Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Review

Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Division & The Witcher 3

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Count Rise of the Tomb Raider as another game that cleanly separates the GeForces and Radeons in our comparison field. Again, GTX 1060 shows up in between the 970 and 980.

As an aside, the RX 480 beats last-generation’s Radeon R9 390 and 390X, but trails the GTX 970. Given the pricing of both boards currently, that’s fitting, we’d say.

Higher resolutions tax the GP106 processor and its more mainstream configuration. As a result, the 1060 behaves more like a GeForce GTX 970 at 2560x1440 than the 980 we were hoping to see it beat. Still, you’re able to enjoy a playable experience using Tomb Raider’s highest detail settings.

For readers who asked about testing under DirectX 12 in our Radeon RX 480 review, we’ll reiterate: this feature is of questionable utility. In a contrived benchmark (GeForce GTX 1080 down at 1920x1080), we go from 132 FPS to 135 using DirectX 12. However, the jump to 2560x1440 increases the graphics workload enough to actually push the frame rate down.

The Division

The GeForce GTX 1060, Radeon RX 480, Radeon R9 390X, and GeForce GTX 970 all post very similar results in The Division at 1920x1080 using Very High detail settings. AMD’s Radeon R9 390 isn’t far off either, but it demonstrates sharp frame time variance spikes that affect smoothness through the benchmark. Yet again, we see the 1060 act more like a GeForce GTX 970 than a 980.

Jumping to 2560x1440 hits the 1060 harder, and it technically falls to sixth place in average frame rate. Based on our frame rate over time numbers, however, the 1060 runs right alongside the GTX 970, Radeon R9 390, and, to a lesser extent, the slightly faster RX 480. Even if Nvidia were to enable SLI across the PCI Express bus, it’s probable that two 1060s wouldn’t scale well above QHD based on what we see going from 1920x1080 to 2560x1440.

The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3 shows four GeForce cards in first through fourth place at 1920x1080, but there’s a big group between the GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon R9 390 that occupy the same space when we look at frame rate over time. Pricing becomes a primary consideration in cases like these, and GeForce GTX 1060 (at least the Founders Edition card) lands on the wrong side of that equation.

Another cluster of upper-mainstream graphics cards in the middle of our chart compels us to think about pricing once more. Multiple Radeon R9 390s sell for less than $300. The same goes for GeForce GTX 970. Partisanship aside, either of those options compare readily to a GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition at $300.

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  • 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?
  • 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.
  • cmi86
    The GTX-1060 seems to be a good 1080/1440 performer, basically on par with the RX-480 in titles that display no bias (2 of the 9 titles in this suite) In titles that display an Nvidia bias (5 of the 9 titles) The GTX-1060 is somewhat faster. In titles that show an AMD bias (2 of the 9 titles) the GTX 1060 is somewhat slower. It is basically impossible to deny the fact that Toms test suite leans pretty strongly to the green side, but it's accurate as most studios tend to optimize towards Nvidia over AMD.

    My only real gripe with the test suite selection is "Project Cars" This title is and always has been known to display a completely unrealistically positive performance bias towards Nvidia hardware. How this title has become a staple in a test suite that claims to be "objective" I do not know. However I can say the repetitive inclusion of this title is completely unacceptable.

    This repetitive choice rivals Toms inclusion of "Metro Last Light" in the " 7990 vs. GTX-690 The Crowd Picks a Winner" where a group of users were gathered to participate in a blind hands on gaming comparison of the 2 GPU's. At this time Metro LL was known to be a strongly nvidia optimized title that showed very strong negative performance disparities towards AMD hardware( some people couldn't even play it before a patch was released), very similar to the now used "project cars". If the mere inclusion of this title in an opinion based performance analysis isn't enough, The event organizers at TomsHardware knew full well ahead of time that Metro Last Light would not even load on the dual GPU AMD board.. So being fair and objective as they are they obviously removed the title from the test suite to avoid a false negative that would obviously sway public opinion right ? Nope, they kept it and even awarded points to the GTX-690 for for the intentional ace in the hole.

    Now a 1 time inclusion of a title like "project cars" may only be a little distasteful and is nowhere near as serious as the obvious stacking of the deck I previously described.. That said the repetitive inclusion of a title with such bias and unrealistic results does begin to rival the blatant and intentional nature of the 7990 v. 690 debacle I previously described.

    Me personally, I will be choosing the RX-480. Comparably less expensive AIB boards will be neck and neck with similar GTX 1060 boards in the now and continually faster going forward. Historically AMD hardware has always been more powerful from a raw throughput standpoint. Where Nvidia makes up this ground is by heavily optimizing current gen hardware for current gen games. When an Nvidia hardware/game generation becomes dated and is no longer optimized for, it begins to fall off of the performance curve rather drastically (just look at the GTX-6/7XX family now..)

