Should you buy an RTX 3060 laptop, or save some money and get a cheaper GTX 1660 Ti? I’ve compared both laptops in 15 different games to show you all the differences! These are the differences in specs between these two laptop GPUs. The newer RTX 3060 has more than double the CUDA cores, and although both have 6 gigs of GDDR6 memory, the newer 3060’s is faster. The 3060 also has a higher maximum power limit range, and more power will equal better performance, but also more heat.
I’m using the Lenovo Legion 5 to do this comparison, as both laptops have a lot of similarities which helps keep things fair.
Both laptops have full wattage GPUs, so I’m comparing the highest powered 1660 Ti against the highest powered 3060, unfortunately I don’t also have an 80 watt 3060. Now the 1660 Ti is only available with last generation processors. I don’t think it’s possible to find one with either Ryzen 5000 or Intel 11th gen, so some of the differences that we’re going to see in this comparison will be due to those CPU differences, so while that may not be ideal from a scientific comparison standpoint, it’s just going to be the way it is in the real world. An RTX 3060 laptop will have a newer CPU. We can try to mitigate the processor differences by focusing on higher setting presets in games, as these will generally be more GPU bound.
Of course we are expecting the newer RTX 3060 to perform better, the question is by how much, and is it worth paying money for? Both laptops were tested with the exact same memory kit installed, the same Windows updates, same Nvidia drivers and with optimus disabled for best results. Let’s start out by comparing both laptops in 15 different games followed by content creator workloads, power draw, price difference and cost per frame afterwards. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the games benchmark.
I’ve got the newer RTX 3060 results shown by the purple bars, older GTX 1660 Ti results shown by the red bars, and along the left are all the available setting presets, with lowest down the bottom and highest up the top. The 1660 Ti is still giving reasonable results and is above 60 FPS at medium settings, however at ultra where we’re more GPU bound the 3060 was reaching 65% higher average FPS. Cyberpunk 2077 was tested with the exact same run through the game on both laptops, and it’s showing us the limits of the 1660 Ti straight away, in that it’s not able to run the ray tracing presets with DLSS at the top. Even the 1% lows from the 3060 were ahead of the average FPS from the 1660 Ti at most setting presets, so fairly big gains on offer with the newer 3060 here. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the other hand had a much smaller difference at the highest setting level, the 3060 was just 9% ahead, or only 4 FPS, nothing major.
At lower presets though, the 1% lows from the 3060 were again ahead of even the average FPS from the 1660 Ti, though the differences between the Zen2 and Zen3 CPUs likely starts making a larger difference there.
Control was tested with and without ray tracing, let’s start with ray tracing off results. This is a GPU heavy game, which is why the differences at high settings are some of the biggest out of any game tested. The 3060 was reaching 66% higher average FPS compared to the 1660 Ti, and even at max settings the 1% low of the 3060 is 20 FPS ahead of the 1660 Ti’s average. The performance gap is much bigger with ray tracing enabled, because only the 3060 has the dedicated hardware required for ray tracing.
GTX hardware can still run it in some games, but as we can see the results are poor. RTX graphics also have the advantage of DLSS, and enabling this makes ray tracing perform much better, though we can of course also run with DLSS without ray tracing for even higher performance DLSS is an advantage that the GTX 1660 Ti does not have, though this might be less of an issue as more and more games start to support AMD’s FSR. It just depends on the specific game and whether or not it supports FSR, DLSS, or both. Watch Dogs Legion also had some big differences between the two at higher settings. The 3060 was reaching more than 60% higher average FPS at ultra settings, though the gap is lower at 15% with the low setting preset. Fortnite was tested with the same replay on both laptops, and there were big gains to be had with the 3060 laptop here too, which was reaching 57% higher average FPS at the highest epic setting preset. The differences at lower settings look like they’re bigger, but they’re not, the 3060 was 37% ahead at low settings.
CS:GO is another esports title, however there were much smaller differences in this one as the GPU doesn’t seem to make as big of a difference compared to the CPU. The 3060 laptop was just 17% higher in average FPS at max settings, but I’m sure much of this is due to Zen 2 vs Zen 3 differences. The differences in Microsoft Flight Simulator were also smaller compared to most other games tested, particularly at low, medium and high end settings.
Ultra settings had the biggest performance gap, with the 3060 laptop 26% ahead of the 1660 Ti laptop in terms of average FPS. Rather than talk through the rest of the 7 games individually in depth, I’ll just blast through them so we can get into the fun stuff, feel free to pause the video if you want a closer look at these additional games.
