PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Super Single Fan review: Tiny graphics card, big performance

This itty-bitty graphics card can fit into almost anything.

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

GTA V

We’re going to wrap things up with a game that isn’t really a visual barn-burner, but still tops the Steam charts day in and day out. We test Grand Theft Auto V ($30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gtav Brad Chacos/IDG

Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2018 benchmark for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else, and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

power Brad Chacos/IDG

Nvidia’s modern GeForce GPUs continue to be much more power-efficient than the aging Radeon RX 570, 580, and 590. Based on what we’ve seen from the Radeon RX 5700 series, the 1080p-focused Radeon RX 5500 series GPUs launching this quarter should sip power about as prudently as Nvidia’s offerings. For now, though, AMD simply can’t touch the GeForce GTX 1660 Super’s efficiency, even as the GeForce card delivers much faster frame rates. The miniscule single-fan PNY model draws slightly less power than the dual-fan Asus Dual EVO OC.

We test thermals by leaving either AMD’s Wattman (for Radeon GPUs) or EVGA’s Precision X1 (for GeForce GPUs) open during the F1 2018 five-lap power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

Now this is interesting, albeit on a more academic level: Even with a single fan and a smaller heatsink, the PNY card runs slightly (very slightly) cooler than the Asus Dual GTX 1660 Super EVO OC. Subjectively, it’s also very slightly louder in operation, but it’s not a raging beast by any means. They both keep nice and quiet.

Should you buy the PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Super Single Fan?

If you’re in the market for a GeForce GTX 1660 Super—and again, you should be, as it’s the best graphics card you can buy for 1080p gaming—give the PNY GTX 1660 Super Single Fan some serious consideration, especially if you’re running a system where longer graphics cards just won’t fit. It’s fast, cool, quiet, and really small. Better yet, the price is certainly right at Nvidia’s $229 baseline for this GPU.

dsc00750 Brad Chacos/IDG

Obligatory banana for scale.

You get zero frills for your money. There’s no RGB lighting, no backplate, no BIOS switch, no supplementary fan headers, and a limited (but functional) port selection. That said, while spending more on another custom GTX 1660 Super model can get you those luxurious extras, it isn’t likely to get you much more actual gaming performance. If you want a good, straightforward graphics card, the PNY GTX 1660 Super Single Fan is well worth your money.

The identically priced Asus Dual GeForce GTX 1660 Super EVO OC adds a metal backplate and a small illuminated RGB strip on the side of the shroud, but it takes more space in your system. Despite doubling up with a pair of fans, the Asus Dual isn’t any faster, quieter, or cooler than the PNY Single Fan. They’re both great 1080p gaming options at $229.

On the other hand, current AMD Radeon offerings in this price range deliver outstanding value at their much cheaper price points (with bundled games), but the Radeon RX 570, 580, and 590 simply can’t hang with the GTX 1660 Super in terms of pure performance. Be sure to read our guide to the best graphics cards for PC gaming for a broader look at the best options available.

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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