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 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.
MORE: Best Graphics Cards
MORE: All Graphics Content