MSI GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming X Review
Peter Donnell / 9 months ago
The Nvidia GTX 1660 SUPER cards are here at last, and few come as high-end as the MSI Gaming X model. It may be a more affordable card, but even then there is still room for more affordable and more premium models. With the award-winning Twin Frozr 7 cooler, this card should be able to run harder, faster, and cooler than many of its rivals. We certainly intend to find out if that is the case.
MSI GTX 1660 Super Gaming X
Earlier this year, we put the MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X thought its paces, and it was a very competitive and affordable graphics card. However, now the SUPER version is here! It’s basically the same chipset, honestly, no changes there. However, rather than GDDR5 it now features the much faster GDDR6 memory, which should give it a nice performance boost, especially at higher resolutions. So faster memory and a bigger cooler, will that be enough to make this the new king of budget gaming cards? We certainly hope so.
- TU116-300 Chipset
- 1408 Cores
- 88 TMUs
- 48 ROPs
- 6GB GDDR6 Memory
- 192-bit bus
- 12nm FinFET Process
For in-depth specifications, please visit the official product page here.
A Closer Look
The Twin Frozr 7 is a pretty big cooler design. However, it’s perfectly capable of passively cooling the card at lower temperatures and loads. If the fan isn’t spinning, it’s perfectly normal operating.
The fans are massive, which means the card sits a little wider than the PCI bracket, so be sure to check clearances in very slim PC cases. The larger fans are a welcome addition though, as they can move more air at lower RPM.
Lower RPM fans, more airflow, and hopefully less noise, are obviously very good things indeed. The fans are packing an impressive 14 blade design each too.
Tucked down the side, you’ll find a nice little bit of branding with LED backlighting. A nice little premium touch to complete the look of this fantastic cooler.
Towards the back, there’s a single 8-pin header. These are pretty modest chipsets, so they don’t need a lot of power. However, the single 8-pin may limit the overclocking potential.
Around the back, you’ll find a decent amount of ventilation. You’re doing well for DisplayPorts too, as the card is sporting three of them, plus a single HDMI!
The cooler design is bloody fantastic looking on this card. However, I think the back of the card looks even better. A brushed metal finish backplate that looks like it belongs on a card worth three times as much. Of course, this card is more expensive than MSRP, but with looks like this, it’s easy to see why.
How We Test
We continue to update our testing methods around once per year. As such, we re-test older hardware to reflect changes over time. These can be driver updates, Windows updates, game patches, and more; all of which have an impact on performance figures. Furthermore, we update our test bench to newer and more relevant hardware. This means that our new reviews aren’t always comparable to those of older reviews, so please compare the testing methodology on older reviews should you be trying to compare them with newer ones.
Replicate Our Results
When it comes to our benchmarks in our reviews, the benchmarks are pretty self-explanatory and kept as simple as possible, although there are a few exceptions. Remember that your choice of a graphics card, CPU, the silicon lottery, and other factors can yield different numbers, and there’s always a margin for error when using any software.
Links are provided below, as well as the settings we use. We encourage you to not just look at how one product compares to any other, but how it compares to your own. If you’re looking to build a new system, you should benchmark your current PC using the benchmarks available to you. You should then look at the percentage improvement from your current hardware to the hardware tested here to give you a ballpark figure of how much of an upgrade this will provide you with.
Graphics Card Test System
- Motherboard – Aorus Z390 Gaming Master
- Processor – Intel Core i9-9900K (Stock)
- RAM – Crucial Ballistix Gaming 32GB (4 x 8GB) 3000 MHz
- CPU Cooler – Noctua NH-D15S
- Power Supply – Be Quiet Power Zone 1000W
- Main Storage Drive – Toshiba OCZ VX500 500GB
- Chassis – Thermaltake Core P5 TG
- Operating System – Windows 10 64-bit
- Monitor – AOC 28-Inch 4K Gaming Monitor
- Killawatt style electricity usage meter wall plug
- Precision Gold N05CC Decibel meter
To gauge performance levels which are easily reproduced time after time, by both ourselves and our readers, we now stick strictly to games default profiles. We now use the “High” profiles for all games or their respective equivalent at all resolutions. V-Sync is always disabled in our testing, as are FreeSync and G-Sync technologies or similar. Graphics card power usage is set to optimised or balance, and the system power mode set to High Performance within Windows and the available GPU driver software. Identical settings are used for all resolutions unless otherwise stated.
Games and Settings Used
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider DX12 High Preset
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided DX12 High Preset
- Ghost Recon: Wildlands High Preset
- Battlefield V DX12 High Preset
- Battlefield V DX12 High Preset (DXR Enabled) NVIDIA RTX Cards ONLY
- Metro Exodus DX12 High Preset
- Metro Exodus DX12 High Preset (RT, then RT and DLSS Enabled) NVIDIA RTX Cards ONLY
- Far Cry New Dawn High Preset
- The Division 2 High Preset
- Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
- Borderlands 3 High Preset
- 3DMark Fire Strike (download)
- FireStrike Ultra Benchmark
- Unigine Superposition (download)
- 4K Optimised Benchmark
- HWMonitor (download)
- GPU-Z (download)
- MSI Afterburner (download)
Everyone has a reasonable noise level preference when it comes to components on a computer. Some can handle all fans at 100% load to keep temperatures down; some want an entirely silent computer. To accurately gauge the noise output of a graphics card, we position a Precision Gold N05CC one meter above our open-air test bench and take an average reading at idle and load.
