Nvidia GTX 1060 Review Featuring Gainward Golden Sample GTX 1060

The mainstream or mid end price tier of any hardware is where the action mainly is. Therefore it is the mid end where the sales occur in bulk and the company who dominates the mid-tier manages to grab most of the market. Today we will be taking a look at the GTX 1060 from Nvidia which is their new mid-tier offering.

The GTX 1060 is positioned as a mid-end product for Nvidia’s Pascal lineup after the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 with a GTX 1050 probably releasing sometime later this year.
(October according to the latest rumors)

We will start off with a little specs comparison off the bat before we dive into the nitty-gritty stuff.

NVIDIA GPU Specification Comparison
GTX 1080 GTX 1070 GTX 1060 GTX 960
CUDA Cores 2560 1920 1280 1024
Texture Units 160 120 80 64
ROPs 64 64 48 32
Core Clock 1607MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz 1126MHz
Boost Clock 1733MHz 1683MHz 1709MHz 1178MHz
TFLOPs (FMA) 8.9 TFLOPs 6.5 TFLOPs 4.4 TFLOPs 2.4 TFLOPs
Memory Clock 10Gbps GDDR5X 8Gbps GDDR5 8Gbps GDDR5 7Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 128-bit
VRAM 8GB 8GB 6GB 2GB
FP64 1/32 1/32 1/32 1/32
TDP 180W 150W 120W 120W
GPU GP104 GP104 GP106 GM204
Transistor Count 7.2B 7.2B 4.4B 2.94B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 16nm TSMC 16nm TSMC 16nm TSMC 28nm
Launch Price MSRP: $599 MSRP: $379 MSRP: $249 $199
Founders $699 Founders $449 Founders $299

A look into the GTX 1060

The GTX 1060 brings the GP106 GPU to the market which is Nvidia’s mainstream GPU offering. The GP106  ships with 1280 CUDA cores which is half of the GP104/GTX 1080. In theory, we are looking at a card which has half number of texture unit and geometric engines. However the similarity kind of stops there.

Coming to the backend one would expect the GP1060 to ship with 4ROP/L2/MC partition(totalling to 32 ROPs and a 128-bit memory bus). However,Nvidia shipped the GTX 1060 with a 6 partition setup.

geforce_gtx_1060_block_diagram_final_1467926505

The design brings three things on to the table. First, the GP106 is not exactly a half GP104. Second, it has a higher ROP throughput, L2 cache capacity, and memory bandwidth ratio per CUDA core than the other pascal parts like the GTX 1080. And thirdly, this is the second time Nvidia has used this kind of design with a larger backend, GK106 being the first.

In any case, we are left with an interesting design for the GP106. The GPU’s 10SM are divided into two GPC’s. This means the GP106 can rasterize 32 pixels per clock on the front end but the backend can accept up to 48 pixels per clock.

The other Pascal cards received a considerable bandwidth increase from their respective Maxwell parts to feed their GPU. Consequently, GP106 needed a similar solution. On the GTX 1080 Nvidia opted for the expensive GDDR5x and in GTX 1070 Nvidia bundled faster 8 Gbps GDDR5. For the GTX 1060 Nvidia had two options : either go with GDDR5X or go with a wider memory bus, the company opted the more economical second way.

Moving on to other things, The GP106 is a relatively small chip. At 200mm2 it’s smaller than the 227mm2 GM206 and the 214MM2 GK 106 before that. This makes the GP106 Nvidia’s smallest mainstream GPU till date.

Moving on to clock speed’s the GTX 1060 comes with a 1.7GHz boost clock. This puts GTX1060 at 4.354 TFLOPs, giving the card about 80% boost if compared to the retiring GTX 960. On the memory side of things the card ships with 6GB of VRAM. The memory runs at the same speed as the GTX1070 giving the card 192GB/sec of total bandwidth.  That gives it around a 71% increase in bandwidth over the GTX 960. Coupling that with the Image compression technology in Pascal means GTX 1060 won’t be running out of bandwidth.

geforce_gtx_1060_3qtr_front_left_1467822736

On the TDP side, Nvidia put the GTX 1060 in the same power envelope as its predecessor, which is 120W. This makes the GTX 1060 suitable for systems that only offers single 6pin connectors.

GeForce GTX 1060 Configurations
Base Founders Edition
Core Clock 1506MHz 1506MHz
Boost Clock 1709MHz 1709MHz
Memory Clock 8Gbps GDDR5 8Gbps GDDR5
Cooler Manufacturer Custom
(Typical: 1 or 2 Fan Open Air)
NVIDIA Reference
(Blower)
Price Starting at $249 $299

Do note the GTX 1060 Founders Edition are not sold in retail channel except through Nvidia’s web store. So do not expect to see the founders edition.

A Closer Look at the Gainward GTX 1060 Golden Sample

The front of the GPU features a two-tone metal plate with the same colors of a red-velvet cake. The tilted edges and bolts are akin to industrial designs. The 90MM fans are  enough to give airflow at minimal noise. During our test’s however, the fans at 100% were quite audible.

GTX 1060 - p_20160827_235251

 

 

 

We see the main PCB, the backplate, the copper pipe and aluminium fin cooler and the fan assembly in the following render.

GTX 1060 - ld0003761989_2

While the Cooling system is nothing over the top it does a pretty well job. Also,the Gainward Logo is RGB enabled(although the implementation is very clunky) and controllable through software.

When used the Logo looks like this in the dark

GTX 1060
Sorry for ze potato Quality!

Output wise we have 3 Display ports, 1 HDMI, and 1 DVI.

GTX 1060 - 1478764-7

 

And to top it all off the GTX 1060 runs from a single 6 pin power connector.

Test Bench

  • Processor : Intel Core i5 6600K
  • MotherBoard : Asus Maximus VIII ranger courtesy Asus
  • Memory : Kingston Hyper X Fury DDR4 16GB
  • Storage : Kingston SSDNow V300 courtesy Kingston India.
  • Power Supply : CM V1000
  • Cooling System : Custom Liquid Cooling System courtesy Thermaltake India

GTX 1060 - gtx_1060_gs

 

Benchmarks

As usual, we ran our general benchmark suite on the GTX 1060 and here are the results we came up with.

4K Resolution 3840×2160

GTX 1060 - 4k

 

1440P Resolution 2560×1440

GTX 1060 - 1440p

 

1080P Resolution 1920×1080

GTX 1060 - 1080p

 

3DMark

GTX 1060 - 3dmark

 

Conclusion

Looking at performance data the GTX 1060 provides the best performance gains for a single generation. Compared to the GTX 960 the performance gains are about 80% at 1080P.

So for the current GTX 960 users the GTX 1060 provides a very nice upgrade option should they want to have a go at it.

Now coming the card we have tested. Gainward was always a bit of a dark horse in the GPU industry. As a result, in spite of having good design’s the cards never was a huge success.the flagship from Gainward was the “phantom” range of cards which ran in absolute silence without compromising on the performance. The Golden sample is made with overclocking and bling in mind. For our part, the card worked perfectly through our tests and testing period.

The Gainward GTX 1060 card  is priced at around INR 24,000. As a result, this makes the Gainward Golden Sample GTX 1060 the cheapest dual fan model of GTX 1060 available in the market.

In conclusion, the Gainward Golden Sample GTX 1060 fits the mantle of a relatively cheap card which can do occasional 1440P gaming. And that cues us to give this card a well-deserved silver. However, Gainward should improve the RGB implementation in the next iteration of the card.

logo3_ag

Sumon Pathak

Sumon Pathak

Lawyer by day, Overclocker and reviewer by night, and a sniper in weekends.