So much for the RTX 2050 being Nvidia's next graphics card, then. While rumours have been circulating for a while now about a cheaper, non-ray tracing version of Nvidia's Turing GPU, I'd assumed the graphics card giant might finish releasing their GeForce RTX family before they started muddying the waters with potential GTX 1100 series GPUs or, as it now turns out, a new line of GTX 1660 cards.
First spotted by VideoCardz, a leaked photograph from an official Nvidia presentation that was most likely being given to third party AIB (add-in-board) manufacturing partners (your MSIs, Gigabytes Asuses and the like and therefore not the press or general public) appears to confirm that Nvidia's next and newest Turing GPU will indeed be the GTX 1660.
By switching back to their trusty GTX moniker, this would imply the GTX 1660 will not come with any of the Turing RTX family's titular ray tracing cores, which is the fancy pants reflection-enhancing gubbins Nvidia made such a song and dance about during their initial Turing launch at Gamescom last year where they first unveiled the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti.
Instead, this new GTX 1660 will apparently be based on Nvidia's so-called TU116 GPU. The RTX 2060, by comparison, uses Nvidia's TU106 GPU, so it's currently unclear whether the GTX 1660 will just have those ray tracing cores disabled or whether it's an entirely new die. Prices may well be cheaper if it's the latter, as there's less stuff to bung in the GPU. At the moment, though, the only other specs that appear to be doing the rumour mill rounds are that it will have 1280 CUDA cores and 3GB and 6GB GDDR5 memory variants.
If those specs sound familiar, that's because Nvidia's GTX 1060 also comes in 3GB and 6GB models, with the larger 6GB model also bearing 1280 CUDA cores. The only discrepancy is that the 6GB GTX 1060 has the ever so slightly faster GDDR5/X memory compared to the 3GB's regular GDDR5. As a result, it's possible the GTX 1660 may just be a slightly souped up version of the existing GTX 1060, but until Nvidia announce it officially it's best to take all of this speculation with a large pinch of salt.
There's also been a lot of talk around an alleged GTX 1660 Ti graphics card as well, which will use the same GPU as the GTX 1660, but have a higher CUDA count of 1536 and 6GB of the faster GDDR6 memory. You can't tell any of that from the leaked photo, of course, and neither does it say anything about a potential release date or price.
And yet, VideoCardz apparently expects both the GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Ti to arrive around the middle of next month - February 14th or 15th - for somewhere in the region of $250-350. Personally, I think it's highly unlikely they'll cost anywhere near the upper end of that rather woolly price bracket, as $350 is the current price of Nvidia's RTX 2060. To have another, seemingly less powerful card go for the same amount of money just doesn't make any kind of sense.
Where that leaves Nvidia's RTX 2050, though - if indeed they're even planning to release an RTX 2050 after this - is anyone's guess. After all, if Nvidia do end up focusing on cheaper GTX cards after the RTX 2060, the arrival of a similarly-priced RTX 2050 would almost certainly cannibalise any of those potential GTX cards.
If a release date of the middle of February is indeed on the money, however, it hopefully won't be too long before we find out the truth.