The youngest of NVIDIA’s new 1000-series family, the GTX 1060, launches today. It is a hard launch, and cards are available for sale, if you can snag one fast enough.
In the few minutes that it took to write this blog post, I have watched several versions of the card go out of stock! And why? The card has excellent 1080p performance, and its low power draw means that it runs cool and quiet.
The GTX 1060 theoretically launches at $300 for the reference edition, and $250 for the non-reference. Realistically, the card will likely sell for $300-$350 for the next few months.
The obvious question everyone wants to know is this: Is the GTX 1060 better than AMD’s RX 480? The answer is not so clear-cut. If you are looking at performance alone, then in most current games, the GTX 1060 averages between 5-15% better. If you isolate only the games in which the RX 480 excels (Vulkan and some DirectX 12 titles), then the RX480 has an edge.
Some day, if/when DX12/Vulkan are used for all new games, then the RX 480 might be the better choice. For those who care about power draw, temperature, and noise, the GTX 1060 wins. So, overall, the GTX 1060 is the better card, but for a higher price.
Given that both the GTX 1060 and RX 480 are out of stock everywhere (except for the price scalpers), the question of “which card is a better buy” is moot, as you cannot actually buy either card at suggested retail prices. In a few more weeks, when the prices settle and the cards are available in larger quantities, we can take another look!
For now, we have added the GTX 1060 (priced at $300) to the Excellent tier. We are removing the GTX 970 and the R9 390 from the list, since they’re selling for prices too close to the superior GTX 1060 to make them a logical option.
As a reminder: These cards are in high demand, so the lower priced cards get bought out as soon as they are in stock, leaving only cards with inflated prices. If you want the card right now, the performance and power efficiency mean that the GTX 1060 is worth paying about 20% more than what the RX 480 is available for. In time, there will be enough stock that the prices will settle at lower levels. All you need is patience!
GTX 1060 Reviews:
(With thanks to the nice folks at /r/buildapc for always having a nice thread at every launch)
Video: Building a PC with the GTX 1060