So last week I received the Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB founder’s edition to review. Now I am more of a console gamer than a PC one, but I really looked forward to giving the GTX 1060 a spin. After all, it was a budget-effective graphic card uitilizing the PASCAL based technology that its bigger cousins used.

In my week with the GTX, I focused my attention on 3 things:

  1. The setup of the GTX 1060
  2. The benchmarks it had for various games.
  3. My personal opinion on it when I played games.

Introduction

The Nvidia GTX 1060 was introduced by Nvidia to be a cost-effective entry into the VR ready market. The 6 GB edition of the GTX 1060 is priced somewhere around 25K INR in India (Flipkart, Amazon), which puts it in direct competition with AMD RX 480 which is similarly priced and offers similar configurations. The GTX 1060 also has a 3 GB edition which is priced around 20K (Flipkart, Amazon) but I believe the 3 GB edition might be tempting for people with budgets of 15-18K.

The graphics card comes with support for the Vulcan API as well as the DirectX 12.

The GTX 1060 uses the PASCAL architecture (the top drawer architecture in Nvidia currently) and offers 1,280 CUDA cores with a boosted clock speed of 1.7 Ghz. Understandably, the GTX 1060 is a little on the lighter side when compared to the other PASCAL based cards.

gtx-1060-specsthe essential specifications for the Nvidia GE Force GTX 1060

My bench-marking software included Heaven Uniengine, and Firestrike. I used them to benchmark Rise of The Tomb Raider, and the Time Spy demo from Firestrike. I also borrowed my friend’s monitor for a 2K and 4K resolution test. Apart from that I tried out games such as Witcher 3, The Division and NBA 2K17 to test out the temperature and power consumption performances. My own personal rig stands at the following specifications:

pcconfig

As is obvious from the specifications, my rig is pretty entry level. The CPU and the RAM especially can hold back the GTX 1060 and some it may be under-utilized.

SETUP:

You hardly ever look at your graphics card, once its locked up in your cabinet (Unless you have one of those cool looking plexi glass panels). But the Nvidia GTX 1060 looks real slick. I received the founder’s edition but the different version marketed by manufacturers also scream MONSTER when you look at the GTX 1060. The card also feels heavier (weighs around 830g) and exudes confidence of running games at good frame-rates.

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My cabinet back panel had stripes in between the exit for each slotted card, so I had to cut them and make space for the I/O port of the Nvidia GTX 1060. Once the wire clipper had done its job, the card was precariously placed into the specified slot. I was a little afraid of the card sagging, when the cabinet was vertical, but I fixed it by screwing up the I/O port to the cabinet wall as well.

The card offered a 6 PIN PCI-E power slot, and thankfully I had one available on on my PSU. While I did not have drivers installed on the PC before hand, the card started outputting as soon as it was plugged in. Of course I updated the drivers first chance I got, but it was good to know that the card worked right out of the box as soon as it was slotted.

The I/O panel is copied from Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 without a single change. It’s dominated by three DisplayPort connectors, which are version 1.2-compatible. However, the company tells us they’re also ready for version 1.3 and 1.4 as well, matching the GPU’s display controller. In addition, there’s an HDMI 2.0 connector and a dual-link DVI connector; no analog output is available.

It took me around 4 hours to setup the Nvidia GTX 1060 including the part where I had to surgically remove parts of my cabinet. But the process should be smoother for people who don’t run into similar problems.

Once the GTX 1060 is plugged in, it also has a very cool illuminated GTX logo, which even in the mess of wires that is my cabinet, looked pretty neat.

Benchmarks:

As stated, I used the Heaven Uniengine and the Firestrike Steam tool to benchmark the GPU. The Nvidia GTX 1060 performed extremely well on all games, and proved to be a competent buy for its price. I tried out Rise Of The Tomb Raider, and the Time Spy Stress test provided by Firestrike for my benchmarks and you can see the results below. All of these benchmarks were made at the 1080p display, 1440p and finally 2160p display.

Average FPS benchmarks for Nvidia GE GTX 1060
Average FPS benchmarks for Nvidia GE GTX 1060

When compared to the numbers other sites (Forbes, Trusted Reviews, and PC Gamer) have put out, I see my numbers are pretty close to theirs. And if their comparisons are to be believed, then the GTX 1060 performs better than the AMD RX 480. Which is impressive since the Nvidia GTX 1060 is already beating the RX 480 (8 GB model) in price in India.

Power and Heating:

As stated above I had a 550 W PSU, and  I had my doubts whether the PSU will be able to support the GPU. Thankfully the GTX 1060 performs well in this area as well. It pulls in around 242W from the wall when tested under the load of running the Fire Strike Extreme Combined test. This is impressive for a card of GTX 1060 caliber and good news for PC gamers who haven’t upgraded from their 450 W PSU.

When it comes to heating, the GTX 1060 scores well again, never crossing the 80* F mark right through my benchmarks. This tells me that the GPU is well optimized and the PASCAL architecture has been built keeping the intangibles in mind as well.

The Games:

Finally we come to the most important part of the test. The Nvidia GTX 1060 was put to the grind as I tried out Overwatch, Witcher 3, GTA V and NBA 2K 17 during my time with it. All of these games ran real smooth and never did the FPS drop below 42 (on my 1080p display), even when the Internet connection in Overwatch was a little spotty. The games ran smoothly, and I even recorded video using both the Game Record tool built into the Xbox app on Windows 10 and Shadow Play (the game capture software that came in bundled with the Nvidia GE Game Experience suite). There were no stutters (which was a welcome departure from my earlier PC experience) even when I sat through long gaming sessions which lasted about 6-8 hours.

Unfortunately, I did not have a VR headset with me, and was neither able to benchamrk or try out VR games, but it won’t be a long-shot to say that the GTX 1060 will provide adequate and satisfactory numbers in the VR test as well.

VERDICT

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