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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Ghost Recon Wildlands

Move over, Crysis. If you crank all the graphics options up to 11, like we do for these tests, Ghost Recon Wildlands ($50 on Humble) and its AnvilNext 2.0 engine absolutely melt GPUs. Ghost Recon Wildlands also prefers Nvidia’s GPU architecture in general.

grw Brad Chacos/IDG

The actual frame rates might seem slow here—they improve dramatically if you dial back from the game’s borderline torture-test Ultra settings—but don’t be fooled: The GTX 1660 is still over 10 percent faster than the GTX 1060, and more so versus the Radeon options.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Middle-earth: Shadow of War ($50 on Humble) adds a strategic layer to the series’ sublime core gameplay loop, adapting the Nemesis system to let you create an army of personalized Orc commanders. It plays like a champ on PC, too, thanks to Monolith’s custom LithTech Firebird engine. We use the Ultra graphics preset but drop the Shadow and Texture Quality settings to High to avoid exceeding 8GB of VRAM usage in our testing scenario, because graphics cards that exceed 8GB of capacity are rare indeed. (Nvidia’s “sweet spot” graphics cards all top out at 6GB.)

shadow of war Brad Chacos/IDG

The EVGA GTX 1660 XC Ultra is nearly 20 percent faster than the GTX 1060 6GB here, and could provide a solid 1440p gaming experience with a few visual tweaks. And the GTX 1660 Ti is nearly 20 percent faster than that.

F1 2018

The latest in a long line of successful games, F1 2018 ($60 on Humble) is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options—making it a much more reliable (and fun) option that the Forza series. It’s built on the fourth version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies.

f1 2018 Brad Chacos/IDG

EVGA’s overclocked, custom-cooled card outdances its predecessor to the tune of a 22 percent performance increase. The lead over the Radeon RX 590 is slimmer, but it’s there, and the AMD GPU costs more in stores.

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

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.


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


    • 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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