Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 benchmarks: 3GB and 6GB models tested. What does gtx 1060 mean

The Radeon RX 480 once again lagged behind the GTX 1060 FE, although both cards were not that different from 4K. MSI’s overclocked version of the GTX 1060 was also very close to the stock card, indicating that perhaps there is some CPU throttling in this aging title.

GeForce GTX 1060 Revisit: A Good Buy in 2021?

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A few weeks ago we took a look at the old Radeon RX 580 to see how it performs in today’s 1080p and 1440p games. It was great to see this mid-range GPU from 2017 perform surprisingly well as it didn’t take much to achieve high playability.

The big problem with today’s graphics processors is, of course, price and availability. Months ago, we started recommending the RX 580 as an alternative to spending over 400,000 on the new and heavily scalped Ampere or RDNA2 product. The Radeon RX 580 was available for purchase on eBay for around $ 300, and while that’s roughly double the year before you could pay for a new one, we live in a very different time.

Unfortunately, the $ 300 Radeon RX 580 8GB is now a dream as most sells for $ 400-500. Alternatively, for just over $ 300, you can still get the 4GB RX 580 versions that will deliver the same level of performance as the 8GB model, provided you don’t exceed the VRAM capacity and can avoid it if needed by fine-tuning the reduced texture quality to name one setting.

Another good alternative for a similar price is the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB. These graphics cards are currently selling on the aftermarket for ~ $ 300. You get a little more VRAM than the inexpensive RX 580, and the performance should be similar. We thought it might be worth going back to the GTX 1060 6GB like we did with the Radeon before, so here we’ll see this old man play the current generation games.

We’ve tested the GTX 1060 multiple times over the years, so we’re assuming you all know what the deal with this GeForce model is at this point. We will skip the specifications or tell you about the history of this product. We’re looking at it from a make-do situation, is this a potential good buy in 2021 as you’re waiting for the current-gen GPUs to drop from their ridiculous margins compared to the MSRP?

To answer this question, as with the Radeon RX 580, this is not a direct benchmark comparison as we are simply interested in how the GTX 1060 6GB handles a range of new or popular games using low, medium and high quality settings.

We tested 17 games at 1080p and 1440p using these three quality settings. Our test bench was equipped with a cool Ryzen 9 5950X with 32GB of DDR4-3200 CL14 memory, so the results will be completely limited by the GPU. Let’s get to it…

Gaming Benchmarks

We’ll start by looking at the performance in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. This AMD-sponsored title does better with Radeon GPUs, although the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB still performs very well and can provide a decent experience at medium quality settings at 1080p with an average of 59fps.

As if that were not enough, the lowest setting will allow 70fps and is not much slower than the 75fps that the RX 580 produced.

For games at 1440p, you’ll probably want to choose the lowest quality setting, and even then you won’t be treated at 60fps. Still, I believe that given the age of this GPU, performance is pretty good.

Older GPUs remain very useful for most esports games, so competing titles like Rainbow Six Siege. Although the GTX 1060 is much slower here than the RX 580, you can still enjoy the high refresh rate at 1080p using the high quality setting.

Even at 1440p, you are looking at over 60fps all the time and it is possible to achieve over 100fps at the lowest quality setting. For these games, the GTX 1060 used offers a lot of value.

Biomutant is a new game that makes a visual impression, even with the lower quality settings. The GTX 1060 6GB’s performance was superb, matching or exceeding the RX 580. Even with high quality settings, you’ll be able to hit 60fps at 1080p and then push a lot more with medium and low quality settings.

At 1440p, you can still enjoy gameplay similar to 60fps using a low quality setting, so this is a great result considering how great the game looks.

Outriders is another new game that we decided to test. Again, the GTX 1060 is very close to the RX 580. At medium settings the game looks great, and at 1080p you’ll be looking at just over 60fps or over 40fps in 1440p.

The game runs silky smooth using low quality settings, and still looks surprisingly good. Overall, playing Outriders on the GTX 1060 6GB was an enjoyable experience.

Moving on to Horizon Zero Dawn, we look at very similar performance between the GTX 1060 and the RX 580. This meant that the 1060 was able to deliver high-end 1080p playability using the second highest quality setting, labeled favored.

