Which graphics should you pick in your next laptop? The Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, or the Radeon RX 5500M from AMD? In this comparison we’ll take a look at the differences in gaming performance, rendering, video exporting, power draw, thermals, price and more to help you decide which is worth it.
Let’s take a look at how the laptop GTX 1660 Ti and RX 5500M differ in terms of specs. Things like clock speeds, CUDA cores and Stream Processors aren’t directly comparable simply due to architecture differences. It’s worth noting that the 5500M has 4GB of GDDR6 memory, while the 1660 Ti has 6GB and the 5500M has a higher power limit at 85 watts.
The reason I’m comparing these two is because there’s quite a big performance gap between the Nvidia 1650 and 1660 Ti, until a 1650 Ti or similar comes out, the 5500M fills the gap between these options.
To do this comparison, I’ve got the ASUS TUF FX505DU and MSI Alpha 15. Both laptops have the same Ryzen 7 3750H processor with 16gb of memory in dual channel, the major difference is that the TUF has the GTX 1660 Ti, while the Alpha 15 has the 5500M, so things should be fairly comparely.
Both laptops were tested at the same time under the same conditions with the same Windows updates and game updates installed, and the latest Nvidia and Radeon drivers were used at the time of testing. Battlefield V was tested running through the same section of the game on both laptops. I’ve got the RX 5500M shown by the red bars, and the GTX 1660 Ti shown by the green bars. Interestingly in this test, the 5500M was actually ahead at both low and medium settings, however the 1660 Ti was able to edge in front at high settings, and then had a nice 25% higher average FPS at ultra settings. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested using the games built in benchmark, and again the 5500M was ahead at the lower setting levels. This could be due to CPU differences between the laptops, generally for GPU testing we want to use higher settings which are more GPU bound, and with the highest setting preset the 1660 Ti was 15% faster in this test. Apex Legends was tested running through the same section of the map on both machines, either with all settings at maximum or minimum as it doesn’t have built in setting presets. Interestingly at minimum settings the performance was essentially identical, and both were below the 144 FPS frame cap, my guess is that was more CPU bound. At max settings though the 1660 Ti was 21% faster when it came to average FPS. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode, also with either max or min settings and again the same part of the game on both machines for a fair comparison. There was a smaller difference at low settings, however the 1660 Ti was ahead this time, then at max settings it was around 21% faster than the 5500M. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested using the benchmark tool, and the results were interesting. At higher setting levels the 5500M laptop was giving warnings about low VRAM, and it would seem that due to the 4GB limit we’re getting far lower FPS at the highest setting preset, which made the 1660 TI over 200% faster in this instance, though as you can see the difference wasn’t quite as crazy at lower setting levels which were less heavy on the VRAM usage. Control was tested running through the same section of the game on both machines. This time the 1660 Ti was ahead regardless of setting level, both in terms of average FPS and 1% low performance. With the high setting preset it was seeing an 18% higher average frame rate when compared with the 5500M. Borderlands 3 was tested using the games benchmark tool, and again the 1660 Ti was ahead regardless of the setting level in use. With the highest setting preset, it was around 24% faster than the 5500M in terms of average FPS, with a slightly smaller 16% boost to 1% low. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature with the exact same replay file on each machine. It’s a win for the 1660 Ti regardless of the setting level in use, with a nice 28% lead in average FPS with the highest epic setting preset in use. Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the built in benchmark with Vulkan. The 5500M was ahead in average FPS at low settings, then at medium and high it was still doing better in terms of 1% low performance, but again this could be due to some CPU difference with the machines. At ultra settings where we’re more likely to be GPU bound the 1660 TI was in front with an 18% higher average frame rate.CS:GO was tested with the Ulletical FPS benchmark, the 1660 Ti was ahead in all instances here, however as this game tends to favour CPU power more than the GPU, this game saw one of the smaller differences out of all titles tested, with an 11% boost to average FPS at max settings. Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane, and again tends to gain its benefits from CPU improvements. At ultra settings the 1660 Ti only had a 6% performance lead, however the gap does widen as we step down in setting levels, until it’s 16% faster at low settings. Overwatch was tested in the practice range as this allows me to perform the exact same test run, however actual gameplay does perform a bit worse. The 1660 Ti was ahead in terms of average FPS regardless of settings in use, however the 5500M got the win in 1% low at low and high settings. At epic though, even the 1% low from the 1660 Ti was ahead of the average FPS the 5500M was able to provide, and the 1660 Ti was 28% faster than the 5500M in terms of average FPS here. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested using the games benchmark tool, and this test saw one of the biggest improvements in performance with the 1660 Ti laptop. At the highest setting preset the average FPS was 35% faster than the 5500M laptop, while the 1% low from the 1660 Ti was quite close to the average the 5500M was able to offer. The Witcher 3 was tested running through the same section of the game on both machines. The 1660 Ti was in front in all instances, and had a 20% lead in average FPS with the ultra setting preset. Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the games benchmark tool, and the 1660 Ti was ahead in all instances, though as a test that seems to depend more on CPU power, the differences are lower compared to the other titles tested. The 1660 Ti was 12% faster at ultra settings when comparing average FPS.
