Purchasing a GPU doesn’t always mean you’re going to aim for the latest and greatest. The hot GPUs of yesteryear in some cases still have plenty of mileage left. NVIDIA’s GTX 1660 might be getting a little long in the tooth, but it still holds up well against the rigors and needs of 1080p gaming. How does it stack up against its direct forebear, the GTX 1060? Both GPUs presented a great balance of performance and affordability in years past, but how does that translate to modern gaming needs?
GPU prices are higher than ever, and as such it might be worth casting a gaze towards some older hardware. Sure, it might lack the raw horsepower and novelty of the latest RTX 4090, but it in many cases it might serve you quite well. Let’s take a look at these two GPUs, how they stack against each other, and how they fare when playing modern games.
1060 vs. 1660: Side-By-Side Comparison
|3 or 6GB
|Ray Tracing Support
|Memory Bus Width
- Next-level graphics for AAA gaming
- Award-winning NVIDIA Turing architecture.
- Broadcast your gameplay to Twitch or YouTube
- Dedicated hardware encoder with Open Broadcaster Software (OBS).
- Capture and share videos, screenshots
1060 vs. 1660: What’s the Difference?
Both of these GPUs have some stark similarities. You’d be forgiven for thinking they are functionally identical, which is completely understandable as they both operate in the same general niche. There are some noticeable performance differences, which become readily apparent when in use.
The clock speed, memory, and memory bus bandwidth are all shared across the board between the two GPUs. Where they start to diverge is in their system architecture. The GTX 1060 is an older GPU, released in 2016 on the Pascal architecture. By comparison, the GTX 1660 is a more recent GPU, launching in 2019 on the Turing architecture.
The VRAM type itself is shared, GDDR5, which is to be expected for a GPU in this price range. NVIDIA has always packed a good amount of value in the 60 series GPUs, and these are no exception. Where some differences start to emerge beyond the architecture is in the sheer number of transistors present on the mainboard of the GPU. The 1060 has 4,400 million transistors, which is quite admirable for the year of its release. To no surprise, the GTX 1660 has far more numbering 6,600 million on the mainboard.
This translates to substantial performance increases, which is especially felt in newer games. At 1080p these GPUs perform quite similarly across a wide selection of popular games. Notably, the GTX 1660 gets much closer to acceptable frame rates on popular titles like Elden Ring. An average of 48 frames per second was reached with the 1660, a stark difference compared to the 1060’s 34 frames per second.
This is seen with multiple other titles, like Forza Horizon 5, God of War, Overwatch 2, and Halo Infinite among others. With all the games mentioned, the GTX 1660 comes out ahead in terms of raw performance at 1080p on ultra settings. Regardless of what gets tossed at it, the GTX 1660 is just the better GPU overall compared to the GTX 1060.
Both GPUs are no longer in active production, but there is still a plentiful amount of new and old stock with some retailers. You can readily find both GPUs at retailers like Amazon and NewEgg. If you’re feeling exceptionally brave, you can also locate used GPUs on eBay, NewEgg, and Amazon.
The GTX 1060 can be found for much cheaper prices overall. Prices seem to hover around $200 to $220, which isn’t terrible for a GPU. For a GPU going on nearly seven years old, that might be up to your personal discretion.
The GTX 1660’s pricing seems to hover between $250 to $300, which all comes down to who’s manufacturing it and whatever spin they take on the GPU. For a minimal price increase you can get a more widely available and powerful GPU, so it makes sense to take the plunge on the 1660.
These are older GPUs, and as such the full range of modern amenities you might expect of things aren’t present. Support for ray tracing is only available on the slightly weaker 1060. Performance while using raytracing is less than ideal, as you might imagine. It can be used on a handful of older games, but there will be a noticeable performance hit.
DLSS, NVIDIA’s dynamic resolution tech, isn’t present on their GPU. This is usually handy for eking out just a little bit more performance, and can drastically help with some games. Instead, that isn’t present on either GPU. These are very much of their time, and it doesn’t make them bad GPUs. It is just something to keep in mind. Both GPUs lack support for DisplayPort 2.1 as well.
NVIDIA G-Sync is supported out of the box, which is handy if you have a compatible monitor. These are very much in the budget range of GPUs at the moment though.
- Pascal architecture
- 1506MHz clock speed
- 6GB GDDR5 RAM
- VR Ready
- 7680 x 4320 maximum supported resolution
- Consumes 120W power on an 8 pin PCIe connector
1060 vs. 1660: 6 Must-Know Facts
- The GTX 1060 was among the first GPUs to support ray tracing
- The 1060 comes in 3GB or 6GB variants
- GTX 1060 is par with the previous GTX 970 in terms of speed
- The GTX 1660 has a more powerful revision, the GTX 1660 Super
- The 1660 fits the budget line of the Turing-based GPUs
- GTX 1660 is more powerful than the comparable AMD Radeon RX 570
1060 vs. 1660: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Choose?
If you’re on the hunt for a budget GPU to power your gaming rig, then the GTX 1660 is a stellar choice. It isn’t as recent as the 2060 or 3060, but it has more than enough power to cover most games at 1080p on mixed settings. It is nearly four years old, and you can possibly find more powerful GPUs that are more recent for around the same pricing. There is also nothing in the NVIDIA line for the current RTX 4000 series that is comparable.
Given the upwards trends towards pricing for GPUs, picking an older model can be a safe pick. They might not support all the amazing features you might expect from a gaming GPU, but they are more than adequate for handling modern games at the detail levels you might expect from a console. It might be pushed to handle things at 1440p and higher resolutions, but you would certainly be better off spending more on a recent GPU which can handle those resolutions without compromising quality.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©FP Creative/Shutterstock.com.