Well, last week I took a look at the Zotac GTX 1060 AMP! Edition, it was close to an ITX form factor card and it was our first aftermarket GTX 1060. It just so happens that EVGA had also sent over a GTX 1060, their GTX 1060 Superclocked. This card is a little shorter than the Zotac and it falls into the ITX form factor. I’m excited to see what EVGA has going on and to find out if this is going to be the new go-to card for ITX builds. So today I’m going to take a look at its features then run the card through our test suite and see how it compares to the other GTX 1060’s as well as the RX 480’s that are competing with it on the red side of the tracks.
Product Name: EVGA GTX 1060 SC
Review Sample Provided by: EVGA
Written by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Amazon Link: HERE
|GPU||Nvidia GTX 1060|
|Base Clock||1607 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1835 MHz|
|Memory||6144 MB GDDR5|
|Memory Bus||192 bit|
|Memory Clock||8008 MHz|
|Cooling||ACX 2.0 Single Fan|
|Interface||PCI-E 3.0 16x|
|Display Connections||DVI-D, DisplayPort, DisplayPort, DisplayPort, HDMI|
Height: 4.376in - 111.15mm
Length: 6.8in - 172.72mm
Width: Dual Slot
|Total Power Draw||120 Watts|
Minimum of a 400 Watt power supply.
An available 6-pin PCI-E power connector
|Operating System Support||
Windows 10 32/64bit
Windows 8 32/64bit
Windows 7 32/64bit
|Product Warranty||This product comes with a 3-year warranty. Registration is recommended.|
Before diving into testing, I did want to include a copy of the GPUz from the card. With issues popping up this year with manufacturers sending review samples that are turned up to their optional OC clocks I want to make sure we keep everything transparent. The GTX 1060 SC show 1607 in GPUz and this is spot on for the base clock that EVGA has on their specifications listing so we are good there. For reference, this is considerably faster than the 1556MHz base clock on the Zotac GTX 1060 that I reviewed last week so it will be interesting to see how they compare.
For being such a small card, the box for the GTX 1060 SC really wasn’t any smaller than some of the longer cards. EVGA also kept things the same on the outside of the box. On the front the EVG logo is embossed on a metal looking background then all across the front they highlight that this is a Superclocked card with a large Superclocked across the box. The GTX 1060 branding is in the normal GeForce spot on the front and then around onto the side of the box. Then up top they have the 6GB capacity, this is important to have now that there are both 3GB and 6GB configurations of the GTX 1060. Beyond that EVGA has a number 1 in gaming logo down in the bottom left corner and there is a VR Ready logo up in the top right to show that this card is capable of handling VR. The back of the box drops the metal look and is all white. Here they have a key feature list that is repeated in five different languages. What is missing here for me is at least a photo of the card and a line drawing or a photo of the display connections available on the card. That along with a short specifications listing with the card size would help people in retail know for sure if the card will work in their new PC.
Inside the box, being a smaller card, the card didn’t come in a plastic tray like the EVGA 1070 that I reviewed. This card came in a bubble wrap bag. Inside the box, everything is split up with a piece of cardboard to divide things up and there is a slot for the card, one for accessories, then room for all of the documentation. For accessories, EVGA included a really nice double Molex to 6-pin adapter cable that is individually sleeved and all black. For documentation, you get a user guide and a paper with information on the 10 and 900 series card. Then you get two EVGA stickers and EVGAs Arm Yourself poster. They are really the only company that includes a poster and it’s always a nice touch.
Once you get the GTX 1060 SC out of the bubble wrap bag it also comes with a protective film on the outside of the fan shroud. So fans of pulling off those protective coatings will enjoy pulling this one off.
Photos and Features
Well, immediately it is clear the EVGA GTX 1060 SC is nothing like the Founders Edition GTX 1060 or the Zotac 1060. EVGA went with a shorter ITX form factor for this card. It also doesn’t really pull too much from the EVGA 1070 and 1080 designs that had a lot of metal attached on their fan shrouds. This design is actually very close to previous generations with the black shroud with a curved up lip around the fan. They did, however, slip in two small metal grills over on the left. The silver grills are a small but nice touch that doesn't take away from the clean design. Even the fan itself is a little simpler than normal. In the center where most companies put their logo in bright colors EVGA has just etched their E and it is only visible from an angle. The single fan is a little smaller than the Zotac and because of that, the card is also a standard height where most of the cards are getting taller and taller. Given the ITX length and the normal height, this card should work really well in the extremely small form factor cases that have trouble with the “ITX” cards that use height to fit cooling.
