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Intro

The GeForce GTX 1060 6 GiB is a card from NVIDIA, being one of the entry models of the GTX 1000 series, based on Pascal arquitecture. Let’s take a good look at it and see how it goes on our benchmarks.

The GeForce GTX 1060 is based on the GP 106 GPU chip, which is manufactured specifically for this model, unlinke the GeForce GTX 1070, that uses the same GP104 chip of the GTX 1080, but with some cores disabled. This chip is manufactured under 16 nm FinFET process. The GP106 brings 1,280 processing cores, in 10 SM units and 192 bits memory interface, being designed to work with 6 GiB (or 3 GiB) of GDDR5 VRAM.

We tested the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GiB “Founders Edition” (FE), which is the reference model offered by NVIDIA itself. The models that are not Founders Edition are custom models developed by other companies, like Gigabyte, ASUS, EVGA, etc. Curiously, the MSRP for the Founders Edition is higher than the custom models (USD 299 vs. USD 249,) even if they have officially the same characteristics: 1,506 MHz base clock, 1,708 MHz turbo clock and 6 GiB of GDDR5 memory working at 8 GHz with a 192-bit memory interface, for a memory bandwidth of 192 GiB/s. The TDP for the GTX 1060 is 120 W, and the recommended power supply is at least 400 W. Some custom models can bring, however, higher clocks (and prices.)

There is also the GeForce GTX 1060 3 GiB, which is actually a slightly different video card: not only the memory amount is cut down, but also the compute cores count: the GTX 1060 3 GiB has only 1,152 cores, and not 1,280 like the 6 GiB model.

Just like their more powerful sisters based on Pascal architecture, the GeForce GTX 1060 supports SMP (Simultaneous Multi-Projection), useful in VR applications, and the Ansel technology, which allows to capture in-game pictures with any camera position and very high resolution, including 360 degrees images.

An important detail is that the GeForce GTX 1060 does not support SLI, since NVIDIA considers it makes more sense using a high-end video card (like the GeForce GTX 1080) instead of using two GTX 1060 cards in SLI. You can, however, use the DirectX 12 video card combine feature to use two GeForce GTX 1060 card simultaneously, in games that support this technology.

The GeForce GTX 1060 FE looks a lot like the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070, using a two-slot cooler with radial fan, that blows the hot air outside the case.

Figure 1 unveils the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GiB Founders Edition.

GeForce GTX 1060 FEFigure 1: the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GiB Founders Edition

The direct competitor, in terms of price, of the GeForce GTX 1060 FE is the Radeon R9 390. We can also consider it as a competitor of the 8 GiB Radeon RX 480, but this model from AMD has an MSRP of USD 230, being, therefore, in a different price point, at least in theory.

We decided to benchmark the GeForce GTX 1060 FE 6 GiB against the Radeon R9 390 and the GeForce GTX 970, which are both at a similar price ponit. Unfortunately, we were unable to include the Radeon RX 480 in this comparison, since we had to return to AMD the sample we tested.

Please keep in mind that the included in this benchmark come with factory overclocking. The Zotac GTX 970 has a 3% overclock on the GPU and the HIS Radeon R9 390 has a 2% overclock. So, comparing other models with different clock rates can achieve different performances.

In the table below, we compare the main specs from the video cards we included in this review. Prices were researched at Newegg.com for this article, taking the lower price for video cards with the same chip.

Video card

Core clock

Turbo clock

Effective memory clock

Memory bus

Memory bandwidth

Memory

Processing cores

TDP

DirectX

Price

GeForce GTX 1060 FE

1,506 MHz

1,708 MHz

8.0 GHz

192 bits

192 GB/s

6 GiB GDDR5

1,280

120 W

12.1

USD 250

Zotac GeForce GTX 970

1,076 MHz

1,216 MHz

7.0 GHz

256 bit

224 GB/s

4 GiB GDDR5

1,664

145 W

12

USD 240

HIS Radeon R9 390

1,020 MHz


6.0 GHz

512 bit

384 GB/s

8 GiB GDDR5

2,560

275 W

12

USD 260

Now let’s take a closer look to the tested video card.