NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition Review

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1060 video card is launched today in the $249 and $299 price point for the Founders Edition. We will find out how it performs in comparison to AMD Radeon RX 480 in DOOM with the Vulkan API as well as DX12 and DX11 games. We'll also see how a GeForce GTX 980 compares in real world gaming.

Introduction

NVIDIA has been keen to compare its new Pascal architecture's performance against the previous generation Maxwell GPUs. Typically NVIDIA likes to compare new technology to video cards or GPUs at least a couple of generations behind us to show what the new video cards will provide in terms of an upgrade. NVIDIA feels so confident in its Pascal architecture this generation however that it is targeting its Maxwell GPUs, which have done well in terms of power efficient performance at 28nm.

It started with the GeForce GTX 1080 and NVIDIA's claim that it would be faster than GeForce GTX 980 SLI or GeForce GTX TITAN X. This actually turned out to be true. Then it continued with NVIDIA claiming the GeForce GTX 1070 would outperform the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, and once again they got it right. Now NVIDIA is making a new claim with the GeForce GTX 1060.

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The GeForce GTX 1060 is the GPU in question, and you will find the Founders Edition video card from NVIDIA going for $299. Those that are sane however, will opt to go with one of the custom video cards from NVIDIA partners like ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE etc. These video cards start at a more appealing $249 price point, and will vary depending on manufacturer and features. At $249 the GeForce GTX 1060 is set to take on AMD's Radeon RX 480 8GB video card.

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NVIDIA is making some rather bold claims. As you can see above, saying GeForce GTX 1060 will provide GeForce GTX 980 level performance at a lower power profile. We are specifically including a GeForce GTX 980 reference video card in our testing today to see if this is true, or flat out bogus.

Specs

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The GeForce GTX 1060 is based off of NVIDIA's Pascal architecture and is a new GP106 GPU at 16nm FinFET. All the features present on the GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 are present on the GTX 1060. There are 10 SMs and 1280 CUDA Cores. The base clock is set at 1506MHz and the boost clock at 1708MHz. There are 48 ROPs and 80 texture units. Given those specifications, this video card might do ok at 1440p, though keep in mind the GeForce GTX 980 has 64 ROPs and 128 texture units.

Compared to the GeForce GTX 980 the new GeForce GTX 1060 has 6GB of VRAM versus 4GB on the GTX 980. The VRAM runs at 8GHz and provides 192GB/sec of bandwidth on the 192-bit bus. For comparison the GeForce GTX 980 provides 224GB/sec of bandwidth on its 256-bit bus. However, Pascal does have further delta color compression improvements over Maxwell to ease bandwidth constraints. The total TDP of GTX 1060 is 120W versus 165W on GeForce GTX 980. One 6-pin power connector is required. There is no SLI support.

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The whole video card measures 10" to the end of the heatsink shroud, but the PCB itself only measures 7". There are 3 DisplayPorts, 1 HDMI and 1 Dual-Link DVI port providing a lot of display options at this price point. A 400W PSU is recommended, and one 6-pin power connector is required.