With killer performance and efficiency, plus plenty of memory headroom, this is the king of sub-£300 graphics cards
- Stonking performance
- Low power consumption
- Still not cheap
Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 6GB sits at, so to speak, the top of the mid-range of graphics cards. It features twice as much GDDR5 memory as its 3GB little sibling, and also has a slightly beefier GPU, with 1,280 stream processors, compared to 1,152 in the cheaper model.
The two flavours otherwise share the same spec, though, with a stock GPU clocked at 1,506MHz and boosting to 1,708MHz. In fact, the latter figure is a little conservative: our Zotac sample happily boosted to 1898MHz during our benchmarks, even with the base clock running at stock frequency. The 6GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 2,002MHz (8GHz effective), and is attached to a 192-bit-wide memory interface.
The 6GB GTX 1060 uses the same Pascal architecture as Nvidia’s absurdly powerful GTX 1070 and 1080 cards, so we slotted the card in with high expectations – and we weren’t disappointed. Not only did the 6GB GTX 1060 achieve full marks in our 1080p tests, it also excelled in our 2,560 x 1,440 tests. It never dropped below 60fps in Doom at this resolution, even at Ultra settings, and it also deserves much praise for keeping up a 34fps minimum in Fallout 4 at 2,560 x 1,440 with Ultra settings.
The only test where the GTX 1060 stumbled was Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: here the AMD Radeon RX 480 had the edge, although it may be significant that the game is co-branded under the “AMD Gaming Evolved” programme. Even so, the GTX 1060 6GB still held its own, achieving a solid minimum of 38fps at 1080p at Very High settings, and even staying above 30fps at Ultra settings – something the 3GB model couldn’t quite manage.
Power consumption was great too – the peak draw of 258W from our system with the 6GB card installed was just 15W higher than with the 3GB card installed, and a fair bit lower than the 290W we saw from AMD’s Radeon RX 480.
Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 6GB is our favourite graphics card for under £300. It managed comfortably playable frame rates in all our games at 1080p, and almost all of them at 2,560 x 1,440. The extra memory also gives the 6GB model an edge over its 3GB counterpart in very demanding games, such as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
To be sure, you’re paying quite a premium over the 3GB card, which will still serve you fine in most games. While the 6GB card is quicker overall, it’s less compelling in terms of raw bang per buck. But if the demands of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at Ultra settings are a yardstick for future games, the extra cash may be worth the investment in the future. If you want the best card in this league then the 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is the one to buy.
|Graphics processor||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, 1506MHz (1683MHz boost)|
|Pipeline||2,560 stream processors, 64 ROPs|
|Memory||8GB GDDR5, 8GHz effective|
|Compatibility||DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5|
|Outputs/inputs||Dual-link DVI, 1 x HDMI 2b, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4|
|Power connections||1 x 6-pin|
|Size||267mm long, dual-slot|