Today marks the launch of NVIDIA’s GTX 1060, the least expensive of the company’s 10-series GPUs so far revealed. According to Nvidia, the GTX 1060 matches the performance of the former flagship card, the GTX 980, but at only 120 watts. Starting at $249, the 1060 faces off against AMD’s $199 RX 480.

The VR Ready NVIDIA GTX 1060 goes on sale today. You’ll be able to find it sold by third parties at stores like Amazon and Newegg starting at $249. As with the GTX 1070 and 1080, Nvidia is also selling a ‘Founders Edition’ of the 1060 for $299, and you’ll only be able to find that direct from the company.

GTX 1060 Full Specs (based on base clock)

nvidia gtx 1060 specs compared vs 960

NVIDIA Benchmarks GTX 1060 vs AMD RX 480

Nvidia has also published their own benchmark results which compared the GTX 1060 against AMD’s RX 480, both of which are the contending choices for ‘best VR Ready budget GPU’. As a comparison against the last generation, benchmark results from the GTX 960 are included as well. It should of course be duly noted that the following are Nvidia’s own internal testing results. We’ll have our own VR results published soon.


Results measured on Core i7-5960X CPU, Windows 10 64-bit, 368.64 NVIDIA drivers, Catalyst 16.6.2 AMD drivers with default settings. Both GPUs are running at standard clock speeds.

Take care drawing any conclusions from the above benchmarks. Although we’re sure the figures will be accurate, the examples given use very specific use cases in terms of AA and AF that may skew results in favor of the Nvidia card. We’ll be back soon with our own internal tests which will include a wider variety of configurations and VR game benchmarks.

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GTX 1060 Hands-on and Quick Comparison to GTX 980 Ti

Based on our early impressions, the GTX 1060 is quite the marvel, bringing the power of the last generation’s flagship GTX 980—which itself launched at $549—for a reasonable $249. Mmmm the smell of sweet technological progress.

Our early tests with the GTX 1060 show that the card easily hits the bar for VR Ready, capable of holding a steady 90 FPS in a selection HTC Vive and Oculus Rift titles.


Giving the GTX 1060 a quick check against the GTX 980 Ti using the SteamVR Performance Test benchmark, we can see that the 1060 scores an 8.3 out of 11 with the vast majority of frames falling into the ‘Very High’ category. Meanwhile, the unwavering 980 Ti keeps the quality at the top of ‘Very High’ across the board.

GTX 1060’s Quirk – No SLI

nvidia gtx 1060 (1)Curiously, Nvidia says that the GTX 1060 doesn’t support SLI (the ability to use two GPUs in tandem). It isn’t entirely clear why this choice was made, especially as both the GTX 1070 and 1080 can do SLI with no problem.

Nvidia notes in their 1060 documentation:

The GeForce GTX 1060 delivers maximum performance and power efficiency in its class. However for gamers looking for more performance and the smoothest gameplay, we recommend a higher-end single GPU solution such as the GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080. These GPUs will provide the best gaming experience and power efficiency. Therefore the GTX 1060 will not support SLI and we will be focusing all of our SLI resources on delivering the greatest experience on the world’s fastest gaming PCs.

NOTE: For DirectX 12 applications that support MDA Mode or LDA Explicit, multiple GeForce GTX 1060 cards can be combined together to potentially improve performance. For more details, please refer to the GeForce GTX 1080 Whitepaper.

One hint may come from the company’s refocused efforts on SLI. It was mentioned back during the announcement of the 1080 a few months ago that Nvidia is putting a greater emphasis on dual GPU use-cases rather than configurations running three or more cards.

How to Tell if Your PC is VR Ready

road-to-vr-exemplar-ultimate-by-avaWe partnered with AVA Direct to create the Exemplar Ultimate, our high-end VR hardware reference point against which we perform our tests and reviews. Exemplar is designed to push virtual reality experiences above and beyond what’s possible with systems built to lesser recommended VR specifications.