We take power readings during the idle state with no background applications running. Then again at 50% completion of the Unigine Superposition benchmark, using the average as the final published result.
We take temperature readings after 10 minutes of desktop idle with no background programs running, then take the recorded maximum delivered from Unigine Superposition after a 4K optimised run, confirming the numbers are accurate with HWMonitor. Furthermore, the ambient temperature is always kept +/- 1c from 21c.
The MSI GTX 1660 SUPER is one of the best-equipped cards on the market for this launch. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that it beat the other two GTX 1660 SUPER cards we reviewed today. Not by a huge margin, but it’s no surprise that the most expensive card, with the biggest cooler of the three, is also the fastest. What’s more impressive is the gains it has on the non SUPER MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X.
The Gaming X scored a respectable 2933 in 3DMark, but we got that up to 3394 with the SUPER. That’s more than the RX580 and closer to the GTX 1660 Ti and even the RX 590. The same is true in TimeSpy, with the Gaming X scoring 5984 and the SUPER scoring an impressive 6443!
Finally, we have Unigine, with the Gaming Xhitting 4363 and the Super at 4929, which is again super close to the GTX 1660 Ti scores.
- 3DMark FireStrike Ultra – 3391
- 3DMark TimeSpy – 6443
- Unigine Superposition 4K Optimised – 4929
3DMark FireStrike Ultra
Experience Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara must master a deadly jungle, overcome terrifying tombs, and persevere through her darkest hour. As she races to save the world from a Maya apocalypse, Lara will ultimately be forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be.
Available now on Steam.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Performance
- 1080p Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 83
- 1440p Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 57
- 2160p Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 31
Now an experienced covert operative, Adam Jensen is forced to operate in a world that has grown to despise his kind. Armed with a new arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons and augmentations, he must choose the right approach, along with who to trust, in order to unravel a vast worldwide conspiracy.
Available now on Steam.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Performance
- 1080p Deus Ex Mankind Divided – 82
- 1440p Deus Ex Mankind Divided – 54.5
- 2160p Deus Ex Mankind Divided – 28.4
The Ghosts, an elite US Special Forces team, are sent behind enemy lines to wreak havoc, destabilize, and eventually break the alliance between the cartel and the corrupted government. Facing an almighty enemy in a massive and hostile environment, the Ghosts will need to make critical moral choices and engage in tough battles to complete their mission – their grittiest and most dangerous operation to date.
Available now on UPlay.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands Performance
- 1080p Ghost Recon Wildlands – 86.69
- 1440p Ghost Recon Wildlands – 55.53
- 2160p Ghost Recon Wildlands – 35.98
Enter mankind’s greatest conflict with Battlefield™ V in the most intense, immersive, and innovative Battlefield yet. Lead your squad to victory in all-new multiplayer experiences like the multi-map Grand Operations. Fight for survival in Firestorm – battle royale, reimagined for Battlefield. Witness a never-before-seen portrayal of WW2 in the single-player War Stories campaign. Assemble your Company of customized soldiers, weapons, and vehicles – then take them on an expanding journey where every chapter brings a new battlefield. You will never be the same.
Available now on Origin.
Battlefield V Performance
- 1080p Battlefield V – 88
- 1440p Battlefield V – 64
- 2160p Battlefield V – 32
Metro Exodus is an epic, story-driven first-person shooter from 4A Games that blends deadly combat and stealth with exploration and survival horror in one of the most immersive game worlds ever created. Flee the shattered ruins of dead Moscow and embark on an epic, continent-spanning journey across post-apocalyptic Russia in the greatest Metro adventure yet.
Explore the Russian wilderness in vast, non-linear levels and follow a thrilling story-line inspired by the novels of Dmitry Glukhovsky that spans an entire year through spring, summer and autumn to the depths of nuclear winter.
Available now on Epic Game Store.
Metro Exodus Performance
- 1080p Metro Exodus – 52.04
- 1440p Metro Exodus – 39.13
- 2160p Metro Exodus – 23.36
Seventeen years after a global nuclear catastrophe, civilization re-emerges from the chaos to find a world dramatically changed. In Hope County, Montana, the remaining populace has gathered into different groups, each with their own rules for survival.
In this new world order, the vicious Highwaymen, led by twin sisters Mickey and Lou, travel from place to place bleeding people dry of all available resources. As the Survivors try to defend their lands against the Highwaymen’s relentless onslaught, it’s up to you to come to their aid and lead the fight.
