NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Review: Pascal Value And Performance Per Watt

Overclocking, Power Consumption, Noise, and Temps

We also spent some time overclocking the new GeForce GTX 1060, to see what kind of additional performance we could squeeze out of it. Before we get to our results, though, we should point out that the GeForce GTX 1060 features GPU Boost 3.0, so overclocking it is similar to the GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080.

Like previous-gen GeForce cards, GPU Boost 3.0 scales frequencies and voltages, based on available power and temperature limitations, in-line with the GPU's workload at the time. With the older GPU Boost 2.0, which is available on previous-gen Maxwell-based cards, you could overclock using a fixed frequency offset and tweak the GPU voltage curve manually, but that left some performance on the table because it doesn't offer the kind of granular control necessary to massage every last MHz out of a given chip at every available voltage point.

With GPU Boost 3.0, however, you can now manually set the frequency offset on a per voltage point basis if you so choose. In addition, a new feature coming to overclocking / monitoring utilities like EVGA's Precision X gives users the ability to run a tool that automatically finds a GPU's peak frequency at each available voltage point. The tool basically runs FurMark and tests for stability, while incrementally upping the GPU frequency per voltage step point. When instability or image anomalies are detected, the tool logs the peak "good" frequency and moves on to the next voltage step. You eventually end up with a customized overclocking profile, optimized for your particular GPU.

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Unfortunately, due to an issue which caused V-Sync to be enabled after every re-boot, we couldn't properly test the auto-scan feature, which requires a number of re-boots, so we kept things simple, and used the frequency offset and power / temperature target sliders also available in Precision X. First we cranked up the power target to 120% and then kicked up the temperature target to 91 degrees. Then we bumped up the GPU and memory clocks until the test system was no longer stable.

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While we had the card overclocked, we re-ran a couple of tests and saw some nice improvements in performance. Thief showed a nice uplift, as did 3DMark. In Thief, the overclocked GeForce GTX 1060 was able to overtake the Radeon R9 390.

Ultimately, we saw a peak GPU clock of over 2062GHz with a 4151MHz memory clock (effective speed 8.3Gbps). Those are some impressive GPU clock speeds, given the relative immaturity of TSMC's 16nm FinFET process and the low-power nature of the card. When yields improve on the GP106 (assuming they will) and board partners slap additional power feeds and bigger coolers on GTX 1060 cards, higher clocks will likely be possible.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet
Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a couple of final data points -- namely, power consumption and noise. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored acoustics and tracked how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you an idea of how much power each configuration used while idling and also while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.

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The GeForce GTX 1060 is about as power friendly as an enthusiast-class graphics card can get. The card used the least amount of power of the bunch under both idle and load conditions. It used about 40 fewer watts under load than the Radeon RX 480, while also offering better overall performance, which is a testament to the efficiency of Pascal. While testing power, we also monitored the GPU voltages and found that the GTX 1060 Founder's Edition's GPU voltage fluctuated between 0.625v at the low-end and maxed-out at 1.062v.

We should mention that temperatures on the GeForce GTX 1060 are a non-issue as well. At idle, the card's GPU hovered in the high-30s. And under sustained load, the GPU temp shot up into the high 70-80'C range, right in-line with the default 83'C target.


In terms of its noise output, the GeForce GTX 1060 is very quiet. When idling and under load, it proved to be among the quietest cards we tested. We should note, however, that much of the additional noise under load in this graph can be attributed to our system's PSU and CPU cooler. All of these graphics cards represented here are relatively quiet under load, especially if you test inside a chassis like we do.

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