Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Graphics Card Roundup

Inno3D GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming OC

Inno3D's GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming OC isn't the company's flagship, but rather a bread-and-butter workhorse in its 11-card portfolio of GP106-based products. We consider this a good thing. As one of the more affordable GeForce GTX 1060s (at least in Europe), the Gaming OC board appeals to a broader audience. You get a similar level of performance without spending an extra $40 or $50 on bells and whistles you might not need. It'll be interesting to see where Inno3D cut costs though, and what features it dropped to achieve a more attractive price.

Technical Specifications

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Exterior & Interfaces

The fan shroud is made of black plastic and features red detailing that looks quite nice. We won't say the same for those piano-black bolt-ons that serve little purpose other than to collect fingerprints. After installing the card, you'll feel compelled to clean it off again.

Weighing in at 29 ounces (820g), this card is fairly light. It measures 11 inches (28cm) long, five inches (12.5cm) tall, and 1 1/3 inches (3.5cm) wide. It monopolizes two expansion slots and is neither particularly small nor oversized—it's just average. The blades of both fans have a diameter of 9cm, which is pretty common as well.

The back of the board is covered by a single-piece plate with some ventilation holes. Unfortunately, there are no thermal pads connecting it to the circuit board, so the plate does nothing to help with cooling. Because of the backplate, though, you must plan for an additional one-fifth of an inch (5mm) of clearance to avoid collisions with your CPU's cooler, particularly in small form factor cases. A lack of SLI support means you don't have to worry about fitting two GeForce GTX 1060s back to back in a case.

The top of the card features an unlit Inno3D label, and the shroud up there is narrow enough that you see the cooling fins behind it.

An eight-pin auxiliary power connector is located at the end of the card facing out, rather than back. As a result, the heat sink is cut out right above the connector. Interestingly, this can be explained by the fact that Inno3D uses Nvidia's reference PCB for the GeForce GTX 1070 to build its GTX 1060 Gaming OC.

Vertically-oriented cooling fins mean that hardly any air escapes through the slot bracket, even though narrow slits in the metal suggest otherwise. The vertical fins are cheaper to implement, since they make it easier to arrange the heat pipes. You just have to be diligent about exhausting all of that waste heat out of your case.

The slot cover exposes five outputs, four of which can be used simultaneously to drive multi-monitor configurations. In addition to one dual-link DVI output (which lacks an analog signal), you also get one HDMI 2.0 interface and three DisplayPort 1.4-capable connectors.

Board & Components

A glance at the board gives us a sense of déjà vu; as mentioned, Inno3D relies on the longer GeForce GTX 1070 reference board. Of course, the components it uses to build the 1060 are simpler, but because Nvidia's GP106 processor is pin-compatible, it's not a problem to use the 1070's PCB.

The 5+1-phase design, similar to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition, relies on the uPI Semiconductor uP9511P as its PWM controller. All five of the GPU's power phases are fed by the eight-pin auxiliary connector; only the memory's phase is driven through the motherboard's PCIe slot.

The voltage of the five GPU phases and one memory phase is controlled by no-name dual-N-channel MOSFETs that require external gate drivers. Inno3D's coils of choice are clones of Foxconn's Magic series, which we'd expect to find in the lower price segment.

Two capacitors are installed right below the GPU to absorb and equalize voltage peaks.

It's worth noting that only six of the eight available memory emplacements are populated with Samsung K4G80325FB-HC25 modules. Each one adds 8Gb (32x256Mb) and operates at voltages between 1.305 and 1.597V, depending on clock rate. In total, they add up to this card's 6GB of GDDR5.

Power Results

Before addressing power consumption directly, let's take a look at the relationship between clock rate and voltage. As we've seen already, the GPU's frequency drops significantly once the card is fully exercised with a gaming workload.

After warm-up, the initial GPU Boost frequency of 1974 MHz falls to an acceptable average of 1949 MHz under load. The slope of this curve is mirrored by our voltage measurements: what started at 1.043V in the beginning falls to an average of 1V. The drops we observe correspond closely with dips in GPU clock rates.

The lowest GPU clock rate measured at idle is about 203 MHz.

We took our measurements using a variable low-pass filter, so we mention short load peaks only as a side note (see the grayed-out bar in the chart below), since those peaks are rarely relevant in practice.

Power Connector Load

Since Inno3D's GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming OC doesn't use the motherboard slot's 3.3V rail, we left it out of our chart.

The power distribution we observe shows a heavy bias toward the auxiliary power connector, which supplies about 95W.

Here's the data for the gaming and stress tests:

Power consumption on its own only tells us part of the story. The PCI-SIG specifies a maximum of 5.5A at the motherboard slot, and we're showing a reading under 3A, which puts Inno3D's GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming OC in the green.

Of course, we have the data for measured currents as well:

The Cooler & Its Performance

The question remains: what kind of performance can we expect out of this budget card's cooler? According to the label on its backplate, we should be enjoying the benefit of HerculeZ Design!

