When Nvidia launched its 10-series graphics cards, the gaming world took a huge leap forward in terms of performance.
The GTX-1080 and GTX-1070 are the expensive powerhouses of the range, with the Titan X at the very top end, but there’s still plenty of performance to be had at the entry level.
The GTX-1060 may well be the entry point to the 10-series GPUs, but it’s impressive all the same. But which of Nvidia’s partners produces the best version? We’ve been finding out…
The MSI GTX-1060 Gaming X is a well-designed graphics card. The large MSI signature red and black colouring on plastic housing surrounding the two 95mm TORX 2.0 Twin FROZR VI fans looks splendid. The black PCB and backplate, emblazoned with the MSI dragon motif is equally striking, especially against the large aluminium heatsink and nickel-plated copper heat pipes.
Cooling and airflow are essential here, as MSI has included two modes above the stock GP106 GPU clock speeds. The Gaming Mode will boost the GPU clock speed from 1506MHz to 1569MHz, with a boost clock speed of 1784MHz, both of which are 4% higher. The OC (overclock) mode pushes the GPU even further, with a base clock speed of 1594MHz and a boost clock speed of 1809MHz -nearly 6% higher than the stock GPU speed.
The 6GB of GDDR5 memory is docked at 2002MHz and has a memory bandwidth of 192.2GB/S. There are 1,280 Cuda cores, and the GTX-1060 Gaming X features a pixel rate of 75.3GPixel/s, a texture rate of 125.5GTexel/s and a floating point performance value of 4017 GFLOPS. All of these are considerably higher than the reference card.
Connectivity is ample, with three DisplayPorts, a single HDMI and single DVI. It’s a larger card than most other GTX-1060s we’ve seen, measuring 279mm in length, but that’s forgivable when you consider the high degree of manufacturing that’s gone into the custom PCB, premium caps and super ferrite chokes that MSI proudly enhances its products with. Also, there are red LEDs surrounding the second fan, and there’s also an LED lit MSI logo at the top-front of the card that can change effects and colors with the appropriate software.
In terms of performance, the MSI GTX-1060 Gaming X doesn’t disappoint. In Gaming Mode, we clocked Doom at 106fps, with the maximum settings applied throughout and running at 1920 x 1080. Even when we pushed the resolution up to 4K, the Gaming X still managed to run Doom at 34fps.
The same goes for GTA V, with the Gaming X managing a splendid 103fpsat 1920x 1080, with Ultra settings, dropping to 35fps at 4K.
The Gaming X is also perfectly happy to be overclocked, and it’s remarkably easy thanks to the included MSI Gaming software.
We managed to tune the base clock to 1687MHz, nearly 100MHz faster than the OC Mode, with the GPU temperature hitting just over 700°C and the fan speed at a little over 1200rpm.
This increased the frame-rate across the two tested games and the resolutions by around 10fps each, which greatly improved the visual quality.
MSI has done an incredible job with its GTX-1060 Gaming X. The card is superbly presented, has plenty of overclocking potential and performs excellently.
It’s not the cheapest GTX-1060 card available, being priced at around £295, but it’s certainly one of the best examples of Nvidia’s entry-level series-10 GPU.
The MSI GTX-1060 Gaming X 6G is a fine example of Nvidia's entry Pascal GPU