GeForce GTX 1060 joins the battle with the RX 480 at $249

Nvidia unveiled the GeForce GTX 1060 this morning. The specs of this $249 Pascal card basically conform to what the rumor mill has been churning out over the past couple weeks. Here are the basics of the GTX 1060, compared to the GTX 1080:

GeForce GTX 1060 ??? 1700 MHz 1280 6GB GDDR5 8 GT/s 1x 6-pin 120W $249.99
GeForce GTX 1080 1607 MHz 1733 MHz 2560 8GB GDDR5X 10 GT/s 1x 8-pin 180W $599.99

Going by those numbers, the GTX 1060 appears to be about half of a GTX 1080, save for its 192-bit memory bus. Anandtech confirms that the GTX 1060 is powered by a new, smaller GPU called GP106. Considering that Nvidia claimed that the GTX 1080 offered up to twice the performance of the GTX 980 before it, the GTX 1060 is logically positioned to deliver the performance of a GTX 980 for about half of that card's launch price.

The eagle-eyed out there will notice that the GTX 1060 lacks an SLI connector. Nvidia told PCWorld that "very few gamers build SLI machines out of mainstream GPUs," and we've always recommended that gamers purchase the fastest single graphics card they can afford instead of pairing up two cheaper cards. Given those facts, the death of SLI on an affordable graphics card like this one may not be a big deal. Still, AMD's RX 480 lets the ambitious gang cards together in CrossFire if they so choose, and VR SLI may have been a promising application of the technology.

The Founders Edition GTX 1060 uses a short PCB that looks a lot like the one underneath the Radeon RX 480's cooler shroud. This view of the long-and-thin GP106 GPU confirms that it's a new chip. Strangely, the card's PCIe six-pin power connector isn't directly integrated onto the reference PCB—it's part of the cooler shroud itself. This stubby PCB design might pave the way for Mini-ITX-friendly GTX 1060s in the future.

The GTX 1060 offers three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs, an HDMI 2.0b out, and a dual-link DVI-D output.

Unlike the GTX 1080 FE, the GTX 1060 reference card doesn't feature a backplate, but we guess it doesn't really need one, either, thanks to its short PCB. The blower-style cooler doesn't have a cutout on its top side for extra air intake, but that design hasn't appeared on recent Nvidia reference cards to begin with.

The GeForce GTX 1060 will launch July 19. Partner cards should sell for $249, while the Founders Edition card will sell for $299 from Nvidia's website. It's an exciting time for the midrange graphics market.

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