How Fast a GTX 1060 Could Really Achieve? 

Ahoy, people of the internet! Today we are looking at the 3rd GTX 1060 graphics card we’ve tested so far, and this time – it’s rather flashy. It’s huge, it’s long, it’s black, and is certainly not the hard one you’re thinking of right now. It  is ladies and gentlemen, the ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX OC. A fancy, and a ridiculously breathtaking card to pronounce. Literally.

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The ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX OC is probably one of the fastest GTX 1060s around. Featuring a 1620 Mhz core clock, and a boost clock of 1848 MHz. If that’s not enough for you, ASUS had the VRAM overclocked too at around 2052 MHz just for the sake of pushing the GTX 1060 to the limits.

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The card features a true 6+1 VRM design, which means there’s 6 phases of power for the GPU core, and another one for the memory. It isn’t overkill and is more than enough to provide power for the components. Cooling is fed by triple 90mm fans, with the DirectCU III cooler – all under a fancy RGB touting shroud design. You could learn more about the card HERE.

QUICK SPECS COMPARISON
MAKE & MODEL
NVIDIA GTX 1060
ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX OC
GPU
GP106
GP106
CORES
1280 CUDA
1280 CUDA
CORE CLOCK
1506 – 1708 MHZ
1620– 1848 MHZ
VRAM
 6GB GDDR5
 6GB GDDR5
MEMORY BUS
 192-BIT
 192-BIT
MEMORY CLOCK
 8000 MHZ
 8208 MHZ
POWER OUTPUT
 120W
 120W
POWER INPUT
 6-PIN
8-PIN
SLOT TYPE
 DUAL
DUAL
DESIGN
 REFERENCE
NON-REFERENCE
PRICING
 249 – 299 USD
 329 USD

THE NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1060 6GB:

The GeForce GTX 1060 is Nvidia’s take on the sweet mid-range category, featuring the GP106 GPU at its core. It is definitely a lighter package compared to the GP104 but don’t make fun of this 120W GPU. Nvidia stated that its performance is comparable to the GTX 980 at a much smaller package, excellent starting point, and better power figures. That’s 300 USD less for the same performance 2 years back.

The GP106 based on its diagram features two Graphics Processing Clusters with five Streaming Multiprocessors per GPC. Each SM has 128 CUDA cores amounting to a total of 1280 CUDA cores for the whole GPU. Notice that there are six 32-bit Memory Controllers shown at the diagram totaling at 192-bit bus width. That’s a memory interface that could utilize 6GB and potentially 3GB  VRAM capacities. With that said, a GTX 1060 3GB model is not far off the charts.

TDP is at 120W, putting it 30W shy of the RX 480’s 150W TDP. Now as for Nvidia exclusive features, the card supports most of Pascal’s technologies with the exception of SLI support. More info about Pascal’s technological achievements can be read here and here.

PACKAGING & BUNDLED ACCESSORIES:

There isn’t a lot going on with the frontal packaging of the ASUS GTX 1060. With only the cooling unit, and a few designer’s nightmare font combinations printed onto it. At the back however, lies the sea of texts and graphical representation of the card’s features. Which, should be enough to keep you busy when there’s practically nothing to do.

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The card is bundled with Two Velcro ties, a setup guide, software DVD, and a code for World of Warships. Nothing else is included so when it comes to accessories, the card is pretty bare.

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THE ASUS ROG GEFORCE GTX 1060 STRIX OC EDITION:

The ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX is a majestic 11.73 inch non-reference beast. It features the same ROG STRIX shroud found at higher end cards such as the GTX 1070 and 1080 STRIX, and is basically a marvel to look at. Well, depending on your taste that is. 0 dB is the name of the game of the DirectCU III cooler, enabling the fans to stop when the card is idling or if it reaches a safe temperature.

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Compared to the other models with the same design, the GTX 1060 STRIX OC lacks the RGB enhanced ROG logo at the back plate. The RX 480 STRIX has it, so we’re wondering why this card never included such feature.

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The GTX 1060 STRIX OC sacrifices length for a leaner, yet powerful cooling design. Though PCI device compatibility is secured, chassis compatibility is where you should be concerned at. It is also noteworthy to add that although the VRM is directly cooled by the cooler, the VRAM is definitely not. Air should still pass-through just fine.

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Interesting enough, the GTX 1060 STRIX has a well placed voltage read out points, plus a dual 4-pin fan header should you wish to install additional fans to sync with the DirectCU III cooler.