    Compare this to AMD who while often slightly behind at launch due to less optimization, tend to significantly improve hardware/driver optimization globally across their architecture over time. Just look at how the GTX-760 used to strongly beat a 7950 and at times even challenge the flagship 7970. Now it lags behind behind even the 7870/R9-270X and cant touch the 7970/280X/380X that now even beats the faster GTX-960.

    My point in all this ? I think the 1060 is a good little card; especially for the TDP, well done Nvidia. That said.. I have said for a long time and will continue to say that Toms has a way of shining nvidia cards in the best possible light at launch and that throughout time the GTX-1060 will slide solidly behind the RX-480 in terms of performance and longevity. Oh and get rid of project cars, trash.
  • Other Comments
  • 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,
    Andrew
  • 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.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Anonymous said:
    1060 gets rekt in DX12. Nvidia biased review again, also project Cars? How is this even a benchmark, obviously gimped for Radeons.
    I can't agree with the 1060 suffering in DX12 without seeing the proof, sorry. And I have enough faith in Chris to believe that he would have more integrity than to be dishonest.


    Anonymous said:
    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.
    I agree with you there. I imagine that Project Cars is an EXTREMELY niche title compared to the new Doom. If one wants to include a racing game, why not one of the Dirt Rally games?
    Anonymous said:
    Never gona read tomshardware ever again.
    I'll watch out for your next comment. ;-)


    Anonymous said:
    Yes indeed. I read elsewhere on DX12 benchmarks GTX 1060 does not cope well against rx480. Also, why not DOOM?
    Source please, Myrmidonas? Edit: I found one (over at what I personally consider to be a usually Nvidia biased site, no less!): http://www.hardocp.com/article/2016/07/19/nvidia_geforce_gtx_1060_founders_edition_review/4
  • rush21hit
    >advertised as 120watt max but gets 130+ under stressed.
    >no SLI bridge
    >$250 for 3gb and 300 for the 6.
    >not exactly better than RX480 or even the 980, more like comparable in performance
    >small OC headroom, well RX 480 OC headroom was near non-existent too.

    Any AIB's RX480 are much better value than this.
    *reads AIB's 1060, 480 still much better value

    ...realizes people would still buy this.
  • LORD_ORION
    Look at Ashes of the Singularity... this current gen of cards is terrible.
  • 17seconds
    A very good mid-range card that beats the RX480 in every metric possible: heat, noise, power consumption, features, and performance. If you can afford a few dollars more, it's worth the extra cost.
  • elbert
    Looks like from several reviews the GTX 1060 and RX480 are running about even. The GTX1060's max OC is 2~2.1Ghz but for an even test would require a custom RX480 which may release in the coming weeks. Big issue is no SLI vs the Rx480's know good crossfire results. The advantage the GTX 1060 has is lower stock power requirements.
  • bwcbwc
    Looks like I'll be waiting for the RX 480 4 GB edition around $200... I'm gaming at 1080p, and just about any of the new generation cards seem to be able to handle that with max details. a 3rd party GTX 1060 at $250 vs. an RX 480 8 GB at (about) the same price point is probably a winner for the 1440p crowd. But the $300 FE is obviously off the table, especially with the after-market 1070s already available for slightly more.
  • Vandenplas
    The RX 480 is destroying the GTX 1060 in Doom/Vulkan.

    A respectable 25% lead in 1080p and a hefty 32% lead in 1440p.
    Likely, the GTX 1060 won't match the performance of an RX 480 in Doom/Vulkan at stock clock, even if overclocked to 2+GHz.

    Also the RX 480 seems generally have some performance advantages in next-gen games and API combinations.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2016/07/19/nvidia_geforce_gtx_1060_founders_edition_review/4#.V448Ue2lilM
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    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.

    A pair of GTX1060 would set you back $500 or more. At that point, might as well go with a 1080 for $50-100 more and not have to worry about multi-GPU performance scaling and compatibility issues. If you drop the SLI motherboard, larger case, extra case cooling, etc., getting a single GTX1080 might be cheaper than getting a pair of GTX1060.
  • bwcbwc
    Derp...for some reason, I thought the 1070s were going around $350, not $450. Supply and demand at work...
  • n0ns3ns3
    Anonymous said:
    Nvidia drives unprecedented efficiency into the mainstream with its Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1060, but can it compete with AMD's $200 Radeon RX 480?

    Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Review : Read more


    It is not supposed to compete with 200$ 4GB RX 480. For that we will have ~200$ 3GB pascal card whatever they will call it (1050, 1060 3GB).
    GTX 1060 6GB supposed to compete with 8GB RX 480 and it does the job for now.
    For me it looks like "RIP AMD"