In each generation of graphic cards, the VRAM and clock speeds tend to scale according to its price. As prices go up the clock speed and VRAM goes up too. Then comes the GTX1060 – a card that comes in two VRAM flavors. This is the review of the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps graphics card, and a brief comparison on whether or not that extra VRAM is worth it.

Also, as suggested by the name, the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps has the upgraded GDDR5 chips bandwidth of 9Gb/s.

Unboxing

The ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps has a pretty standard box with standard contents. There’s not much flair when it comes to the box and the design, and that’s pretty much expected since no one is going to look at the box that much anyway.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps

Opening up the box and digging out all of the contents reveals the standard slew of things that come with the graphic card itself. A user manual and a driver DVD, and the graphic card itself.

The ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps also has ASUS’s patented IP5X-certified fans and is factory overclocked.

Design

Here’s the interesting bit for the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps. It’s factory overclocked by about 8% on both base and boost clocks compared to the reference cards. Hence by overclocking, that means it will require a bit more cooling with that extra voltage – and that’s what ASUS is delivering in style.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps

The ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps comes in a blacked out shroud with a few patterns on the two fan bearings and also in between those fans.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9GbpsThe overall design of this card is not over the top, yet it’s functionally great – more on this later.

Looking at the other side of the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps I found a backplate. This instantly tells me that the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps is not going to be a card that’s budget friendly. More on this later.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps

There’s one real nice touch by ASUS on this card – and that’s the total number of video output ports. You get two full-sized DisplayPort ports, two full-sized HDMI ports, and a single DVI port.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps

Extras

The backplate is fairly subtle in terms of design, with a brushed aluminium texture that goes parallel through the entire length of the card. and has the ASUS logo printed at the corner near where the PCIe power plug is located.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps

Speaking of the PCIe power plug, the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps takes in a single 6-pin PCIe power, which is pretty standard for all GTX1060 cards. What’s interesting in this graphics card is the presence of two LEDs right above the 6-pin PCIe pins. It lights up red when the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps is connected without the 6-pin power, and it will light up white when everything is plugged in correctly.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps
Rather distracting…

However, there’s no way to turn off this LED, and will remain lit up forever as far as I can tell. The issue here is that if you’re using a tempered glass case, windowed case, or open-air case, then this light will surely be a distraction. It’s not dim either.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps
Extends over the card by quite a few centimeters.

That said, the shroud and heatsink are way larger than the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps’s PCB itself – which is not a problem for most users, but those with an SFF build might want to take note. Other than that, the shroud is pretty sleek in terms of design like I’ve said earlier, and overall a subtle design. There’s no RGB LED too.

Specification

Model NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
VRAM 6GB GDDR5 @ 9Gbps
Base clock Default: 1594MHz
OC: 1632MHz
Boost clock Default: 1809MHz
OC: 1847MHz
Memory interface 192-bit
Ports DVI-D
2x HDMI 2.0
2x DisplayPort 1.4
Additional power delivery Single 6-pin connector
Special software ASUS GPU Tweak II
Dimension 21.8 x 12.5 x 4.2 centimeters

Testing setup

In this test, I’m using my rig to test it. This setup of mine is more towards a budget-oriented, and I presume that the GTX1060 would be very suitable for a build like this.

Testing hardware configuration
CPU Intel i5-6400 @ 4.4GHz
Motherboard ASRock Z170 Pro4
GPU MSI GEFORCE GTX 1060 3GT OC
ASUS Expedition GTX 1050 Ti
Memory Corsair Vengeance LPX 4GBx4
Power supply FSP Hexa+ 550W

We’ll be stuffing everything back into the Sharkoon BW9000-W that I personally love. It’s a good case that looks good and has great features, albeit that the price is slightly higher than others.

Benchmark

I’ve always had the feel that the GTX1060 graphic card is a little out of place. It comes in two different variants – the 3GB or 6GB VRAM flavors. In its stock configuration, I feel that 6GB VRAM is too much as its clock speeds can’t keep up with higher quality graphic settings in games anyway.

I know for a fact that to play Tomb Raider in higher resolution, it’ll pretty much choke all 3GB of VRAM instantly at higher settings, even though GPU utilization isn’t at 100%.

With that said, here are the benchmark results.







*Dota 2 test is post-ver.7.

Back to the topic about clock speeds and VRAM relationship.does it really *that* much benefit over the 3GB variant? In most cases, not so much – especially if only games like Overwatch and Dota 2 is your concern. For AAA games, then you’ll surely need more than 3GB VRAM.

For thermals, it’s acceptable, as ASUS made the fan curves on its built-in profiles to be more on the silent side while trading off some thermals. Of course, thermal throttle is not happening – just that the numbers aren’t as nice as it can reach about 80 degrees.

ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps
Thick heat pipes that goes all along the card’s length.

On a side note, only the GTX1050ti has 4GB VRAM. Why? I don’t know, I’m baffled by this whole situation, actually. I did downclock the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps to match the GTX1060 3GB VRAM that I personally use, and it just doesn’t make much of a difference other than Rise of the Tomb Raider. Other than that, there’s really not much difference.

Wrapping up the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps review

This card is actually a pretty good one. I absolutely love ASUS’s GPU Tweak II here as you can have most of the functions available in that single menu already. Just a click of the button and you can change profiles and to turn the fan on or off when idle.

To get the 3GB or 6GB VRAM variant?

That’s entirely up to you. The sweetest spot will be a 4GB VRAM variant of the GTX1060, but we all know that this variant doesn’t exist, so you can have a compromise – either take a GTX1060 with 3GB VRAM at a lower price, or fork out a more money for more VRAM that you almost never get to use all of it.

Putting the VRAM case aside, I can say that the ASUS GTX1060 OC 9Gbps is actually a decent card. It’s silent, powerful, and thermals are alright. Overall, it’s a decent card.


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