But this is another game that looks great even when it is slightly scaled down, and I found the visuals to be still excellent with the “original” quality setting. This allowed to obtain 71 fps in 1080p and 49 fps in 1440p.

The GTX 1060 is not as powerful as the RX 580 in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, though they are on par with the mid-quality settings. The 1060 drops a bit at the lows and lows, but we’re still talking about an average of 75fps at 1080p at the lows and 88fps at the lowest, so overall a good experience.

Doom Eternal is an exceptionally well-optimized game that makes these older, popular GPUs perform great. The GTX 1060 is slower than the RX 580, but still handles over 100fps at 1080p using nightmarish settings.

Doom Eternal is an exceptionally well-optimized game that makes these older, popular GPUs perform great. The GTX 1060 is slower than the RX 580, but still handles over 100fps at 1080p using nightmarish settings.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

We start out with Assassin’s Creed Unity, where the bustling spaces of Paris and the detailed models of our French Revolution characters remain a daunting challenge even for modern cards. Note that for most of the test at 1080p and 1440p, there is a three or four frame difference between the GTX 1060 3GB and 6GB versions – perhaps because AC Unity is particularly VRAM-intensive and even maxes out the 3GB model at 1080p. In this test, Nvidia cards appear less volatile than AMD as the RX 580 both drops lower and soars higher than the GTX 1060 6GB at various points, making the GTX 1060 a reasonable choice over the RX 580, at least in this title.

  • GTX 1050 Ti
  • GTX 1060 3 GB
  • GTX 1060 6 GB
  • RX 570
  • RX 580
  • GTX 1060 3 GB
  • GTX 1060 6 GB
  • RX 570
  • RX 580

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Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity hasn’t lit the world of strategy games to the end of its launch in 2016, but its plethora of lasers and an integrated benchmark option have surely made it a fan favorite among the gaming press. Team Red cards always seem to do well here with a game geared towards DX12 rendering, and that trend repeats itself as both GTX 1060 variants lag behind the RX 580. Meanwhile, the 6GB GTX 1060 barely outperforms the cheaper RX 570.

  • GTX 1050 Ti
  • GTX 1060 3 GB
  • GTX 1060 6 GB
  • RX 570
  • RX 580
  • GTX 1060 3 GB
  • GTX 1060 6 GB
  • RX 570
  • RX 580

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Nvidia GTX 1060 price

Nvidia GTX 1060

The MSRP for the GTX 1060 starts at an impressive $ 249 (£ 239) for custom cards from Nvidia’s production partners. With the AMD RX 480 at $ 239 (£ 220) for the standard 8GB model, it will be a bloody battle for the hearts and minds of the mid-range GPU crowd.

There is a caveat, however, as Nvidia again selects the Founders Edition as the reference model, which will retail for $ 299.

As a reference, a Founders Edition card starting at $ 299 (£ 279) is unlikely that its graphics card partners will be selling their overclocked versions, with third-party coolers, for anything below that price.

Nvidia has assured us that stock clocks are available at this base manufacturer suggested price, and the GTX 1060 is a fantastic option. Zotac is also releasing a mini version of the GTX 1060 for small gamers, using the small footprint of the PCB to create an impressively fine pixel pusher. Moreover, they told us it would also be released at this base price.

Nvidia GTX 1060 specifications

Pascal GPU Comparison

The GTX 1060 comes with a brand new GPU, the GP106, which is essentially a half the size of the larger GP104 chip you’ll find in the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070.

The GP106 GPU in the GTX 1060 is equipped with a full number of 1280 CUDA cores running on the same 16nm FinFET architecture that made previous Pascal-based cards a performance beast.

It is compatible with the GP104 design, meaning the GTX 1060 graphics processor consists of a pair of graphics processing clusters (GPCs) with 640 cores each and potentially 32 render output units (ROPs).

The GTX 1060 runs on a 192-bit memory bus, and all initial cards will come with a full 6GB of video memory running at 8Gb / s.

I say the first cards, as the rumors about the later 3GB version of the GTX 1060 seem to be true – against all common sense. Nvidia hasn’t announced anything on its own, it’s only releasing 6GB versions, but we’ve heard from manufacturers that 3GB GTX 1060 versions will be coming in the next month or two.

