The G1 GAMING graphics cards that Gigabyte outed in the past few week look terrific, this is the first dual-fan WindForce 2X version we get to test and yeah, it's not only looking good, it's performing well also. Looking at it from a broader view, it really is the entire package including a GPU that runs fast and factory tweaked, the temperatures this card reaches are fine and then the aesthetic touches you can reach are terrific. Over the 960 the performance nearly doubled and a card like shown today with it's perf, cool temps, low noise and excellent power consumption at roughly 279 USD, well that's just terrific + you get to play your games with 6GB of graphics memory. Performance is a bit all over the place though, but seen in broader lines spot on with and/or above or on the GTX 980 performance level or the Radeon RX 480, which this product obviously is targeted against. And therein is a danger to be found. See at 1080P or even 1440P that Radeon RX 480 with 4 GB can be spotted for 199 USD already, and that definitely is a more attractive price for roughly similar performance (with exceptions here and there of course). Overall though we have to call both cards what they are, excellent value mainstream performance products. If for example you take the preceding GeForce GTX 960, well the 1060 in a lot of scenarios is almost twice as fast. So yeah, I really do like the price performance ratio of the GTX 1060 much better then what the GTX 1070 and 1080 offers at their sales prices. This GPU with GDDR5 memory at 8 Gbps still offers plenty of horsepower but also does that at low Wattage, we maxed out at roughly ~135 Watts measured, and for this kind of game performance that is on par and as expected.
Gigabyte tweaked the design and looks a bit for the new WindForce 2X model cooler, combined with its black design and orange striping it certainly looks very cool. As any manufacturer will do, the product also comes with RGB LED lighting control. Switch it on/off or to any color and animation you prefer, the choice is yours. Cool dibs is that backplate, however it lacks openings at the proper areas (GPU/VRM) for venting. As you can see, I remain skeptical about backplates, they potentially can trap heat and thus warm up the PCB. The WindForce 2X on this 1060 reached 71~72 Degrees C with its two fans, we do wonder if that number could have been a notch lower if that backplate wasn't closed completely. Granted, 72 Degrees C is still lovely yet matches the reference / founders products. Backplates do look much better, make the PCB more sturdy (bends less or not at all) and can protect your PCB and components from damage. Consumer demand is always decisive, and you guys clearly like graphics cards with backplates.
Cooling & Noise Levels
The reference design (founder editions) of the GeForce GTX 1060 is set at an offset threshold of 71 degrees C. Once the GPU gets warmer the card will clock down / lower its voltage etc to try and keep the card cooler, that's throttling and it part of the design. Gigabyte however uses a cooler that manages roughly 400 Watt of cooling performance. So it is a really good one, good that up-to a degree or 60 on the GPU, this card remains passive and thus inaudible. Once the fans kick in, you can expect to hover at the 71 Degrees C marker, with seriously demanding games. Please do note that you always need proper ventilation inside your chassis to achieve that number. Expect sound pressure values in the 39 dBA range at max under load and warm circumstances. That's measured 75 CM away from the PC. This means you can barely hear the card while using it.
GP106-400-A1 Pascal GPUs are rated as having a 120 Watt TDP under full stress, our measurements show it to be a tiny bit higher at ~135 Watts, that still remains to be a very low value. Here again keep in mind we measure peak power consumption, the average power consumption is a good notch lower depending on GPU utilization. Also, if you plan to overclock the CPU/memory and/or GPU with added voltage, please do purchase a power supply with enough reserve.
A GeForce GTX 1060 is a near perfect product for Full HD gamers at 1920x1080/1200. However given the nature of it's performance this actually is a pretty darn good WQHD (2560x1440) card as well. Not everybody requires or demands 100+ FPS and many people find that 40~60 average FPSes good enough, especially with a GSYNC monitor. For that last category the GeForce GTX 1060 is going to offer a tremendous amount of value as at WQHD you are indeed in the 40 to 60 FPS marker. For example DX12 Rise of the Tomb Raider at proper image quality settings is doing a 50+ FPS here. Total War Warhammer in DX12 also hovers at that same framerate marker. Tom Clancy's The Division still offers roughly 40 FPS there with wicked quality settings, so these I consider to be good numbers at 2560x1440 for a product that sits in the mid-range aka mainstream category. In short, for the money this is an excellent 1080P and a proper 1440P card that will often offer a nice 40~60 FPS experience at WQHD and proper image quality settings. It has plenty of muscle and has the graphics memory to deal with it (6 GB model), even with the best quality settings and some niche AA levels. Resolutions after 2560x1440 will obviously be more complicated.
The G1 Gaming cards are a home run when it comes to design, performance and looks. Nice to that it has a nice looking cooler that is more silent opposed to the reference cards as well. And that is interesting as this card is 20 bucks cheaper compared to a Founder Edition card (reference). So for 20 bucks less, you receive a faster product, a more silent product and a better cooled product that comes with RGB bling and a back-plate. Honestly we like that, including that nice 6 GB graphics memory partition. Excellent performance for you money. You'll play your games up-to 2560x1440 with nice framerates and proper image quality settings. Obviously that 6 GB framebuffer helps out quite a bit and does make your graphics card a little more future proof. The new architecture proves its agility and the die shrink to 16 nm FinFET shows low power consumption due to lower voltages and obviously the high clock-speeds and that 8 Gbps GDDR5 memory offer the product that the GTX 1060 is. The GeForce GTX 1060 is a terrific choice for the ones that game in the 1920x1080 up-to 2560x1440 resolution domain. The card will tweak quite well, we however predict (once again) that any and all cards can achieve a 2.0~2.1 GHz boost clock frequency and for the memory you should be reaching 9 Gbps (effective data-rate) quite easily as well. Here again I predict that all cards from any vendor are going to hover in the 2.0~2.1 GHz range max due to the limiters that Nvidia applies these days. For the bigger part they are in control of your tweak, not you. Still anno 2016 we have 120 Watt GPUs now passing the 2 GHz marker quite easily, and that is impressive at any level. Gigabyte offers a terrific product here, it has a decent enough factory tweak that will boost performance a bit more and is fitted with a proper WindForce 2X cooler. All things combined we can surely recommend the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 G1 Gaming edition as a product that should be on your short-list. The one recommendation I would like to give Gigabyte though is to look at a better back-plate design. I am not a fan of closed rear side backplates. I like to see some vents at the VRM and GPU areas. With the G1 Gaming 1060 not running hot it really is a non-issue to mention though. So yes, everything else has been done right. Terrific looks combined with some awesome game performance make this product something that should be on anyone's short-list if you are in the market for a GeForce GTX 1060. Definitely recommended
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