The EVGA GTX 1060 SC vs. the Founders Edition & vs. the RX 480

Intro

Last month, Nvidia released its third Pascal video card, the GTX 1060 Founders Edition (FE) video card which beat AMD’s new card, the Polaris RX 480 reference version.  We overclocked the Founders Edition and we even pitted it against the overclocked RX 480 and the GTX 980 in a third follow up evaluation.  Last Friday, BTR received a $259 EVGA GTX 1060 Superclocked (SC) Gaming edition from EVGA which is factory overclocked by EVGA right out of the box, and we have put it through its paces with what is probably the largest PC game benchmark suite in the English language, 25 games.DSCN1685

We compare the SC’s performance – at EVGA’s factory overclock and further overclocked by us – with the reference clocked and overclocked GTX 1060 Founders Edition, and also versus the reference RX 480.  Since all three cards retail for over $239, they make for a natural comparison, and we will use 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 to help determine the overall value/performance winner.DSCN1691

We will not recap Nvidia’s Pascal architecture here as with our GTX 1060 Founders Edition launch article, but will instead focus on the performance of the new EVGA GTX 1060 SC.  This evaluation is focused on each card’s performance, primarily comparing the EVGA GTX 1060 SC against the Founders Edition of the GTX 1060, and we will try to answer the question, which card should you buy?  We will then place this evaluation into our larger context of 10 video card configurations including the RX 470 and the RX 480 which we call “The Big Picture” to see if you should consider an upgrade or not.

The EVGA GTX 1060 SC Gaming Edition

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 featuring EVGA ACX 2.0 cooling arrived with a retail price of $259, or $40 less than the Founders Edition of the GTX 1060 which is priced at $299.

This EVGA GTX 1060 SC is clocked the higher of the two currently available air-cooled GTX 1060 EVGA cards which feature ACX 2.0 cooling technology which was first introduced for their GTX 980.  With optimized Swept fan blades, double ball bearings and an extreme low power motor, EVGA ACX 2.0 delivers more air flow with less power, unlocking additional power for the GPU, and the fan will even shut down when the card is not under load.ACX-2.0

Features of EVGA’s GeForce GTX 1060 SC Gaming Edition:

features

You can find out much more here. As a recap, here are the specifications and the details for the EVGA GTX 1060 SC Gaming edition:details

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

The EVGA GTX 1060 SC’s card’s base clock is 1607MHz, up 101MHz over the reference Founders Edition base clock, and the EVGA boost clock is 1835MHz, 127MHz higher than Nvidia’s guaranteed minimum reference boost of 1708MHz.  We will show the boost and base clocks that we actually got compared with our sample of the Founders Edition, and we will also compare both cards clocked as far as we could stably push them including adding extra voltage and/or adjusting the fan profiles.

Notice that the GDDR5 memory is not further overclocked by EVGA.  We found we gained some impressive performance by overclocking the memory clocks.

From what we can see, the specifications of the EVGA GTX 1060 SC Gaming Editon are impressive, and it clocked significantly higher than the reference Founders Edition version, and with a quieter cooler.  You are also covered by EVGA’s 3-year warranty with a further warranty extension available upon registration within 90 days of purchase.

WYSIWYG

Our EVGA GTX 1060 SC Gaming Edition ACX 2.0 came directly from EVGA to BTR as a sample, last Friday.  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 after the release of their GTX 1080 FTW:

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 at http://www.evga.com/articles/01022/evga-wysiwyg/

Our Big Picture Testbed 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.

Our testbed of competing cards tests 25 games and 2 synthetics featuring our newest 2016 games, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and DOOM, 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 benchmark, Time Spy. We will compare the performance of 25 games at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 with maximum settings.

This evaluation will pit the stock and overclocked EVGA GTX 1060 SC against the stock and overclocked reference Founders Edition of the GTX 1060, and also against the RX 480.  Our bigger picture will further compare performance with the GeForce GTX 1070, the GTX 970 EXOC, and the GTX 960 OC, plus our PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 at reference speeds and the PowerColor 280X.

How does the EVGA GTX 1060 SC compare with its rival, AMD’s Polaris RX 480?

Well, it doesn’t.  The RX 480 is generally outperformed by the Founders Edition of the GTX 1060 so an overclocked version like the EVGA GTX 1060 SC will be even faster.  Unfortunately, the RX 480 reference version is not a good overclocker.DSCN1450

Let’s take a closer look at the new EVGA GTX 1060 SC Gaming Edition ACX 2.0.

  • Nick Sears

    Mine runs at nearly 90C, this is sad.

  • Matthew

    Why are they comparing the 1060 and 480? They are in different price ranges

    • bdougwrx

      $260 vs $240 is not in a different price range.

  • fn noobee

    Wow… This is supposed to be a professional review? Half of it reads like an advertisement for EVGA and Nvidia and the other reads like fanboy fluff. You show Doom 2016 in OpenGL, rather than Vulkan, which favors Nvidia HW due to their OpenGL optimization. You point out RoTR (which favors Nvidia HW as it was built from the ground up with it’s HW in mind and DX12 was added as afterthought) as proof that the 1060 is “superior in pathways of …DX12”, but completely fail to acknowledge the stock reference RX 480 beating the OC GTX 1060 in the other three DX12 games. Then if you’re going to compare, compare the FE to the reference and a factory OCed RC 480 to the SC GTX 1060 to at least make it seem objective and fair. SMH..m

    • nvooser

      Review is spot on. The cards are nice and deserve the superlatives they get. I am new to this site, but already like their comparison charts at the end – quite comprehensive.

  • nvooser

    From the picture we can see the EVGA uses the reference PCB with a smaller and more effective cooler. I like it.

  • RealityCheque

    Thanks for this review!

  • lol

    found a typo. Look at the back of the box. “Archittecture”