Question What exactly is a "Reference Card"?

May 26, 2019
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So I was looking to buy a Gigabyte GTX 1660 OC 6GB, and In the specs it says:
Core Clock: 1830 MHz (Reference Card is 1785 MHz)
What exactly is a reference card, and when I get the GPU, will its Core Clock be 1830 MHz or 1785 MHz?
 

AngelTech

Notable
May 18, 2019
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This article should answer your question :)
Just in case you don't wanna read all that:
Reference cards basically means the manufacturer of the card makes it aka NVIDIA for GTX RTX etc. and AMD Radeon Vega etc.
Non-reference cards are by the partners of AMD / NVIDIA examples being EVGA ZOTAC GIGABYTE etc.
 
May 26, 2019
68
2
35
0
This article should answer your question :)
Just in case you don't wanna read all that:
Reference cards basically means the manufacturer of the card makes it aka NVIDIA for GTX RTX etc. and AMD Radeon Vega etc.
Non-reference cards are by the partners of AMD / NVIDIA examples being EVGA ZOTAC GIGABYTE etc.
So pretty much Gigabyte is showing the MHz of the reference card to compare with theirs for people to see.
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
the reference design is everything about the card. the circuit board layout, power needs, speeds and even cooling. generally most brands make a full reference design card and then changes the cooling a number of times while still using the same basic circuit board (called a pcb) most of the bottom half of "custom" cards are simply reference pcb's with custom cooling and a small overclock.

the card you asked about is actually one of these. a reference pcb with custom cooling and a slight overclock.

then there are the top end cards that are custom pcb's as well. these tend to have much beefier power delivery abilities and are over-engineered to the max.

you can tell what is what by looking at the reference specs usually found on the nvidia/amd product page and then compare it to the card you're looking at. if they have the same power phases and power needs, then it is likely a reference pcb. if it has more, then it is a custom pcb

there is nothing wrong with a reference design with custom cooling but know what you're getting so you don't overpay. no reason to spend an extra $100 for custom cooling that the card really doesn't need due to lower power used. but $25 for better cooling is almost always worth it so the card is not bouncing off thermal limits the whole time.
 
Reactions: TJ Hooker
May 26, 2019
68
2
35
0
the reference design is everything about the card. the circuit board layout, power needs, speeds and even cooling. generally most brands make a full reference design card and then changes the cooling a number of times while still using the same basic circuit board (called a pcb) most of the bottom half of "custom" cards are simply reference pcb's with custom cooling and a small overclock.

the card you asked about is actually one of these. a reference pcb with custom cooling and a slight overclock.

then there are the top end cards that are custom pcb's as well. these tend to have much beefier power delivery abilities and are over-engineered to the max.

you can tell what is what by looking at the reference specs usually found on the nvidia/amd product page and then compare it to the card you're looking at. if they have the same power phases and power needs, then it is likely a reference pcb. if it has more, then it is a custom pcb

there is nothing wrong with a reference design with custom cooling but know what you're getting so you don't overpay. no reason to spend an extra $100 for custom cooling that the card really doesn't need due to lower power used. but $25 for better cooling is almost always worth it so the card is not bouncing off thermal limits the whole time.
So the card I talked about has a core clock of 1830 MHz?
 

Math Geek

Glorious
Herald
yah it starts with a slight oc vs stock rates. it'll still boost higher though they don't list boost speeds. but it's base is 45 mhz higher than reference base clock.

i've not really paid as much attention to these new cards as i have in the past, but in the past every card pretty much hit the same max speeds no matter what the out of the box speed was. it all came down to cooling and the better cooling was able to maintain the max speeds for longer before throttling. that windforce cooler is a good one and should allow the card to boost pretty good a lot of the time.

i'd have to go back and look up some reviews to see the tendencies but i'm pretty sure this will still be the case with this gen of cards. there was no benefit to buying those super expensive cards as all that extra engineering translated to maybe 1-2 fps in game for a lot more power draw, heat and price.
 

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