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Nvidia GTX 1660 Super vs RTX 3060


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When thinking of a low-end GPU there are options for the current generation or potentially something older. This time we compare Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Super vs RTX 3060. Both of them compete to be your next best graphics card we see which is the better choice.

The 1660 super was released in October 2019, after the 20 series finished up as a budget card. Whilst the 3060 is the entry card in the current generation of Nvidia cards. Released at the beginning of 2021, it came as the low-end option in the newest generation of graphics cards.

EVGA GTX 1660 Super Ultra Gaming

Pros

Based on new Turing architecture

Aesthetically very pleasing

Cons

Doesn’t come with RTX support

Evga Logo

EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Gaming

EVGA RTX 3060

Pros

Strong all-metal backplate

Custom designed PCB for additional airflow

Cons

Only offers dual fan design

Architecture

16 series cards are an updated format of the 10 series of GPUs. So with that, the 1660 Super is based on the Turing architecture. Whilst the 3060 is on the newer Ampere architecture introduced with the 30 series.

ZOTAC3060ti 7

Specifically, the 1660 Super uses the TU116-300 GPU variant. Based on TSMCs 12nm process it creates a 284mm2 die containing 6.6 billion transistors. Whilst the 3060 is the GA106-300 GPU variant. Created with Samsungs 8nm process in a 276mm2 package containing 12 billion transistors.

Specifications

GTX 1660 Super RTX 3060
GPU TU116-300-A1 GA106-300-A1
Shaders 1,408 3,584
RT cores N/A 28
TMUs 88 112
Memory 6GB GDDR6 12GB GDDR6
Base clock 1,530 MHz 1,320 MHz
Boost clock 1,785 MHz 1,777 MHz
Memory clock 14 Gbps 15 Gbps
Card bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 4.0 x16
Memory bandwidth 336.0 GB/s 360.0 GB/s
TDP 125W 170W

Alongside the architectural differences, there are also changes in the specifications. They can offer a good indication of how the two cards differ on the basic level. So we take a look at these closely to see what they are.

Card bus

One of the main upgrades the 30 series offers is in the PCI bus it uses. This is the connection type between the GPU and motherboard. Its what allows the data to flow through and provide the GPU with what it needs.

So the 3060 gets 4th gen PCI lanes, whilst the 1660 Super is on the older 3rd gen connector. This means the 3060 has double the capacity of the 1660 Super. It can achieve up to 31.508GB/s whilst 3rd gen only 15.74GB/s. Potentially offering a better performance although neither of them might satisfy the full extent they are offered.

Clock rate

The clock speed of the graphics card is the rate of how quickly it can process the information. Based on the silicon oscillation in the die itself, it isn’t the sole reason for the difference in performance. But it is a good candidate for overclocking to get the most out of it.

In comparing the 1660 Super vs 3060 it’s the 16 series that takes the lead in pure speed. With a base clock higher at 1,530 MHz compared to 1,320MHz. The same is seen at boost although not as large difference with 1660 having a 1,785MHz boost with the 30 series at 1,777MHz. 

ZOTAC3060ti 2

VRAM

Also known as video memory is used as a frame buffer and pixel store for graphics. It attempts to lower latency between your CPU and GPU. While also offering higher resolutions a better chance of performance with their high pixel counts.

Between the two video cards, they utilize the same type of memory with the same memory bus. However, the capacity is different between the two of them. With the 3060 having 12GB compared to the 1660s 6GB. The 30 series is also clocked faster by 1 Gbps putting its max output at 360 GB/s compared to the 16s at 336 GB/s.

Cores

Cores inside the GPU are specialized parts that solve equations to produce the graphics you see. Some of these are the shaders, RT cores, and TMUs. These work on shadows and shading scenes, real-time ray tracing, and creating 3D objects from bitmaps.

Comparing the two, we find that the 1660 Super lacks cores as well as does not feature some. Since it is before the RTX lineup it doesn’t have any RT cores to process any ray tracing. As well as having less than half the shaders and a fifth fewer TMUs. Meaning it doesn’t process graphics as efficiently.

TDP

A key consideration, when electricity prices are increasing, is the TDP of a graphics card. It is the thermal design power of the board and is the maximum amount of energy it can use. Most of which will be transformed into heat. The 3060 does have a higher count of 170W compared to the 125W in the 1660 Super.

best RTX 3060 ti

1660 Super vs 3060 performance

Firstly we compare 1660 Super vs 3060 in 3Dmarks benchmarks in terms of pure graphical performance. There the 1660 Super achieves a score of 6,060 with a price to performance of 26. Whilst the 3060 achieves a score of 8,784 with the same price to performance of 26.

Looking at gaming benchmarks, the RTX 3060 takes the lead across the board by 27%. So on raw performance, the new-gen takes it. As well as actually being able to utilize ray tracing and new features like DLSS to enhance its performance even more.

1660 Super vs 3060 price comparison

Taking a look at the MSRP of the two we can see what they were valued at. The 1660 Super launched for $229, whilst the 3060 came out at $329. A $100, near 50%, increase over the old card. Which can be a significant difference but with their own advantages.

In the current market, we find that GPUs are expensive so you may not find them at that price. This means the cheapest 1660 Super will cost you $349.99 and a 3060 for $469.99. So both of the cards suffering the GPU shortage.

MSI GTX 1660 Super VENTUS XS OC

msi ventus 1660 super

Cons

One of the more expensive options

Evga Logo

EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Gaming

EVGA RTX 3060

Pros

Strong all-metal backplate

Custom designed PCB for additional airflow

Cons

Only offers dual fan design

Conclusion

Overall, comparing the GTX 1660 Super vs RTX 3060 we see the newer card is better in general. However, it does come at an extra cost of $100 at launch. So if you need just 1080p gaming the 1660 Super will be plenty good for your requirements. But you will lack the ray tracing and extra features offered to the newer generations.

If you’re still uncertain on price and choice, you can always wait for prices to fall further. Or until the next set of cards, with the Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs or the RTX 40 series in the second half of the year.

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