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Power is provided by an 8-pin power connector  which should push 225W of power in combination with the PCI-E slot. Now display is provided by 5 ports. These consists of dual DP 1.4 ports, Dual HDMI 2.0b ports which is great for the HTC VIVE, and a single DVI port.

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THE ASUS AURA:

The ASUS AURA is a software used to control the LEDs of the ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC. It can be configured the way you want with 7 lighting effects. This works with AURA capable ASUS devices so you can sync things if that’s what you like.

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The card also comes with a game booster app, a streamlined GPU Tweak software, and a 1 year Xsplit Gamecaster subscription. Overall, this is a nice set of value added features.

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When it comes to RGB, ASUS is always on point with a smooth transition between colors and the feature’s lighting effects. Nothing beats them except for a few competitors around this area.

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THE TEST SYSTEM & BENCHMARKS:

Our test system is based on a Intel Core i5 6600K gaming system, which should be in-line with the latest mainstream gaming components. The operating system used is a 64-bit Windows 10 Pro Edition with power options set to balanced. Third party background softwares are disabled unless they are absolutely required. Benchmarks should include 720p, 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p results if necessary to the hardware being tested.

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TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
CPU
INTEL CORE I5 6600K
MOTHERBOARD
ASUS Z170-A
CPU COOLER
NOCTUA NH L12
MEMORY
CRUCIAL BALLISTIX TACTICAL 16GB
GRAPHICS CARD
ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC 6GB
INT. STORAGE
PLEXTOR M6E BLACK EDITION 256GB
PSU
CORSAIR RM850X 850W
DISPLAY
27″ DELL U2715H WQHD IPS PANEL
OS
MICROSOFT WINDOWS 10 PRO

 

FPS values are recorded by FRAPS in-game using a linear methodology for consistency. The results includes the Average FPS and 1% Minimum FPS, unless the game does not support FRAPS. The 1% Minimum FPS represents the negative spikes or drops in-game sufficient enough for a gamer to notice. If the game doesn’t support FRAPS, we will use the in-game benchmark or have the frame rate recorded via EVGA’s PrecisionX OC.

TEMPERATURE NOISE & POWER CONSUMPTION:

Unigine Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that measures the performance of the graphics card. Temperature values are taken directly from GPU-Z, and will be cross referenced from other temperature logging tools. The ambient room temperature is checked at 27 Degree Celsius. Overwatch is used for the in-game temperature test.

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Our power consumption test shows how the GPU impacts system power consumption using Unigine Heaven, and Overwatch. Both applications will run for approximately 15 minutes. Power readings are taken from the entire test system using a watt meter connected to the wall socket.

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The sound level of the system with the graphics card is taken as well. The room has an ambient noise level at around 37 dBA which is good enough to test the acoustic performance of any system or a graphics card’s cooling solution. The sound level meter is situated 2 feet away from the system.

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The ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC is by far the best non-reference GTX 1060 we’ve tested so far with an excellent display of temperature, noise level, and power consumption. For an instance, the ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX managed to stay cool at 64c during load, with a matching noise level at 40 dBA. Those are the best results we’ve got from any GTX 1060s and we’re happy that the DirectCU III lives up to its name.

Now I’d like to point out that we’ve tested this card with a few updates on the components of our test system so power figures are definitely off so keep that in mind. We refuse to show delta results until we’ve checked out the exact differences between the setups.

ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX OC SYNTHETIC PERFORMANCE:

3DMark 2013 is a suite of benchmarks catered  for the gamers and enthusiasts. It features benchmark presets suitable for wide range of systems. The total system scores from the FireStrike presets is used for comparison.

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Unigine Heaven is a stress test and a benchmark tool built specifically for the graphics card. We ran a full test to see how the graphics card performs under such loads. The total system score is used for comparison.

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Unigine Valley is a stress test and a benchmark tool built specifically for graphics cards, similar to the Heaven benchmark. We ran a full test to see how the graphics card performs under such loads. The total system score is used for comparison.

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As expected, the 1620 MHz touting ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC blazes through our synthetic benchmarks. Allowing it to take the top easily from the rest of the GTX 1060s on our bench.

ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX OC GAMING PERFORMANCE:

Overwatch is Blizzard Entertainment’s critically acclaimed FPS shooter, running on a custom game engine developed by Blizzard utilizing the DirectX 11 API. Benchmarks will be taken from a custom game on a map called Temple of Anubis. The graphic settings is set to ultra with a 100% render scale.