Disclosure: NVIDIA provided Road to VR with a GTX 1060 GPU for review purposes.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Michael Davidson

    So you get between 5 and 25% more performance over the AMD RX 280 for between 25 (3rd party) and 50% (founder’s edition) more? I don’t see this as a direct competitor to the RX 480 4GB. Maybe a GTX/GT 1050?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      And more quiet and uses less power (so in the end it might certainly be cheaper), also let’s not forget the 1060 has some extra stuff aboard which will increase performance for VR much better (UE4 and Unity3D already support it with their latest updates), and that mode wasn’t tested..

    • CronXPX

      EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 06G-P4-6161-KR (non ref) – 250$
      PNY GeForce GTX 1060 VCGGTX10606PB 6GB (non ref) – 250$
      XFX Radeon RX 480 RX480M8BFA6 8GB (ref) – 250$


    • Chase Daily

      Hey, just dropping in with some up-to-date information:

      Currently, there are $250 gtx 1060’s available so the actual price difference between the cards you are comparing is closer to 4%.

      4% more for a gtx 1060.

      I don’t care about manufacturers but I wanted to make sure everyone has the most recent information.

      Stay Chill Brotha

      • Michael Davidson

        RX 480 is $199 (for 4GB version) / 4 = $50. For 25% more ($50) you can get a non founders edition GTX 1060 (which is 25%). That makes the GTX 1060 25% more than the $199 RX 480.

        • Max

          The GTX 1060 is 6GB. The 8GB RX480 is $240. How is it 25% more when you are not factoring the same amount of VRAM? This test does not say if it was the 4GB model or the 8GB model. Since most review samples were able to flash to whatever level they wanted, it was probably using 8GB for this test (I don’t see where it states if the 480 was 4 or 8GB). From what I have seen, the 4-8GB scores were apparent, so that means we are comparing a $240 card to a $250 card. That’s 4% price difference. 1060 is a better bargain with these test results. Period.

          • Michael Davidson

            Fair enough, against the 8GB that is a fact, but there is a 4GB variant and I would have to look at the benchmarks there again and that card is 25% cheaper and might be consistently 15 – 20% less performance (5 – 30% in tests). That is the argument I was putting forth. Truth be told, I won’t be buying any RX 480s, but I’m not their target consumer.

          • Max


            “As for whether or not 8GB is worth it, it really depends. If you’re playing games like Black Ops, Mirror’s Edge with higher quality settings, or Asssassin’s Creed and similar games, it is absolutely better to get the 8GB card. Deltas nearing 30% make a big difference to perceived fluidity of framerate.”

          • Michael Davidson

            lol, I just found and read that article a few moments ago.

          • Antony Clements

            So you get an extra 2GB of VRAM for $10 cheaper on the RX480. Makes sense. Not. NVidia have a habit of jamming more transistors into a GPU without the VRAM to support the throughput, or in the case of the Titan X, the opposite. Have you ever noticed that animation workstation cards have less transitors on the die and more VRAM than the GPU actually requires? Do you know why? There is a reason why there tends to be no huge disparity between AMD and NVidia benchmarks. It’s called bottlenecking. NVidia is famous for it. I expect the 10 series to be much the same. Efficient design with sufficient VRAM capacity = better performance. NVidia’s solution is always push more transistors. It’s not efficient. Case in point, the 295×2 Vs. Titan X. A brand new semi-workstation card with 4GB more VRAM barely kept pace with a 5 year old AMD setup. Don’t let initial numbers from NVidia sucker punch you into a false sense of security/superiority.

            Disclosur: I am a 3D modeller and animator as well as a gamer.

  • Zach Mauch

    I don’t have a problem removing the SLI. Most people like me who would buy this card have no intention of having more that one. If you have more than one, you are really looking for power and will likely buy one 1070 or 1080 before two 1060s.

  • Manfred Knorr

    Why do they make these less capable video cards? They release the 1080 and 1070, why bother with a 1060? Maybe they have GPUs that didn’t make the cut for the top cards? I wonder if that’s why intel brought out the i3?

    • mrtexasfreedom


      It’s product marketing strategy. All three of the video cards you referenced carry identical unit production costs, yet by segmenting the product across three different price / performance points, Nvidia can make more money.

