Buy the SSD, Seriously
I worked at an IT retailer for just under ten years before I started writing for TweakTown, and the biggest change to PCs was when SSDs were released - and then again when the price began hitting levels where you could buy them as OS drives for under $200. Now that 240GB SSDs from companies like Corsair are under $75, it's a no-brainer when building or buying a new PC.
- WD Blue 1TB HDD (7200RPM, 64MB cache) - $49.99 (buy on Amazon)
- Corsair Force Series LE SSD (240GB) - $72.63 (buy on Amazon)
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce OC 6GB - $259.99 (buy on Amazon)
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce OC 3GB - $209.00 (buy on Amazon)
- WD Blue 1TB HDD (7200RPM, 64MB cache) - $72.00 (buy at Scorptec)
- Corsair Force Series LE SSD (240GB) - $105 (buy at Scorptec)
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce OC 6GB -$398 (buy at Scorptec)
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce OC 3GB -$335 (buy at Scorptec)
The performance difference between the gaming PC with the mechanical HDD and the SSD are mixed, but the load times of the games are a massive leap faster - so while the performance isn't necessarily better frames per second wise, loading into games was much quicker on the SSD. The SSD just blows it away in Windows and application load times, as well as game load times - and even contributing towards the FPS performance.
3GB is an option: As you can see above, the additional 3GB of GTX 1060 VRAM costs $60 - so this is a decision you'll have to make. With the resolution locked at 1080p, the 3GB model will be fine. By the time you upgrade to 1440p, you'd be buying a new graphics card, and that wouldn't be a card with 3GB of RAM. If you want to game at 1440p, consider the 6GB version.
Performance Differences @ 1080p
GTX 760 to GTX 1060 upgrade (with SSD):
- 3DMark Fire Strike - 99% faster on GTX 1060
- Heaven - 32% faster on GTX 1060
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - 95% faster on GTX 1060
- Grand Theft Auto V - 0% faster on GTX 1060
- Overwatch - 18.4% faster on GTX 1060
- Battlefield 1 - 92.5% faster on GTX 1060
HDD to SSD upgrade (with GTX 1060):
- 3DMark Fire Strike - 11.8% slower on SSD
- Heaven - 9.9% faster on SSD
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - 21.6% faster on SSD
- Grand Theft Auto V - no change from HDD to SSD
- Overwatch - 18.6% faster on SSD
- Battlefield 1 - 32.5% faster on SSD
GTX 760 to GTX 1060 upgrade (with HDD):
- 3DMark Fire Strike - 105% faster on GTX 1060
- Heaven - 102% faster on GTX 1060
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - 208% faster on GTX 1060
- Grand Theft Auto V - 8% faster on GTX 1060
- Overwatch - 37% faster on GTX 1060
- Battlefield 1 - 75.7% faster on GTX 1060
Coming into this article, I knew there would be some good performance improvements between both of the changes - with the SSD, and the new GPU - but the additional performance that we have on our charts is beyond impressive.
If you're upgrading both components at the same time, and remember - it doesn't need to be GTX 760 to GTX 1060 - it could be a similar graphics card like the Radeon HD 7850 to something like the RX 480, and you'd still receive a great performance upgrade.
The same goes for the HDD to SSD, which is an upgrade that I don't just recommend on a whim - it's something every PC user, even if you're not a gamer, should do. The performance improvement is night and day, with Windows booting so much quicker - and the load times into Overwatch, Battlefield 1, and our other games was much, much faster on the SSD. If you don't use an SSD, do yourself and favor and get one when your budget allows for it.
The big performance upgrade between the GeForce GTX 760 and GTX 1060 is easily worth it, with the NVIDIA Pascal architecture improving much beyond the aging Kepler architecture, seeing similar if not lower power numbers, and adding a good chunk of performance.
DX12 powah: Remember that the new Pascal architecture powering the GeForce GTX 1060 is capable of DirectX 12, for Windows 10 users obviously. This allows us to run Battlefield 1 in DX12 on the GTX 1060 for added performance, as well as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
In games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the performance difference between the GTX 760 and GTX 1060 is massive: 23FPS versus 45FPS, a difference of 95%... but even with the older HDD, the upgrade from the GTX 760 to the GTX 1060 provides some rather large performance improvements. This is great for people who want to buy a new GPU, but not buy an SSD and have to reinstall Windows.
Wrapping up: I found it surprising that the performance on the HDD is still quite good, especially when upgrading from the GTX 760 to the GTX 1060 - but the loads times were atrocious compared to the SSD. It felt like both your legs were broken, and you were crawling to your PC to get into the game, versus leaping into your chair from your cat-like stance, and right into the game. Yeah, I don't know - but something like that.
Humor aside, the results were surprising. The upgrade from the GTX 760 to the GTX 1060 is definitely worth it, and we're also able to look into VR gaming with the GTX 1060 - something the GTX 760 isn't capable of. DX12 is another big focus for the GTX 1060, as we have some games that have finally been released that allow improved GPU performance, sometimes.
As I've always said, upgrading from a HDD to an SSD is the best thing you can do to your PC. Upgrading the graphics card does a lot for gaming, but MOBAs and popular first-person shooters like CS:GO and Overwatch won't benefit as much, unless you're chasing frames and trying to hit 144FPS. As I said earlier: seriously, just get the SSD.
PRICING: You can find the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 3G for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The MSI GeForce GTX 1060 3G retails for $199 at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The MSI GeForce GTX 1060 3G retails for £199 at Amazon UK.
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