Intro

The EVGA GTX 1660 XC Overclock Showdown vs. the Red Devil RX 590 using 41 games

This overclocking showdown is the follow-up to BTR’s launch review of the EVGA GTX 1660 XC versus the PowerColor Red Devil RX 590.  Today we have optimized and maxed-out both individual overclocks with all performance options set to their highest limits to get the most performance from each card.

In the USA market both cards are in a similar price range.  The EVGA GTX 1660 is priced at $239 with a $10 mail-in-rebate and a 1-game bundle while the Red Devil RX 590 is priced at $239 with a 3-game bundle and a $20 mail-in-rebate.

At stock, the GTX 1660 won nearly all of the 41 games we tested over the Red Devil RX 590.  This time, we will overclock our cards manually each as far as they will go to see where they stand in relation to each other overclocked and to see if anything changes.  We also updated to the very latest drivers and have added Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 to our benchmarks.

The GTX 1660 OC

The EVGA GTX 1660 XC 6GB is a factory overclocked card that is clocked 45MHz higher than the reference clocks boosting to around 1920MHz.  We found our own final stable manual overclock was higher than Precision X1’s +109MHz scan recommendation.  We added 145MHz to the core to boost the clocks to above 2040MHz.  We also added 900MHz to the GDDR5 memory overclock.

Our core overclock of the GTX 1660 seems to be well in line with what is expected from Turing GPUs.

The Red Devil RX 590 OC

The RX 590 8GB is clocked up from the reference 1545MHz to its maximum boost speeds of 1576MHz.  The details of our original overclocking may be found here.  We found that as long as the  the Power and Temperature limits are maximized, it will not throttle even with the Silent BIOS profile.

We settled on a 2.5% overclock or an offset of +40MHz to the core for a 1615MHz boost, with memory clocks overclocked +175MHz to 2175MHz.  We found that higher memory clocks gained significant performance over a slightly higher core overclock.  Adjusting the voltage – undervolting or undervolting – made no practical difference, and we achieved stability in all of our 41 tested games by using overclocking brute force.

Testing Platform

We test 41 games and 3 synthetic benchmarks at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440.  Our platform is a recent installation of Windows 10 64-bit Home Edition, and we are using an i7-8700K which turbos all 6 cores to 4.7GHz, an EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard, and 16GB of HyperX DDR4 3333MHz. The games, settings, and hardware are identical except for the cards being compared.

Before we run our overclocked benchmarks, let’s check out the test configuration.

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i7-8700K (HyperThreading and Turbo boost is on to 4.7GHz for all cores; Coffee Lake DX11 CPU graphics).
  • EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard (Intel Z370 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 3.0/3.1 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x), supplied by EVGA
  • HyperX 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, dual channel at 3333 MHz), supplied by HyperX
  • EVGA GTX 1660 XC 6GB, factory GTX 1660 clocks, on loan from EVGA
  • Red Devil RX 590 8GB, at factory overclocked settings, on loan from PowerColor
  • 2 x 480GB Team Group SSDs – one for AMD, and one for NVIDIA
  • 1.92TB San Disk enterprise class SSD
  • 2TB Micron 1100 enterprise class SSD
  • Seasonic 850W Gold Focus power supply unit
  • EVGA CLC 280mm CPU water cooler, supplied by EVGA
  • EVGA Nu Audio PCIe soundcard, supplied by EVGA
  • Edifier R1320T Active speakers
  • EVGA DG-77, mid-tower case supplied by EVGA
  • LG 43″ HDR 4K TV
  • Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K

Test Configuration – Software

  • Nvidia’s GeForce 419.35 drivers.  See NVIDIA Control Panel image below.
  • AMD Adrenalin Software 19.3.2 drivers.  See the AMD Control Panel image below.
  • VSync is forced off.
  • AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied
  • Gaming results show average frame rates in bold including minimum frame rates shown on the chart next to the averages in a smaller italics font.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home edition. All DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths.  DX12 titles are generally run under the DX12 render path unless performance is lower than with DX11.  Three games use the Vulkan API.
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 41 games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
  • WattMan used to set Radeon cooling and power options.
  • Precision X1 used for all GeForce settings and for overclocking.
  • OCAT, latest version
  • Fraps, latest version
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0

