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Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti looks like it should be a $280 mainstream favorite

Nvidia strips out the ray-tracing cores and some other probably won't-be-missed features for its new $280 GPU.

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Gigabyte's looks like one of the midrange, dual-fan implementations.

Gigabyte/Nvidia

Nvidia today shipped its newest mainstream gaming graphics chip, the GTX 1660 Ti, in keeping with our expectations based on earlier rumors. Though there's no Nvidia reference design card -- those are the "Founders Edition" models -- cards incorporating the chip should start at around $280 (£260 in the UK, which is around AU$475).

The GPU strips out much of what makes the new flagship RTX cards notable -- primarily the cores, which enable games to incorporate real-time ray-tracing. But it's based on the newer Turing architecture compared to the 10-series' Pascal, offering better parallel processing, adaptive shaders, a unified memory architecture and more cache than the GTX 1060 that it ostensibly supersedes.

It also lacks a couple of features from the RTX series: no support for VirtualLink, the standard for single-cable VR, or the SLI bridge for dual-card configurations. Like ray-tracing, those are features you probably won't miss for a little while. No headsets support VirtualLink as yet and the 1660 Ti wouldn't really be a card you'd stick in multi-GPU configurations, anyway.

While there are rumors circulating that it might have some undisclosed AI-accelerating Tensor cores for DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling, which does a better job than before at upsizing small textures in higher-resolution gameplay with a lower performance hit), they're either incorrect or they're there for production reasons but purposefully disabled. This card's meant for fast 1080p gameplay and midrange gaming systems -- budget systems with 450-watt power supplies configured to not-so-cheap levels.

Folks who've had a chance to benchmark a card (such as Anandtech) put it in the performance class of about 30 percent or so better than the GTX 1060. It's equal to roughly a GTX 1070 (it has 2GB less video memory than the 1070's 8GB) and somewhat slower than an AMD RX Vega 56 -- both of which are more expensive.

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