The cooler design on the GTX 1060 SC uses two copper heatpipes that run from over the GPU out towards your motherboard and then over to pull heat out into the left and right sides of the heatsink. The end view of the card shows us that the heatsink runs the full thickness of the card from the PCB all the way to the fan shroud. This might sound obvious, but a lot of cards don’t do this because they use universal coolers to fit across multiple products. You see this a lot with AMD and Nvidia cards using the same cooling solution but EVGA has no need to do that because they are exclusive to Nvidia. So while the card is short EVGA does seem to take advantage of all of the space they have. The single fan blows down onto part of the heatsink and out across the rest. The fan shroud is open on three sides for some of that warmed air to vent out in each direction. So while this is an ITX card remember it isn’t a blower design and some of the heat will vent into the case.
Up on the top edge of the card, EVGA did something that I really wish I would see more. Along with the EVGA logo, they actually put the entire model name up on the top edge. You used to see this more but now it seems companies avoid it to bring out multiple models with different overclocks without changing tooling. Well EVGA has two models of this card, one stock clocked and then this Superclocked card. The SC down at the end represents that.
For power, the GTX 1060 SC has the same 6-pin power connection that the other two GTX 1060’s I’ve tested have. Even being the highest overclocked of the three shouldn’t be enough reason to need more than a 6-pin on the 120 watt TDP GTX 1060 GPU. EVGA also tucked their fan connection up next to the power connection as well. Unlike everyone else they did keep the plug in the traditional orientation and because of that their fan shroud and heatsink have been designed to leave room for fingers to get in around the plug to disconnect it.
For the PCI slot cover, Zotac just used the same cover as the FE card, but EVGA went their own way. The card still has the same five connections. You get a DVI port, three DisplayPorts, and an HDMI connection. But for air ventilation, EVGA goes out of their way to cut much larger holes for more air flow.
With the 1069 SC flipped around we have a good look at the black PCB. Unlike the Zotac and even the Founders Edition EVGAs PCB and cooler end up being the same length. Unlike the Zotac card the EVGA PCB actually looks to be almost a spot on match with the Founders Edition card with the exception of the PCB mounted power connection up in the top left corner. It even has the same large mounting points around the GPU that are unused here but were used on the FE card.
Like in my review of the Zotac 1060 I also got a photo of the EVGA GTX 1060 SC with the GTX 1060 Founders Edition. Here we can see that the PCB is the same length and height as Nvidia’s card but the cooler is considerably smaller. The blower fan on the Founders Edition card looks normal when you see it on its own but it looks tiny when you have these two cards next to each other.
