GTX 1660 Ti vs RX Vega 56 – 1440p Gaming Graphics Card Showdown

Recently, we reviewed the GIGABYTE GTX 1660 Ti Gaming OC, and while I did quite like the card I also noted that the Radeon RX Vega 56 would be a reasonable alternative, but lacked a card to compare against. Today, we’ll rectify that as I’ve managed to borrow a PowerColor Red Devil RX Vega 56 from one of the other staff members personal system (Thanks Matthew!) and will be putting it up against the GIGABYTE GTX 1660 Ti Gaming OC in a 1440p showdown.

This isn’t a typical review, so we won’t be going over things such as detailed specifications or an overview of the cards. We already covered that for the GTX 1660 in our review, and as for the PowerColor card, you can find most of that information on the company’s website.

Graphics Card Test Setup and Methodology

All game benchmarks are taken from a 3-run average either in-game or using the title’s built-in benchmark utility. Performance is recorded using OCAT: the open-source frontend for PresentMon, which itself is an open-source capture and analytics tool which supports modern APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan.

For our graphics card reviews, we use a 2nd generation Ryzen-based system with some parts supplied by AMD and DEEPCOOL. Thanks to all who sponsor components in our test systems, as without them it would be very costly to source the components we need.

Test Bench
CPUAMD Ryzen 7 2700 @ 4.1GHz
MotherboardASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero X370
RAM16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3200 CL16
GPUN/A
Storage500GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD (OS), 480GB Patriot Burst SSD
CoolerDeepCool Castle 240 RGB all-in-one liquid cooler.
CasePhanteks P350X
PSUDeepCool Quanta DQ1250

GTX 1660 Ti vs RX Vega 56 Overclocking

GTX 1660 Ti
RX Vega 56

For overclocking the GTX 1660 Ti we used the same settings we did in our reviews which are a 135MHz increase in Core Clock and a 1000MHz increase in Memory Clock.

For the RX Vega 56 we actually went slightly below what we knew we could reach (1700MHz) with the card as we wanted to get closer to what we felt a less premium model might achieve. For this, we managed an increase on the Core Clock to 1662 for the peak boost, and 925MHz for the peak Memory Clock.

(note the results are displayed using MSI Afterburner, but Radeon WattMan was used to achieve them).

GTX 1660 Ti vs RX Vega 56 Power and Thermals

Starting with power draw, we see that the GTX 1660 Ti consumes roughly 46% less power with both cards at stock. Overclocking both cards yields similar results as the gap increases to just 48% in favor of the GTX 1660 Ti.

Cooling performance is actually a bit of a surprise, the RX Vega 56 actually runs relatively cool, with a difference of just 1-degree at stock. Overclocking again yields similar results as the difference between both cards is just 4-degrees in favor of the GTX 1660 Ti.

It’s worth noting that the Red Devil RX Vega 56 we tested here is a bit of a gem, with a massively overbuilt cooling system. So, you should expect cheaper models to run a bit warmer than this.

GTX 1660 Ti vs RX Vega 56 Performance

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

In Assassin’s Creed, the Radeon card leads by 3% with both cards at stock. Once overclocked, the GTX 1660 Ti actually takes the lead by 3% itself.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment in the ‘Hidden City’ portion of the game.

At stock settings, the RX Vega 56 leads by a massive 24% on average. Once overclocked, the numbers are pushed even further away at 33% in favor of the Vega 56.

Far Cry: New Dawn

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Far Cry gives us another interesting result, as the RX Vega 56 leads by 5% with both cards at stock. However, once overclocked the GTX 1660 Ti does take the lead back but only by 1%.

Forza Horizon 4

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

The RX Vega 56 leads by a healthy 16% margin in Forza Horizon 4 at stock. Overclocking both cards does give us the ame 16% margin, so performance increases at roughly the same rate here.

HITMAN 2

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment in the ‘Santa Fortuna’ map.

HITMAN 2 delivers another massive lead for the RX Vega 56 as it performs 21% faster at stock when compared ot the GTX 1660 Ti. Overclocking both cards increases that that to 30% on average.

Update: original chart featured performance for the Vega 56 that was inaccurate due to a configuration error. This has been corrected and the results displayed above have been verified.

Resident Evil 2 (2019)

We test this title in a 60-second gameplay segment at the early portion of the game in the fiery streets of ‘Raccoon City’ on the way to the police station.

Resident Evil 2 once again has the Vega 56 winning with a lead of 22% on average. Overclocking both cards gives us the same 22% margin between them.

Battlefield V

We test this game during a 60-second gameplay segment of the ‘War Stories’ single-player game mode on the first level of the ‘Tirailleur’ campaign.

Battlefield V delivers yet another win for the Vega, this time it leads by 32% with both cards at stock. Once overclocked, the gap is narrowed to just 24%.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

The RX Vega 56 leads by a huge 23% in the Division 2, with that lead increasing even further to 34% as the GTX 1660 Ti would not run the title while overclocked.

Gears of War 4

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Gears of War 4 has the RX Vega 56 leading by 18% at stock. Once overclocked, the lead grows to 32% as the GTX 1660 Ti actually performs roughly the same at stock and while overclocked.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment on the ‘Roswell’ level of the campaign.

The RX Vega 56 leads by 22% on average in Wolfenstein II. Once overclocked, the gap shrinks to 17% in favor of the Vega.

World War Z

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Finally, we have World War Z and in this title the Vega card is leaps and bounds faster with an average lead of 48% at stock. Once overclocked, the gap shrinks to 43%, but that’s not much of a difference.

Conclusion

So, after testing 11 games at 1440p, we should have a decent idea as to which of these cards is the better buy. That said, I know how much you all like performance charts, so here’s the final summary for this report:

Taking a look at the above chart, we can see that the stock Vega 56 won in all the games we tested. Overall, it was 21.5% faster at 1440p than the GTX 1660 Ti.

Now, of course performance isn’t everything, and which card you should buy ultimately will come down to value. That said, at the time of writing there are multiple Vega 56 models available at the $299 price point including PowerColor’s slightly more tame Red Dragon, and the Saphire Pulse. Meanwhile, single-fan GTX 1660 Ti models such as EVGA’s XC Black Gaming will go for as low as $269, with more premium models such as the GIGABYTE card in this report priced at or around $299. So, it’s safe to say that at best, the GTX 1660 Ti is 10% cheaper, and at worse it’s priced equally to the Vega 56. Although, availability may be more scarce for the Vega.

With all that in mind, we’d say the Vega 56 is probably the clear winner here today. Despite the fact that the GTX 1660 Ti does draw nearly 50% less power, we don’t really see that as a problem for most users, unless you’re looking to build in a smaller case or your energy-costs are through the roof. Ultimately, the Vega 56 is a clear better value and better overall performer, but whether or not those pros outweigh the cons of higher power draw are up to you

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