Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti vs RTX 2060: In-depth Comparison

Nvidia‘s mid-range graphics cards have long offered an excellent balance of performance and value. And the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060 are two prime examples that deliver superb 1080p and 1440p gaming for reasonable prices. But which is the better buy in 2023? Let‘s find out in this in-depth head-to-head comparison.

A Quick History Lesson

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti was released in February 2019 as a mid-range offering built on the Turing architecture but without support for advanced Turing features like ray tracing or DLSS.

It slots below the high-end RTX cards and above entry-level GTX 1650/1630 models, targeting smooth 60+ FPS gaming in 1080p and 1440p resolutions.

The RTX 2060 debuted soon after in January 2019 as a more affordable RTX option with dedicated ray tracing hardware and DLSS capability. It occupies the bottom rung of the 20 series lineup.

Despite belonging to successive generations, the GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060 are based on the same 12nm Turing GPU architecture and share much in common, as we‘ll explore below.

Technical Specifications Compared

Here‘s a side-by-side look at how the GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060 compare based purely on their technical specs:

SpecificationGTX 1660 TiRTX 2060
GPU ArchitectureTuring TU116Turing TU106
Manufacturing Process12 nm FinFET12 nm FinFET
CUDA Cores15361920
RT CoresNone30
Tensor CoresNone240
Texture Units96120
Base Clock1500 MHz1365 MHz
Boost Clock1770 MHz1680 MHz
Memory Configuration6GB GDDR66GB GDDR6
Memory Bus Width192-bit192-bit
Memory Speed12 Gbps14 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth288 GB/s336 GB/s
TDP120W160W
Power Connectors1x 8-pin1x 8-pin
Display Outputs1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DP1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x DP
MSRP at Launch$279$349

Looking at the specs alone reveals a clear pattern – while relatively evenly matched, the RTX 2060 enjoys useful advantages in CUDA cores, higher clock speeds, memory bandwidth and extra display outputs.

The lack of dedicated RT and tensor cores prevent the GTX 1660 Ti from handling modern graphics techniques like real-time ray tracing and DLSS.

Performance Benchmarks

Synthetic benchmarks only reveal part of the picture though. Let‘s examine independent gaming test results across popular titles in 1080p and 1440p resolutions to gauge real-world performance differences:

Source: Hardware Unboxed

Summary:

  • In 1080p, the RTX 2060 is approximately 15-20% faster on average depending on the title. Both easily surpass 60 FPS.
  • In 1440p, the gap closes to around 10-15% in the RTX 2060‘s favor. 60+ FPS still achievable in most games tested.
  • RTX 2060 consistently meets or exceeds the GTX 1660 Ti‘s frame rates due to its specification advantage.

So in terms of sheer gaming grunt, the RTX 2060 is decisively ahead. But does that justify the higher original MSRP? Let‘s factor price into the equation.

Pricing and Value Comparison

CardLaunch MSRPCurrent Pricing*Value Rating
GTX 1660 Ti$279$230-$270Excellent
RTX 2060$349$250-$300Very Good

\ Average eBay buy-it-now pricing for used cards in good condition_

Fact #1 – Both are now available well below original MSRP thanks to successor launches and a cooling GPU market.

Fact #2 – There is only a slight monetary difference separating them presently.

Fact #3 – The RTX 2060 retains a 10-15% performance advantage in modern games.

Evaluating overall value against current pricing and performance data, I‘d rate both as excellent bargains, with the RTX 2060 boasting superior longevity.

Either one would do a fantastic job powering buttery-smooth 1080p or moderately high 1440p gaming in 2023. However, the RTX 2060 should last you notably longer before requiring an upgrade.

Feature Differences

Beyond raw performance, the GeForce RTX 2060 sports a few extras up its sleeve…

Ray Tracing

Its dedicated RT cores enable real-time ray traced graphics for heightened visual fidelity in supported titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Spiderman Remastered. Ray tracing accurately simulates the physical behavior of light to render life-like shadows, reflections and lighting.

DLSS

DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) leverages AI to boost frame rates while minimizing image quality loss compared to normal upscaling. It‘s especially beneficial at higher resolutions. Over 140 games and apps support DLSS presently.

NVENC Encoder

The RTX 2060 gets Nvidia‘s upgraded 5th-gen hardware encoder (Turing NVENC) allowing high quality game streaming/recording with minimal CPU impact. The 1660 Ti lacks this updated encoder.

Longer Driver Support

As part of the RTX-series, the 2060 will likely continue receiving driver updates and optimizations for a year or two longer – improving performance over time.

These extras make the RTX 2060 more forward-looking compared to the GTX 1660 Ti as games begin tapping into newer graphics features.

Power, Thermals and Noise

The RTX 2060‘s higher 160W TDP warrants a more robust power supply and cooling solution than the 1660 Ti‘s 120W requirement.

In terms of noise levels and operating temperatures, most custom variants of either card achieve excellent results thanks to capable cooling designs. The RTX 2060 tends to run slightly hotter on average if compared reference model vs reference model.

I‘d suggest partner cards from Asus, MSI, Gigabyte or other established AIBs over Nvidia‘s own Founders Edition (FE) variants for the best thermal and acoustic characteristics.

Availability Outlook

Both GPUs are discontinued at this point, so you‘ll only find them from retailers clearing old stock or second-hand.

As the RTX 2060 was produced and sold in greater quantities, it enjoys comparatively better ongoing availability in the used/refurbished channels.

I expect this supply advantage to persist for the RTX 2060 as we move through 2023 and beyond.

The Verdict

For 1080p gaming today, you can‘t go wrong with either card and should grab whichever you find at the better bargain.

But considering its specification lead and useful feature set beyond just gaming, the GeForce RTX 2060 pulls ahead as offering longer-lasting performance and a smarter investment overall.

Paying slightly more for the 2060 buys you superior future-proofing including ray tracing, DLSS and better driver support down the road. With only a negligible price gap right now, it‘s worth spending extra over the GTX 1660 Ti.

So in summary – Those on a tight budget can safely snag the 1660 Ti for flawless 1080p gameplay in the short term. But the RTX 2060 gives you extra performance headroom and longevity for just a bit more.

I hope this complete tech and value breakdown between these two Nvidia cards has helped inform your GPU purchase decision. Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below!

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