Previous Mainstream GPU: GeForce GTX 960 vs. GTX 1660 & RTX 2060

When we recently tested the new GeForce GTX 1660, we found that Nvidia made a bold statement in the review that the 1660 was a whopping 113% faster than the GTX 960, making it a perfect upgrade option for old-middle-class owners . Maxwell GPU range.

Given that the GeForce GTX 960 is the fifth most popular GPU among Steam users – and that's a very representative selection of PC gamers – it seems that many of you are using it. We therefore thought we would investigate the truth of Nvidia's words.

Before we get to the benchmarks, a few brief statistics. We tested the GTX 960 for the first time in January 2015 to hit the $ 200 to $ 250 mark. 1024 CUDA cores were packaged, 27% less than in 1660 and clocked 34% lower. There are also 33 fewer ROPs and while both use GDDR5 memory, the GTX 960 has 42% less memory bandwidth due to the lower clocked memory and, above all, a narrower 128-bit wide memory bus.

This test focuses on 1080p performance, with a dozen titles scrutinized before breaking down into 33 games that directly compare the GTX 1660 and 960. All tests were performed in our GPU test bench, which contains a Core i9-9900K with 5 GHz and 32 GB DDR4-3200 memory. We relied on Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 drivers for the Radeon GPUs and Game Ready 419.35 WHQL for the GeForce GPUs.

Gaming benchmarks

Playing Apex Legends at 1080p and the high quality preset is not much fun with a GTX 960. You see frame rates that are consistently well below 60 fps and are far from ideal if you play a fast first person shooter. If you don't want to reduce the visual quality, you have to upgrade. The new GTX 1660 offers a healthy performance increase of 136% with an average of 106 fps.

If we move to the recently released "The Division 2", we find a bad situation with the GTX 960.

With an average of only 27 fps, the games with the default setting of 1080p in the highest quality are almost not playable. Granted, the game is pretty demanding with these quality settings, but those looking to upgrade to a GTX 1660 can look forward to a 152% increase in performance, not too bad. If you only want to play The Division 2, the RX 590 may be a better choice.

We noticed a similar situation when testing with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Using the highest preset quality, the old GeForce GPU spit out an average of only 34 fps and with frame dips into the 1920s. Thanks to the 124% increase in performance of the GTX 1660, the game could now be enjoyed in all its glory at 1080p.

The GTX 960 does a good job in Forza Horizon 4 as long as you have the 4GB model. Nevertheless, the GTX 1660 still offered a performance increase of 126% and reached an average of 95 fps. With more than twice as many frames per second, it offered a much smoother gaming experience.

Hitman 2 was also playable with the GeForce GTX 960 and it wouldn't cost much to recall the quality settings to reach 60 fps. That said, if you want to enjoy Hitman with ultra quality settings enabled, something like the GTX 1660 is the way to go, as it spits out a lot more impressive 93 fps on average.

When tested with Just Cause 4, the new, inexpensive Turing GPU delivered slightly more than twice as many frames as the GTX 960.

The jump from an average of 32 fps to 65 fps is enormous and makes jumping and flying around while attacking enemies much easier and perhaps more importantly, much more enjoyable.

We see a fairly consistent trend here. When testing with Resident Evil 2, the GTX 1660 showed 129% more performance at 1080p with the default setting activated for maximum quality. More than doubling the frame rate obviously leads to significant improvements in gameplay. While this isn't a game that absolutely needs large frame rates, the smoother movement certainly adds to the gaming experience.

Of all the games we've compared so far, Fortnite is by far the least demanding. Therefore, the GTX 960 was good for 52 fps on average and we use the default for the Epic quality. With competitive settings, the GTX 960 would push over 60 fps at 1080p. However, if you want more than 144 fps with competitive settings, the GTX 1660 is required, and an average of 113 fps was achieved even with the Epic preset enabled.

Metro Exodus is a new and very challenging title. The GTX 1660 cannot achieve an average of 60 fps when the ultra preset is activated at 1080p. That said, it's a damn sight better than the 27 fps you'd average on the aging GTX 960.

We have to admit that we expected the GTX 960 to do quite well in Rainbow Six Siege. Although an average of 48 fps is playable, we expected more, although we're not sure why the RX 570 only renders an average of 69 fps. This means that upgrading to the GTX 1660 will give you a healthy 146% performance increase and an average of 118 fps.

Battlefield V is an interesting result because it's one of the smallest deltas we've found for the 1660 versus the 960 in the 33 games tested. Here the Turing GPU was 81% faster. Still a big margin, but given the fact that we typically more than doubled 1660 performance, this is a bit of a surprise.

Although World of Tanks has recently undergone a major overhaul and we are testing with the HD client, it is still very well optimized for older hardware. For example, the GTX 960 was good for 55 fps on average and that's a very playable achievement in this title. If you still want more power, the GTX 1660 can help you with a good performance increase of 91%.

The GTX 960 also has just enough grunts to play Far Cry New Dawn at 1080p using the highest quality preset. Quite impressive and really speaks for how well this title is optimized.

However, if you want to keep the frame rate well above 60 fps at any time, the 98% performance increase for the GTX 1660 is very welcome.


When it comes to power consumption, we see how impressive the Turing-based GTX 1660 is in terms of efficiency. Although the GTX 960 often offers twice as much power as the GTX 960, the total system load increased by only 16% and reached 262 watts. Even by today's standards, the GTX 960 is not terrible and you will get away with a very modest power supply.

Put everything together

Four years later, we saw how the GTX 960 behaves in modern 1080p titles using the quality settings chosen. It's not great, but it's also about what you can expect from a mid-range graphics card that can no doubt be serviced unless you need top graphics fidelity.

The GTX 960 was sold for $ 200 for the 2GB models, and between $ 40 and $ 50 more for the 4GB version we tested today. If you're using a 2GB model, the performance increase will be even greater than it is today.

Based on the 13 games we just watched, the GTX 1660 is about twice as fast as the GTX 960. At 1080p, we expect an average performance increase of 117%. This is huge and means that Nvidia was just right.

Granted, the GeForce GTX 1660 costs ~ $ 280 today, but that's not inappropriate in today's market and has actually adjusted other GPUs below or above it accordingly. The cheaper Radeon RX 580 8GB currently costs $ 190 and is roughly on par with the GTX 1660 in terms of cost per frame if you want the ultimate value for money.

This means that GTX 960 owners have had a somewhat similar value option in the RX 580 for some time, which makes the GTX 1660 a little less exciting. Still, there are a number of solid upgrade options for those who still use a GTX 960 or similar performance. You can check out our last 33 game review with mainstream GPUs here. If you use a GTX 980 instead, we visited it again a few weeks ago.

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