GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Launch Today - Supported By The NVIDIA Linux Driver, No Nouveau Yet
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 22 February 2019 at 07:07 AM EST. 26 Comments
NVIDIA --
After weeks of leaks, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is expected to be formally announced in just a few hours. This is a ~$300 Turing graphics card but without any ray-tracing support as so far has been common to all Turing graphics cards. The GTX 1600 series family is expected to expand as well in the weeks ahead.

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti has a Turing TU116 GPU with an expected 1536 CUDA cores. Aside from lacking RTX and the tensor cores, the rest of the specs align with the RTX 2000 series Turing GPUs including being fabbed on the 12nm FinFET process. The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti has 6GB of GDDR6 video memory.

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti has a retail price of $279 USD while some overclocked models and with beefed up cooling will obviously command a higher price, including some embargoed press releases mentioning prices above $300 USD.

We weren't briefed in advance (and thus no NDA/embargo) though also didn't receive any review sample(s) from NVIDIA or their AIB partners. Chances are, I'll resort to buying a retail GeForce GTX 1660 Ti today in order to deliver Linux benchmarks. (Thus time for the usual P.S.A... If you enjoy the daily Linux hardware benchmarking that happens on Phoronix, consider joining Phoronix Premium, making a PayPal tip, or at the very least not viewing this web-site with any ad-blocker!) Sadly most NVIDIA partners know full well the Linux gaming marketshare is very small relative to gaming on Windows thus not much luck otherwise. One way or another, there will be GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Linux benchmarks on Phoronix in the days ahead.

On the driver front, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti should obviously work fine with NVIDIA's proprietary driver. Expect NVIDIA to release a new driver today or in the next few days to formally recognize the "GTX 1660 Ti" rather than just reporting it as an unrecognized "Device", but given the good Turing support already out of the NVIDIA Linux driver and the new graphics card just lacking the RT/tensor cores, the proprietary Linux driver support should be in good shape.

On the Nouveau front, there isn't yet any support for the TU116 GPU. Though even for the existing Turing graphics cards, only with the soon-to-be-released Linux 5.0 kernel is there any level of open-source Turing support on Nouveau. That current level of support is just kernel mode-setting without any hardware acceleration. The situation unfortunately won't change until NVIDIA releases the signed firmware images at an unknown date in the future. Even when that happens, there still is the large re-clocking / power management battle ahead that leaves even the GTX 900 Maxwell and GTX 1000 Pascal graphics cards still crippled by this open-source Linux driver. Long story short, for anything past the GTX 700 Kepler series the only viable Linux driver support for now remains with the (proprietary) but featureful and fast NVIDIA proprietary driver.

Even if you aren't into NVIDIA graphics on Linux, AMD already has a response to the GTX 1660 Ti. The Radeon RX Vega 56 is dropping to $279 USD. Some listings have already shown up in the US with the RX Vega 56 indeed being at $279 USD, but they've been selling out quickly so far.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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