NVIDIA may be hitting the performance of the GeForce GTX 980 with its new Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1060, but the price point makes it fall closer to the mid-range GeForce GTX 960 from early 2015. If we directly compare the GTX 960 against the GTX 1060, we'll find out just how much of an improvement NVIDIA has been able to squeeze out of a graphics card that starts at $249.
The GTX 960 has 1024 CUDA cores, 8 SMs, 32 ROPs, and 64 TMUs while the new GTX 1060 has 1280 CUDA cores, 10 SMs, 48 ROPs and 80 TMUs - quite the upgrade. We have some huge increases in GPU clocks with the GTX 960 having 1126/1178MHz for base/boost, respectively, while the new GTX 1060 has higher GPU clocks of 1506/1708MHz for base/boost, respectively.
NVIDIA has used GDDR5 on the GTX 1060 but clocked it at 8GHz, the same speed found on the GTX 1070, while the GTX 960 had a 7GHz clock. The GTX 960 has the same 120W TDP, so NVIDIA has pretty much used black magic on the GTX 1060 to hit the same TDP while providing improvements all over the place on the GTX 1060. The shift to the 16nm FinFET process would've been a huge driver of this, as well as the efficient Pascal architecture.
NVIDIA has used a very similar look on the GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition as it did on the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 FE cards, with more plastic on the GTX 1060 as it's a cheaper card - and a much shorter PCB that we'll take a closer look at in a minute.
The front of the GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition features more plastic than the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 FE cards, but the overall style is virtually identical.
NVIDIA has used a much smaller PCB on the GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, with the blower-style cooler hanging off of the edge. I would've preferred to have seen a higher-end model that was similar to the look of AMD's Radeon R9 Nano, but maybe we'll see that in the future.
We have the same display connectivity here, with 3 x DP 1.4 outputs, 1 x HDMI 2.0b and a single DVI connector. But, and it's a big but, there is no SLI support.
From the top of the card, we have the same GeForce branding, and the single 6-pin PCIe power connector at the end.
Founders Edition Goodness
When it comes to the cooling solution on the GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, we have a similar thermal solution used on the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 Founders Edition cards. NVIDIA has used a radial fan with two copper heat pipes found at the base of the aluminum heat sink, which sees all of the heat generated by the card moved outside of the chassis.
NVIDIA has also expanded the surface area of the heat sink, which is 50% larger than the one used on the GTX 960. Dual-FETs are used on both the GPU and memory power supplies, with a low impedance power delivery network and custom voltage regulators on the GTX 1060 Founders Edition.
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