According to Steam's hardware stats from August 2020, over 60% of PC gamers play at 1080p. The next most popular resolution is 1366 x 768 at around 9% of the market, followed by 1440p at around 6% of the market. 1080p is king, and without the new Nvidia 30-series and AMD 6000-series GPUs, three of the best options for this resolution are the AMD RX 5600 XT, Nvidia RTX 2060, and GTX 1660 Ti.
When it comes to price, each of these cards costs around $ 300, but there are a few reasons to think about each other. This guide is everything you need to know before picking one up.
If $ 300 is over or under your budget, check out our list of the best graphics cards available right now.
Prices and availability
The Nvidia RTX 2060 is the oldest card in the lineup and debuted in January 2019. Its price remained very close to what it was launched at until the 5600 XT hit the horizon. Since then, the price has been lowered to $ 300, making the 2060 a much more competitive option. However, since not all third party vendors have followed suit, some cards are still found between $ 320 and $ 340.
The GTX 1660 Ti debuted just over a month later, in late February 2019, priced at $ 279 for the Founders Edition. Third-party options are still available for this price at the end of 2020. Some cards, like thatfell to $ 220.
The AMD RX 5600 XT made its grand entrance in January 2020 after a CES unveiling. There is no reference version from AMD. Although some third-party cards sell at the reference price of $ 280, others sell between $ 290 and $ 320, depending on the cooling configuration.
Right now, all three cards are about the same price as they were when they started. The 1660 Ti is the cheapest of them all, with options starting at just under $ 250, though all three models typically sell for around $ 300. Availability is also not a problem. Nvidia's two offerings are the most numerous, although we still have several 5600 XTs in stock at various online retailers. There are even more options in the used market, especially with the upcoming launch of the RTX 3000 series. From the end of 2020, however, used prices will only be around 50 US dollars lower.
If you are planning on purchasing any of these cards, it is best to do so now. The RTX 3080 should spell the end of the life of Nvidia's 10 and 20 series GPUs when filled. Inventories are high right now, but retailers are likely to have the last ones available.
With prices this close, the type of frame rates and detail settings that you can play with these cards are extremely important. All three are great for 1080p gaming, but which one is the most powerful?
|Graphics cores||2,304 stream processors||1,920 CUDA cores||1,536 CUDA cores|
|RT cores||N / A||30th||N / A|
|Tensor cores||N / A||240||N / A|
|Base clock||N / A||1.365 MHz||1,500 MHz|
|Music box||1.615 MHz||N / A||N / A|
|Boost clock||1,750 MHz||1,680 MHz||1.770 MHz|
|memory||6 GB GDDR6||6 GB GDDR6||6 GB GDDR6|
|Storage speed||14 Gbit / s||14 Gbit / s||12 Gbit / s|
|Bandwidth||336 GBit / s||336 GBit / s||288 GBit / s|
* Just before the launch, AMD released a BIOS update for the 5600 XT that will improve core and memory clock speeds. Most cards should use this, but not all at startup.
It is difficult to directly compare every aspect of graphics cards from different manufacturers as their architectures are very different, but there are some aspects that we can pit against each other. The RTX 2060 has 25% more CUDA cores than the GTX 1660 Ti, which the slight inequality of the clock rate cannot close.
The memory configurations of the RX 5600 XT and the RTX 2060 are practically identical after the AMD BIOS update, while the GTX 1660 Ti remains behind with slower memory despite the same amount. Overclocking may fix this, but not always. You'd probably give up your TDP advantage too, as the 1660 Ti requires significantly less cooling potential than the other two cards.
In the real world, Anandtech found that the RX 5600 XT was only a tad faster than the RTX 2060 (although not all versions could beat it). Even at 1080p, there were few frames between them. The GTX 1660 Ti lagged a little further behind the RTX 2060, suggesting that its price adjustment with the RX 5600 XT could pose some serious problems going forward.
Tom's hardware repeated these findings, with the RX 5600 XT outperforming the RTX 2060 in almost all games tested. In Gears of War 5 the difference was big too, with a difference averaging 15 FPS and more than 22 FPS for the 1% lows. There are some trading deals with hits, but ultimately the 5600 XT comes out on top. Both cards destroy the GTX 1660 Ti, relegate it to a class far below, and suggest that a fall in price is urgently needed.
Engadget's results even put the 5600 XT above nearly $ 400which seems a bit anomalous, but shows how powerful the 5600 XT is. Engadget called it the best option for high frame rate 1080p gaming, and most seem to agree.
Image sharpening, ray tracing and more
The two major GPU manufacturers offer some very different features in addition to the raw performance of their cards. The AMD RX 5600 XT features AMD image sharpening, Radeon Boost technology for improved FPS in high-speed games, and scaling of the integer display to beautify pixelated games. There are also lower latency inputs for faster competitive games and an ever growing streaming and recording service for games in ReLive.
Nvidia, on the other hand, has its own functions for sharpening images and games with low latency. The big feature that AMD can't touch is the ray tracing feature. With its RT cores, the RTX 2060 has hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which the RX 5600 XT simply cannot. The 1660 Ti can display ray tracing, but doesn't have the power to make it comfortably playable even at 1080p.
The RTX 2060 also enjoys super-sampling with deep learning, but like ray tracing, there aren't many games to support it yet.
The 5600 XT is the new 1080p king
You can be kidding about AMD only making 1080p game cards for the past few years, but it does a great job. The RX 5600 XT is the new king of this hill, with far higher performance than the GTX 1660 Ti and competitive performance with the RTX 2060. Yes, it was saved from near irrelevance by a last minute BIOS update, but this It is unlikely that this will be a permanent problem in the long run.
The RTX 2060 is still a viable GPU at its new $ 300 price point, especially if you're looking to dig into ray tracing and DLSS. But for pure money, if you want to play 1080p games at high frame rates, the RX 5600 XT is the card for a cheaper price. Think of it like a new generation Vega 56. It's technically 1440p capable, but doesn't expect it to maintain 60 FPS in many modern games.