MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 3 GB Review 87

MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 3 GB Review



MSI Logo

Not long after the launch of the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, NVIDIA announced the availability of the GTX 1060 3 GB. This card with an MSRP of around $200 is designed to go head to head against AMD's R9 480, especially the 4 GB version.

Typically, GPU vendors use the exact same GPU for SKUs of different memory capacity, just not in this case. NVIDIA decided to reduce the shader count of the GTX 1060 3 GB to 1152 from the 1280 on the 6 GB version. This rough 10% reduction in shaders lets the company increase the performance difference between the 3 GB and 6 GB version, which will probably lure potential customers closer toward the 6 GB version.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 3 GB is a custom-design variant using MSI's famous Twin Frozr dual-slot, dual-fan thermal solution. Out of the box, the card is overclocked to a base clock of 1569 MHz, which is quite a bit higher than the reference-design clock of 1502 MHz. Memory remained at NVIDIA stock. With a retail price of $240, the GTX 1060 Gaming X 3 GB is one of the more expensive versions of the 3 GB GTX 1060.

GTX 1060 3 GB Market Segment Analysis
GTX 970
R9 390
RX 480
R9 390X
GeForce GTX
1060 3 GB
MSI GTX 1060
Gaming X 3 GB
GTX 980
GTX 1060
R9 Fury
GTX 980 Ti
Shader Units1664256023042816115211522048128035842816
Graphics ProcessorGM204HawaiiEllesmereHawaiiGP106GP106GM204GP106FijiGM200
Memory Size4 GB8 GB8 GB8 GB3 GB3 GB4 GB6 GB4 GB6 GB
Memory Bus Width256 bit512 bit256 bit512 bit192 bit192 bit256 bit192 bit4096 bit384 bit
Core Clock1051 MHz+1000 MHz1266 MHz1050 MHz1506 MHz+1569 MHz+1126 MHz+1506 MHz+1000 MHz1000 MHz+
Memory Clock1750 MHz1500 MHz2000 MHz1500 MHz2002 MHz2002 MHz1750 MHz2002 MHz500 MHz1750 MHz


Package Front
Package Back

You will receive:
  • Graphics card
  • Driver CD + documentation
  • MSI stickers

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back

We've seen MSI's new TwinFrozr thermal solution on the company's GTX 1070 and 1080, and it looks great due to MSI's attention to little details; it is made of plastic, though, which is unlike the NVIDIA Founders Edition, which is only available for the 6 GB version of the card. On the back is a high-quality metal backplate. Dimensions of the card are 28x14 cm.

Graphics Card Height

Installation requires two slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include a DVI port, an HDMI port, and three DisplayPorts. Unlike previous NVIDIA cards, the DVI port no longer includes an analog signal, so you'll have to use an active adapter. NVIDIA also updated DisplayPort to be 1.2 certified and 1.3/1.4 ready, which enables support for 4K @ 120 Hz and 5K @ 60 Hz or 8K @ 60 Hz with two cables.

The GPU also comes with an HDMI sound device. It is HDMI 2.0b compatible, which supports HD audio and Blu-ray 3D movies. The GPU video encoding unit has been updated to support HEVC at 10-bit and 12-bit.

Multi-GPU Area

The GeForce GTX 1060 does not support SLI.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front, back).

A Closer Look

Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

MSI's cooler uses three heatpipes to keep the card cool. This is the same heatsink as on MSI's 6 GB Gaming X.

With the main heatsink removed, you can see a second metal plate that cools the VRM circuitry and memory chips.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

MSI replaced the single 6-pin power input of the reference design with an 8-pin power connector. This configuration is specified for up to 225 watts of power draw.

The uP 9511 voltage controller is a new model for recent NVIDIA cards. It does not support voltage control via I2C.

Graphics Card Memory Chips

The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Samsung and carry the model number K4G41325FE-HC25. They are specified to run at 2000 MHz (8000 MHz GDDR5 effective).

Graphics Chip GPU

NVIDIA's GP106 graphics processor is the second consumer chip using the Pascal architecture. It is produced on a 16 nm process at TSMC, Taiwan, and has a transistor count of 4.4 billion and a die size of 200 mm².
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Jul 4th, 2022 11:15 EDT change timezone

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