Inno3D's backplate is screwed into the cooler from behind and into the PCB from the front. Spacers measuring almost 3mm tall allow some airflow between the board and backplate.

This isn't one of the beefiest coolers we've tested. It employs horizontally-oriented fins, two nickel-plated 6mm heat pipes above the base plate, and four nickel-plated 6mm pipes towards the card's rear. For cost reasons, the heat sink and base plate are both made from aluminum.

It deserves a positive mention that the heat sink for the MOSFETs is built into the cooler and does an excellent job. Unfortunately, the coils do not benefit from this implementation.

A measurement between 140 to 142°F (60 to 61°C) during our gaming loop, peaking at 145°F (63°C) in a closed case, shows that Inno3D's cooler works amazingly well.

Measurements taken with the backplate removed and the cooler mounted directly to the PCB show that Inno3D's thermal solution still has some performance in reserve. Results from our gaming loop and stress test reveal no abnormalities, except for extremely low temperatures around the VRMs thanks to an integrated sink responsible for drawing heat away from that area.

In both our gaming workload and stress test, Inno3D's thermal solution works the way it should, leaving us with one of the coolest boards in today's round-up.

Although the pressure to cut costs is apparent in several place, this cooler does a great job. Performance was clearly one area Inno3D refused to compromise.

Sound Results

A picture-perfect implementation of proper hysteresis is critically important to Inno3D. However, fan speed readings as high as 1400 RPM point to where this card's great cooling performance comes from. We think there's room to dial back a bit, since even at 1000 RPM there'd be enough cooling headroom to keep Nvidia's GP106 operating at under 167°F (75°C), while at the same time reducing noise quite a bit.

When the card is idle, its noise level is imperceptible due to a semi-passive mode. There's no point taking readings in that state.

Under load, a 35.7 dB(A) reading is neither loud nor really quiet, but instead average. If you're looking for a much quieter result, take advantage of the cooler's headroom and use a third-party tool like MSI Afterburner to dial in a lower fan speed.

A spectrum analysis turns up significant vibrations in the low-frequency range. Given this card's price tag, though, it's hard to expect perfection.

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  • TechyInAZ
    Thank you for doing these roundups! Very informative.
  • Achaios
    @Igor: I really appreciate your articles. I have one small request: PLEASE consider adding benchmarks results from 3D MARK FIRESTRIKE so that we can compare your results with our GPU's. Really appreciated your "Das große Radeon RX480 Test-Roundup - Teil 1" too, though again, there are no 3D MARK FIRESTRIKE results.
  • bloodroses
    Darnit, the Zotac and Gigabyte mini models weren't covered. I was curious to see how those two compare vs. the EVGA model since I'm working with limited space inside my case.
  • agent88
    I bought a retail MSI Geforce GTX 1060 Gaming X card last month and it was defaulted to OC mode by default. This is the same as the test version that the press received. Wondering if MSI is shipping this version to all consumers now or if I just got lucky with a "golden sample". Also, MSI provides both the MSI gaming app and afterburner software. The gaming app offers 1-click option to choose the OC mode. A
  • Pete16
    What about Asus? At least two graphics should be there
  • shrapnel_indie
    Good to see a roundup... However, I think the 3GB and the 6GB belong in the same category as much as the RX-470 and RX-480 do. That is: they don't.
  • ITFT
    Where is my ASUS 6Gb OC edition? Clocks over 2Ghz by the way :D
  • FritzEiv
    We're working on getting more cards in for all categories (1080, 1070, 1060), including from Asus, which is working on getting us cards. In fact, we'll have an update to our 1070 roundup shortly (2 new cards). And we're working on a 480 roundup as well.
  • mikeangs2004
    Anonymous said:
    Darnit, the Zotac and Gigabyte mini models weren't covered. I was curious to see how those two compare vs. the EVGA model since I'm working with limited space inside my case.


    they are kind of for the niche market just like in the days of low profile units
  • Ancient1
    Regarding the EVGA GTX 1060 SC :
    Could someone who disassemble it post the measurements ( WxHxL ) of the HEATPIPE ?? I plan on carving a Copper Heatsink, rather than Thermal Pads.
    I am also thinking about HS for the memory etc , along the Pipe. But it will impact AirFlow and might degrade the HeatPipe efficiency as , to my knowledge, Heatpipe depends on temperature difference between the cooled GPU and the Heat Expelling (to the fins) areas of it.
    Please post, Google will find it :)
    Thanks in advance
  • FormatC
    Anonymous said:
    @Igor: I really appreciate your articles. I have one small request: PLEASE consider adding benchmarks results from 3D MARK FIRESTRIKE so that we can compare your results with our GPU's. Really appreciated your "Das große Radeon RX480 Test-Roundup - Teil 1" too, though again, there are no 3D MARK FIRESTRIKE results.


