KFA2 GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB GDDR5X Review 55

KFA2 GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB GDDR5X Review

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Introduction


The GeForce GTX 1060 launched way back in the Summer of 2016, as part of NVIDIA's bid to extend its then squeaky new "Pascal" GPU architecture to the value-conscious sub-$300 market. Since then, it has become one of the company's best selling graphics cards targeting the vast majority of PC gamers who just want to play at Full HD (1080p) resolution with high-to-ultra details. NVIDIA has refreshed the 6 GB variant of GTX 1060 from time to time. When AMD introduced the Radeon RX 580 in Spring 2017, NVIDIA responded with the GTX 1060 6 GB 9 Gbps, a limited-edition SKU with faster memory. AMD's recent introduction of the Radeon RX 590 to rake in Holiday 2018 sales has triggered another response from NVIDIA.

If you've been keeping up with our tech news surrounding NVIDIA's inventories post the crypto-mining craze and "Turing" launch, you'll know that the company has been grappling with a pile of unsold 16 nm "GP104" inventories. With the introduction of GDDR6, there could be a similar impact on the slightly older GDDR5X memory chip inventories, and as the sole implementer of GDDR5X, it's natural to imagine the company must have landed itself vast quantities of unsold memory chips. The combination of the two results in a less publicized new SKU, the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB G5X.

NVIDIA carved the GTX 1060 6 GB G5X by cutting down the "GP104" silicon. Half of its 20 streaming multiprocessors are disabled, resulting in a CUDA core count of 1,280, which is unchanged from the "GP106" based original. The memory bus width, too, is unchanged at 192-bit. What's more, while the GDDR5X memory controllers of the "GP104" are capable of stock memory frequencies as high as 11 Gbps (as seen on the GTX 1080 11 Gbps, another oddball SKU), NVIDIA decided to clock the memory at just 8 Gbps, lower than even last year's GTX 1060 6 GB 9 Gbps. On paper, the GTX 1060 6 GB G5X has the same specifications as the standard GTX 1060 6 GB, with the exception of GDDR5X memory. In theory, it should also have the same exact performance.



So what's the X-factor, you ask? NVIDIA probably gambles that "GDDR5X" looks nice on a box, particularly for the X-mas gift/upgrade buyer, and the company gets to dump its "GP104" and GDDR5X chip inventories in one fell swoop. Buyers who know a thing or two about the underlying technology (eg: you, our esteemed reader), probably imagine that since NVIDIA is using 10 Gbps-rated GDDR5X memory chips, the memory can be overclocked to kingdom come, as well as the GPU, to achieve more performance than an overclocked RX 590 would ever achieve. In this review, we put both theories to test.

We talked to several board vendors, requesting samples of the GTX 1060 6 GB GDDR5X, but none were willing to provide any, probably because this SKU isn't that sexy nowadays. So, we just went out and bought the first GTX 1060 GDDR5X that became available, which is the KFA2 GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB GDDR5X.

The KFA2 card comes with a small overclock out of the box, giving it a base clock of 1518 MHz and a rated boost clock of 1733 MHz, which is just 33 MHz higher than the NVIDIA reference clocks for the GTX 1060 6 GB GDDR5X.

We paid around €250 for our card, which should roughly be equal to US$250 without taxes.

GTX 1060 GDDR5X Market Segment Analysis
 PriceShader
Units
ROPsCore
Clock
Boost
Clock
Memory
Clock
GPUTransistorsMemory
GTX 970$235 1664561051 MHz1178 MHz1750 MHzGM2045200M4 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX 480$230 2304321120 MHz1266 MHz2000 MHzEllesmere5700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX 580$200 2304321257 MHz1340 MHz2000 MHzEllesmere5700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX 590$2802304321469 MHz1545 MHz2000 MHzPolaris 305700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1060 3 GB$200 1152481506 MHz1708 MHz2002 MHzGP1064400M3 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1060$230 1280481506 MHz1708 MHz2002 MHzGP1064400M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1060 GDDR5X$250 1280481506 MHz1708 MHz1001 MHzGP1047200M6 GB, GDDR5X, 192-bit
KFA2 GTX 1060 GDDR5X OC$250 1280481518 MHz1733 MHz1001 MHzGP1047200M6 GB, GDDR5X, 192-bit
GTX 980 Ti$390 2816961000 MHz1075 MHz1750 MHzGM2008000M6 GB, GDDR5, 384-bit
R9 Fury X$380 4096641050 MHzN/A500 MHzFiji8900M4 GB, HBM, 4096-bit
GTX 1070$360 1920641506 MHz1683 MHz2002 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX Vega 56$350 3584641156 MHz1471 MHz800 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1070 Ti$3802432641607 MHz1683 MHz2000 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
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