Nvidia GTX 1060 Founders Edition Review
It is amazing how quickly technology and performance moves on. It wasn't that long ago that we were bowing before the mighty performance of the GTX 980, and now the GTX 1080 is capable of beating an SLI GTX 980 pairing. Equally the GTX 1060 Founders Edition often matches a GTX 980 performance for about £250. Imagine if the GTX 980 was released at that price point, we'd have all been running Quad-SLI!
One of the most popular things to do with a card that counts as an affordable mid-range offering was to buy two of them and run them in either SLI or CrossfireX, giving you the performance capability of a class-leading card without necessarily incurring the expense. Given the limited budgets many of us have to work with then it's really nice to know that, in due course, you could save up and add another to your original and really boost the performance of your system. With the GTX 1060 Founders Edition having nearly exactly half the architecture that the GTX 1080 has it seems the perfect candidate for this, but nVidia haven't included SLI fingers. Although we might just about understand this from a harsh business standpoint, as consumers at this end of the product distribution model we have to say it's a bit mean from nVidia.
That isn't the only curious design decisions in the development of the GTX 1060. We've spoke at length in our reviews of both the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 about how brilliant the revision of GPU Boost has been and how GPU Boost 3.0 is so flawless that it consigns manual overclocking to history. That's the enthusiast end of the market, the level where most of us are willing to spend some time manually tinkering with our cards. The GTX 1060 is very much in the 'fit and forget' end of the market, so it would be perfect for the GPU Boost 3.0 technology, yet it doesn't support it. Given how much you can squeeze from the card - we got an extra 400MHz using the standard cooler - it is ripe for overclocking. Another decision from nVidia that makes us scratch our chin with befuddlement.
However, those two issues don't detract from the quality of the GTX 1060 Founders Edition. nVidia might have reduced the PCB size but the cooler is an all-metal affair that ensures outstanding rigidity to go with its great cooling performance and silent operation. Performance is claimed to match the GTX 980 and in our testing it did exactly that. To get GTX 980 levels of performance for such a low entry price means that the GTX 1060 FE is a fantastic card for the budget conscious gamer and worthy of our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.