EVGA GTX 1060 3GB review: A compelling $200 graphics card with a questionable future

Nvidia's new 3GB version of the GeForce GTX 1060 goes toe-to-toe with the $200 Radeon RX 480—in theory.

Our test system

We tested the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming on PCWorld’s dedicated graphics card benchmark system. Our testbed’s loaded with high-end components to avoid bottlenecks in other parts of the system and show unfettered graphics performance. Key highlights:

Intel’s Core i7-5960X ($1,016 on Amazon) with a Corsair Hydro Series H100i closed-loop water cooler ($97 on Amazon).

An Asus X99 Deluxe motherboard ($360 on Amazon).

Corsair’s Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory ($65 on Newegg), Obsidian 750D full-tower case ($155 on Amazon), and 1,200-watt AX1200i power supply ($308 on Amazon).

A 480GB Intel 730 series SSD ($248 on Amazon).

Windows 10 Pro ($199 on Amazon).

We’re comparing the $200 EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming against its direct competitors: AMD’s RX 480 and the XFX Radeon RX 470 RS Black Edition True OC ($210 on Amazon), as well as the original 6GB GTX 1060. (We’re testing the $240 8GB version of AMD’s RX 480 card, though the 4GB model offers virtually identical performance.) As the full-fat GTX 1060 offers performance that falls somewhere between the older GTX 980 and GTX 970, we’ve also tossed in results from EVGA GTX 970 FTW, a highly overclocked GTX 970 custom card. We’re not including results from AMD and Nvidia’s last-gen $200-ish graphics cards, as our original GTX 1060 review established that this new generation blows those older models away.

We benchmark every game using the default graphics settings unless otherwise noted, with all vendor-specific special features—such as Nvidia’s GameWorks effects, AMD’s TressFX, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled. Based on the GTX 1060 3GB’s target performance we’re looking at 1080p and 1440p results today.

Test 1: The Division

The Division, a third-person shooter/RPG that mixes elements of Destiny and Gears of War, kicks things off with Ubisoft’s new Snowdrop engine.

1060 3gb division

The effects of the cut-down GPU start to show themselves immediately, as the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming pumps out about nine percent fewer frames than its full-fledged cousin. That makes sense, considering one of the GP106 GPU’s ten streaming multi-processors is disabled in this model. That pulls the 3GB GTX 1060 away from the 6GB model’s no-compromises 1080p performance at 60fps. It’s a smidge faster than AMD’s Radeon RX 470, though.

Next page: Hitman

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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