So far we have presented to you our reviews of the following high-end NVIDIA Pascal GPUs – GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070. Today, however, we would like to talk about an offer from the mid-range segment of the GeForce 1060 family. The product is by the renowned Taiwanese manufacturer MSI and is called GeForce GTX 1060 GAMING X 6G.
The model in question is the highest GTX 1060 modification offered by this company. Also, this is the 6GB version of the graphics card and it comes with factory overclock and 3 years of warranty. Non-reference circuit board design, high-quality Military Class 4 components (MIL-STD-810G quality certificate) and the already proven TWIN FROZR VI cooler have been used for the manufacturing of this GPU. As for its appealing design, there is a beautiful backplate and several RGB LED lights whose lights can be manipulated with the help of the MSI Gaming APP (a piece of MSI software).
In the lines to follow we shall go through the specifications of this GPU and its build quality. We will also like to turn our attention to its overclocking capabilities, the cooler operation and the manufacturer’s software.
If you are interested in MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G, you could check its current price and availability here: http://amzn.to/2k1P0QB
Specs sheet of MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G
|Base core clock||
|Boost core clock||
|Memory speed||8 Gbps|
|Memory type and size||GDDR5, 6GB|
|Maximum digital resolution||7680×4320@60Hz|
|Display outputs||3x DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, DL-DVI-D|
|Technologies supported by
GeForce GTX 1060
|Dimensions||27.7 cm x 14. cm, dualslot|
|Max energy consumption||120 Watts|
|Max operating temperature||94 degrees Celsius|
|Power connectors||1x 8-pin|
|Recommended PSU||400 Watts|
Supported technologies and software
As part of the 10th series of GPUs using NVIDIA Pascal cores, GeForce GTX1060 can boast that it supports all technologies characteristic of this architecture. We would like to present short descriptions of the more interesting ones among them.
Ansel is a camera that allows you to look at a scene from all kinds of angles, giving you complete freedom in capturing moments from your favorite game. The resolution of the captured image can be up to 32 times bigger than that of your display. This allows you to zoom in and observe details without losing image quality. Additionally, you can add photo filters which bring effects in capturing the given scene. Moreover, if you have a VR headset, you can enjoy the captured frame in its completeness – you’ll get a 360-degree photo.
The VRWorks Graphics technology allows simultaneous multi-projection on several monitors. You can also simultaneously render an image for your left and right eyes, which contributes to a unique experience in the world of VR, if you are using a VR display.
Additionally, the VRWorks Audio technology uses NVIDIA OptiX ray-tracing for tracing the path of sound in the surrounding environment in real time, completely resembling the volume, form and materials in the world of VR. As a result of this, if you happen to be in a room with no objects in it, the echo and sound will be louder than in the same room with objects that will absorb sound waves.
As for the NVIDIA PhysX for VR technology, it is on the watch for when the hand controller interacts with a virtual object and allows for the game engine to ensure real physical and virtual sensation. It also lays out the physical aspect of VR around the player so that every interaction with the surrounding – be it an explosion or touching water surface – can feel as real.
NVIDIA GPU Boost 3.0
NVIDIA GPU Boost 3.0 is a technology boosting GPU frequency in real time, taking into consideration – temperature, load, and voltage for the purpose of better performance.
MSI Gaming APP
GeForce GTX 1060 GAMING X 6G comes out of the factory with three operation modes in which the frequencies (described in the specs sheet) of the graphics core and memories are different – OC, Game and Silent. We must definitely turn our attention to the MSI Gaming APP. This is the software without which we cannot switch between these modes and make use of the best performance MSI has to offer. There is also an option to disable the Zero FROZR function.
Gaming APP allows us to adjust the light effects of the side MSI logo and manipulate the red LED lights placed on the plastic part of the cooler. On the other hand, if we you are not happy with them, you can just turn them off. You can only change the logo color.
We are also presented with a separate Eye Rest window with three pre-modified modes with different color temperature and contrast, according to the particular preferences we have. And if we happen to refrain from choosing any of them, we have the freedom of entering our custom settings.
