RX 480 And GTX 1060: Mainstream Vs. High-End
Although we've already seen the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and Radeon RX 480 8GB on their own charts, combining them helps illustrate the difference host processing and memory can make depending on your game's settings.
The move from a mainstream FX-8320-based platform to Intel’s Core i7-6700K unlocks tons of performance at processor-bound resolutions and quality settings. But you’re not going to buy a Radeon RX 480 or GeForce GTX 1060 to play at 175 FPS using Battlefield 1’s Low preset at 1920x1080. So we'll call these numbers largely theoretical, regardless of how interesting and illustrative they may be.
Looking for a more realistic comparison, we bump up the quality preset to Ultra and compare them again to gauge the impact of a more graphically demanding workload.
Surprisingly, even at 1920x1080, Battlefield 1 at Ultra quality is GPU-bound enough to bleed off most of the high-end machine's advantage with its preset at Low.
Yes, the Radeon RX 480 on a Z170-based motherboard is fastest, followed by the RX 480 on 990FX. But a mere 2 FPS separate their average frame rates. Their minimums are 6 FPS apart, but even that isn’t especially significant.
Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 is also a bit faster on the Core i7-based PC than when we test with an FX-8320. But its minimums are even closer together—a scant 2 FPS difference.
The only expected outcome we can confirm is that the lower-end platform incurs more instances of elevated frame times, though the spikes don’t get problematically high and aren’t as frequent as we might have expected. We’re not hoping for much excitement at QHD then, where graphics performance should be even more heavily emphasized.
And yet, right out of the gate we see both cards suffer debilitating minimum frame rates on the FX machine. The frame rate over time line graph shows this happens at the beginning of our benchmark. Although the behavior isn’t exclusive to our mainstream configuration, we might guess that the slower hardware needs more time to finish crunching on assets before it’s able to reach peak performance.
Even after that point, though, AMD and Nvidia both demonstrate notable dips through this 80-second test sequence (reflected in the frame rate over time and frame time over time graphs). Frame time spikes happen on both PCs, but they’re far more problematic in terms of frequency and amplitude on the mainstream configuration.
The result is an unevenness index that’s mostly playable on the Core i7-6700K. AMD’s FX dips into dicey territory at times, and the Radeon RX 480 suffers worse than the GTX 1060 when this happens.
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