Nvidia GTX 16-series: Everything we know so far

RTX might be expensive, but the 16 series could have the best Nvidia Turing GPUs

At the beginning of 2019, it seemed likely Nvidia would launch a GTX 1160 graphics card. What has risen from its ashes, though, are rumors of a Turing-powered 1660, a 1660 Ti, and maybe even a 1650.

Odd naming convention aside, Nvidia’s mid-range lineup may soon be far more fleshed out, offering gamers an alternative to the RTX lineup and also greater competition for AMD’s aging Polaris RX 500 GPUs. They also could be some honest, worthwhile replacements for Nvidia’s own last-generation GTX 1060 and other entry-level GPUs.

Pricing and availability

nvidia gtx 16 series palit 1660 ti stormxoc 1000x750
Image via Videocardz.com

Videocardz’s snapshot of a private Nvidia partner event showcasing a “GTX Turing” branding alongside an image of a “166X” graphics card is pretty solid evidence of the range’s existence.  Nvidia has made no official announcement of the 16-series of GTX GPUs at all, though, so any release dates or pricing speculation remains firmly that and little more.

There have since been several leaks supporting the incoming launch of the GTX 1660. A Reddit user going by the name of the Rukey_Lob posted images of the Galaxy GeForce GTX 1660 Ti retail packaging, including the front, rear, and sides of the box. Judging from “Turing Shaders,” branding on the box, the images otherwise confirm that the GTX 1660 is powered by the Turing architecture and not Pascal.

Additional reporting from VideoCardz also suggests a February 22 launch date for the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. That is later than earlier rumors, as HardOCP’s sources had claimed that the GTX 1660 Ti would launch on February 15 with a price tag of $279. It also believed that the rumored GTX 1660 will debut in early March with a price of $229, followed up by a $179 GTX 1650 later that same month. Nvidia does have a conference coming up called GTC in mid-March, though it’s focused more on AI and deep learning than gaming.

How about pricing? Well, with a $349 floor on the RTX 2060, we would expect a GTX 1660 to be priced well below that. $279 makes a lot of sense, as that would put the 1660 Ti well within the price range of the AMD RX 590 — the best mid-range card AMD currently offers. That also stops Nvidia from immediately invalidating its remaining overstock of GTX 1060s, caused by the so-called, “crypto-hangover” from 2017’s major shortages.

We’d be surprised if it would launch a 1660 and 1650 in such short order. That is, unless Nvidia has big plans for discounting its GTX 1060 or is confident that it can clear older stock before those new cards arrive.

It would seem unlikely that Nvidia would launch 16-series products to compete with its high-end RTX-series solutions since the GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti (and AMD’s Radeon VII) do that already.

Performance

The most common aspect of Nvidia’s Turing-generation of graphics cards is that they tend to sit one market segment above their predecessors. With the new RTX 2060 overtaking the GTX 1070 Ti, the 1660 may be close in capabilities to a GTX 1070. A speculative 1650 may be more like a GTX 1060, and so on.

Performance is likely to be weaker than that of the RTX 2060 and if the pricing rumors are accurate, a card that is 15-20 percent faster than a GTX 1060 would make a lot of sense. Allegedly leaked performance numbers from Videocardz back this up, though with it being limited to the notoriously difficult-to-compare Ashes of the Singularity benchmark, it’s not a strong single point of reference to tar the whole graphics card with.

Press renders picked up by Videocardz also showcase the specs on two GeForce GTX 1660 Ti cards from Palit. The images confirm the cards will come with TU116 GPU, 1536 CUDA cores, and 6GB GDDR6 memory. A StormX OC variant, meanwhile, is said to include a clock speed of 1,815 MHz, while a standard version will clock in at 1,770 MHz.

A leaked screenshot of an AIDA64 system profile confirmed most of these details about the 1660 Ti and also confirmed the existence of 192 Tensor cores on board. That’s 20 percent less than found in the RTX 2060, but it should mean the 1660 Ti can perform some A.I.-focused tasks. For gamers, that means deep learning supersampling (DLSS).

