Cooling, Noise, and Power
I couldn’t just stop with the normal benchmarks, I did want to test the performance of the Founders Edition cooler so I did noise performance testing and also tested the cooling performance of the cooler both with the stock fan settings and with the fan turned up to 100%. In addition, I also took a look at the overall power usage of the 1060 as well. For power testing, I ran the GTX 1060 on our x99 test bench in Valley Benchmark 1.0 on loop. Using a Kill-o-Watt I documented the peak wattage draw. The GTX 1060 and our test bench pulled 188 watts. For comparison, the RX 480 pulled 242 in the same test and the GTX 980 256. I knew the TDP of the GTX 1060 was only 120 watts, but I’m seriously impressed with just how little power it uses when in game load.
The next test I did was noise testing. These are of course done on an open air test bench so they don’t represent what you will hear with the card installed in a case and sitting away from you. The goal isn’t to get real world numbers, it is to document how loud each card is overall. So I ran the GTX 1060 with the fan set to 100% and pulled a 69.1-decibel reading and then at 50% fan speed it pulled 65.3. The 100% fan speed numbers were surprising for a blower cooler with only the MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X performing better and that was with huge fans to keep the fan speed low. At 50% fan speed though the GTX 1060 was a little louder than the other cards. Realistically you won’t notice the few decibel difference on the lower speed result, but the improvement on the high end is great to see. It's normally only when a card spools up that you hear it.
The last testing was to test the cooling performance of the blower cooler on the GTX 1060 Founders Edition. Here I documented the peak temperature that the card reached when looping in Valley Benchmark. I did this once with the fan settings set to whatever Nvidia wanted, then after letting everything cool down I did it again with the fan speed set to 100%. This way we can see what you can expect from the card untouched and also get an idea if there is any room for improvement if you don’t mind a little more noise. I was really surprised however that the GTX 1060 didn’t really get hot with the stock fan settings. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a reference or FE card that wasn’t set to basically stay at 80 degrees Celsius. The GTX 1060, however, ran at a respectable 65 degrees. This is right with the aftermarket GTX 1070’s. When I turned up the fan the card did run a little cooler but here we can see where the aftermarket cards pull ahead again. That said check out the 1060 compared to the other reference cards including the RX480.