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DOTA 2 is Valve’s popular MOBA game, running on their own Source Engine 2. Benchmarks are taken from a match replay between Alliance and Natus Vincere. The graphic settings is set to the maximum. The frame rate is uncapped, and v-sync is turned off.

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Ashes of The Singularity is an RTS game developed by Stardock and one of the first games to support the DirectX 12 API. Benchmarks will be taken directly from the game’s benchmarking tool, with the graphic settings is set to extreme.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider is the direct sequel to 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot. It is developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, with support for the DirectX 12 API. Settings are set to Very High, with SMAA, HBAO+, and Pure Hair enabled. Benchmarks were taken from the Syria level.
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DIRT: Rally is Codemaster’s proper take on the rally racing game genre, with support for the DirectX 11 API. Settings are set to Ultra, with 8x SMAA enabled. Benchmarks were taken from the stages at Hafren, Wales.

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Titles benchmarked showed what the ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC could really do. Offering a great performance across 1080P, and 1440P with even an acceptable 4K UHD performance at Overwatch paired up with an exceptional DOTA 2 performance. This card is the fastest GTX 1060 so far we’ve tested, and it goes to show how a factory overclocked GTX 1060 could do.

The card actually managed to stay at 2025 MHz boost during our tests, and it is one of the factors why it is such a monstrous GTX 1060 when it comes to sheer performance. Now we’ve got a small inconsistency with Tomb Raider at 1080P – with the ZOTAC GTX 1060 leading  over the ASUS card. We tried to replicate it and actually got the result of the ZOTAC card at 63 FPS average with the latest drivers and Windows’ Anniversary Update installed. AMD cards aren’t affected by this mistake of ours, with the exception of the GTX 1080. We will retest the card once we got the sample back.

OVERCLOCKING THE ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX OC:

ASUS’ GPU Tweak is already good enough with an OC profile ready to hit the park. But, we wanted to see how much performance we can really squeeze out of the GTX 1060 STRIX OC. That said, we managed to get a stable 1708 MHz OC out of the card and with it comes a staggering 2190 MHz boost clock. EVGA’s PrecionX OC is used by the way, with its OC Scanner feature. Fan speed is set to 70%, with power limit at default.

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Gains we got from overclocking were acceptable at 3%, 4%, and 4% respectively across the 3DMARK FireStrike benchmarks. Nothing extraordinary here but it’s nice to see that we could still squeeze more out of the card.

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WRAPPING IT UP:

Performance is extraordinary for a GTX 1060 – we just have to say it. From the exceptional balance of cooling, and acoustics to the FPS gains compared to other GTX 1060 cards we got, the ASUS GTX 1060 STRIX OC suits the ROG superbrand really well. For an instance the card manages to deliver 64c of load temperature, while at the same time keeping the card quiet enough.  The DirectCU III really made a huge leap on this department – enabling the card to feature a 2025 MHz boost clock like it’s nothing.

Build quality is top notch, accompanied by a design proper for the STRIX and ROG brands. We have no time to check each component out, but its 6+1 power phase for the core voltage and VRAM are more than enough. Speaking, we kinda wished the DirectCU III cools the VRAM chips actively, much like what ZOTAC did with their GTX 1060 AMP. This one has a back plate though.

Features are what you’d expect this side of 2016 – with RGB and loads of bundled softwares that you could use to enhance your gaming experience. The XSplit subscription is a good one if you’re into streaming, while the game booster will help you out to squeeze a little more performance out of your PC. Same thing goes for the GPU Tweak, where you could overclock your graphics card with just a push of a button. The extra fan headers seems gimicky at first, but if you’re really into silent gaming PC builds, then it’s a life saver.

In closing, the ASUS ROG GTX 1060 STRIX OC is one fantastic premium graphics card, retailing for about 17, 350 PHP – which is around 15% higher than most of the offerings from the competition. Make no mistake though, as this card features an excellent balance of cooling, and acoustics, together with a stellar gaming performance to seal the deal.

EDIT: By the way, ASUS and Nvidia partnered up with Epic Games to bring 115 USD worth of Paragon goodies with the GTX 1060. Check it out HERE.

PROS:
  • EXCEPTIONAL GAMING PERFORMANCE
  • RGB ENHANCED AESTHETICS
  • FEATURE PACKED SOFTWARE SUITE
  • EXTRA PWM FAN HEADERS
  • EXCELLENT COOLING & ACOUSTICS
CONS:
  • +15% PREMIUM PRICING OVER THE COMPETITION
  • BACK PLATE ROG LOGO IS NOT LED LIT
 2016-Gold