      This way, they can sell a BUNCH of the 1060 cards at a thinner margin than the 1080 and still sell a fair amount of the high-margin 1080 cards. I am confident they could sell the 1080 at $249, but they’d be leaving a bunch of money on the table belonging to consumers who are willing to spend $500+ for the best performance available. If Nvidia didn’t offer the 1060 at $249, and only sold the $500+ 1080, then they’d be missing out on a bunch of consumers who don’t want to spend that much money on a computer component and AMD would own that entire market segment. The $249 market segment is higher volume than the $500+ segment, btw.

      • freedom74

        Binning as well. You can get a card that is functional, but came out of fab with 5%-20% of the silicon being bad in one way or another. If you pull out the functional, yet crippled, components you get out of the process for a few months, you can then slap on a new name and sell it for 50% of the price instead of throwing it away. This is why a lot of the lower end cards made from the same fab process and from the same reference card cannot be overclocked very well, quality reasons.

    • C.P. Garcia

      Different price points and customers .. how is that difficult to get? Some people don’t want to pay over $350 for a GPU.. and some people don’t need 2k or 4k gaming.. So why should they have to buy a more expensive card?? Just like there will be a Gtx 1050 for people who don’t need VR or better then 1080p 60fps.. That is like asking why do they not only sell BMW or Mercedes cars.. who needs a Chevy..

  • Voi

    “We’ll have our own VR results published soon”. Awesome. I have an unopened box of 1070 and a 1060 on the way. Not sure which one I’ll send back but VR is the main purpose for my gaming and the price difference in my country is equivalent of $197. I want to know if that price difference really is motivated for VR with supersampling taken into account, so I hope you do some testing of this in your review.

  • Sch@dows

    People who buy the low-end and middle-end cards tends to keep them for a long time.
    In that case, it’s always better to get the latest card you can afford in your budget, even if it’s on par with a high-end card of the previous generation (for now).

    Especially the 1000 series over the 900, because of the increased perf and features.

    • free_jepster

      The 1060 is more power-efficient, has better VR performance (especially Simultaneous Mulitprojection), Hairworks and currently better performance (DX11).
      The 480 is cheaper, supports Freesync screens, bigger cache and may catch up with performance in future games (DX12).

      It’s now up to you what you make out of it.

  • C.P. Garcia

    No. Because the 1060 includes newer tech, runs on less power, and is still cheaper then the 980 while giving about the same output. This is pretty much a replacement for the 980 at a cheaper price. 980s are still selling for a hundreds more. Even the 970 is selling for more still.

  • Michael Tischler

    given that the 1060 is not SLI capable wouldn’t the AMD card be a better buy since it can be cross fired?

    • C.P. Garcia

      SLI isn’t used by many.. and has many issues and spotty support.. You could just buy the 1070 now.. and have better performance now (for $140 bucks more) and then SLI in the future if you want.. when the 1070 is lower priced.. Its always a game lol

  • Corvus Dove


    “We’re tired of the fact that people can SLI our x60 model cards and get better performance than the x80 version that we release two generations later. We want them to buy another graphics card, but they just KEEP USING THE SAME ONES. Therefore, we’re going to not allow the 1060 to do SLi, saving us a buck and making sure you can’t buy two cards and get better performance than a 1080 for less than the price of two 1070’s. Then we’re going to make doing that the same price if not slightly more expensive than one 1080. P.S. Countdown has started until we ‘innovate’ and make it so only the x80 series can do SLi.”

  • JackG

    “We’ll have our own VR results published soon”

    Any update?

  • a question: for a GTX1060 with only 3GB of RAM instead of 6, how much decrease in performance can we expect? Will it still hit the ‘very high’ quality VR rating? Thanks!

  • BETA

    Just wait another 3 years until the drivers literally drive down the card, just like any other nvidia card. Just ordered my RX 480 and can’t wait!

  • DG

    Wow, I’ve used SLI for 3 generations now (780 SLI, 980ti SLI and now Titan XP SLI) and I’ve always been happy with performance and compatibility. As long as Nvidia supports SLI I’ll keep buying 2 cards. The new Titans…Nothing like 4k maxed out and never seeing Les than 100fps….Well water cooled and over clocked that is.