Exodus






Metro Exodus is a first-person shooter video game developed by 4A Games
and published by Deep Silver. Not only is this the first game ever to
implement ray tracing global illumination and DLSS simultaneously but
this game can beat any modern day PC hardware to its knees and can
rightfully be called the present day Crysis. We are running it at Ultra
presets with Hairworks on and Tessellation set to full using the game's
build in benchmarking tool.


Thermals 






The MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X runs cooler than most other GTX 1660 cards out there mainly due to the dense fin stack along with the two
Torx 3.0
fans that are more than adequate to cool a card of this category with a
120W TDP rating hence, keeping it well off the thermal throttling mark
when at
stock or manually overclocked even when its inside a closed chassis such
as the Cooler Master H500M and not on an open test bench. The card was
allowed to run with the default fan curve & the temperature readings
are taken in a strictly controlled environment with ambient temperature
at 25°C.


My Verdict 


Nvidia has hit the ball out of the park with the GTX 1660, there you go I said it! Priced in at a baseline of $199 this is exactly what everyone expected and more so wanted so desperately in times when graphics card prices seem to be going upward ever since the mining era especially when you consider the budget gamer who's looking for an upgrade or building a new system from scratch.

With that being said the card in hand today, the MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X does everything that Nvidia promises for a GTX 1660 and even more thanks to all the bells and whistles that MSI has included with this card out of the box. With an overclocked core and great overclocking headroom thanks to its extremely competent cooling arrangement the MSI GTX 1660 is a beast in its own right that has clearly handled every modern AAA titles with ease on full HD resolution and can even drive through at ease in the 1440p realm with minor tweaking in the settings making it a must have for every gamer on budget.



Putting things into perspective we are looking at the best modern card out there today at the time of writing for 1080p gaming in all its glory, offering unmatched price to performance ratio at an extremely low power consumption putting it quite ahead of its competitors inform of the RX 580 and RX 590 which had recently dethroned the old GTX 1060.

All is nice and dandy till you look at the price tag that MSI has put on the GTX 1660 GAming X making it one of the most expensive GTX 1660 cards out there and dangerously hovers around the starting price range of the GTX 1660 Ti which obviously offers better performance even if you go for the base models.


"MSI has found itself a winner in form of the GTX 1660 Gaming X creating the perfect card for a budget gamer who wants to game at 1080p in all its glory & doesn't mind shelling a little extra for all the add-on features that the card comes with both in terms of stealthy aesthetics & beefed up performance."  


Pros - 



  • Solid Build Quality 

  • Subtle RGB implementation 

  • Overclocked out of the box

  • Great 1080p performance

  • Runs cool and quite

  • Extremely power efficient



Cons - 



  • Price tag is on the higher side


I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award!




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