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.

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DOOM

We are using the brand new game, DOOM. DOOM just received a new patch update providing Vulkan API support. We will be utilizing this new patch and running the game under the Vulkan API for all testing on this page. We have created a manual run-through in the Advanced Research Complex map.

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Take note, upon installing the provided NVIDIA drivers Vulkan Libraries 1.0.11.1 are installed by default from the NVIDIA drivers. We went ahead and upgraded to the latest Vulkan libraries utilizing the SDK to version 1.0.17.0, which is the latest stable version. We made sure to apply this SDK to update the libraries on all video cards tested. However, even though we have the libraries installed, it is up to the video card and game to utilize what it wants. In this case, we found on both NVIDIA GPUs DOOM uses Vulkan API libraries 1.0.8 in the game.

However, the AMD drivers install the newest 1.0.17.0 Vulkan API libraries by default. We found that the AMD Radeon RX 480 uses the newest 1.0.17.0 Vulkan API libraries in-game. When we brought up the console (shown above) on RX 480, it showed "1.0.17.0" next to Vulkan API where NVIDIA GPUs show 1.0.8. Just something worth noting.

Also for Async Compute to work you must use either TSSAA or No AA right now as reported in this Tweet from Tiago Sousa of id Software.

For this game we will be using PresentMon for data gathering under Vulkan API. This means many more data points are sampled per second than FRAPS and thus the graph may look "messy" but fully represents performance.


Highest Playable Settings

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At 1440p we were surprised how well the game ran, we were easily able to have the highest AA enabled along with the default "Ultra" game settings. This is almost the highest settings, seeing as "Nightmare" shadows and texture paging is the highest settings, this is next to the highest settings. Considering the price of the video card, not a bad experience for 1440p.

At 1080p performance was even better and we were able to turn on the Nightmare shadows and texture size options. Note that above the default "Ultra" setting uses 8X AF by default. At 1080p we can raise this to the highest 16X AF with no problems. At 1080p we are able to experience the game at the highest possible settings it can achieve on the GeForce GTX 1060.

We do not find GeForce GTX 1060 to be as fast as the GeForce GTX 980 here however. The GeForce GTX 980 is 11% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060. Right off the bat, not exactly GTX 980 performance for the GTX 1060.

1440p

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At 1440p using the same playable settings found on the GeForce GTX 1060 we find the AMD Radeon RX 480 simply blows the GeForce GTX 1060 out of the water in terms of performance. While both are allowing a very high post 60FPS performance, AMD Radeon RX 480 takes it to a new level and even beats out the GeForce GTX 980! The Radeon RX 480 is performing 25% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060 under the Vulkan API, just wow.

1080p

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The performance gap widens at 1080p. Here the AMD Radeon RX 480 is 32% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060 running "Ultra" settings and "Nightmare" settings at 1080p under the Vulkan API. Performance has increased with the more CPU bound resolution, perhaps showing one advantage of Vulkan API (and coincidently DX12 as well) the fact that CPU overhead can be reduced at lower resolutions improving performance.

We could not include the GeForce GTX 980 in this test because it only has 4GB of VRAM. This game will not run "Nightmare" settings with any video card less of 5GB of VRAM, it displays an error message and won't allow it.

What can we say except AMD Radeon RX 480 slays DOOM under the new Vulkan API.