Manufacturer: Zotac Gaming
UK price (as reviewed): £259.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $279.99 (exc. tax)
With Turing architecture graphics cores at its heart but trimmed of the RT Cores and Tensor Cores used to accelerate ray tracing and AI workloads respectively, the GTX 1660 Ti is an efficient gaming GPU capable of solid frame rates at 1080p and 1440p. Board partners have as usual been quick to ready different versions of it in the hope of capitalising on a market segment with more volume than RTX parts. Cooler designs and features are less exciting than you’ll find on higher-end cards, however.
With no reference design from Nvidia, our launch article was based on the dinky, single-fan Palit StormX card, and today we’re looking at Zotac’s implementation, which just like Palit is sold at the starting MSRP of £260 and ships without any accessories.
This graphics card is so plain it doesn’t even have a fancy name, although you may see it sold under ‘Twin Fan’ nomenclature. This GTX 1660 Ti is one of two Zotac currently offers, the other being the higher-priced Amp version that features an overclock, backplate, and a slightly bigger cooler. Not so here, however; the Zotac GTX 1660 Ti is stock-clocked with a boost speed of 1,770MHz and GDDR6 memory running at 12Gbps.
The dual-slot card is diminutive; barely longer than a mini-ITX motherboard and no taller than the PCI bracket, it comes with a claim of being able to fit into 99 percent of systems. We don’t know about that, but it’s clearly small form factor ready.
With a simple plastic cooler shroud and no backplate, build quality is nothing special, but so small and light a card doesn’t need much reinforcement. The dark PCB is a sensible choice too, and generally speaking the card is neutral-toned, so even though it has no lighting of its own it shouldn’t clash with any you happen to use.
With stock frequencies the card has the reference TDP of 120W. The single eight-pin power plug can deliver 150W all by itself, so there’s more than enough juice.
Whereas Palit opted for one apiece of DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI, Zotac has taken a more modern stance with a trio of DisplayPort headers (which you’ll need for adaptive sync) and one HDMI. Having DVI perhaps makes more sense on a card like this, but it’s not a big deal either way.
While Palit went with a single large fan, Zotac is using a dual-fan setup. One of these is particularly small, so there’s a risk of higher noise output, but the GTX 1660 Ti isn’t especially difficult to cool. The cooler shroud is open, and the heatsink fins will direct some hot air out of the rear I/O, but lots of it will still be recycled in your chassis. Sadly the fans are not semi-passive and will continue to run even when the GPU is idle or mostly idle.
The cooler itself features three 6mm heat pipes fed by a copper baseplate. There’s a single aluminium fin stack that takes advantage of the card’s volume without wasting space, and we like that the copper pipes are nickel-plated too. It’s also good to see memory modules and MOSFETs being cooled directly by thermal pads (one of which is actually redundant and sits above empty memory slots on the PCB).
There’s little to write about on the PCB. Zotac looks to be using a 4+2 phase power configuration, and there’s no secondary BIOS.
October 14 2021 | 15:04