The Best GTX 1060 – June 2018

Offering a whopping 76% performance increase over its predecessor, the GTX 960, the GTX 1060 marked a massive generational leap in graphical horsepower when it released in mid-2016.

While the 2017/2018 cryptocurrency mining craze resulted in a GPU shortage that skyrocketed the price of cards like these, this time is over. For users who have been waiting to build a new gaming PC or upgrade their pre-existing GPUs, now is a pretty good time, and the GTX 1060 is a pretty good card to start with.

Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know and give you our recommendations.

What’s the difference between the 3GB and 6GB versions?

You may have noticed that there are two variants on the GTX 1060: a 3GB variant and a 6GB variant. The latter variant is what the card actually launched as, with the 3GB releasing later as a lower-priced alternative. In short, the GTX 1060 3GB is a stripped-down version of the main card, with very similar performance but half the VRAM.

Overall, this translates to a 7% overall performance difference in most scenarios. Where this changes is in applications where the extra 3GB in VRAM is needed, such as 1440p gaming and VR. While both cards are great, we recommend saving money and getting the 3GB if you’re on a budget and won’t be playing VR or 1440p games.

Where does the GTX 1060 excel?

The GTX 1060 is best suited for the following scenarios:

  • 1080p gaming. Both variants of the GTX 1060 will excel in 1080p games, easily pushing high-to-max settings in all but the most unoptimized titles. If you’re using a 1080 display and want a stellar experience, the GTX 1060 is a great option for you.
  • 1440p gaming. If you’re using a 1440p display, you should be able to enjoy great gaming with some compromises while using the 6GB variant.
  • Entry-level VR gaming. If using the 6GB variant, you’re right at the baseline level of PC VR. This should mean that most VR games for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift should be playable, but you may experience performance issues in particularly cutting-edge titles.
  • Entry-level 4K gaming. If you want to upscale native 1440p gameplay at medium/high settings or play at a native 4K with low settings, the 6GB variant is for you.

Is the GTX 1060 overkill for my usage scenarios?

The GTX 1060 is a very strong card, but it might be overkill in one of the following use cases:

  • Weak CPU. If you’re using a weak processor, the GTX 1060’s performance will be bottlenecked by it. If using the kind of budget build that usually has these processors- sub $400- go ahead and buy a better processor or a GTX 1050 (Ti) instead.
  • Sub-1080p gaming. If you aren’t using at least a 1080p display, you seriously shouldn’t buy any variant of the GTX 1060. There’s no point in it- you’d likely be better suited with a 1030 or 1050. That, or you should seriously consider buying a better monitor.
  • Retro games.  If you only play older PC games or emulate old console games, you probably don’t need this graphics card. The only exception to this rule worth noting is if you’re using a cutting-edge emulator, like Cemu or RPCS3- in those cases, a 1060 or better should work well for you.
Everyone else

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