The GTX 1060 also handles the performance claims that have accompanied all Pascal-based cards so far. It works with a TDP of 120W, which places it well below the rival AMD RX 480, as well as below the 165W GTX 980, which Nvidia rivals in gaming with.

Overclocked GTX 1060

Unfortunately, there will be no SLI capabilities for these new mid-tier players. With the performance of these cards, Nvidia won’t want anyone building a GTX 1080 beating hardware with a pair of GTX 1060 for $ 100 less. Nvidia, however, claims to have removed functionality from the GTX 1060 because no one really wants a mid-range SLI pair, they just want to pair the high-end ones.

Personally, I’d always recommend installing a single GPU rather than the often awkward multi-GPU setup if you can help with that, but at least they could give us a choice, huh?

We tested 17 games at 1080p and 1440p using these three quality settings. Our test bench was equipped with a cool Ryzen 9 5950X with 32GB of DDR4-3200 CL14 memory, so the results will be completely limited by the GPU. Let’s get to it…

Ray Tracing

The next specification we’ll look at is ray tracing, which refers to the ability to render realistic lighting and shadow effects in gaming environments for a much more realistic experience. Unfortunately, regardless of the size of GB, the Nvidia GeForce 1060 does not include the necessary hardware required to support ray tracing. Interestingly, it’s also one of the few GTX cards from Nvidia to support the driver update released by Nvidia to allow ray tracing on GTX cards, rather than sticking to their RTX 20 series.

However, if you decide to try ray tracing through the 1060, you’ll only be teasing as it will struggle to keep the frame rate high. It will also take up a large chunk of memory, so you may encounter lag and buffering – regardless of the gigabyte size. Therefore, if ray tracing is an important gaming spec you need, you may consider shifting your focus to a card better suited to ray tracing in the latest generation of games, such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060.

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Enhanced PWM design

the 6-phase PWM design with high-quality military-grade components ensures extreme reliability, great overclockability and increased performance.

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Catch the Vibe with Cool LED Effects

Each LED can be individually controlled by selecting any of the animation effects available in the MSI Gaming App, from responding to game sounds or music to constant light, breathing and flashing. Of course, you can also turn them off.

    Fixed –>

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Design and performance in a class of its own.


Customize LED lighting and effects to suit your system or mood.


MSI’s patented fan design generates 22% higher air pressure for ultra-quiet operation.


The included sturdy metal backplate provides extra strength and a finished look.

Dirt 5’s results are strange and rather unexpected. As an AMD sponsored title, you’d expect the RX 580 to run away with it, but here’s the opposite. In all conditions, the GTX 1060 was faster and sometimes even much faster, as seen when tested with ultra-low and low settings at 1080p.

GTX 1060 vs RTX 2060: 1440p performance

Now we come to the crux of the problem, as while the GTX 1060 is still a pretty decent 1080p card, its 2560×1440 performance leaves a bit to be desired in the glossy old graphics department. It’s still a good choice for gaming at 1440p, as long as you don’t mind playing at medium settings most of the time, but if you’re feeling like your GTX 1060 is starting to show its age a bit in recent games, there’s some very good news to be found on RTX 2060.

As you can see, most of today’s big hits just can’t be played on the GTX 1060 at maximum settings. Three of the seven didn’t even hit 30fps, and the other two barely made it across the 30fps barrier.

The RTX 2060, on the other hand, makes the game unplayable, offering in many cases an improvement of at least 50%, if not even 80% in Shadow of the Tomb Raider (again with the best SMAA x4 anti-aliasing).

Okay, I’ll admit that on the RTX 2060 it’s not a perfectly perfect 60fps average for the most part, although many games actually hit that figure from time to time in testing. But while you previously had to get closer to £ 420 / $ 480 to get the same level of performance as the GTX 1070Ti (which scored nearly identical to the RTX 2060 in each of the games listed above), it’s still pretty good considering that The RTX 2060 costs about two-thirds of that.

GTX 1060 vs RTX 2060 conclusion

That’s quite a fascinating set of results in my books, and you should almost certainly consider upgrading if you’re a current GTX 1060 owner looking to get more out of their 1440p monitor, which is why it’s my new favorite graphics card in our 1440p category. Personally, I think GTX 1070 owners should consider upgrading to this card if they are not satisfied with the current level of 1440p performance, but I will do a separate graphical comparison article for this card and its Ti counterpart very briefly.

