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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Review

How We Tested GeForce GTX 1060

The GeForce GTX 1060 is most in its element at 1080p, though it’s generally playable at 1440p even with detail settings turned up. Thus, we ran the GP106-powered board through our benchmark suite at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, similar to AMD’s Radeon RX 480. In fact, we were able to use most of the performance results from that story, with three exceptions:

  1. The GeForce GTX 1060, of course. We used GeForce 368.64, Nvidia’s press driver.
  2. The GeForce GTX 1070. This one didn’t make it into our Radeon RX 480 coverage because it’s quite a bit faster. We add it now, since it’s the next step up from GeForce GTX 1060. The 368.64 build works here, too.
  3. The Radeon RX 480. After our discoveries in that card’s launch story and AMD’s subsequent corrective driver, it became imperative to re-test with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.2. Almost across the board, this version increases performance slightly, so it’s a good update to have.

The other Nvidia cards employ GeForce 368.39, while the Radeon R9 390-series board utilize Crimson Edition 16.6.2.

Naturally, the platform we drop these boards into remains constant. From the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Pascal Review:

Instead of our Haswell-E-based Core i7-5930K at 3.5GHz, we’re using a Skylake-based Core i7-6700K at 4GHz, giving us two generations worth of IPC improvements and an extra 500MHz base clock rate to alleviate host processing bottlenecks wherever they may surface. Of course, the CPU’s LGA 1151 interface also calls for a different motherboard—we tapped MSI’s Z170A Gaming M7 for all of our game benchmarks, and dropped in G.Skill’s F4-3000C15Q-16GRR memory kit composed of four 4GB modules at DDR4-3000. Crucial’s MX200 SSD remains, as does the Noctua NH-12S cooler and be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W power supply.

Gone is Windows 8.1, though. Prior to benchmarking, we installed a clean version of Windows 10 Professional and a new suite of games representing popular AAA titles, some DirectX 12-specific selections and a mix of genres.”

As you dip down from the high-end space into mainstream territory, reference-class hardware becomes less common. This is why our Radeon RX 480 launch story included a number of partner boards. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 receives the same treatment today:

Actual Core/Memory FrequenciesReference Core/Memory Frequencies
Nvidia GeForce GTX 10601506/2000 MHz1506/2000 MHz1506
Nvidia GeForce GTX 10701506/2000 MHz1506/2000 MHz
AMD Radeon RX 4801266/2000 MHz1266/2000 MHz
MSI R9 390X Gaming 8G1080/1500 MHz1050/1500 MHz
MSI R9 390 Gaming 8G1040/1500 MHz1000/1500 MHz
MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G1190/1752 MHz1126/1752 MHz
Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming1178/1752 MHz1050/1752 MHz
MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G1190/1752 MHz1127/1752 MHz

The benchmark suite remains similar to what we ran in the Radeon RX 480 review, right down to the settings and options selected. “The Ashes charts represent DirectX 12 performance using the game’s built-in benchmark/logging tool. Hitman and Tomb Raider are presented using DirectX 11. However, we have results from DirectX 12 using those games as well, and in most cases, performance drops. Everything else is DirectX 11-based, recorded with Fraps.”

Ashes of the Singularity: DirectX 12, Extreme quality preset, built-in benchmark
Battlefield 4
DirectX 11, Ultra quality preset, custom Tom’s Hardware benchmark (Tashgar jeep ride), 100-second Fraps recording
Grand Theft Auto V
DirectX 11, Very High quality settings, 4x MSAA, built-in benchmark (test five), 110-second Fraps recording
Hitman (2016)
DirectX 11, Ultra level of detail, FXAA, High texture quality, built-in benchmark, 100-second Fraps recording
Metro Last Light Redux
DirectX 11, Very High detail preset, SSAA off, 16x AF, Normal Motion Blur, Normal Tessellation, built-in benchmark, 145-second Fraps recording
Project CARS
DirectX 11, Ultra quality settings, High anti-aliasing, High texture resolution, Nürburgring Sprint, 100-second Fraps recording
Rise of the Tomb Raider
DirectX 11, Custom quality preset, Very High quality settings, built-in benchmark, 80-second Fraps recording
Tom Clancy's The Division
DirectX 11, Custom quality preset, Ultra quality settings, Supersampling temporal AA, built-in benchmark, 90-second Fraps recording
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
DirectX 11, Highest quality settings, HairWorks disabled, custom Tom’s Hardware benchmark, 100-second Fraps recording


