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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 review

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NVIDIA GTX 1060 Review
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  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • GTX 1060 benchmark results
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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Excellent FHD and 1440p performance
  • Quiet running
  • Incredibly low power consumption

Cons

  • More expensive than rivals
  • 4GB RX 480 is better value

Best Deals for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

  • amazon
  • ebay

Key Features

  • 1,280 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5
  • 150W TDP
  • 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI
  • Third-party cards from £239
  • VR-ready
  • Manufacturer: Nvidia
  • Review Price: £275.00

What is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060?

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is the graphics card that PC builders on a budget have been waiting for. Unlike Nvidia’s top-end GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 cards, however, the GTX 1060 faces competition from AMD in the form of the Radeon RX 480.

With competition comes aggression, and the GTX 1060 is far closer to the RX 480 in terms of price than most were imagining. It’s more expensive and more powerful – but is it worth it? As it turns out, if you have the extra cash then, yes, it is.

Update: Since my original review of the GTX 1060, Nvidia quietly launched a 3GB, slightly less powerful version of the card. The 3GB GTX 1060 still uses the same GP106 GPU as the most expensive version but with slightly slower clock speeds and fewer CUDA cores. I have started to test two models that are physically identical (but with the different number of CUDA cores and memory) and so far the results are largely as expected.

The 3GB model appears to be between 2% and 10% slower than the 6GB version in most games I tested, although there is an outlier in the form of Rise of the Tomb Raider that resulted in a 1440p benchmark that was nearly 20% slower. Trusted won't be releasing full results until I've conducted further analysis, so stay tuned for my full comparison.

My original review continues below.

Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 review

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – Technology

The GPU is based on a new Nvidia chip, the GP106. The headline-grabbing GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 cards both used the GP104.

So as far as chip design is concerned, instead of taking the form of a “binned” GP104 – a chip that wasn’t good enough to be a 1080 or 1070 – the GTX 1060 is a completely different product.

However, there are things that remain. The GTX 1060 is powered by the same Pascal architecture as its more expensive siblings, and therefore benefits from the 16-nanometre manufacturing process that enables Nvidia to cram more transistors on a given piece of silicon – without increasing power consumption and heat to the same degree.

The GTX 1060 has 1,280 CUDA cores performing the bulk of the graphics legwork, which is more than the 1,024 found on the previous-generation GeForce GTX 960. Intriguingly, the GTX 1060 has a higher boost clock speed than its bigger brother, the GTX 1070, topping out at 1.7GHz.

With a different chip design and fewer CUDA cores, the clock speed won’t translate to better performance, but the GTX 1060 should be able to play games at Full HD and 1440p – and that’s before we get to overclocking.

Away from the graphics chip itself, the GTX 1060 has 6GB of GDDR5 memory. This is 2GB less than the AMD Radeon RX 480, but still more than enough for today’s modern games at Full HD and 1440p resolutions. The memory runs at 8Gbits/sec, which is standard these days for GDDR5 memory.

Related: Best Graphics Cards 2016

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

Nvidia quotes the card as consuming 120W of power – significantly less than the RX 480’s quoted 150W – so the GTX 1060 should fit nicely into builds where power consumption and heat are limiting factors, such as home-theatre PCs and games console replacements.

The GTX 1060 is Nvidia’s cheapest VR-ready graphics card, which could prove to be a big selling point for those who are considering buying a headset in the next year or so.

Buy Now: GeForce GTX 1060 at Amazon.co.uk (£238) | Amazon.com ($339)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – Design and Connectors

I was sent in the Founders Edition of the GTX 1060, which is a more expensive, Nvidia-built version of the card. In all likelihood this won’t be the version you end up buying, since Nvidia’s partners will likely have their own cheaper, custom versions in short order. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

Still, it’s a great-looking card with die-cast aluminium highlights and a black plastic shroud. It isn’t the metal-fest of the 1070 or 1080, but it looks exciting nonetheless.

It’s just 9.8 inches in length, with just under a third of the length a result of an extended plastic shroud that contains some of the cooling kit and the fan. Expect third-party manufacturers to produce extremely compact versions of the 1060, with cards suitable for ultra-small desktops and living-room PCs.

