After the launch of Nvidia's top-of-the-line GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070, gamers with deep pockets jumped at the opportunity to buy these new, powerful cards. But at $700 for a 1070 and over $1100 for a 1080 in Australia, a lot of PC enthusiasts simply didn't have the spare cash or disposable income to drop on a new GeForce card. That's why so many people were — and still are — keen on AMD's equally new Radeon RX 480, which is barely over $300.
To counter that, Nvidia has a third card to release in 2016, designed to battle that RX 480 on both price and performance. It'll be $US250, and it's faster than last generation's top-end GTX 980: meet the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060.
The GeForce GTX 1060 is by far the most affordable of Nvidia's 10-series GTX graphics cards. At US$250, it's still more expensive than the US$199 AMD Radeon RX 480, but it's a lot cheaper than the GeForce GTX 1070's $US379 and GTX 1080's $US599 price points. Especially considering the fact that we've been getting slugged some serious Australia Tax on these cards, too, a cheaper model is a godsend and almost a necessity to compete in the part of the market that most gamers actually spend money in.
The new GTX 1060 uses a new, cut-down processing core compared to the GTX 1070 and 1080; its GP106 processor has 1280 CUDA cores, uses 6GB of GDDR5 memory running at 8GHz — rather than the faster 10GHz GDDR5X on the 1080 — and a boost clock of 1.7GHz that can, according to Nvidia, easily be sent north of 2GHz with a bit of overclocking. Power comes in via a single 6-pin connector and the card itself uses just 120 Watts.
Nvidia says the new card is a full 15 per cent faster and over 75 per cent more efficient than "the closest competitive product" at stock speeds, referring to the RX 480 — which Nvidia pegged at 185 Watts power usage, but which also uses only one six-pin power connector. The company will start selling the Founder's Edition version of the card from July 19 for $US299, and third-party partner boards should appear in Australia soon after. We'll keep you posted.