Yesterday we gave you our take on ASUS’ ROG Strix GTX 1080. Short story is, the card is impressive – it’s wickedly fast, extremely powerful and makes short work of whatever games you throw at it. That’s actually the biggest problem with it – unless you’re running a 4K display or have (or are planning to get) a VR headset, the ROG Strix GTX 1080 is simply overkill.
Thankfully, there’s a better solution for full HD gamers out there. NVIDIA’s GTX 1060 strikes a good balance between affordability and performance, and while it’ll struggle to run games on 4K resolution without major compromises, it absolutely slays full HD gaming. ASUS’ ROG Strix GTX 1060 is an excellent example of NVIDIA’s new mid-range GPU, and today we’ll be taking it through the wringer.
Externally, the ROG Strix GTX 1060 looks a lot like the ROG Strix GTX 1080 that we reviewed before it. So much so that if you put the two cards side by side, you’d be hard pressed to know which one is which, at least from the fan side. Flip the cards over to the back where the ROG logo sits, and you’ll easily determine which one costs more than 40K.
The ROG Strix GTX 1060 doesn’t have the lit ROG logo that the ROG Strix GTX 1080 has, settling instead for a laser-etched logo.
The card is quite long, measuring around 11.73-inches, same as the ROG Strix GTX 1080. In fact, ASUS used many of the same components on the ROG Strix GTX 1060 as the 1080, which means the card is massively overbuilt for what it is. The same DirectCU III heatpipes and Wing Blade fans that cool the 1080 are present on the ROG Strix GTX 1060 – you’d have a hard time overheating this card even in our often unpredictable tropical weather. The card stays cool and quiet with this setup, and the fans only kick in above 60 degrees celcius.
Just like its bigger brother the ROG Strix GTX 1060 has Aura lighting in the cooling shroud as well as other parts that can be customized and synchronized with other components like motherboard, keyboard and mice as long as they support Aura as well. You can connect your chassis fans directly onto the GPU so they’re synchronized with the GPU’s cooling needs. The ROG Strix GTX 1060 only requires a single 8-pin PCIe power connector to drive it, a result of its 120W power requirement over the 180W one in the GTX 1080.
ASUS has gone with the two HDMI, two DisplayPort setup on the ROG Strix GTX 1060, which makes it easier for people with VR setups (or monitors that don’t have DisplayPorts) to connect to the card. There’s the legacy DVI connector as well if you need it.
If there’s a GPU that’s overengineered to ridiculousness, it has to be this card. ASUS literally just replaced the GP104 GPU on the ROG Strix GTX 1080 with a GP106 and kept almost everything else. The result is a card you can run longer on passive cooling as well as having all the top end components on its more expensive brother.
Like our previous review, let’s talk numbers. The reference, Founder’s Edition NVIDIA GTX 1060 has a base clock of 1506MHz and a boost clock of 1709MHz. The ROG Strix GTX 1060 on the other hand, posts numbers of 1620MHz for the base clock and 1848MHz. That’s a factory overclock of around 8%. The memory has been slightly boosted as well, and runs at 8.2Gbps, which is a slight bump over the regular 8Gbps of the reference GTX 1060. You can further push those numbers around via ASUS’ GPU Tweak II software that allows you push the card even further, though because of the limits that NVIDIA put on the GP106 in terms of power, your gains will be marginal, at best.
Just like the ROG Strix GTX 1060 we’ll be putting the card through its paces via three games: specifically, Doom, Battlefield 4 and The Division. PC specs remain unchanged from the last review we did. And just like last time, we’ll be cranking the graphics up to Ultra in each game, running in full HD resolution.
- Intel Core i5 6400 processor
- ASUS B150 Pro Gaming/Aura motherboard
- 8GB DDR4 Memory
- 256GB SSD storage
With that being said, let’s take a look at the numbers:
While there’s certainly a big performance difference in the 1080 and the 1060, those numbers are still quite healthy. You also have to take into consideration that we were running the games in ultra, with everything maxed out. While BF4’s performance wasn’t quite what we were hoping for, DICE’s Frostbite engine isn’t exactly the most optimized in the world. The performance of the card is impressive, to say the least and will suffice for most people who primarily game in full HD. Heck, we gather that there’s a bit more room for 1440p if you toned the settings down to very high from ultra, which isn’t a big compromise graphics-wise if you think about it.
Verdict: The next logical upgrade
If the ROG Strix GTX 1080 was a monster of a card that’s fit only for people with deep pockets (and 4K displays), the ROG Strix GTX 1060 is a more logical upgrade for people looking to step up from a GTX 950 and below. Heck, even people who already have a GTX 970 will see substantial performance gains with the ROG Strix GTX 1060, since other tech outfits have found it to be at the same level as the previous generation GTX 980. You can’t really go wrong with ASUS’ interpretation of the new mid-range card from NVIDIA, as it’s massively overbuilt for what its is. Probably the only thing that holds it back is its slightly higher price compared to other cards in its price range, but then again, there’s nothing quite like ASUS when it comes to videocards.
The ROG Strix GTX 1060 is priced at Php 18580, which is the highest configuration of the new card. You can probably get away with the lowest version of the new GTX 1060 of ASUS, the DUAL GTX 1060 which offers the same core GPU but with many of the extras stripped away. That little card is priced at Php 16,000.