For enthusiasts who desire to push the graphics cards to its limits we recommend MSI Afterburner. It is famous for and commonly used as (even by the owners of other companies’ products) software for overclocking with which you can manually adjust voltage and frequencies for the graphics core and memory. Also, it ensures a detailed hardware monitoring and additional features such as customization of fan profiles, movie recording and synthetic tests.
What’s in the box?
On the outside, MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G’s box is almost identical to that of its bigger brother MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X. The front side of it informs us of the product’s model and series, and suggests what to expect on the inside. Additionally, the back carries the technologies supported by the graphics card and its specifications.
On the inside we find a black box which is covered by a smaller box containing a user’s manual, voucher for registration, several stickers, as well as a disc with product software and drivers. The reason for this review lies namely below this box – the awesome-looking MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G, placed in a specially cut styrofoam protecting it against damages caused by transportation.
Construction and Design
Before taking a closer look at the GPU, we would like to turn our attention to the Pascal architecture used for the production of its graphics core.
A closer look at Pascal
MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G’s graphics core has been manufactured through the same 16nm FinFet process used in the production of the engine of GeForce GTX 1080 (detailed review). In comparison to GeForce GTX 1070 (which uses an identical GP104 core as in the more powerful GeForce GTX 1080 but lacks one Graphics Processing Cluster), GeForce GTX 1060 comes with a brand new GP106 graphics core. Its is 200 mm2 big, which makes it 57% smaller than GP104, and it uses 4.4 billion transistors. GeForce GTX 1060 makes use of the entire potential of the GP106-400-A1 and this is why we would like to have a look at a detailed block-diagram of this graphics chip.
The corpus of NVIDIA GP106-400-A1 contains 2 GPCs (Graphics Processing Clusters). Each GPC has 5 SMs (Streaming Multiprocessors). Each SM carries 128 CUDA cores, 8 TMUs (Texture Mapping Units), 48KB L1 cache memory and 96KB shared memory. Additionally, every GPC is connected to 24 ROPs (Raster Operatin Units). Also, the chip is equipped with six 32-bit controllers which results in a 192-bit bus. This allows the use of graphics memory with capacity of 3 GB or 6 GB. Each 32-bit controller has 256 KB L2 cache or we have a total of 1536 KB L2 for the entire memory bus.
We can summarize the above lines in saying that MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G features 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs, 48 ROPs, 6GB GDDR5 and a 192-bit memory bus.
And now the time has come for us to look at the GPU itself.
We are really impressed by the impressive selection of colors on the cooler’s lid – black and red. Its design is dynamic and uses good quality plastic. Additionally, the two big fans stand out in whose centers there are dragons – signifying the gaming products of the Taiwanese company. Another dragon, this time bigger, is portrayed on the metal backplate, which covers the entire back of MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G. Its black surface also carries vents through which you could notice some of the board’s elements.
There is no available connector for the SLI technology – this is valid for all graphics circuit boards based on GTX 1060. This GPU’s design is dualslot and it weighs 1020 grams, and its dimensions are 277 x 140 x 39 mm. Thus you could install it in most standard sized computer cases. Furthermore, the appealing design is complemented by the company’s logo placed sideways with RGB backlighting and the three nickel-plated pipes that spread along the cooler’s body.
MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G really appears as an aggressive and solid product.
In the production of GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G MSI has used its own circuit board design and high quality components of “Military Class 4” (MIL-STD-810G quality certificate). The 5+1 phase power supply for the graphics core and memory promise high reliability and efficiency.
MSI have additionally increased the overclocking capabilities substituting the standard 6-pin with an 8-pin PCIe connector providing 150 W power. This means that the board has a total of 225 W power supply.
One of the requirements for achieving good overclocking results or smooth operation at factory increased clocks of GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G is the need for low operation temperature under load. To ensure this MSI has equipped the GPU with the latest version of their renowned cooler – TWIN FROZR VI.