These are the differences in performance when looking at all 15 games tested at the highest setting preset, as this is where we’re generally going to be more GPU bound. That massive Ghost Recon result is lifting up the average performance a lot, putting the 1660 Ti 32% faster than the 5500M.
Given it’s probably not likely you’d want to run that title at max settings due to lower FPS anyway, and because it’s obviously such a massive outlier in the data, I’ve also got a graph showing the other 14 games only. With the outlier removed, the 1660 Ti is around 20% faster than the 5500M on average.
I’ve also measured total system power draw from the wall while running The Witcher 3 or Heaven benchmark. I chose this game as it was basically spot on with the 20% average performance improvement, and we can see that despite performing better, the 1660 Ti was using less power too. This makes sense considering the 5500M has the 85w TDP, while the 1660 Ti is 80w. It seems that despite AMD using their 7nm RDNA architecture that Nvidia still has an efficiency lead while performing better.
With this higher power draw I’d expect the 1660 Ti machine to last longer in terms of battery life too. Sure enough, even though the 1660 Ti machine has a slightly smaller battery, it’s lasting longer.
As both machines have completely different cooling solutions it’s not really fair to compare thermals, however as a lot of people are going to ask anyway here were the results during the same test. I thought the 5500M would run hotter as a result of using more power but that wasn’t the case, but again there are differences in heatpipes and fans so this is not a fair comparison.
The 5500M looks like it’s more competing with the 1650 given they have the same 4GB of VRAM. In my MSI Alpha 15 review we saw that in general, it was falling in between the Nvidia GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti. Based on this the 5500M does kind of have some reason to exist, at least until Nvidia either refresh the 1650 or put out the 1650 Ti.
I’ve also got some 3DMark TimeSpy and FireStrike results. The 1660 Ti was ahead in all cases, with a 13% higher Firestrike graphics score, and a 27% higher timespy graphics score.
Interestingly outside of gaming I found the 5500M slightly faster in terms of Adobe Premiere video exporting, though both took about the same time. Given Intel based laptops offer such a big improvement when compared to the Ryzen 7 3750H I’m testing here, I wouldn’t personally consider either of these systems for video editing with this software.
I’ve also run SPECviewperf 13 which is a benchmark for measuring graphics performance based on professional applications. The results varied quite a bit here, the wins went either way depending on the specific workload. The showcase test failed to run on the 5500M for some reason, so no data point there.
For the final difference, the price. The only gaming laptop with the 5500M is the MSI Alpha 15, and since my original review they’ve dropped the price by $100 USD, so the config I tested here is about $1000, but to be fair you can also get the same machine with half the memory and a worse screen for under $900. The ASUS TUF FX505DU on the other hand is around $900, though this one has 8gb of memory like the $900 Alpha 15, so same price there. There’s a 16gb config for around $100 more, again very close in price to the 5500M machine I tested, so essentially, the price is about the same.
Considering the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti was around 20% faster in games on average when compared with the AMD Radeon RX 5500M, the 1660 Ti is looking like the clear winner unless they further lower the price of the 5500M laptop to compete. Not only that, but as I’ve mentioned in other videos the driver experience with the 5500M simply isn’t as good as the Nvidia option. I had more issues opening games and crashes than I’m used to while testing the Alpha 15 compared to pretty much any other laptop.
So with all of that in mind, let me know which graphics you’d get in your next laptop and why. Based on the test results and my own personal experience testing the two, I don’t think it makes any sense to get the 5500M over the 1660 Ti at the current price. Even if the Alpha 15 was $750 and the TUF was $900, that’s 20% more money for a 20% performance improvement, add on the smoother driver experience with the Nvidia machine and that still sounds worth it to me unless you really can’t afford the extra. Anyway I’m definitely interested to hear what you’d go for, let me know in the comments.