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GTX 1060 vs 1660: Full Technical Comparison for 2023

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1660 are two of the most popular mid-range graphics cards from recent generations. While they may seem similar on the surface, there are some important differences to consider when choosing between them. In this in-depth comparison, we‘ll take a close look at the specs, pricing, performance, features, and more to help you determine which GPU is the best fit for your needs and budget.

Detailed Specifications

The GTX 1060 launched in 2016 based on NVIDIA‘s Pascal architecture. It‘s available in 3GB and 6GB VRAM configurations, both using GDDR5 memory. The base clock is 1506 MHz with a boost clock of 1708 MHz.

In comparison, the newer GTX 1660 released in 2019 and uses the more efficient Turing architecture. It comes with 6GB of faster GDDR5 VRAM in all models. The base and boost clocks are slightly higher than the 1060 at 1530 MHz and 1785 MHz respectively.

Here‘s a detailed side-by-side look at the key specifications:

Spec GTX 1060 (6GB) GTX 1660
GPU Architecture Pascal Turing
CUDA Cores 1280 1408
Base Clock 1506 MHz 1530 MHz
Boost Clock 1708 MHz 1785 MHz
VRAM Capacity 3GB or 6GB GDDR5 6GB GDDR5
VRAM Speed 8 Gbps 8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 192 GB/s 192.1 GB/s
Memory Bus Width 192-bit 192-bit
TDP 120W 120W
Transistor Count 4.4 billion 6.6 billion
Manufacturing Node 16nm 12nm
DirectX Version 12.0 12.1

As you can see, the GTX 1660 has a number of under-the-hood advantages thanks to its newer Turing architecture. The 50% increase in transistor count and 33% smaller manufacturing node allows the 1660 to cram in 10% more CUDA cores and higher clock speeds while still fitting into the same 120W power envelope.

The key difference between Pascal and Turing is that the latter includes various optimizations for efficiency and performance. Notable changes include:

  • Concurrent floating point and integer execution
  • Unified cache architecture
  • New shading features like variable rate shading and texture-space shading
  • Faster and more power-efficient GDDR6 memory in higher-end models

While the GTX 1660 doesn‘t include the dedicated ray tracing and Tensor cores found in the RTX series cards, it still benefits from the various architectural improvements in Turing. This allows it to extract more performance per watt and provide better results in games and applications.

Gaming Benchmarks

So how do the GTX 1060 and 1660 actually compare when it comes to real-world gaming performance? To find out, I analyzed benchmark data from several reputable hardware sites.

AnandTech‘s review found that the GTX 1660 offers an average performance uplift of 15% over the GTX 1060 6GB across a range of games at 1080p and 1440p:

AnandTech GTX 1660 vs 1060 benchmarks

This aligns with Eurogamer‘s test results which show the GTX 1660 averaging 11% better frame rates compared to the GTX 1060 6GB. Here are some key 1080p benchmarks:

  • Assassin‘s Creed Odyssey: 61 FPS (1660) vs 55 FPS (1060)
  • Battlefield 5: 88 FPS (1660) vs 78 FPS (1060)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 80 FPS (1660) vs 70 FPS (1060)
  • The Division 2: 65 FPS (1660) vs 58 FPS (1060)

TechSpot‘s numbers show an even wider gap of around 25% on average between the two cards. Some of their tested games include:

  • Apex Legends: 77 FPS (1660) vs 62 FPS (1060)
  • Forza Horizon 4: 90 FPS (1660) vs 72 FPS (1060)
  • Resident Evil 2: 96 FPS (1660) vs 73 FPS (1060)
  • The Witcher 3: 73 FPS (1660) vs 57 FPS (1060)

The general consensus from reviewers is that both GPUs are very capable 1080p gaming cards, but the GTX 1660 has a clear performance lead. It allows you to turn up settings higher and provides more headroom as games become more demanding.

At 1440p, the GTX 1660 averages around 60 FPS in most current games at high settings. The GTX 1060 really starts to struggle and dip below 60 FPS unless you turn things down to medium. Neither card is really ideal for 4K gaming in demanding titles. Lighter games may be playable at 30 FPS, but the experience is compromised.

For VR gaming, Babeltechreviews found that the GTX 1660 is roughly 39% faster than the GTX 1060 when comparing frame rates in VR titles. The 1660 stays above 90 FPS in most VR games which provides a solid experience. But the 1060 frequently dips below 90 FPS which can cause discomfort and motion sickness for some users.

Overclocking

Both the GTX 1060 and 1660 have decent overclocking potential thanks to their power efficiency. Most models are equipped with good cooling solutions and have ample thermal headroom.

Overclock3D was able to achieve a 10% overclock on the GTX 1660‘s core and memory, resulting in an 8% average performance gain. Overclocked, the 1660 matches or exceeds the stock GTX 1070 which is impressive.

The GTX 1060 is a bit more of a mixed bag when it comes to overclocking. TechPowerUp‘s database shows that the average 1060 6GB sample manages around a 175 MHz overclock on the core and 250 MHz on the memory.

