The NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB Review

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A Closer Look at the GTX 1060 Founders Edition

 

The GTX 1060 Founders Edition follows the general design guidelines of its predecessors with a stylized heatsink shroud that boasts a tasteful combination of black and aluminum. The main difference this time around is the omission of an acrylic “window” and slightly lower end materials to insure a lower price point. It still looks pretty good but that was a given considering you’ll pay a hefty $50 for this particular design. You should also know that black corrugated area is actually the heatsink’s top portion. Will it get hot to the touch? We’ll look at that a bit later.

Despite the similarities with NVIDIA’s higher-end cards, the GTX 1060 utilizes a much more compact design at just 9 ¾” long and will thus be a much better fit for small form factor systems. There should be several board partner options that are even smaller.

Flip the Founders Edition over and you can really see just how compact the card really is. While the blower-style cooler necessitates a longer overall footprint, the actual PCB is just 6 ¾” long. This actually mirrors the dimension of NVIDIA’s reference GTX 960.

Another thing to note here is the lack of a backplate. Once again this was done to lower BOM costs plus, due to the high efficiency of NVIDIA’s GP106 core, there’s really no need to have additional heat dissipation in this area.

Along the card’s side is a single 6-pin connector which, when combined with the current available through the PCI-E slot, should be more than enough for some impressive overclocking achievements. Remember, the GTX 1060 has a TDP of just 120W (which doesn’t necessarily correlate to actual power consumption but it gives a general idea) and based on the still-limited amount of Power Limit adjustment NVIDIA allows for, there should be no reason to worry.

Along this edge you’ll also find the usual illuminated GeForce logo which is a must if a build warrants clean NVIDIA badging rather than the somewhat contrived brand-positioned approaches some board partners have taken with their LED setups.

One thing you may have noticed from the last few pictures is the oddball positioning of the 6-pin relative to the PCB. In order to keep a clean design that matches up well with the cable routing positioning in most cases, NVIDIA treated the power input connector as a hard wired extension with wires that run from the PCB to a header. While this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve seen this kind of layout, it is exceedingly rare since the flexible solder points could be viewed as a problem waiting to happen. Luckily the extension happens within a completely contained space so any potential concerns are completely unwarranted.

Other than the unique treatment given to the power connector, there isn’t much interesting going on below the GTX 1060’s beltline. The heatsink itself is a straightforward all-aluminum / copper affair that doesn’t require a full vapor chamber like the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070.

The GTX 1060 Founders Edition utilizes a basic 3+1 phase PWM along with six GDDR5 modules (one per memory controller) placed strategically around the small GP106 core. We can expect board partners to market heavily modified and upgraded power designs but, as with other cards, it’s debatable whether they’ll actually benefit overclocking headroom or long term stability.

When compared against the reference AMD RX480, NVIDIA has taken a much more open approach with their display output selection. Instead of consigning the ubiquitous DVI connector to the dustbin of history, they’ve included one alongside the usual HDMI 2.0 and Displayport 1.4 connectors. This insures native compatibility with existing and legacy monitors so a user won’t have to purchase a DisplayPort to DVI adapter in addition to a new graphics card.

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