More games is important to help get a better rounded average. On average over all 15 games tested at 1080p with the highest setting preset, the RTX 3060 was around 50% faster than the older GTX 1660 Ti. This is quite a big difference, though some games had much smaller differences like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, while some of the GPU heavy games like Control were above 60% faster on the newer 3060.
Now let’s check out thermals and battery life. The internals of both laptops is quite similar, yeah there are some differences but the heat pipes appear to be the same and both can even have the same 80Wh battery. These are the clock speeds that were reported by hardware info by running the Heaven GPU benchmark at max settings at 1080p for 30 minutes.
The 3060 was reaching higher speeds, just like it says on the spec sheet. The 3060 was also running with a higher power limit.
The 1660 Ti maxes out at 80 watts, and although the 3060 runs at 115 watts when the processor is under load, like in most games, in this GPU only workload newer graphics like the 3060 can take advantage of dynamic boost, which in this case allows it to peak at 130 watts. Higher power limit means that the laptop as a whole is drawing more power from the wall when under load, and more power is generally going to equal more heat, especially given the similarities in the cooling solution, so no surprise that the 3060 laptop was running warmer in this GPU workload, but the trade off, as we’ve seen, is much higher performance.
Both laptops were lasting for comparable amounts when running an actual game on battery. In this case the 1660 Ti was lasting 3% longer, or just 4 minutes more while playing the Witcher 3, granted both laptops are limited to 30 FPS with Nvidia’s battery boost here. People always ask for 3DMark, so here are the results.
The 3060, shown by the purple bars, is ahead in all of these tests. It’s scoring 48% higher than the 1660 Ti in the Firestrike graphics score, 58% higher in the Timespy graphics score, then a massive 239% higher in Port Royal because the 3060 actually has ray tracing hardware, and this is a ray tracing test.
I’ve also tested some content creator workloads, because believe it or not some people do more than just gaming. Crazy I know! I’ve tested DaVinci Resolve with the Puget systems benchmark.
This test mostly depends on GPU power, and the RTX 3060 was scoring 12% higher than the GTX 1660 Ti in this one. The differences were much larger in Blender with CUDA, probably due to the CUDA core count differences. The 3060 completed the longer Classroom render test 56% faster than the older 1660 Ti. The V-Ray test also uses the GPU to render a scene, and the 3060 had big gains in this one as well as it’s another CUDA test, scoring 44% higher than the 1660 Ti. SPECviewperf tests out various professional 3D workloads, and the 3060, shown by the purple bars, was ahead in all of these tests, though the amount it’s ahead by could vary significantly depending on the specific test.
Great, so the 3060 is better as expected, but how much more money does it cost and is it worth it? Prices will of course change over time, so refer to those links down below for updates. The Legion 5 with 1660 Ti that I’ve tested here currently goes for $1230 USD, though it was $1000 for quite some time last year, so presumably it’s increased to meet supply and demand. That said there’s still the 6 core Intel 10th gen model for $1000, and honestly in most games at max settings the performance should be relatively similar, granted you might want to upgrade the RAM from 8 gigs.
The 3060 Legion 5 on the other hand is more than $300 more, though it looks like it was on sale for under $1400 USD recently but now that’s out of stock, again check the links in the description for stock updates.
As far as cost per frame goes, the 1660 Ti in the currently priced Legion 5 is the worst value, and while the 1660 Ti at $1000 is offering better value, the 3060 Legion 5 on sale was still slightly better value. When considering both at regular prices with no sales though, the 3060 model actually appears to be worth paying for. Yeah it costs more money, but the uplift in performance results in a lower cost per frame value, so you’re getting what you’re paying for, though it does of course depend on your budget and what you can afford. Honestly if you can get it on sale, I think the newer RTX 3060 is well worth it. On sale at $1400 USD it’s about 14% more money compared to the Legion 5 with 1660 Ti, and as we’ve seen it’s also offering a much better performance boost, at least one that I would be comfortable paying 14% more money for.
Even at full price the 3060 model is still about 27% more than the Legion 5 with 1660 Ti, which for 60% gains in some gains I think is still pretty well worth it.
That said, the 1660 Ti is by no means dead, as we’ve seen it can still do quite well in a number of modern games, you just might have to turn the settings down in some of them a couple of levels. Check out these videos next if you want to get a better idea of how well both the 3060 and 1660 Ti compare against other laptop GPUs. Make sure you’re subscribed to the channel for future laptop comparisons like this one, and come and join me in Discord and get behind the scenes videos by supporting the channel on Patreon.