You get three DisplayPort connectors, an HDMI 2.0b port and a DVI port here. The DisplayPort 1.4a connectors are ready for HDR gaming, too.

Best Deals for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

  • amazon
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Kif12345

July 19, 2016, 3:05 pm

Simple answer is nope. RX 480 is pretty much best GPU value :D

Phil

July 19, 2016, 3:06 pm

I'm impressed your "typical gaming system" is almost bang on my PC's specification. Very useful considering the approach often taken is to throw in the best of everything in order to remove bottlenecks. Your approach shows benchmark results representing what the consumer can reasonably expect rather than combining a mid range GPU with top spec CPU, mobo, etc which would be somewhat unlikely in a real gaming machine.

Phil

July 19, 2016, 3:11 pm

It is, although if your budget is slightly higher this is well placed price wise compared to the 8GB RX 480. It's the 4GB which is a problem for it but also there's the question of if 4GB of RAM is going to become quickly outdated (I suspect not as most people buying this sort of card are going to be on 1080 monitors). Whilst one card might represent the best price/performance combination, it is perfectly reasonable to spend £20 or so more for a decent bump in performance which may well mean this card is viable for another generation of games rather than needing to be replaced relatively quickly. I'm hoping AMD get some direct competition for this card as well and then they'll have the mid range sewn up. Price and performance never scale linearly.... unfortunately for my wallet.

MattMe

July 19, 2016, 4:18 pm

It is nice to see benchmarks being carried out on machines that aren't just simply the best of everything available, however this PC spec they describe is pretty much nearer top-end. It's all very modern components, and I'd say is way above mid-range gaming PCs.

MattMe

July 19, 2016, 4:19 pm

Steam's June 2016 average hardware:

System RAM 8 GB 32.50% +0.40%
Intel CPU Speeds 2.3 Ghz to 2.69 Ghz 21.06% +0.33%
Physical CPUs 2 cpus 47.76% -0.37%
Video Card Description NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 5.05% +0.11%
VRAM 1024 MB 34.22% +0.45%
Primary Display Resolution 1920 x 1080 36.50% -0.31%

Phil

July 20, 2016, 6:35 pm

Just remember that incudes casual gamers as well as people playing hardware intensive games. The average system for example FPS games will be significantly different to the average system on steam.

GregoryGr

July 21, 2016, 8:45 am

lol a delusional AMD fanboy

MattMe

July 21, 2016, 9:08 am

Indeed. I was merely making my point that the 'average' system used in the above benchmarks isn't actually an average gaming computer, but more an average-enthusiast machine spec from the last 6 months... AKA 'high spec'.

Richard Burns

July 21, 2016, 9:20 am

"The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is the graphics card that PC builders on a budget have been waiting for"

No it isn't. Gamers on a budget buy the 750Ti or the 950. The 1060 is for gamers who are not on a budget and want the best possible experience at 1080/60.

Richard Burns

July 21, 2016, 9:26 am

Agreed, and have just posted something similar myself above. A friend recently needed to upgrade his PC to play Fallout 4. Want to know what his upgrade was? Athlon X2 replaced with a Phenom X4 (£40 on Ebay) and a Radeon 6770 replaced with a Radeon 270 (£60 on Ebay). This is a budget system. Anything containing a Geforce 1060 isn't even remotely close to a budget system.

Remember, if you're writing for or commenting on TR then you absolutely aren't a typical user, you're the 1% of hardcore users.

Richard Burns

July 21, 2016, 9:29 am

The "average" FPS game would be, what? CS:Go? Team Fortress 2? Games that run happily on a Core 2 Duo. Average gamers play Starcraft, WoW, LoL, DOTA2, L4D2, Skyrim on dual core CPUs with 1Gb vRAM.

Phil

July 21, 2016, 7:29 pm

Yeh that's fair play. I accept your point. My PC is pretty much the same aside from being a generation previous on the CPU (makes little difference as Intel is sandbagging) and a little less RAM and a slightly older but top end GPU. On review I think you're probably right that the average mainstream is probably a lot lower spec and this does represent likely over a grands worth of components which most people would be unwilling to put into a PC.

