UK price (as reviewed): £214.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable
Our initial experience of the GTX 1660 was marred by the fact we had a relatively expensive implementation of it; no amount of RGB lighting could save the MSI Gaming X card from looking horribly overpriced at £250 given that faster GTX 1660 Ti cards start at just £10 more. While we want to avoid a race to the bottom and do welcome useful features and good cooling on custom card designs, those that stray too close to the next GPU up invariably run into these sorts of issues.
As such, we were happy to receive a more modest version of the GTX 1660. The StormX OC card from Palit is tiny with its single-fan cooler and unexciting both in appearance and build quality. The plastic shroud is all-black and has same angled shapes moulded into it, but copper is left exposed and there’s no lighting or backplate. Still, the card is small enough not to need additional stability, and GTX 1660 is very much a value-oriented card.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the same cooler as we saw with the GTX 1660 Ti StormX. It’s common for partners to reuse designs like this, and it makes sense for GTX 1660/GTX 1660 Ti as the TU116 GPU is the same in both, meaning PCB designs can be carried over almost identically. Palit also offers a dual-fan cooling solution for these two GPUs, both with and without an overclock. As for this one, it’s a true dual-slot solution and no longer than a mini-ITX motherboard, paving the way for use in truly tiny builds – just watch out for the 10mm or so of extra height beyond the PCI bracket.
The GTX 1660’s starting MSRP is £200, and the £15 premium Palit is charging here is designed to cover the ‘OC’ part of the name. Yes, this card is overclocked at the factory, although not by much. A 1,830MHz boost clock is a mere 45MHz more than stock (2.5 percent), though even MSI’s pricey Gaming X card only manages 1,860MHz here. Truth told, this won’t make much difference over stock performance at all, and we reckon most will be better off saving £15 and opting for the regular StormX card sans OC, which comes in at the MSRP of £200. Still, the card sits where it sits and will likely capture some “might as well” buyers. Note that the memory is left at the stock speed of 8Gbps and there is no secondary VBIOS.
Opting for a DVI-D port gives users of older screens a hassle-free way of hooking things up, while one apiece of HDMI and DisplayPort also makes sense. The latter can be used with both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync monitors to utilise lovely variable refresh rates in games.
The singular eight-pin PCIe plug will cover all the card’s power needs and then some, leaving ample room for manual overclocking. The plug is not indented, so factor that into your measurements if the card’s height is potentially problematic – though we suspect it won’t be.
The extra height is not without reason and is used to accommodate a large nine-blade fan. Horizontally arranged heatsink fins will help to direct hot air from this fan out of the rear I/O, but the shroud is clearly open enough that much of it will also land back in your chassis. Sadly, the fan is not semi-passive and will remain on at all times.
The cooler is a mixed bags of positives and negatives. On the plus side, it comes off easily, has a sufficient quantity of heat pipes, and uses thermal pads to directly cool all the GDDR6 memory modules and most of the key VRM components. However, it doesn’t take full advantage of the shroud’s volume, and as mentioned the copper isn’t nickel-plated. Still, we know the cooler can handle GTX 1660 Ti pretty well, so there’s no reason to expect different here.
There are no binned GPUs for the GTX 1660, so all cards overclocked or not use the same GPU i.e. TU116-300-A1. Palit uses a fairly basic 3+1 phase power configuration here, but this is a GPU with low power requirements, so this isn’t a criticism.
There are no special warranty terms with this card, leaving you with the standard two years.
July 1 2020 | 17:34