If Nvidia doesn’t offer RTX cards below that of the RTX 2060, its GTX 16-series will be designed to take on AMD’s existing RX 500 series and anything Navi may be capable of. At $280, the 1660 Ti would price match the mid-tier RX 590‘s from third-party manufacturers, so we would expect performance to be at a similar level to make sure that the 1660 Ti is still a viable alternative.

The 1660 may end up as capable as an RX 580, and the 1650 as powerful as an RX 570. But this is heavily speculative at this time.

What about ray tracing?

Ray tracing ultra — Screenshot 4

Ray tracing is hard. We’ve seen that even with optimizations, ray tracing needs some seriously powerful hardware to operate at even 1080p, let alone higher resolutions. It’s a feature that costs framerates and for a series of graphics cards that would most likely be targeting good frame rates at 1080p and 1440p, ray tracing just won’t be possible on a 1660 Ti or lower without tanking performance.

Not only is the 1660 Ti and its potentially weaker brethren likely too underpowered to take advantage of ray tracing even at 1080p, but it’s a feature that will probably stay linked with the RTX branding for marketing purposes.

The GTX 16-series could be the first graphics generation of Nvidia’s transition to a dual-band graphics marketing platform where RTX represents the premium, and GTX the entry-level.

What about DLSS?

Deep learning supersampling is arguably the more exciting feature of Nvidia’s Turing graphics cards. The list of supported games is very small and early implementations haven’t been great, but its potential to actually improve performance without sacrificing detail means it could be a great feature for mid-range and entry-level GPUs.

Unlike ray tracing, which is very much a premium RTX feature, DLSS is likely to be possible with the 16-series. Since a leaked AIDA64 screenshot has all but confirmed Tensor cores on the 1660 Ti, it may be that the midrange 16-series cards will be able to take advantage of DLSS to increase performance and even approximate greater resolutions than the card might otherwise be capable of running.

Updated on February 20, 2019: Added new Tensor core information to performance and DLSS sections.

Computing

The rumors were true. Nvidia’s 1660 Ti GPU, a $280 powerhouse, has arrived

Nvidia has officially launched the GTX 1660 Ti, its next-generation, Turing-based GPU. It promises to deliver all the performance and efficiency for all modern games, but without stepping into the high price range of the RTX series. 
Computing

Does the GTX 1660 Ti's leaner design make it a better GPU than the RTX 2060?

Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti is a new Turing GPU without ray tracing or DLSS, but how does it compare to its RTX brethren? We pit the 1660 Ti versus the RTX 2060 to find out in this comparison.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Accidental Amazon listings provides peek at cost of GTX 1660 Ti PCs

An accidental listing on Amazon provided a peek at the final cost of some of the new Windows 10 desktops with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti on board, with prices possibly in the $1,200 range.
Computing

Intel expects Apple to transition Macs to ARM processors in 2020, report says

It has been rumored for some time that Apple could transition away from Intel to ARM processors, but a new report now claims that Intel is aware of the decision and that it could happen in 2020.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 
Computing

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Computing

Everything you need to know about routers, modems, combos, and mesh networks

Modem vs. router: what's the difference? We explain their functions so you can better diagnose any issues prior to contacting technical support. We also talk about a few variants you'll see offered by ISPs and retailers.
Computing

Limited-time sale knocks $500 off the price of the Razer Blade Pro 17

Looking for an ultra-powerful laptop for yourself or someone else? You're in for some luck. Razer is running a sale on some of its best gaming laptops, cutting down pricing on the Razer Blade 15 and the Razer Blade Pro 17. 
Emerging Tech

Engineer turns his old Apple lle into an wheeled robot, and even gives it a sword

How do you give new life to a 30-year-old computer? Software engineer Mike Kohn found a way by transforming his old Apple IIe into a wheeled robot. Check it out in all its 1980s glory.
Gaming

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.