Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Review

Hitman, Metro: Last Light Redux & Project CARS

Hitman (DX11)

As with AofS, Hitman favors AMD’s GCN architecture; the Radeon R9 390, 390X, and RX 480 all beat the new Pascal-based board. That card, the GeForce GTX 1060, lands between the 980 and 970 at 1920x1080. It’s plenty playable, averaging 73 FPS. But the fact that a $300 Founders Edition card trades blows with a less expensive competitor is tough to swallow. 

Nvidia’s woes continue at 2560x1440, where its GeForce GTX 1060 and previous-gen Maxwell boards average lower frame rates than the Radeon RX 480.

The GeForce GTX 960 struggles in particular; sharp frame time spikes throughout Hitman’s built-in benchmark are indicative of a choppy experience.

Metro: Last Light Redux (DX11)

Some redemption is found in Metro, where the GeForce GTX 1060 slides in ahead of both Grenada-based Radeons and the GeForce GTX 970. But Nvidia’s GTX 980 is still faster.

Pushing to 2560x1440 exacts a big performance hit on the entire field. However, AMD’s Radeon R9 390 and 390X are more resilient than the cut-back GP106, which falls to fifth place. While charting frame rate over time makes the differences look small, certain 390s sell for less ahead of the 1060’s launch. Nvidia needs to rely on board partners to make its value case; the Founders Edition board at $300 comes up short in that regard.

Project CARS (DX11)

There is an established history of AMD hardware underperforming Nvidia’s in Project CARS. The explanation for this remains unclear, though Slightly Mad Studios remains adamant that the misbalance has nothing to do with Nvidia technologies or any specific optimization in the MADNESS engine. At least the Radeons remain playable at 1920x1080.

The AMD cards are even playable at 2560x1440, though the disparity between the GeForces and Radeons is quite clear in our frame rate over time chart. We also see the GeForce GTX 1060 above GTX 980 in average FPS, though the frame rate over time chart shows them tracking each other’s performance almost exactly. Minimal frame time variance across the board backs our experiential data that says CARS runs smoothly across a wide range of graphics hardware.

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Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • 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
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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,
  • 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.