NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6 GB GDDR5 Graphics Card Review Ft. MSI Gaming X ($249) and Ventus XS ($219) – The Best Turing Card For Budget Gamers?
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X / MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ventus XSMarch, 2019
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X Closer Look + Teardown
The MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X is a very compact graphics card and it looks to be a great solution for many gaming PCs and even the more small form factor designs. Even with such a small design, MSI has packed a lot in this graphics card such as the enhanced Twin Frozr 7 heat sink, the dual Torx 3.0 fans and a custom PCB which is far better than the one featured on the Founders Edition. The cards weigh in at just 957 grams and have dimensions of 247 x 129 x 52 millimeters.
The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation. You don't have to worry about installation as this compact graphics card would fit nicely inside almost any case you can think of.
The back of the card features a solid backplate which looks stunning and offers a premium look. This is, in fact, the same brushed metal design which I saw on the RTX 2060 Gaming Z from MSI. The one used by MSI on the GTX 1660 Gaming X is a more compact version of that and it looks even better.
In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Twin Frozr heatsink for MSI GTX 16 series cards which is now in its seventh variation. The first iteration of the Twin Frozr heatsink goes all the way back to the GeForce 200 series era and you can tell that this heatsink design has come a long way since.
Compared to the MSI Gaming X Trio, the Gaming Z with Twin Frozr looks vastly similar but unique too. It has the same fans, a similar shroud, and a smaller backplate, all within a compact design. I personally think that the compact version looks much better than its bigger and beefier sibling that is used on the higher-end cards.
I am back at talking about the full-coverage, full metal-based backplate which both card use. The whole plate is made of solid metal with rounded edges that add to the durability of this card. The brushed silver finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic.
There are cutouts in screw placements to easily reach the points on the graphics card. There are open vents for the hot air to move out from the back too. We can also see the MSI Dragon logo on the back which looks stunning. MSI is also using heat pads beneath the backplate which offer more cooling to the electrical circuitry on the PCB.
Coming to the fans, the card features the Torx 3.0 system. Both fans combine traditional and dispersion fan blade technology to offer better cooling performance.
The dispersion fan blade technology has a steeper curved blade that accelerates airflow and as such increases effectiveness in keeping the GPU cool. All fans deploy double ball bearing design and can last a long time while operating silently.
MSI also features their Zero Frozr technology on the Tri Frozr heatsink. This feature won’t spin the fans on the card unless they reach a certain threshold. In the case of the Tri Frozr heatsink, that limit is set to 60C. If the card is operating under 60C, the fans won’t spin which means no extra noise would be generated.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce RTX 2070 graphics cards don't feature any NVLINK connector as they don't support Multi-GPU functionality. This has been done for many reasons as two lower end cards have the potential to outperform a higher-end card in optimized titles which may end up cannibalizing its sales. The other is the optimization factor and we know that multi-GPU support isn't the best around these days so NVIDIA has only kept it for users who are willing to pay a premium on their higher end cards.
With the outsides of the card done, I will now start taking a glance at what's beneath the hood of the GTX 1660 Gaming X. I can see that MSI has made no compromise with this graphics card even though its a much smaller version of the Gaming X Trio series cards. The same heatsink technology is used on Gaming X.
The large fin stack runs all the way from the front and to the back of the PCB and is so thick that you can barely see through it. It also comes with the wave-curved fin stack design which I want to shed some light on as it is a turn away from traditional fin design and one that may actually offer better cooling to a GPU like the Turing TU116.
Talking about the heatsink, the massive block is comprised of 4x 6mm concentrated copper squared shaped heat pipes with a more concentrated design to transfer heat from the copper base to the heatsink more effectively.
The base itself is a solid nickel-plated base plate, transferring heat to the heat pipes in a very effective manner. To top it all off, MSI uses their exclusive Thermal Compound X which is said to offer higher thermal interface and heat transfer compared to traditional TIM applications.
The MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X has a single 8 pin power connector to boot. The card is rated at a TDP of 120W (reference TDP).
I/O on the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X graphics card includes three Display Port 1.4a and a single HDMI 2.0b.
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X PCB Teardown
MSI makes use of a 4+2 phase PWM design that includes their Military Class components such as Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Chok, s and Japanese Solid Caps.
Following are a few close-up shots of the reference PCB which is being offered under the hood of the Gaming X series graphics cards.
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X Mystic Light RGB
MSI GTX 16 Gaming X series cards utilize their Mystic Light RGB technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. There are a total of 17 different RGB effects which you can choose from and the cards have five RGB accent points, three on the front one on the back and one light bar surrounding the side of the card which looks really good. There's also the ability to set the speed and brightness at which the RGB LEDs operate.
You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the MSI Mystic Light application from MSI’s web page.
Following is what the graphics card looks like when lit up.