Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Graphics Card Review
Hot on the heels of the Asus GeForce GTX 1070 Strix OC Graphics Card that we took a look at in July we now have its little brother the Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Graphics Card here at pcG . These cards are powered by Nvidia’s latest energy efficient Pascal architecture with the 1060 boasting a TDP of just 120W thanks to its 16nm finfet architecture. Now, I did say little brother but in reality this card from Asus is in fact the same size as the 1070 card from Asus, in fact from what I can see the cooler is in fact identical!
The Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC is no ordinary 1060 either it’s a factory overclocked (READ: heavily overclocked) example. The card boasts a Core Clock of 1645MHz and a Boost Clock of 1873MHz (OC Mode), while its 6GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 8208MHz. Note that the Boost Clock is up 177MHz on a reference GTX 1070 (1683MHz) while the memory speed has also been increased from 8000MHz to 8200MHz. In addition to this the Asus GeForce GTX 10170 Strix OC also features RGB lighting and measures in at 298mm (L) x 134mm (W) x 40mm (H) and is dual slot in design.
The Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Graphics Card arrived at pcG in a smart predominately black box with an image of the the card hiding within taking centre stage. In addition to this Asus have chosen to highlight the Strix branding, Republic of Gamers (ROG) branding and Asus’ new AURA branding. We can also see that the Strix 1060 OC is NVIDIA VRReady and that it supports Gameworks, Ansel and G-Sync.
The back of the box features various images further highlighting the following:
On opening the outer box we find an inner black box that’s adorned with a smart looking STRIX logo. As you can see packaging and presentation is pretty top notch…
On opening the lid of that box we find that in the top there’s an Asus branded tray, containing the accessories outlined below. After removing the tray and the additional packaging we find the Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Graphics Card nestling within soft foam and protected by an anti-static bag.
Within the tray we find the accessories shipped with the Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC, this comprises of a setup guide (Speed Setup), four ROG Velcro Hook & Loop cable ties, World of Warships Invite Code and a Driver CD.
At the time of review, the Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC is retailing at Overclockers UK for approximately £300 and comes with a 3 year warranty.
courtesy of Asus
|Graphics Engine||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060|
|Bus Standard||PCI Express 3.0|
|Video Memory||GDDR5 6GB|
|Engine Clock||OC Mode – GPU Boost Clock : 1873 MHz , GPU Base Clock : 1645 MHz
Gaming Mode (Default) – GPU Boost Clock : 1847 MHz , GPU Base Clock : 1620 MHz
*Retail goods are with default Gaming Mode, OC Mode can be adjusted with one click on GPU Tweak II
|Memory Clock||8208 MHz|
|Resolution||Digital Max Resolution:7680 x 4320|
|Interface||DVI Output : Yes x 1 (Native) (DVI-D)
HDMI Output : Yes x 2 (Native) (HDMI 2.0)
Display Port : Yes x 2 (Native) (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
|Accessories||2 x ROG Velcro Hook & Loop|
|Software||ASUS GPU Tweak II & Driver|
|Dimensions||11.73 ” x 5.28 ” x 1.57 ” Inch
29.8 x 13.4 x4 Centimeter
First impressions of the Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC are along the lines of ‘damn that’s big’ measuring in at 298mm long, in fact it’s a lot like the last Asus Strix card that I took a look at the Asus Strix R9 Fury and is identical to the STRIX GTX 1070 OC I looked at last month! Not only is it big but it’s well made too from what I can see of it, the words ‘built like a tank’ come to mind. It’s not a great looking card though (well not when powered off anyway!), but purposeful it does look and that’s a good sign I feel… 😉
Asus is using its third implementation of its DirectCU heatsink design here with three of its patented Wing-Blade fans that simply dominate the front of the cooler. The cooler’s shroud is made from plastic and has been inlaid with Asus’ new RGB lighting implementation, known as AURA. These sections (above and below each fan) all illuminate when the card is on and full RGB support is also provided, meaning that any colour is (logically) possible. There’s also a range of effects that can be applied, all of which can be accessed via the Asus RGB AURA software (here).
