Given that the GeForce GTX 1060 video card has officially launched, we’re bracing for the onslaught of custom boards created lovingly by Nvidia’s partners. The first inside our hands can be an MSI card using its overclocked and well-cooled GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G ($369.99). Nothing major has changed in the GTX 1060 version from the GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G board we also reviewed, aside from the tiny graphics-chip heart beating within the card’s metal exoskeleton. Which means this review will be somewhat shorter than if we were examining this specific species for the very first time.

Just looking at the card, you can tell the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G ($369.99 at Newegg) includes a lot in common using its big brother. Both cards look virtually identical. Both video cards sport a sweet-looking red/black color scheme, together with the company’s Twin Frozr VI dual-fan design with LED highlights. The logo on the edge of the card is RGB-lit and will be customized, however the red LEDs on the fan blades are simply that-red, and only red.

The card also includes a metal backplate, which includes been a sought-after feature on high-end GPUs for some time now. That sort of plate looks more polished when compared to a bare PCB when you can view your card after installation (you start to see the back of any card a lot more than the front, generally in most windowed PC cases), and it has turned into a feature that separates premium GPUs from the less costly ones. So we’re glad to see MSI kept it because of this midrange GPU. (This MSI GTX 1060 card costs barely half up to its equivalent GTX 1080 card, in the end.)

Overall, the aesthetics because of this generation of cards from MSI are simply just top-notch, inside our opinion. It’s the ideal balance between aggressive and flashy without crossing the border into potentially overdone. (See Zotac’s GeForce GTX 1080 Amp Extreme ( at Amazon) for a card that, while wildly fast, may have gone somewhat too much on the eyeball aspects for a few buyers.)

Now, to what separates the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G from the Founders Edition (FE) version of the GTX 1060 made and sold by Nvidia proper. (The GTX 1060 FE, essentially a reference card, is available only via Nvidia.com, for $299 in a “limited edition” which will be sold for given that there’s demand.) Apart from the totally different cooling apparatus and aesthetic, the MSI card’s biggest change is that it features an eight-pin PCI Express power connector, which can be an uptick from the single six-pin one on the FE card. Regardless of the extra juice, the Gaming X 6G continues to be listed as a 120-watt card, which is equivalent to the Founders Edition version. The Gaming X also includes a six-phase power design, a lot more than the 3+1 design employed by the Founders Edition. Which should enable smoother power delivery for overclocking.

The MSI is a major card, too, much bigger compared to the FE card at 11 inches long versus 9.75 inches…

The width of the cooler is 5 inches (MSI) versus 3.75 inches (Founders Edition). If your personal computer chassis is space-constrained, take heed.

Another big difference-and the one which is expected on a card of the nature-is that it is highly overclocked and overclockable when compared to Founders Edition. You can simply overclock the Founders Edition card, but out from the box it runs at Nvidia’s “base spec” settings, which are 1,506MHz for the bottom clock and 1,708MHz for the utmost boost clock. Retail versions of the Gaming X 6G, however, run at 1,569MHz base and 1,784MHz boost out of your box (equal to MSI’s Gaming mode in its Gaming App software), which is fairly a difference. It is possible to tick that up further to at least one 1,594MHz/1,809MHz, through MSI’s software, via an “OC mode” setting. (The program has Quiet, OC, and Gaming mode settings, with Quiet being the same as the Founders Edition at stock settings.) It’s literal one-click overclocking, as you merely click on the box you want (Gaming, OC, Quiet), and the card runs at those speeds. The main element screen in the program looks like this…

Clock speeds and cooling aside, that is still a GTX 1060 in mind, so many specs remain the same. It has 6GB of 8Gbps GDDR5 memory, though it’s overclocked by 100MHz out from the box. The memory runs on a 192-bit bus, and the card offers 1,280 CUDA cores, along with three DisplayPort connectors, an HDMI port, and a DVI port for all those with older monitors. Also, in the event it requires to be described, this GPU supports each of the Pascal tech we’ve discussed before, such as for example Simultaneous Multi Projection (SMP), Ansel, and GPU Boost 3.0. Also, just like the Founders Edition of the GTX 1060, it generally does not support multi-card configurations, a.k.a. Nvidia SLI. (The GTX 1070 and 1080 do support twin-card SLI.)

Software
The Gaming X 6G includes the same program we evaluated inside our overview of the GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G, so we won’t get into it in detail another time. Click to that review to check on it out if you wish a far more detailed discussion, but we’ll provide some screens of it here…

The program package includes MSI’s Dragon Eye function (in order to watch YouTube videos when you are in-game), an onscreen-overlay feature to monitor your GPU, these overclocking tools, and a computer program to change the colour temperature of the display, optimizing it for pursuits like movies and gaming. Overall, it’s excellent software and adds a whole lot of value to the package.

A Performance Preface
Before we enter the deeper testing results, some notes.

Things are in flux nowadays for testing GPUs, as two emerging technologies that card was built for are difficult to check definitively. The foremost is DirectX 12 (DX12), which is merely now coming on the scene. There are just a few real-world benchmarks for this. Still, DX12 is going to be the typical graphics API later on, so it is vital that you know if a card are designed for DX12 prior to buying.

We tested the GTX 1060 with all the current latest DX12-capable games we’d readily available, including Hitman (the 2016 edition), Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Ashes of the Singularity. We tested it by using a load of games under DirectX 11, too, because that API it’s still in wide use for at least another year, and probably a lot longer.

The next technology that’s difficult to check at the moment is virtual reality, or VR for short. The GeForce GTX 1080 was created to run VR doubly fast as its predecessor, and in every the launch presentation documents, Nvidia referred especially to the card’s VR performance. However, there are two major competing VR headset platforms, in the kinds of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, with an increase of arriving at market soon, and it’s really difficult to determine a lone test that’s applicable to all or any scenarios.

Steam has its VR benchmark, but during this writing, it didn’t output a score beyond a straightforward “Fidelity Score” and a green/yellow/red scale for VR readiness. Instead, it just indicated whether your PC was prepared to handle games using an HTC Vive. Because the baseline recommendation for both HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift is a Core i5 processor and a GeForce GTX 970 graphics card, the GTX 1060 and the Core i7 CPU inside our test bed would easily pass this test. We garnered a green-light recommendation of “READY” and a Fidelity Score of 8.7 with the GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G in the Steam VR benchmark. (The Founders Edition GeForce GTX 1060 garnered the same recommendation but an 8.0 score.)