The best part about getting into the video card season is that we don’t just get a few new cards from each manufacturer. We actually get new cards over and over again as they slowly fill in their product lineups. From Nvidia, we have already seen the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 but both sit up in the higher price and performance range. So it was exciting when AMD launched their new RX480 that focused directly on the mainstream market. Well, it wasn’t any surprise when right after AMD launched the RX480, Nvidia introduced their GTX 1060. The specifications have been posted and I even posted up a few pictures on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for everyone. But today's the day! We can finally dive in and see what the GTX 1060 is all about and also find out how it compares to the recently introduced RX 480.
Product Name: Nvidia GTX 1060 Founders Edition
Review Sample Provided by: Nvidia
Written by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Amazon Link: HERE
After seeing the big performance and power efficiency improvements in the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 I think I was most excited to find out how it all would trickle down to the mainstream cards, specifically the GTX 1060. If you have ever taken a look at the steam hardware survey results you will find that the GTX 960 is up near the top, just behind the GTX 970 with about 5% of the market share each. Even the older GTX 760 is up there as well. You don’t see the GTX 1080’s and GTX 980’s up there because most people just can’t justify spending that much on a card. SO the mainstream cards are the bread and butter for each of the manufacturers. Well with the GTX 1060 Nvidia introduced the card shortly after the RX480 launch and out of the hole promised performance similar to the GTX 980, now that not an easy task at all.
Like the other Pascal cards, the GTX 1060 does crank up the clock speeds on both the GPU and the memory. The 120-watt TDP is interesting, especially when compared to the competition but I will get into that here shortly.
So to compare to get an idea of where the GTX 1060 sits I put together a specification list that includes the GTX 960 that it replaces, the GTX 980 that Nvidia says it performs like, and the GTX 1070 that it sits below in the current product lineup. Even just looking at the CUDA cores we see a few interesting things. The GTX 1060 has 800 less CUDA cores than the GTX 980 that they are saying it is comparable too. They manage this because of the much higher clock speeds. Speaking of, the GTX 1060 actually has a higher boost clock than the GTX 1070 even though they both have the same base clock. One of the big complaints with the launch of the GTX 960 was its 2 gigs of VRAM and 128-bit memory bus width. Well, Nvidia did step things up here, moving up to 6 gigs of VRAM and a 192-bit bus. With the new 16nm production process it’s no shocker that the transistor count jumped up considerably though from 1.94 billion on the GTX 960 to 4.4 billion on the GTX 1060. This still isn’t comparable to the 5.2 billion of the GTX 980 though.
|GTX 960||GTX 980||GTX 1060||GTX 1070|
|Base Clock||1126 MHz||1126 MHz||1506 MHz||1506MHz|
|Boost Clock||1178 MHz||1216 MHz||1708 MHz||1683MHz|
|Memory Bus Width||128-bit||256-bit||192-bit||256-bit|
MSRP: $ 379
Founders $ 449
For the price point, Nvidia followed the same format that they did with the GTX 1070 and the GTX 1080 and they will have two price points. The GTX 1060 Founders Edition is listed at $299 and the base MSRP is $249. The new format does seem to cause some pricing issues. Before the reference cards were at the lowest price point so they would help make sure there were MSRP price point cards available and cards with an overclock and better cooling would go slightly higher. With the focus on a higher quality cooler in the Founders Edition cards at a higher price point, other manufacturers don’t seem to want to price their cards down near the base MSRP. That said, the $259 MSRP does put the GTX 1060 close to the RX480 8GB, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out in our testing.
Speaking of the RX480. I wanted to take a look at the GTX 1060 next to it so I put together a short specification list. The numbers aren’t all directly comparable, especially in the CUDA Cores and Stream Processors and remember architecture plays a part as well. But It’s interesting to see AMD's focus was getting more texture units into the card where Nvidia went with higher clock speeds. The RX480 has a little more memory bus width and has a little more VRAM on the 8GB model. Nvidia made big strides with Pascal in memory compression that helps make up that difference. Given the additional texture units, the higher transistor count on the RX480 isn’t a big shock as well. The GTX 1060 does stomp all over the RX480’s 150-watt TDP though with its 120-watt TDP.
|CUDA Cores / Stream Processors||1280 CUDA Cores||2304 Stream Processors|
|Base Clock Speed||1506 MHz||1120 MHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||1708 MHz||1266 MHz|
|Memory Capacity||6GB||4/8 GB|
|Memory Clock||8Gbps||7/8 Gbps GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||192-bit||256-bit|
A quick peek at a GPUz readout of our GTX 1060 as well in case you are curious what driver I was testing with or the cards BIOS version.