Looking at the back of the card we can see that it sports an impressive metal back-plate. Now while the design is very nice it’s not quite the same as the one on the STRIX 1070 OC that also features a smart RGB Asus Strix logo, shame!
Looking at the right side of the card (or top) we can see how the plastic shroud wraps around the side of the card and we can also see the large heatsink hiding within. At the back within the shroud there’s an additional ROG logo that again illuminates when on, this is courtesy of the LEDs within the front of the shroud itself. At the far end we see just one 8-pin power connector.
On the flip side we find the PCIE connector, protected in the photo above by a black plastic cover. Otherwise there’s not much to see here other than more of that large heatsink…
Thankfully Asus have modified the stock design of the GTX 1060, as this card now sports two HDMI 2.0 ports and not just the one. This is far better for VR, as one HDMI port is taken up by either your Vive or Rift. In addition to the two HDMI ports we find two standard DisplayPorts and a single DVI-D port. The maximum digital resolution offered by the card is 7680 x 4320.
Normally when looking at the far end of a Graphics Card there’s not much to see or talk about, but this time there is… As not only is there the cabling for the RGB lighting and the cabling for the fans, but there’s also two PWM fan headers! Now what are they for? Well Asus must have read my mind as I was recently puzzling as to why we control fan speed in a Case by the temperature of the CPU!? When it’s the GPU we really need to keep cool, especially nowadays well unless you’re on an AMD platform! 😮 Well Asus have come up with an answer; Fanconnect! These two headers will power up two PWM controlled fans (of your choice) and control them based upon GPU temperature, GENIUS!
Well I have to confess to seeing this cooler before attached to the Asus GeForce GTX 1070 Strix OC that I looked at last month and I was impressed then. And, I’m still impressed now, although I’m a little surprised (and disappointed) that there no RGB illumination on the back of the card as there is with the 1070 STRIX OC. 🙁
Installing the Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC into our Test Rig was easy enough, mainly because our test case (Cooler Master HAF XB) has plenty of room to swallow this long Graphics Card. But you should check first before buying this GPU as at 298mm (L) x 134mm (H) x 40mm (D), it’s a big card!
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series AX 760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6||CPU||Intel Core i5-6600K|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S||RAM||G Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB|
|Graphics Card||Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB|
With the card powered up that RGB lighting comes into effect and very nice it is too! All of the LED lighting can be modified thanks to the RGB support in the AURA software (here).
Our New Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 10 64Bit with all associated drivers also installed. The latest Nvidia Driver (372.54 WHQL) was then downloaded and installed and used throughout testing.
I also installed Asus’s GPU Tweak II App (get it here) that allows you to set one of three Modes (OC, Gaming(default) & Silent), the effect that this has on the Core Clock’s GPU Speed (as a percentage) can be seen in the images below. There’s also monitoring information like that provided by MSI Afterburner and general information like that provided by GPU-Z.
All in all it’s a bit of a waste of time if you ask me, as there’s simply not enough of a change between Modes and you’re likely just want to run in full OC Mode all of the time. But hey, it’s there if you want to use it…
For testing purposes we use MSI Afterburner (here), to help us with our testing and overclocking.
|Benchmark||1080P||1440P||Ulta Wide (3440×1440)|
|Ashes of the Singularity (DX12)||68.00||59.00||52.40|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX12)||82.28||54.86||43.61|
|Far Cry Primal (DX 11)||67.00||47.00||38.00|
|UNiGiNE Valley (DX 11)||89.20||54.30||40.90|
Comparative Test Results (at stock):
* all comparative results are average FPS at 2560×1440
Well there you have it the new GTX 1060 in this guise (Asus GTX 1060 Strix OC) put in an impressive showing in the benchmarks and as you can see (thankfully) it never really challenges the GTX 1070. But the 1060’s nearest rival when looking outside of the Nvidia camp is obviously AMD’s new RX480.