However, there is significantly more variance between individual 1060 cards, especially when comparing models from different brands. The newer GTX 1660 on average can sustain higher overclocks more consistently.

It‘s also worth noting that the GTX 1660 SUPER has a further advantage over the standard 1660. Not only does it have faster 14 Gbps GDDR6 memory compared to GDDR5, but it also uses a more robust 6-phase VRM power delivery. This improves stability and overclocking potential even more.

Performance in Content Creation

Looking beyond just gaming, both the GTX 1060 and 1660 are viable options for hobbyist content creation workloads. This includes things like game capturing/streaming, video editing, and 3D rendering.

NVIDIA‘s NVENC hardware encoder provides good performance and visual quality for recording or streaming gameplay. Ownordisown measured the performance impact of streaming to Twitch at 1080p 60 FPS while gaming. The GTX 1660 took a 9% frame rate hit on average, while the GTX 1060 was more heavily impacted at 15%.

For video editing, Puget Systems benchmarked the relative performance in Adobe Premiere Pro. The GTX 1660 was about 17% faster on average compared to the 1060 for playback, rendering, and exporting 1080p timelines. It maintains that lead for 4K timelines as well.

In GPU rendering applications like Blender, the GTX 1660‘s additional CUDA cores give it around a 15-25% performance advantage according to GFXBench results. Neither card supports RTX acceleration though, so rendering complex scenes with ray tracing can still take a long time.

Competitor Comparisons

The closest competitor to the GTX 1660 from AMD is the Radeon RX 590. It offers very similar performance at 1080p and has 8GB of VRAM which is helpful in some games. However, the RX 590 is less efficient, consuming around 30W more power and running a bit hotter/louder. It‘s viable alternative if you find one at a good price though.

The RX 580 8GB is priced similarly to the GTX 1060 6GB. Performance is neck-and-neck overall. But again the RX 580 uses about 60W more power on average and puts out more heat. The GTX 1060 is the more efficient choice and NVIDIA software/driver support is generally superior.

Another option to consider is the GTX 1660 SUPER. Compared to the standard 1660, it offers around 10% better performance while drawing the same 120W of power. Prices are only about $20-30 higher, so it arguably makes the standard 1660 redundant unless you find a great deal on one.

Finally, if you‘re willing to spend a bit more, the RTX 2060 is a significant step up. Benchmarks from Gamers Nexus show it beating the GTX 1660 by around 20% at 1080p and 1440p. It also adds ray tracing and DLSS support, 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and a USB-C VirtualLink port.

With the launch of the RTX 3050 and Intel Arc A380, the sub-$300 GPU market is quite competitive now. The GTX 1660 is still a good value, but I‘d strongly consider newer options if you can stretch your budget a bit.

Pricing & Recommendations

As of September 2023, pricing and availability for these older GPUs is a bit sporadic. Neither card is in active production anymore so you‘re limited to remaining new stock and the used market.

PCPartPicker shows that new GTX 1060 6GB cards have an average price of around $200. The lowest models start at $175, and the highest factory overclocked versions are just over $200.

Brand new GTX 1660 cards are a bit harder to find as they sold out quicker. The lowest prices are around $250, and overclocked models with fancy coolers can cost over $300 still. Considering the small performance gap with the 1660 SUPER which is readily available for around $240, I would probably just opt for the SUPER instead at this point.

On the used market, GTX 1060 6GB cards in good condition can be found for $125-175 typically. For the 1660, expect to pay $150-200 depending on the specific model and condition. I would be cautious about buying older mining cards that may have been run hard 24/7 though.

If buying today, I would personally stretch for an RTX 2060 if possible as they are going for around $250. It‘s a good bit faster than the 1660, adds RTX features and DLSS, and has more headroom for the future.

As an alternative, AMD‘s new RX 6600 beats both the 1660 and RTX 2060 while using less power and costing under $300. It lacks a hardware encoder and raytracing performance is weak, but for pure rasterization performance it can‘t be beat for the money.

For a recommendation between the 1060 vs 1660 in 2023, the GTX 1660 is the better GPU overall. It‘s around 15% faster, overclocks better, and has more forward looking features and performance. If you‘re on a tight budget the 1060 6GB is still viable, but not ideal long-term.

The GTX 1660 SUPER is also a no-brainer over the standard 1660 unless prices are equal. You get 10% more performance, faster GDDR6 memory, and better overclocking for a tiny price premium.

Ultimately, for a new mid-range GPU I would encourage saving up for a current generation option like the RTX 3050, RX 6600, or Intel Arc A380 if possible. The newer architectures, memory, and features make them much better long-term investments.

But if you need an affordable stopgap card to get you by for a year or two, the GTX 1660 is still a solid choice. It has enough performance for great 1080p gaming and decent 1440p. Just keep in mind that driver support and optimization for new games may start to wane in the coming years.