Our Test Rig and Procedures
|Our Test Rig|
|CPU||Intel i7-5960X||Live Pricing|
|Memory||Kingston HyperX FURY Black 32GB Quad Channel Kit 2666 MHz||Live Pricing|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion||Live Pricing|
|Cooling||Noctua NH-U12S Cooler||Live Pricing|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V1000 Power Supply||Live Pricing|
|Storage||Kingston Hyper X Savage 960GB SSD||Live Pricing|
|Case||Dimastech Test Bench||Live Pricing|
|Our Testing Procedures|
|3DMark||The same goes for the most current version of 3DMark using the Fire Strike benchmark in normal, extreme, and ultra settings|
|Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0||Using the Extreme HD preset to get an average FPS|
|Catzilla 4k||Default tests for 1080p, 1440p, and 4k resolutions using the overall score for each as our result|
|SteamVR||Default SteamVR test using Average Quality score|
|DOOM||Doom is tested on the Ultra quality setting. Tests are run at 1080p and 1440p using both OpenGL and Vulkan. The benchmark is a basic one using just the average FPS in the opening scene.|
|HITMAN 2016||Fullscreen with V-Sync turned off Detail, Texture Quality, Shadow Maps, and Shadow Resolution all set to their highest settings. We test using both DX11 and DX12 at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions.|
|Ashes of the Singularity||Built-in benchmark ran at 1080p and 1440p with graphics settings set to the “Crazy” setting with the exception of turning off V-Sync Mode. The benchmark scenario is set to GPU Focused and we use the Average Framerate for All Batches as the result. Tests are run both in DX11 and DX12|
|The Division||Built-in benchmark ran at 1080p and 1440p with graphics settings set to the default “Ultra” setting with the exception of turning off V-Sync Mode|
|Bioshock Infinite||Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Bioshock Infinite on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, FXAA turned on, Ultra Texture detail, 16x Aniso Texture Filtering, Ultra Dynamic Shadows, Normal Postprocessing, Light Shafts on, Ambient Occlusion set to ultra, and the Level of Detail set to Ultra as well. We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above.|
|Tomb Raider||Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Tomb Raider on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, Exclusive Fullscreen turned on, Anti-Aliasing set to 2xSSAA, Texture Quality set to Ultra, Texture Aniso set to 16x Aniso, Hair Quality set to TressFX, Shadow set to Normal, Shadow Resolution on High, Ultra SSAO, Ultra Depth of Field, High Reflection quality, Ultra LOD scale, Post-Processing On, High Precision RT turned on, and Tessellation is also turned on. We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above.|
|Hitman: Absolution||Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Hitman: Absolution on the “Xtreme” quality setting other than the MSAA setting is turned down from 8x to 2x. That setting puts the resolution at 1920x1080, MSAA is set to 2x, Texture Quality is set to High, Texture Aniso is set to 16x, Shadows are on Ultra, SSA is set to high, Global Illumination is turned on, Reflections are set to High, FXAA is on, Level of Detail is set to Ultra, Depth of Field is high, Tessellation is turned on, and Bloom is set to normal. We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above, except on the “high” setting.|
|Sleeping Dogs||Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Sleeping Dogs on the “Xtreme” quality setting. That means our resolution is set to 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing is set to Extreme, Texture Quality is set to High-Res, Shadow Quality is High, Shadow Filter is set to high, SSAO is set to High, Motion Blur Level is set to High, and World Density is set to Extreme. We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above.|
|Total War: ROME II||Ultra-setting tested at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, built in forest benchmark|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||Using the built-in benchmark we test with ultra settings at 1440p|
|Sniper Elite 3||Ultra-setting tested at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, built in benchmark|
|Thief||Tested using the “Very High” setting at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440|
|Folding at Home 2.2||Using the Folding at Home benchmark 2.2.5 set to OpenCL, WU set to dhfr, and run length set to the default 60 seconds. We test at both double and single precision and use the score at the result|
|CompuBenchCL||Video Composition and Bitcoin tests|
|Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0 heat testing||We run through Unigine Valley using the “Extreme” preset for 30 minutes to test in game cooling performance with the fan speed set to auto then again with the fan set to 100%.|
|Power Usage||Using Unreal Valley Benchmark 1.0, we get our “load” power usage number from the peak power usage during our test. We get our numbers from a Kill-A-Watt connected to the test benches power cord.|
|Noise Testing||Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 3 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test an idle noise level and then to get an idea of how loud the card will get if it warms all the way up we also turn the fan speed up to 50% and 100% and test both speeds as well. The 100% test isn’t a representation of typical in-game noise levels, but it will show you how loud a card can be if you run it at its highest setting or if it gets very hot.|
So to start off my testing of the EVGA GTX 1060 SC I ran the card through our synthetic benchmark suite. In these tests I wanted to see how the significantly higher overclock of the EVGA card would compare to the overclocked Zotac 1060 and the GTX 1060 Founders Edition. In 3DMark I tested the card at all three resolutions and also in the new DX12 Time Spy benchmark. In Fire Strike, the overclock on the EVGA had a big improvement. This pushed the 1060 up over the GTX 980 and put it really close to the overclocked GTX 980 as well. In Time Spy the gap between the EVGA and the Zotac isn’t as large but it is still a nice bump for nothing.