Now while the Asus GTX 1060 Strix OC beats the RX480 in five of the six tests, at times (Total War Warhammer/Hitman) there’s actually very little in it! And this is a problem for the 1060 as at the time of review it’s more expensive that the RX 480. More over this Asus GTX 1060 Stric OC edition is some £90 more expensive than the cheapest RX 480 card. Remember we tested a stock RX 480 card with stock cooler, but the cheapest RX 480 comes with an overclock and a custom cooler. Hmm…
But to be fair to Nvidia and to Asus when comparing the two cards the Asus GTX 1060 Strix is a far better built Graphics Card. It’s super cool thanks to its Direct CU III cooler and it’s also super quiet too. On top of that there’s the RGB illumination and FanConnect headers at the end of the card. So there’s now doubt in my mind that the Asus GTX 1060 Strix OC does offer more than the RX480, but when it comes to sheer performance (at times) there not that far apart…
Once again I find myself blown away by Asus’ latest Nividia GTX Strix Series Graphics Card. The Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC is (like it’s bigger brother the 1070 Strix OC) one of the best GPU’s on the market today thanks to that awesome DirectCU III cooler with Aura RGB lighting. It’s fast, cool and quite but the AMD RX 480 still runs it close at times…
The Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC arrived at pcG in a smart box with the card within well packaged and nicely presented. Once out of the box one thing is immediately clear, this is one big card, it’s long at 298mm but thankfully the DirectCU III cooler is only two slots (40mm) wide. It’s also built like a tank, materials and build quality are all top notch. But it would be wrong of me to say that it’s a good looking card, purposeful might be the word as it has a touch of German engineering about it. Although having said that the installed back plate is rather smart.
Installation was easy enough, but you need to make sure you’ve got the room for the length of the card. Once powered up via the single 8-pin power connector the three patented Wing-Blade fans span up and the card lit up too! Thanks to its RGB illumination the Asus looks a lot better when powered up and of course the colours can be modified via the AURA software.
Some of the special features found on this Asus card that deserve a special mention is the RGB lighting that reacts to the cards temperature and the FanConnect headers found at the end of then card. These allow you to connect a couple of fans and control them based upon GPU temperature and not CPU temperature, clever eh!? But unlike the 1070 STRIX OC there’s no illuminated ROG logo on the back and that is a shame.
From a pure performance point of view the GTX 1060 Strix OC doesn’t disappoint and there’s plenty of performance on offer, especially for 1080/1440P Gaming, it’s efficient too with a stock TDP of just 120W. Now while the performance is indeed very good, its most significant competitor is the new Radeon RX 480 and as you can see in some of the tests the 1060 performs better but in others (Total War Warhammer & Hitman) performance gets very close.
It is these benchmarks (performed at 2560×1440) that show us something very important and that’s the fact that the AMD card performs well (generally speaking) in the DX12 benchmarks. Therefore if you’re looking forward to the future and DX12 the AMD card is almost as good as this Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC card. But, let’s also not forget that we’re are talking about a stock AMD card with stock (READ: poor) cooler. AND, let’s also not forget that this Asus 1060 card is £100 more expensive than the stock card tested AND that an overclocked, custom cooled AMD card can be bought for just £10 more at just £210!
But maybe to compare the RX 480 to this 1060 is foolish. There’s no doubt that the Asus Geforce GTX 1060 Strix OC is a better developed Graphics Card than the stock AMD RX 480. But there’s no denying that at approximately £200-£220 the RX 480 offers great performance in modern (DX12) titles.
I therefore find myself – well sort of sat on the fence so to speak, as to me it’s not clear if one is necessarily better than the other. This is what I think: If you’re looking for a budget Gaming GPU that offers great performance at 1080P and good performance at 1440P then go for a Custom cooled RX 480. If on the other hand you’re looking for a little more from your Graphics Card and you’ve got the budget then there’s no doubt that the Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC is one of the best 1060’s on the market today.
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Many thanks to Asus for providing this sample for review