TWIN FROZR VI features two 100 mm fans called Torx 2.0 blowing over a great part of the present radiator. We would like to warn you that this type of cooling retains most of the radiator heat in the enclosure – this cooler does not require good airflow for optimal operation. Additionally, the two fans have alternative fin design that MSI claims to provide with 22% better air pressure. Torx 2.0 boast 14 pairs of fins. Every other is more curved and slightly bent, which results in faster flow of air. The other ones are traditionally designed, ensuring stable airflow. To provide long product life and silent operation, the fans employ double bearings. Thanks to all this we are presented with better cooling and silent work. As for those of you who are in favor of absolute silence, GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G uses the Zero FROZR technology. The Trox 2.0 fans do not spin until the graphics core temperature does not reach 60 degrees Celsius. This option can be disabled with the help of the MSI Gaming APP which was described above.
The other essential part of TWIN FROZR VI is the cooler itself. There are three nickel-plated copper heat pipes – one 8mm and two 6 mm thick – they are positioned in a SU-shape along the entire length to carry heat away from the graphics core. They do not have a direct contact with the graphics chip but use a nickel-plated copper plate. As we can see in the image, the pipes are flattened where they meet the copper plate for the purpose of greater contact area and better heat distribution.
Thanks to the good aerodynamics of the cooler, most of the air flows directly toward the heat pipes. It also carries deflectors increasing its whole surface.
TWIN FROZR VI boasts not only great looks but is also quite efficient in terms of its performance.
As for the other decisions on behalf of MSI for the purpose of lower operational GPU temperatures – we can mention the custom circuit board design and the use of “Close Quarter Cooling”.
We already mentioned that in the production of GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G the OEM has used a circuit board with custom design. Its size is larger than the NVIDIA reference one and thus ensures better cooling.
“Close Quarter Cooling” is a cooling system which is realized via a metal plate positioned under the cooler. It is mounted directly on the circuit board and has contact points with some of the soldered elements on the board. Its special shape is meant to serve two purposes. One – be a radiator, cooling the elements it has contact with – more important of them are the GDDR5 memory Samsung chips as well as the VRMs (modules regulating voltage). On the other hand, the plate, like the above mentioned backplate, is an additional means of reinforcement of the circuit board against bending or twisting caused by the weight of the massive cooling.
Irrespective of how awesome a graphics card is, we cannot enjoy its capabilities without connecting it to a display. GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G offers three DisplayPort (ver 1.4) outputs accompanied by one HDMI 2.0b and one dual-link DVI-D port. Those of you who are not acquainted with this matter may want to know that the DVI-D output is only digital. If you wish to use your GPU with an older monitor that has only a VGA input, you will need a special active adapter.
As it is the case with GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X, here we can also observe the tribal design of the vents placed on the I/O panel. We are fascinated by MSI’s capability to combine good design with practicality.
For the purpose of this review we made use of a configuration with the following components:
|CPU||Intel Core i7-7700K (4-core, 4.20 – 4.50 GHz, 8MB cache)|
|Motherboard||MSI Z270 GAMING PRO CARBON|
|RAM||Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2666Mhz|
|GPU||MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X (6GB GDDR5)|
|Case||be quiet! Silent Base 800|
|PSU||be quiet! Power Zone 650W|
|OS||Windows 10 64-bit|
In the next two sections we will discuss how MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X performs using the factory OC Mode. In the tests we conducted in Game Mode we got results almost identical to the ones in OC Mode. We believe that this somehow makes one of the modes redundant. As for the Silent Mode – who would ever use this since the GPU operates silently in OC Mode as well? Out of the box, in Game Mode, this graphics card operates at standard frequencies – 1785 MHz core in Boost mode and 2002 MHz memory. After activating OC Mode via the MSI Gaming APP the respective values are: 1810 MHz c ore in Boost mode and 2027 MHz memory. Thanks to the combination of the NVIDIА GPU Boost 3.0 technology and TWIN FROZR VI cooler, the real stable graphics core frequencies in Boost mode are 1936 MHz in Game Mode and 1961 MHz in OC Mode.
Synthetic benchmark tests
Unigine: Heaven & Valey
Unigine Heaven and Unigine Valey are two of the most frequently used benchmark applications, testing one’s GPU for stability. We recommend them if you decided to overclock your graphics card. Our tests were conducted in Full HD (1920 x 1080 p) resolution and at max graphics settings.
