Reviews Video Cards

The EVGA GTX 1060 3GB vs. the Red Devil RX 470

Intro

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB graphics card is a brand new and slightly cut-down version of the GTX 1060 6GB card making it a great choice for playing games at 1920×1080.  This $199 entry-level EVGA GTX 1060 3GB card is powered by Nvidia’s Pascal architecture and it is a competitor to the $199 PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 on AMD’s new Polaris architecture.  As a competitor in this 200 dollar price range, the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB promises excellent performance for virtual reality and for high performance HD gaming.DSCN1809

We reviewed the $259 EVGA GTX 1060 SC 6GB video card recently and it received BTR’s “Good Value” award as best in its class when we compared it to the $299 GTX 1060 Founders Edition and we also put it against the $239 (and up) AMD RX 480. It is an excellent value for gamers looking to max out their games at 1920×1080 and at even higher resolutions. Now we see a new EVGA GTX 1060 3GB card that is priced $60 to $100 below the 6GB version costs while offering many of the same features.

DSCN1812
The GTX 1060 SC 6GB card (top) has a larger radiator and better cooling than the 3GV version (bottom).

These new 3GB GTX 1060 cards also feature EVGA ACX cooling technology.  EVGA ACX runs cooler and more quietly than the Founders Edition.

The $199 EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB vs. the $199 PowerColor Red Devil RX 470

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1060s are quite small when compared with their competitors, the PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 and the RX 480. One or two fans serves the GTXes whereas the Polaris RX 4x0s use two or three fans. The EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB is an excellent choice for the HTPC or small form factor PC enthusiast.

DSCN1816
(Left) Red Devil RX480, (top center) Red Devil RX 470, (bottom center) EVGA GTX 1060-3GB, (right) EVGA GTX 1060 SC 6GB

For a recap of Nvidia’s Pascal architecture see our GTX 1060 Founders Edition launch article.  This evaluation is focused on performance, and we will compare the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB against the 6GB Founders Edition of the GTX 1060 and against the reference and Red Devil RX 470.  We will also compare the performance of 11 video card configurations including the GTX 970 OC, the GTX 960 OC, the 280X, and the RX 480 to try to determine if the GTX 1060 3GB is held back by its having only 3GB of vRAM.

The EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming Edition

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB video card featuring EVGA ACX 2.0 cooling arrived with a retail price of $199.

evga 1060s 3gbThis EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming is clocked the lowest of the five GTX 1060 3GB EVGA models which range in price from $199 to 259.  It has a basic 3+1 Power Phase design and it uses a single 6-pin PCIe connector compared with the more expensive models which feature more robust power delivery with an 8-pin PCIe connector and better cooling systems.

All EVGA GTX 1060 3GB cards feature ACX fan technology with optimized swept blades, double ball bearings and a low-power motor that delivers more air flow with less power, unlocking additional power for the GPU.  The fan will even shut down when the card is not under load.ACX-2.0

Features of EVGA’s GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Gaming Edition:

 A major difference between the the GTX 1060 6GB and the 3GB GPUs, besides the amount of vRAM, is that the 1152 CUDA cores in the 3GB version is cut down from the 6GB version’s 1280 CUDA cores.

It is interesting to see that Nvidia did not choose “Ti” as the designation for the GTX 1060 6GB to probably keep their future options open, nor did they use a suffix such as “LE”, or even choose a “GTX 1055” naming for their entry level GTX 1060.  Rather, Nvidia choose 3GB as the only way to differentiate a cut down 1060 with half the vRAM from the original GTX 1060 6GB.  The Boost/base core and memory speeds are the same as is the amount of memory bandwidth so there should not be too much performance difference.

You can find out much more here. Here are the specifications and the details for the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming edition.

features

Here are the specifications for the reference Founders Edition of the GTX 1060 6GB:

The EVGA GTX 1060 3GB’s card’s base clock is 1506MHz and boost clock is 1708MHz.  The boost we actually got first rose up to 2025MHz when a game would first start but would stabilize as the GPU temperature increased to around 1822MHz, or 114MHz higher than the guaranteed Boost for this entry level GTX 1060 3GB.  Since the GDDR5 memory is not further overclocked by EVGA, we found that we gained some impressive performance by overclocking the memory clocks +400MHz, to 4404MHz.

From what we can see, the specifications of the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming Editon are impressive for a $200 video card, and our sample clocked higher than the guaranteed clocks.

WYSIWYG

Our EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming Edition came directly from EVGA to BTR as a sample, last Monday.  EVGA wants to make it very clear that what they sent us is the same as what you can buy from any etailer.  EVGA sent out this press release:

EVGA was one of the first graphics card companies to offer overclocked graphics cards, and since day one EVGA always delivered the exact same products to reviewers as well as customers. EVGA does not “fake” reviews or send out products with “tweaked” clockspeeds to reviewers. With EVGA Superclocked, FTW and Classified graphics cards, what you see is what you get.

Learn more.

Buyers are covered by EVGA’s 3-year warranty with a further warranty extension available upon registration within 90 days of purchase.

EVGA PrecisionX OC Unlocks automatic overclocking

Our preliminary overclock appears to be stable and it looks pretty good so far, and we will follow up this evaluation with an overclocked-to-the-max EVGA GTX 1060 3GB versus the Red Devil manually overclocked to the max RX 470 4GB to see which one ultimately delivers the highest performance.

Scanner - 2The EVGA PrecisionX OC works with Pascal architecture and now combines manual and automatic overclock tuning features to give the end user more options.

Includes Exclusive Features for EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB:

  • DirectX 12 OSD Support – See the on screen display on DirectX 12 games.
  • EVGA OC ScannerX Integration – Automatically find your optimal voltage/frequency curve!
  • K-Boost Function – Maximize your clocks with this exclusive feature.

Learn more here.

Our Big Picture Test bed of Competing Cards

Our testing platform is Windows 10 Home 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-6700K at 4.00GHz which turbos to 4.4GHz for all cores as set in the ASRock Z7170 motherboard’s BIOS, and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR4 at 3000MHz. The settings and hardware are identical except for the drivers being tested.

We test 25 games and 2 synthetics featuring our newest 2016 games, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Deus Ex Mankind Divided, and we are also including Ashes of the Singularity, Hitman, Total War Warhammer, and Rise of the Tomb Raider using DX12.  We have also added Futuremark’s DX12 benchmark, Time Spy, and will compare gaming performance with maximum settings at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440 resolutions.

This evaluation will pit the stock EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming edition against the stock and reference-clocked GTX 1060 6GB, and also against the PowerColor factory overclocked RX 470.  Our bigger picture will further compare performance with the GeForce GTX 1070, the GTX 970 EXOC, the GTX 960 OC, and the PowerColor 280X, as well as versus the reference and Red Devil RX 480.

Let’s take a closer look at the new EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Gaming Edition.

  • Kyle

    I just bought a 3gb 1060 SC for $175 from Jet.com !!! Can’t beat that value, I had a 6gb ordered and ready to ship for $265 out the door, had to cancel it.

  • sam

    good review, made me feel better with my choice of the msi rx 470 over the evga 1060 3gb cause rx 470 does better at newer games