I’ve been holding off on reviewing NVIDIA’s all new GeForce 10 series (1060, 1070, 1080) video cards because all that’s been available till recently is “founders editions”. Essentially, these early editions of the cards cost 2-3x the price and offer no improvements whatsoever.
Now that the prices have normalized and the cards have been released in earnest, I feel it’s a wonderful time to start reviewing these bad boys. I’ll be starting with the 1060, which is arguably going to be the best budget video card for 2017 – At least in my opinion! Let’s get started.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Review – Product Overview
The GeForce 1060 is absolutely the most powerful video card you can get for under $300. It beats the heck out of almost all of Nvidia’s video cards of the last generation (Even the GTX 980!), and it’s actually significantly cheaper! Here’s a quick overview of the best things about the card.
- More powerful than just about every last-gen card on the market – Including the GTX 980
- 100% VR Ready!
- Excellent price
- Very quiet, depending on the clock speed mode you select (“Silent”, “Gaming”, or “OC”)
- Looks freakin’ cool! (Okay, this is a personal thing, I admit 😛 )
- Torx Fan 2.0
- Twin Frozr VI Thermal Technology
- 6GB DDR5 VRAM
- 13 inches in length – Be sure it’ll fit in your case!
Could This Be The Best Video Card for VR?
Without a doubt! The 1060 is ridiculously powerful. If a GTX 970 is enough to meet the requirements of a VR rig, then the 1060 will blast them out of the park. As long as you have a strong CPU (and other parts) to match, there’s absolutely no reason this thing can’t destroy virtual reality games. In addition, you can easily run just about any modern (And future, for several years) game on maximum or near-maximum settings.
Virtual reality, however, will be a tough market to predict. While the current games will all run quite easily on a 1060, I can’t vouch for it’s performance in VR games to come. It’s still very young technology and it will require a lot of perfecting and optimizations – which probably won’t happen for a few years, at least. So just be aware of the limitations of any current card for the future, and you’re all set!
Another quick note, if you were curious about my own personal uses for the card. I’ll be going back to many of our gaming PC build guides and updating the video cards and CPUs with the 1060. The value it offers is just too insane to pass up for those builds!
Silent & Cool
What if you could have a card that not only beat the crap out of the GTX 970 (And just about outperforms the 980 in many aspects), but also ran almost entirely silent and at crazy low temperatures? That’s not a fantasy anymore. The 1060 offers just that, and more!
The average temperatures reported by most 1060 owners seem to be around 50-60 degrees, even under heavy gaming load. Compare that to my 970’s 80+ degree temperatures under load, and the winner is clear!
In terms of sound, I’m afraid I can’t offer specific numbers – I’m not experienced measuring sound in decibels or other forms of measurement, unfortunately. However, I can tell you that even during intense gaming sessions the 1060 remained almost completely silent. The most I ever heard was a very low “hum”. And yes, that’s without headphones.
This thing is so quiet, in fact, that the 1070 actually seems to be a little louder! So if sound is really important to you, it may actually be better to grab the 1060 instead of the 1070 or 1080. Just food for thought.
I should also note, though, that I have MSI’s version of the 1060. I cannot vouch for the quality, performance, temperature etc. of other card manufacturers. The version I own is the one I will link to throughout the article, though, so don’t worry!
Still, feel free to go with someone else if you prefer another company over MSI – I won’t hold it against you. 😉
Okay, so it’s cool and quiet. Great. Who cares? What you all really want to see is numbers. What kind of FPS can you expect to get in, say, Overwatch on Ultra? How does it stack up against similar last-gen cards?
Very valid questions! Unfortunately, in terms of raw FPS (Not clock speeds, noise, or temperatures), the 1060 is just about outclassed by the 980 in some particularly demanding games. To be fair, both cards get such stupidly high FPS (We’re talking 90-100+ FPS in just about every game on Ultra) that you’ll never notice the difference. Additionally, the GTX 1060 is half the price of the 980 – Still, here are some numbers (Courtesy of GPUBoss) for your perusal.
As you can see, the performance of both cards is pretty similar overall. The only really noticeable difference would be in Thief, but Thief was pretty badly optimized for PC to begin with.
However, all of these games came out a while ago. How about a more modern test?
Running Overwatch on Ultra at 1920x1080p, the GTX 1060 acheived (on average) 160-166FPS, dipping to a minimum of 140 FPS during particularly intense situations.
It’s just barely outclassed by the 980 once again, which achieved (on average) 167 FPS, dropping down to a minimum of 144 FPS occasionally.
That was running on a rig with a i7 6700K (@ 4.5Ghz) Skylake processor and 16GB of memory, though, so your results may vary – though probably not by more than 20-25 FPS.
Is It Worth The Price?
The answer is a resounding yes. There’s not even a question about it. Let me remind you that the 970 cost upwards of $350 right now, and the 1060 is sitting around the $250-$300 range.
More power, better price. That’s the definition of value. The card is cool, quiet, well-designed (Although a bit large) and reliable. It’s VR ready and it can run even the most demanding of games on Ultra with no stuttering or noticeable FPS drop. You’d be hard pressed to find a better deal than the GTX 1060. However, if you are looking for something even more high performance, you can obviously consider the GTX 1070 or 1080 if your budget allows.
But it’s my opinion that those cards are really unecessary right now, and way overkill for anything other than ridiculous 3D rendering. The 1060 is in that sweet spot of price and performance.
I recommend buying it on Amazon, but you can buy it from whomever you choose. Check it out for yourself at the link below!
Thanks for reading, guys! What do you think of the 1060? Could Nvidia’s new 10 series video cards solidify their place at the top of the market for years to come? Or do you think they’ll flop?
Let me know in the comments! 🙂
See you all next time!