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  • Vosgy
    Well with it's price point above the 480 and performance performance difference relatively matching the price difference seems like it will come down to what someone can afford at the time.
    Guess I'll recommend either from now on.
    Thanks for the review guys, pleasure as always :D
    Reply
  • mitch074
    I wonder: with Battlefield 4, why not add the Mantle-enabled rendering path? All existing tests show it to be pretty much equivalent to DX12, and future high-performance, low-latency titles are much more likely to make use of DX12, Vulkan etc. than DX11 or OpenGL...
    On that review, as a matter of fact, you use pretty much only DX11 games and only one DX12 title; new API paths are available in Dota2, Talos Principle and Doom 2016... Why not include them, as a reference for the future of gaming, instead of only showing off DX11 games?
    Reply
  • LFCavalcanti
    You could have included in the value discussion the question about having 2 RX480 in Crossfire vs a single 1070, sort off denying a market place in value for the 1060.
    I don't know what NVidia is thinking... their marketing campaign might be stronger than I understand and people will still buy the 1060, but value on it just don't make sense right now.
    Reply
  • BrutalPigeon
    Where are DX12 reviews? Hitman DX12? Time Spy? 1060 gets rekt in DX12. Nvidia biased review again, also project Cars? How is this even a benchmark, obviously gimped for Radeons.
    Reply
  • kicsako
    This review is kinda strange. You use Project Cars what is known of running so bad on AMD cards, yet there are no dx/vulkan 12 titles except AOTS. We already have Doom(Vulkan), and Total War+Hitman for dx12. This review is weirdly Nvidia biased. People who buy mid lvl cards are not going to change it for at least 2-3 years. And we will see more and more dx12/vulkan titles yet you only include dx11 games with mostly Nvidia support. Never gona read tomshardware ever again.
    Reply
  • Myrmidonas
    Yes indeed. I read elsewhere on DX12 benchmarks GTX 1060 does not cope well against rx480. Also, why not DOOM?

    Long story short, if you have Win7 and don't plan to upgrade for the next 2-3 years you have a solid reason to get a GTX 1060. The "plot changes" in favor of RX480 if you are going all forward with Win10.
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    No SLI, on a card of this caliber. Quite the disappointment. Doesn't appear that it quite met the hype. Solid card, at its price point, but still not quite what was expected.
    Reply
  • IceMyth
    What I understood from this review is either get 1070 or 1080 or RX 480... the 1060 is a waste of money and time since you cant SLI so what you will get will be fixed and to get better gaming you will need to replace the whole GPU to one of the 3 top.

    Honestly I expected something decent but seems they released a cheap GPU for NVidia fans rather than to compete with AMD performance and prices!
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Thank you for the review Chris! It was a pleasure to read high-quality writing with good English - my brain really thanks you! :-)

    I would also like to join others in their request for:
    - including 2x RX480s in Crossfire (price-wise they are comparable to a 1070,)
    - a benchmark using Doom's Vulkan rendering path, and
    - results from the TimeSpy benchmark please.

    Thank you again for a relaxing and informative read,
    Andrew
    Reply
  • cknobman
    I'd say typical Nvidia cash grab.

    A. Card is priced about $50 too high as review kind of indicates.
    B. SLI is removed because Nvidia wants you to spend more $$$$$$$ on their higher priced cards. They dont want people trying to achieve playable 4k resolution without paying that Nvidia premium tax.

    Right now if I was buying to play 1080-1440 I'd go AMD 480 all the way.
    Reply