In the latest instalment of the award-winning Far Cry franchise, you are the last line of defence in a transformed, post-apocalyptic Hope County. Help the community of Survivors grow stronger, craft a makeshift arsenal through Turf Wars and cross-country Expeditions, and form unexpected alliances to fight for survival in a dangerous new frontier.
Available now on UPlay.
Far Cry New Dawn Performance
- 1080p Far Cry New Dawn – 94
- 1440p Far Cry New Dawn – 69
- 2160p Far Cry New Dawn – 37
Seven months have passed since a deadly virus hit New York City and the rest of the world, crippling the population. When the virus hit, The Division, a unit of civilian sleeper agents, was activated as the last line of defence. Since then, Division agents have been fighting relentlessly to save what remains.
For The Division, the stakes are higher than ever. Washington, D.C. – the most heavily protected city on earth – is at risk, leaving the entire nation on the brink of collapse. If Washington, D.C., is lost, then the nation falls. As a Division agent who has been in the field for seven months, you and your team are the last hope to stop the fall of society after the pandemic collapse.
Available now on UPlay.
The Division 2 Performance
- 1080p The Division 2 – 96
- 1440p The Division 2 – 63
- 2160p The Division 2 – 33
The original shooter-looter returns, packing bazillions of guns and a mayhem-fueled adventure! Blast through new worlds and enemies as one of four new Vault Hunters. Play solo or with friends to take on insane enemies, score loads of loot and save your home from the most ruthless cult leaders in the galaxy.
At the hard edge of the galaxy lies a group of planets ruthlessly exploited by militarized corporations. Brimming with loot and violence, this is your home—the Borderlands. Now, a crazed cult known as The Children of the Vault has emerged and is spreading like an interstellar plague. Play solo or co-op as one of four unique Vault Hunters, score loads of loot and save the galaxy from this fanatical threat.
Available now on Epic Games Store.
Borderlands 3 Performance
- 1080p Borderlands 3 – 67.17
- 1440p Borderlands 3 – 44.96
- 2160p Borderlands 3 – 17.83
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint puts you in the boots of the Ghosts, an Elite US Special Operations Unit stranded behind enemy lines. This time there is no briefing. All contact has been lost with Auroa. This archipelago is home to Skell Technology, a high-tech company. You are sent there with your unit for a recon mission, but your helicopters are shot down: Skell Tech has fallen into the wrong hands. The Wolves, a lethal ex-US military unit gone rogue, have taken over the island.
Led by your ex-brother-in-arms, Colonel Cole D. Walker, they have reprogrammed Skell’s drones into killing machines and are ready to use them, no matter the casualties. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a military shooter set in a diverse, hostile, and mysterious open world that you can play entirely solo or in four-player co-op. Injured, without support, and hunted down by ex-Ghosts, you must fight to survive while lost in Auroa. Choose the right alliances and decide how to take down your toughest enemy.
Available now on UPLAY.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
- 1080p Breakpoint – 78
- 1440p Breakpoint – 54
- 2160p Breakpoint – 28
While this was the fastest GTX 1660 SUPER we’ve reviewed for today’s launch, it seems that it still had plenty more performance to give! Out of the box, it was the highest clocked and had the biggest cooler. However, we boosted the memory to an impressive 2025 MHz and the GPU core to 2020 MHz. That gave over 10% performance improvement, with barely any impact on the heat and acoustics.
How Much Does It Cost?
As is often the case with writing reviews before the products are released, we don’t have retail links and 100% confirmed prices right now. The card is expected to retail at the MSRP of £239.99, which would make it the most expensive GTX 1660 SUPER we’ve reviewed today. However, the old saying of you get what you pay for rings true. It has a more premium cooler and it is fastest! We will, of course, update the pricing and retail links as soon as possible.
So MSI released a budget card that’s above the MSRP of their rivals. What would make them do such a thing? Well, the performance of this card speaks for its self. Just because you can’t afford an £800 beast of a flagship RTX card, doesn’t mean you don’t want nice things. At a more modest price tag, this card looks every bit as good as the top cards in the MSI range. The premium cool and backplate are drop-dead gorgeous. However, they’re not all show and no go either. The card runs cooler and faster than its rival GTX 1660 SUPERs. A big cooler goes a long way for GPU performance.
When it comes down to making this a SUPER card, they’ve certainly delivered. It smashed through games at 1080p, delivering around 90 FPS in many titles using high settings. Ultra graphics and still hitting 60 FPS and above in most games should be a breeze. Then again, even at 1440p, it scored around 60 FPS easily at high settings, making this a viable gaming card for both resolutions. Plus, if you’re coming from consoles, where 4K30 is commonplace, the MSI 1660 SUPER will give you that performance too, albeit with the improved detail and textures PC gamers expect.
Out of the box, this card is pretty well-tuned. It’ll beat out the other 1660 SUPER cards easily enough, but also offers a nice step up from the non-SUPER variants. For those building their first gaming PC, or even more so, upgrading a much older graphics card, it has a lot of appeal. A little more expensive, sure, but you clearly get what you pay for in regards to build quality and frame rates. Plus, there was still a little extra headroom to overclock it even further, if you’re so inclined.