However, if you still have a 1080p monitor, I think the GTX 1060 will still serve you well in the foreseeable future, especially if you’re not that busy having the cutest and prettiest graphics. You may feel worth the dive if you have a high refresh rate flash monitor that can run up to 120Hz or 144Hz, for example, but for the regular 60Hz previews where all you’ll ever see is 60fps, I keep an eye on keep in mind that the GTX 1060 will do you good for now.

MSI Gaming App allows you to create one-click performance profiles that unlock extra gaming performance or mute the card during light use. It also includes an EyeRest tab for easy access to image enhancement technology.


We didn’t have time to tinker with overclocking on this board long enough, but since all of the previous “Maxwell” GPUs and “Pascal” graphics cards we’ve seen so far have been fairly well overclocked, we’ve seen no reason to believe that a card wouldn’t achieve what it would do at least 1900 MHz out of the box. Nvidia claims in its GPU marketing material that it can hit 2GHz without a problem, so we gave it a try.

On the EVGA PrecisionX 16, we tweaked the GPU offset and various test programs and games for several hours, achieving stable performance of the card with a GPU clock offset of +250 MHz, and the boost clock was hovering under load at 2075 MHz in the Unigine Heaven benchmark. By sticking to this setting and running some of our standard games and benchmarks, we saw a 1fps increase in Far Cry Primal in 4K and about an 8% increase in the 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra test, jumping from 2,898 to 3,140.

Powerful for its Size and Consumption

Overall, the GTX 1060 is a very good graphics card considering it only uses 120 watts of power. It lived up to its performance promise at the level of the GTX 980 in a general sense, even if it didn’t significantly outperform this card.

And when we re-ran our testing with a driver installation that worked fine, the Nvidia card mostly outperformed the AMD Radeon RX 480 as well. Interestingly, Nvidia’s lead seemed to wane as we moved to newer titles and especially with DirectX 12, a result that we saw later on the $ 109 Radeon RX 460 (at least compared to previous generation Nvidia’s older cards). This could indicate that the strength of the new AMD cards is in the DirectX 12 titles, or maybe just the few such titles that are available today are tipping in favor of Team Red.

The conclusion we are left with? The $ 239, 8GB version of the Radeon RX 480 is mostly slower than the $ 299.99 GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition graphics card, though less for some high-tech games. Given the price difference between the two cards, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for AMD. Nvidia said prior to its launch that the GTX 1060 was “.. on average 15 percent faster and more than 75 percent more energy efficient than the nearest competitor.” The power claims may be true (we don’t test them), but given the performance differences between the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 were somewhat ubiquitous, it’s hard to confirm the first half of this claim. We ‘I’d like to see some other DirectX 12 titles (and some mid-2016 AAA titles in general) running on both of these cards.

It’s even more fun to add a Radeon RX 480 card for $ 199.4GB to the deal to see how it fares, but we’re still waiting to get one for testing. Indeed, at the time of writing, it seemed like they are not available exactly anywhere.

Despite not having a complete route through Nvidia, the GTX 1060 still has the same advantages as Nvidia’s Pascal architecture. These include Simultaneous Multi-Projection (SMP), which theoretically doubles the speed at which VR games can be launched, and the in-game screenshot technology, Ansel. Added to this is driver support, GeForce Experience software, and excellent acoustics and thermals of the Founders Edition card. However, the lack of GPU SLI support is the opposite, if only because the parallel Radeon card supports CrossFire.

However, the GTX 1060 should not be underestimated. The GTX 1060 Founders Edition is a very powerful card considering its size and power consumption, and anyone who upgrades this GPU from a mid-range card two or three years ago will see a huge performance improvement. Nvidia’s partners are releasing, as we write this, specially cooled and overclocked GTX 1060 motherboards, the price of which (according to preliminary reports) ranges from $ 249 to $ 309. Based on our testing of at least one, the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G ($ 369.99 at Newegg), it’s clear that some will be more powerful out of the box and at about the same price or less expensive. (MSI’s motherboard, according to the company, will sell between $ 289 to $ 299.)

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