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
| ||GeForce |
|GeForce GTX |
1060 3 GB
|MSI GTX 1060 |
Gaming X 3 GB
GTX 980 Ti
|Memory Size||4 GB||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB||3 GB||3 GB||4 GB||6 GB||4 GB||6 GB|
|Memory Bus Width||256 bit||512 bit||256 bit||512 bit||192 bit||192 bit||256 bit||192 bit||4096 bit||384 bit|
|Core Clock||1051 MHz+||1000 MHz||1266 MHz||1050 MHz||1506 MHz+||1569 MHz+||1126 MHz+||1506 MHz+||1000 MHz||1000 MHz+|
|Memory Clock||1750 MHz||1500 MHz||2000 MHz||1500 MHz||2002 MHz||2002 MHz||1750 MHz||2002 MHz||500 MHz||1750 MHz|
You will receive:
- Graphics card
- Driver CD + documentation
- MSI stickers
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.
Installation requires two slots in your system.
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.
The GeForce GTX 1060 does not support SLI.
Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front
A Closer Look
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.
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.
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).
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.