41 PC Game benchmark suite & 4 synthetic tests

Synthetic

  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Time Spy DX12
  • Superposition

DX11 Games

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • The Witcher 3
  • Fallout 4
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Battlefield 1
  • For Honor
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Prey
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Project CARS 2
  • Total War: Warhammer II
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Destiny 2
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Far Cry 5
  • The Crew 2
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • Hitman 2
  • Just Cause 4
  • Resident Evil 2

DX12 Games

  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Hitman
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Gears of War 4
  • Civilization VI
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Forza 7
  • Total War: Warhammer II
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Battlefield V
  • Metro Exodus
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Vulkan Games

  • DOOM 
  • Wolfenstein: The New Colossus 
  • Strange Brigade

AMD Adrenalin Control Center Settings

All AMD settings are set so as to be apples-to-apples when compared to NVIDIA’s control panel settings – all optimizations are off, Vsync is forced off, Texture filtering is set to High, and Tessellation uses application settings.

We use Wattman to set the RX 590’s power, temperature and fan settings to their maximums.

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

Here are the NVIDIA Control Panel settings that match AMD’s settings.

We used the latest beta of Precision X1 to set the GTX 1660’s highest Power and Temperature targets and for our overclocks.  By setting the Power Limits and Temperature limits to maximum for each card, they do not throttle, but they can each reach and maintain their individual maximum clocks.  This is particularly beneficial for high power cards.

Let’s check out the performance of our competing cards to conclude how they stand each manually overclocked in relation to each other.

Performance summary charts 

Here are the performance results of 41 games and 3 synthetic tests comparing the stock and overclocked GTX 1660 XC versus the Red Devil RX 590.  The highest settings are always chosen and the settings are listed on the charts. The benches were run at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440.

Most gaming results show average framerates in bold text, and higher is better. Minimum framerates are next to the averages in italics and in a slightly smaller font. A few games benched with OCAT show average framerates but the .1 minimums are expressed by frametimes in ms where lower numbers are better.

The first two columns are devoted to the GTX 1660.  The next two columns are devoted to the Red Devil RX 590. The overclocked results are in the middle two columns for easy comparison.  “OC” refers to the overclocked cards’ performance.  Wins between the overclocked results are shown by yellow text while the wins between stock cards are show in orange.  If there is a performance tie, both results are given in colored text.  As always, open each chart in a separate tab for the best viewing.

We see each of our cards gain decent performance from manual overclocking although the Red Devil RX 590 gains less as it doesn’t appear to have a lot of headroom.  The stock GTX 1660 XC wins most of our benchmarks at stock and even gains further performance by reason of its better overclocking headroom.

Let’s check out our conclusion.

Conclusion

This has been a fun and interesting overclocking exploration evaluating the manually overclocked EVGA GTX 1660 XC versus the overclocked Red Devil RX 590. Both cards appear to scale well with each of their respective overclocks although the GTX 1660 gains more performance by reason of its superior headroom and higher core and memory overclocking capability.

The EVGA GTX 1660 XC is quieter than the RX 590 especially when the cards are overclocked and under full load.  The RX 590 also tends to use a lot of power when overclocked especially if undervolting isn’t also used.

The overall pricing has changed from last week when the GTX 1660 launched.  Although the EVGA GTX 1660 Black still sits at $239 with a $10 mail-in-rebate and a bundled game, the RX 590s have dropped in price at some outlets and some SKUs can now be found at $229, generally with a 3-game bundle.

Later this week, BTR will continue our Driver Performance Analyses series with a new post as Adrenalin 19.3.2 driver was released last Thursday for The Division 2.

BTR will also continue our VR performance benching series next week.  In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below, or on BTR’s Community forum.

Happy Gaming!