I also tested using Unigine Valley Benchmark. In this test, we get an actual FPS result to compare. Here the EVGA GTX 1060 SC actually came in a touch less than the Zotac but still above the Founders Edition.
Next, in Catzilla I tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k. Like in 3DMark Fire Strike the 1060 SC came in slightly above the GTX 980 as well as the other two 1060’s.
In the last benchmark, I took a look at VR performance using the SteamVR benchmark. Like the other two GTX 1060’s the EVGA GTX 1060 SC was well into the green with an 8.2 score. This was .2 above the Founders Edition and also .1 over the Zotac.
With the Synthetic benchmarks out of the way, most of my testing was focused on In-Game results to give us a more real world look at what you can expect for performance with the EVGA GTX 1060 SC. To do that I ran through our entire in-game benchmark test suite. The suite has 12 different games tested at both 1080p and 1440p at their highest settings. Three of the games are also tested in more than one configuration to see the difference between DX11 and DX12 performance or in the case of the most recent addition, DOOM I test out both OpenGL and Vulkan performance. The problem is, with so many results it can be a little too much to take in. To help with that I have condensed our results into two graphs, one for 1080p and the other for 1440p. All of our games are run at their max settings and we use the average FPS as the end result. The graphs below are broken down into three FPS ranges to represent unplayable (below 30), playable but not ideal (30 to 60), and ideal (over 60 FPS). So what did I find from those results? Well for starters, at 1080p the EVGA GTX 1060 SC had one more game in the 60+ range than the Zotac. With 12 of the games being in the 60+ section and the rest still being playable means anything you throw at the 1060 SC is going to be playable with little or no adjustments. At 1440p, a resolution that the GTX 1060 isn’t really designed to play at all of the games still end up being playable as well, just most are in the playable but not perfect range. This was also an improvement over the Zotac that actually had one card in the less than 30 FPS range.
Of course, I also include all of our actual results as well for anyone interested in looking at them in more detail. In most of the games tested the results are similar to the synthetic benchmarks. The faster overclock on the EVGA card helped it stay ahead of the Zotac GTX 1060 AMP! Edition and the Founders Edition 1060 in all but a few tests. The EVGA card was ahead of the RX 480 in all of the DX 11 titles but the RX 480 pulled ahead in Doom with Vulkan turned on and in the new Hitman. This is about normal for any GTX 1060 compared to the RX 480. In most games, it will be faster, but as more games move to DX12 and to Vulkan you will see things start to even out a little more.
Next, I wanted to check out the Compute performance of the GTX 1060 SC. To do this I tested using two programs, Folding at Home and CompuBenchCL. With folding at home I am able to take a look at single and double precision performance while folding and in CompuBenchCl, I test video composition and then Bitcoin mining. Each giving us a little different aspect of compute performance. I started my testing off with Folding at Home. In the single precision folding test, the 1060 SC jumped up above the GTX 980 Ti as well as the other GTX 1060’s with a score of 81.1326. There is a big gap between this and the next card, the GTX 1070’s. In the double precision test, like with all Nvidia cards the 1060 SC did drop a little. Nvidia cards don’t have FP64 cores so in this test the RX 480’s and RX 470’s pull ahead. The SC does however once again pull a nice lead on the Zotac GTX 1060.
In the video composition benchmark in CompubenchCL, we are testing what FPS rate the GTX 1060 SC can process video creation. This is a lot like the folding double precision benchmark where the FP64 performance helps a lot. So while the 1060 SC did outperform the other 1060’s by a few FPS it does still come in behind both the 4 and 8 GB RX 480’s. In the Bitcoin mining benchmark, the story is similar. What does interest me though is how close the GTX 1060 SC is to the RX 480’s considering its lower TDP. Miners take into account power draw a lot and with just a small difference in performance the GTX 1060 SC does become a more efficient card when you consider power/performance.
Cooling, Noise, and Power
For my last set of tests, I like to take a look at different aspects of a card beyond its processing power. Here I test power usage, noise, and cooling performance. All three of these are tests that help show us the difference in cards with the same GPU. So, in this case, I will be focusing a lot on the difference between the EVGA, Zotac, and Founders Edition cards. For my first test, I take a look at power usage. To get the result below I use a Kill-a-Watt on our entire test bench and while running Valley Benchmark I document the higher wattage pulled for the entire system. The result I ended up with was a little surprising. Remember the EVGA GTX 1060 SC has a higher overclock than the Zotac and with that, I expected it to pull a little more wattage. But it actually came in a touch lower than the Zotac.
