We're finally here. NVIDIA has unleashed its GeForce GTX 1060 after months upon months of rumors, but the biggest question is: is it the competitor that the world needs for the Radeon RX 480 from AMD? That's something we're going to discuss throughout the review, but with a higher $249 starting price compared to the $199 entry price of the RX 480, NVIDIA will have a hard trouble competing on price. Thankfully NVIDIA has pumped some serious performance into the GeForce GTX 1060, which is something you're going to want to see.
NVIDIA's first Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards were based on the GP104 GPU, while NVIDIA has used a new ASIC on the GTX 1060, with the GP106 GPU. We have performance that is very similar to the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980, but with a much lower TDP of just 120W. Yeah, 120W - it's damn impressive, considering the GPU can also be overclocked past 2GHz.
The GP106 is based on the same 16nm FinFET process that the previous GP104 was based on, with NVIDIA's new Pascal architecture and GDDR5 memory. GP106 is packed with all of the things that GP104 has, so we have Simultaneous Multi-Projection (SMP), with the new SMP engine located in the PolyMorph Engine at the end of the geometry pipeline and in front of the Raser Unit. This means that the GeForce GTX 1060 (and the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080) can simultaneously map a single primitive on up to 16 different projections, all from the same viewpoint.
Pricing & Availability
This is where things get interesting. AMD priced its Radeon RX 480 at such a competitive price that I think NVIDIA will have trouble in the market with the GeForce GTX 1060. The 4GB version of the RX 480 is just $199, while the RX 480 8GB has a price that starts at $239. These $199/$239 prices apply to the reference card from AMD, while partner cards will be priced at the $250+ price point.
NVIDIA has slapped a starting price of $249 on the GeForce GTX 1060, but with the inflated prices on the GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, I don't think we'll see $250 prices on partner cards for now. The GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition that we have here today for review, however, is priced at $299 and can be ordered directly from NVIDIA's website.
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