Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti review: GTX is back with a vengeance

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is the best 1080p GPU you can buy, and Asus's versatile ROG Strix design makes it even better.

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Should you buy the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti?

Definitely, and doubly so if you have an ultra-fast refresh rate 1080p monitor.

Move over Radeon RX 590: Nvidia’s $280 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is hands-down the best 1080p graphics card you can buy today, trouncing its AMD rival in both performance and power efficiency. Plus, it handles 1440p gaming on a par with the GTX 1070, a previous top pick in that category, and plays nice with affordable FreeSync monitors now. The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti kills, full stop.

dsc00505 Brad Chacos/IDG

You shouldn’t buy it in every circumstance, though.

While Nvidia’s graphics card holds up decently at 1440p, if you’re buying a new graphics card specifically for that resolution, we’d probably recommend spending the extra money on a $350 GeForce RTX 2060. Its lead isn’t significant in every game we tested, but it maintains a noticeable performance advantage in most titles. That additional legroom will come in handy at the higher resolution as time goes on. The RTX 2060 contains cutting-edge ray tracing and AI-enhancement features that the GTX 1660 Ti lacks as well, though game support for RTX technologies have been slow to roll out.

On the flip side, the majority of gamers use 1080p monitors, and a big chunk of those are running at 60Hz. If that’s your situation, the GTX 1660 Ti might be overkill. With the older Radeon RX 580—not the more powerful Radeon RX 590—still delivering a superb 1080p/60 gaming experience on Ultra or High graphics settings, we’d recommend leaning in that direction, especially since 8GB versions of the card can almost always be found selling for $200 or less these days. That’s a full $80 less than the MSRP for the GTX 1660 Ti, or $130 less than this ROG Strix version of it, and the Radeon RX 580 will still give you a sublime gaming experience on a 60Hz screen.

Avoid the Radeon RX 590 for now. Prices for it have dropped slightly, from $280 to $260, but the GTX 1660 Ti beats it silly in every way.

If you’re coming from a GTX 960 or older GPU (which sadly, we didn’t have time to benchmark), the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti will be an utterly massive upgrade. While it’s faster than the GTX 1060 by a healthy 25 to 50 percent in most games, upgrading from its direct predecessor is less enticing. You usually want to skip a generation if you’re staying in the same price range.

dsc00495 Brad Chacos/IDG

As far as the $330 Asus ROG Strix GTX 1660 Ti itself goes, it earns our hearty recommendation—and an Editors’ Choice award.

We haven’t tested a $280 version of the GTX 1660 Ti yet, but even if performance for the cheaper models winds up in the same ballpark with some tweaking, this card easily justifies its $50 price premium. The sizeable overclock and even higher out-of-the-box performance is nice, but it’s the Strix’s monstrous cooler and deep array of value-adding features that impress the most. That potent cooler unlocks tantalizing scenarios that most other cards can’t match in the form of dual-BIOS profiles that let you choose between ice-cold temperatures and great noise levels, or effectively silent noise levels with still-great thermal results. I can’t state enough how big of a quality-of-life win that is in actual use. Two drawbacks: You’ll need a lot of space in your case to accommodate this beast, and the price premium pushes the ROG Strix out of the sub-$300 range that most gamers consider the mainstream sweet spot.

Don’t let that deter you if you can swing it, though. The Asus ROG Strix GTX 1660 Ti is damned near the ultimate version of an absolutely stunning graphics card—even without ray tracing.

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At a Glance
  • Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is the best 1080p GPU you can buy, and Asus's versatile and potent ROG Strix design makes it even better, albeit at a significant price premium.

    Pros

    • Outstanding 1080p and solid 1440p gaming
    • Tremendous effective custom cooler
    • Effective dual-BIOS profiles optimized for thermals and noise
    • Outstanding features and build quality

    Cons

    • No RTX ray tracing capabilities
    • $50 premium in price-sensitive segment
    • Very large graphics card
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