My next test is our noise testing. Here I use a decibel meter sitting 6 inches away from the fan side of the card while it's on our open air test bench. I test with the fan set to 50% and 100% fan speed and document the result. This test isn’t an exact representation of what you will experience in an enclosed case because the meter is much closer than your ear ever will be, but it does help us catch the differences between cards. In this case, the EVGA with its fan turned all the way up ended up down on the low end of our chart, near the Founders Edition. The 50% result was similar as well. I should point out that the GTX 1060 SC as it was shipped to us had a firmware that the fans weren’t set to turn off at idle loads so unlike most of the other cards our sample could have made some noise at idle, but I never noticed it. I’m told cards that are being made now have the new firmware with 0db turned on.
For my last tests I wanted to test to see just how warm the GTX 1060 SC would run. To heat things up I use Valley Benchmark running on a loop and I test the card both with the stock fan settings and again with the fan turned up to 100% fan speed. This way we can see what you should expect in normal use and also see if the cooler is close to its limits. With the stock fan settings, I was surprised to see the GTX 1060 SC come in with our lowest temperature. When I turned the fan up to 100% there was also still a little room left in it as well. In both tests, it was better than both of the other GTX 1060’s tested. BUT I didn’t leave it at that. When I found out that EVGA would be shipping future GTX 1060 SC’s with the new 0db firmware I downloaded it and put it to the test as well. The new result was significantly worse. We went from 61 at load to 74 degrees at load in the same test. 74 isn’t the end of the world, the Zotac had a similar result but I was surprised at the new fan profile. People on the EVGA forums were as well, it seems the fan profile could use a small tweak. For me I actually went back to the original firmware, being an ITX card I wanted to upgrade our Lunchbox 3 build that my wife uses at LANs and I can’t afford for it to be running that warm. So be warned, some of the cooling results you find on other reviews and even in our chart may not represent the temperatures you will see if you buy a new card.
Overall and Final Verdict
So now that I’ve put the EVGA GTX 1060 SC through all of our tests and taken a closer look at the card, how does it compare to the other two GTX 1060’s I’ve tested? As far as overall performance is concerned the EVGA was consistently above the other 1060’s. With its significantly higher overclock it is the fastest GTX 1060 I’ve test to date. I would have never expected that when going on given this is also the smallest 1060 tested. I love the ITX friendly form factor, combined with the low power draw and the single power connection the GTX 1060 SC is a perfect card for LAN rigs like our Lunchbox 4 that I published earlier this week. I will most likely be moving this card into our older Lunchbox 3 build to refresh it for my wife. EVGA went with a much simpler and cleaner looking cooler design on this card than on their 1070’s and 1080’s, sure it doesn’t have any of the RGB lighting, but I’m digging the look.
I was also impressed with the cooling performance when I tested it, but that does lead me to the one issue I had with the card. After people asked about the missing 0db mode, you know the mode that turns off the cooling fan when you aren’t putting the card under load. EVGA introduced a new firmware for the GTX 1060 SC on their forums and they are also shipping the newest cards with it. I was happy to see a 0db mode, but when I tested the 1060 SC with the firmware it went from the best performing card to being up near the normal reference cards and even up above the Founders Edition 1060. It’s still possible to create your own fan profile that will fix that issue, but I was a little disappointed in the downgrade in performance.
But really the cooling performance with the new firmware isn’t the end of the world. In fact, with the 0db firmware we are just in line with the Zotac for cooling performance. Beyond that, the GTX 1060 SC is head and shoulders above the other 1060’s I’ve tested. To add to that, it actually has a lower MSRP. Though to be fair it is currently can’t be found for that price at all but I have seen it at that price in the past. So while I liked the Zotac, I think this is the card to get if you are in the market for a GTX 1060, especially if you are looking to build a small form factor LAN rig.
Live Pricing: HERE