    The main problem of this "benchmark": it is a synthetic and not consistent one. That means, it is impossible to compare this results over a longer time! Each benchmark update and each new driver can change the results dramatically. I totally dislike this kind of comparisons, because it can be only a snapshot of a short moment and it is not fair. It also depends at the other hardware in the system and at the the end you can compare such things only in their own, small microcosm ;)

    About Asus, EVGA (and mini ITX) cards:
    I can test only, what I get/got. A few vendors were not amused in the past, that I disassembled the cards and found their hotspots and issues. This is mentionable in the kind and amount of sampling. But I have a handful of smaller cards in the pipeline to complete this roundup thing later. This was also the idea behind to keep the content always fresh.
  • Achaios
    Yeah but, 3D MARK is still FAR better than nothing. Right now we have no means AT ALL to compare our GPU's to your results unless we buy the games themselves. BTW, why do you include the GTAV benchmark? It is not consistent either and therefore absolutely impossible to reproduce. If you include GTAV benchmark, then I see no reason why not to include 3D Mark or Valley or some other benchmark.
  • FormatC
    The GTA V benchmark is consistent if you record only the last (5th) part of the ingame-benchmark. It is also long enough and a lot more real than all other parts of this in-game benchmark. I run it scripted three times - with a hot card. The results are in each case very stable. And I'm not using, what GTA is writing into the file. We are monitoring the output with our software.

    All benchmark runs were made with heated cards in a closed system, maybe you read my review about the new bench table. That means, my results are mostly worse than in other reviews on an open bench table (Boost). And exactly this is another reason, why such results are not really comparable. It give you a direction, a trend - but nothing more :)

    From my sight:
    It is very difficult to compare the same card on different systems. But different cards (with the same GPU inside) on different systems is even more a big mess. It is simply not fair to think, that card A on system B is faster or slower than card C on system D (and vise versa). I like comparisons under 100% equal conditions, but all this crossover-comparisons are a pain. ;)

    I try to test all products of a roundup with frozen drivers and windows updates to have over this period the same conditions. The reader is updating his system as often as he can and some driver changes may cause dramatically different results. I had in the past very often such situations, when ppl compared their fresh stuff with a six month old roundup and called me a Nvidia or AMD fanboy, depending at the drivers and the preferred product. :D

    As I wrote in the roundup:
    The goal of such a roundup is in the first line a fair technical analysis and comparison of different solutions, not a collection of some benchmark bars. Benchmarks you can find tons in the net, bars in each color and size that you prefer. But the main difference between this tested cards are not the bars, but other fundamental things like cooling, power draw and finally: issues and broken standards.

    But if it is sooooo important - let me check, how we can add Firestrike or something similar in the next reviews. Just preparing the first 1080 Ti custom for this.
  • g-unit1111
    Us US users don't get Palit, Inno3D, or Gainward, can we get some cards that are more readily available in the States in some of these?
  • TechyInAZ
    I hope you guys get in the 1060 FTW cards. I'm really curious how those stack vs the G1 Gaming.
  • FormatC
    I'll try it. :)
  • Fulgurant
    Anonymous said:
    Darnit, the Zotac and Gigabyte mini models weren't covered. I was curious to see how those two compare vs. the EVGA model since I'm working with limited space inside my case.


    FWIW, I bought the Zotac Mini over the summer when nothing else was in stock, and I'm very pleased. It's a little loud when the fan revs up, but despite the simplistic cooler it runs at reasonable temperatures -- and I was relieved to see that it has heatsinks over the VRMs.

    That last point is gratifying, because until I read this article I assumed the EVGA mini would have been superior. Now I begin to doubt it, though of course FormatC's little mod probably makes up the difference.
  • Drakan
    Would have liked to see Doom on Vulkan or Civ VI that is supposed to be a powered by AMD. Too many Powered by nvidia games there. I'm sure the 1060gtx 6gb would still be on top, but it's just a more "fair" loss
  • FormatC
    @Drakan
    The problem with all games: drivers may change fast and an advantage can be very fast a disdvantage. It is nearly impossible to make (and keep) a 100% fair selection over months. I started the roundup a few months ago and had to frozen the system to keep the conditions. ;)

    The idea behind this review is NOT the comparison with the RX480 (for this we have game reviews with current AAA titles), but the comparison between the products and different models of various vendors. The technical details are mostly more interesting than simple bar graphs ;)
  • Drakan
    Anonymous said:
    @Drakan
    The problem with all games: drivers may change fast and an advantage can be very fast a disdvantage. It is nearly impossible to make (and keep) a 100% fair selection over months. I started the roundup a few months ago and had to frozen the system to keep the conditions. ;)

    The idea behind this review is NOT the comparison with the RX480 (for this we have game reviews with current AAA titles), but the comparison between the products and different models of various vendors. The technical details are mostly more interesting than simple bar graphs ;)


    Thanks for the reply and I appreciate the effort. You are right, this is a 1060gtx roundup. A good one :). Expecting AMD VGA to arrive though to see if I get a 1070 or an AMD.

    Cheers!