3DMark: Time Spy & Fire Strike
3DMark is one of the heaviest software packages you could use to load and test your GPU’s capabilities while enjoying great visual performance. We used the default graphics settings here.
|F1 2015||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||193 fps||144 fps||104 fps|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||130 fps||70 fps||42 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||110 fps||55 fps||36 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s The Division||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||101 fps||58 fps||21 fps|
MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X has enough performance to ensure enjoyable gameplay in Full HD (1920 x 1080 p) resolution, allowing the use of max graphics settings (with the exception of anti-aliasing) in all games.
Overclocking capabilities and results
In the conducted overclocking tests we used standard fans and voltage settings as set by the manufacturer. We know that with different circuit board the options for frequency increase above the factory-set are various. For this reason you can hold what we achieved as only exemplary values.
Additionally, the max Boost frequency of the core we measured was 2152 MHz and in our more prolonged stress and gaming tests this value was reduced to the more stable 2113 MHz (8% overclock). We believe that the fact that the graphics core reached beyond 2100 MHz is a good achievement. We managed to overclock the graphics memory to 2302 MHz (14% overclock), which means the awesome 9.2 GHz effective operating frequency.
|Model||GeForce GTX 1060 (OC Mode)||GeForce GTX 1060 (Overclocked)||Difference|
|3DMark Time Spy (Graphics Score)||4 266||4 714||+10.5%|
|3DMark Fire Strike (Graphics Score)||13 881||15 264||+9.9%|
|Unigine Heaven 4.0||68 fps||75 fps||+10.3%|
|Unigine Valley 1.0||70 fps||78 fps||+11.4%|
|F1 2015 Full HD, Max||104 fps||115 fps||+10.6%|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) Full HD, Max||42 fps||47 fps||+11.9%|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Very High||55 fps||59 fps||+7.3%|
|Tom Clancy’s The Division Full HD, Ultra||58 fps||64 fps||+10.3%|
With an 8% overclock of the graphics core and 14% of the memory we get approximately with 10% more performance.
Temperatures and convenience
And so we displayed operating frequencies after overclock and the frame rates achieved. In this section we would like to check the operational temperatures of MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X, which are great.
The GPU temperatures we measured varied between 58 and 62 degrees Celsius during the heavy stress tests we put it to – gaming ones and benchmarks. Also, the fans were operating at 36-38% of their full potential, while their rpms were around 887-967. This makes their operation virtually silent.
In the measurements during the tests after overclock, the temperature values for the graphics core are 59-63 degrees Celsius. As for the fans, they were spinning at 888-1005 rpms, which is equal to 36-40% of their full speed. As it can be understood from these figures and fortunately for all of us, the difference in noise is small.
TWIN FROZR VI does not only boast awesome design but also comes with an efficient cooler, keeping MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X cool and silent.
MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X is a remarkable product allowing gamers playing at Full HD (1920 x 1080 p) resolution to enjoy their favorite games at max graphics settings with satisfactory anti-aliasing levels.
In the production of this graphics card the manufacturer has used custom circuit board design and high quality components. This allowed us to reach readings after overclocking of above 2100 MHz for the graphics core and 9.2 GHz effective memory operation. Furthermore, the TWIN FROZR VI cooler fulfilled its task perfectly, and the noise emitted by the Torx 2.0 fans remained negligible.
Additionally, the MSI logo with RGB backlighting and red LED lights placed along the cooler’s lid in combination with the two 100 mm fans and backplate, protecting the GPU’s back, contribute to an overall aggressive and gaming design.
For those who are on a limited budget and maximum performance for the money, there are cheaper models by other manufacturers (ASUS, Gigabyte and Palit) offering great performance. But for those who are after a product with attractive design, overclocking capabilities, low operational temperature and lastly silent cooling – the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G is a perfect choice.
If you are interested in MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G, you could check its current price and availability here: http://amzn.to/2k1P0QB
- Beautiful design and high build quality
- Delivers highest performance from all the GTX 1060 models we have tested
- Cool and silent
- Factory overclock
- Options for additional overclocking
- Lack of SLI support
- Lack of VGA signal support
- Relatively high price