It's handy it's close to my spec but I accept I was living in my nerd bubble and incorrect suggesting it was close to a real life mainstream spec.

MattMe

July 21, 2016, 7:54 pm

You must be new around here.
You're not supposed to agree with people on the internet.
;)

Phil

July 21, 2016, 8:20 pm

Having witnessed Internet arguments from IRC to yahoo chat to youtube and this new disquss thing I have to say what I've learnt is there's no better way to learn than to admit you don't know it all. Someone else will always know things you don't and an open, yet critical mind is the best way to approach these things. Sometimes I'm sure I'm right and I will back up my views but when someone else has a good point or makes a good case it hampers your own learning to be bloody minded in the hope of never being wrong. Nerds are all about learning and expanding the mind and arguing pointlessly detracts from this.

Guest

July 26, 2016, 7:12 pm

Except for the fact all the benchmarks are in 2560x1440 which is not what normal people who don't have the best are gaming at. It would have been better to include benches at 1920x1080

Phil

July 26, 2016, 7:17 pm

I agree to a point. I think the mid range has shifted to 1440 performance and for 1080 you might well be looking at a lower spec card. Still an analysis on this point would have been useful.

Sagara

July 27, 2016, 11:24 am

nope..if you live in US maybe it is..but not worldwide (considering the price)...was considering highly to buy this GPU until the benchmarks came out..disappointing with its high heat (80-84 degree under full load) + it is as if barely matching the gtx 970 let alone the 980 as it was announced..well checked out the price getting a gtx 1060 for the same price of a rx 480 ... so the choice is simple
+ want to add that my 3 yrs old amd gpu is on the death bed while my older nvidia gpu still kick ass as it got a short circuit like issue (disassemble it cleaned it reassembled it and put it back - working like nothing happened) p.s: this is a personal experience ...

rafoix

August 2, 2016, 11:22 am

How about some Vulkan and DX12 games? That's the future of PC gaming.

DX11 games always run much worse on AMD cards. It makes this review seem a bit biased towards Nvidia.

https://youtu.be/wbR9d6aF8iA

This shows the RX480 having a clear and noticeable lead over Nvidia's hardware. Does Nvidia get to choose what games are used in the test?

Ed

August 5, 2016, 2:22 pm

Not really...gamers buy the middle ground cards like the 970, 1070, 390, or 480. A 750Ti or 950 is not a gamers card...unless all you play is angry birds...

Ed

August 5, 2016, 2:24 pm

According to all the surveys of PC gamer hardware 1080 is overwhelmingly the resolution of choice...nothing else is even close. Only gaming review sites and benchmark fans run anything higher...

Billabob Johnson

August 5, 2016, 7:58 pm

As a gamer I find the 750Ti great for Sudoku.

Stephen Brooks

August 7, 2016, 8:43 pm

my 750ti has happily powered my Oculus Rift DK2 for 2 years.
don't knock it.

CommentatorB

August 30, 2016, 9:51 am

*Looks at my 30" 2560x1600 and 27" 2560x1440 monitors". Guess I must be either a game reviewer or a benchmark fan then, because it surely isn't possible to enjoy a high resolution monitor as anything but that.

Richard Burns

September 2, 2016, 11:50 am

Yes, exactly, that's my point, the 970/1070 absolutely are "gamers cards", which is not the same thing as a "budget card". A Geforce 950 only for playing Angry Birds? Come on now.

Alca Traz

October 24, 2016, 4:59 am

Lol, ik. It's amazing how a guy can sit in a room and decide what the rest of the world are doing, right off the top of their head. Ouija board? :)
I have a 1440p and in my opinion it's definitely the way to go for practically every desktop purpose, in view of the capabilities of latest generation video cards - they're wasted on 1080p. If I'm going to pay £240+ for a card, then I'm willing to pay the same for a 1440p monitor to see its full benefits. Still, some claim they can't see any advantage of 1440p over 1080p. I have nothing polite to say to that.

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