The 3GB version of the GTX 1060 has launched. At $200, this card is a great deal and has been placed in our Superb tier, knocking the RX 470 out of our recommendations list until that card’s price drifts closer to its $180 suggested retail price.
Before we discuss price and performance, it is important to point out something slightly deceptive and confusing that NVIDIA has pulled with the 1060 3GB edition. Historically, many cards have been released with multiple versions of varying VRAM amounts. For example, you could buy 2GB or 1GB versions of the NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti. Even now, the AMD RX 480 can be yours in a 4GB or 8GB flavor.
But aside from the differing amounts of VRAM, those cards would have identical specifications.
With the GTX 1060 3GB, NVIDIA has removed half the VRAM, and has also removed about 10% of the card’s shader units. People who would not know better would expect that same card — since it has the same name — but this is not the case.
We judge hardware by its performance and quality, so we will recommend this card because it is a good card. But for the benefit of our readers, we will still point out that this is a card that is ~10% weaker than the 6GB version, despite NVIDIA’s naming. It would have been more honest of NVIDIA to call this the GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1055, but that is their decision.
As for the 1060 3GB, it has performance that is on par with the RX 480 4GB, and it is available at $200! Until RX 470 prices fall below $200, the GTX 1060 3GB is the better choice. NVIDIA has been doing excellently with regards to power draw, temperatures, and noise for the last two generations, and the 1060 3GB is no exception. It is a very good card for a very good price.
So what are we changing with the 1060 3GB?
- Adding the 1060 3GB to the Superb tier as a cheaper alternative to the RX 480.
- Clearly labeling the “1060 6GB” as 6GB.
- Removing the RX 470 until the price becomes more reasonable.
On that note, both the R9 380 and the GTX 960 might be leaving us soon, since AMD is most likely going to drop the RX 470 prices to make it a logical purchase again. If AMD reacts fast, expect another update.