NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Max-Q) vs GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop) – performance, gaming and temperatures

Notebooks with NVIDIA’s new Max-Q design graphics chips are starting to hit the market and everybody are excited to see if they are worth it. a few days back we compared the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) to the regular edition GTX 1060 (Laptop). What we saw was basically what NVIDIA claimed – 10-15% lower performance both in synthetic benchmarks and real-life gameplay but lower temperatures too. You can check out the detailed comparison over here.

Now it is time to compare the Max-Q GTX 1060 to the lower class GTX 1050 Ti to see whether they will be on par or the more affordable notebooks with a GTX 1050 Ti are still a better value.

For our testing, we are using the newest edition of the HP Omen 15 to represent the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) and the Lenovo Legion Y520 as our GTX 1050 Ti machine.

Check out the price and availability of HP Omen 15 over here:  Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Check out the price and availability of Lenovo Legion Y520 over here:  Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Design

While the Max-Q models are almost identical on specs to their regular editions, the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 (Max-Q) are based on different chips and are from different classes, therefore, there are quite a few differences in terms of specs. First of all, the GTX 1050 Ti is based on the GP107 chip while the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) uses GP106. The GP107 is a smaller chip with a 14nm design while the GP106 uses a larger 16nm manufacturing process.

The GTX 1050 Ti has a higher core clock which is expected because the main difference between Max-Q GPUs and regular ones is the core clock. The GTX 1050 Ti is clocked at 1493 MHz which can be boosted up to 1620 MHz while the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) has a base clock between 1063 and 1265 MHz and boost frequencies of up to 1480 (or 1341) MHz. However, the memory clock of the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) is 100 MHz higher than that of the GTX 1050 Ti – 8000 vs 700 MHz.

The TDP of the GTX 1050 Ti is 70W while the TDP of the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) ranges from 60 to 70W depending on the frequency. In other words, they have a similar power consumption.

The GP106-based GTX 1060 (Max-Q) also excels over the GTX 1050 Ti in every other aspect. It has 66% more CUDA cores – 1260 vs 768 and a wider memory bus – 192-Bit vs 128-Bit. It also has 6GB of GDDR5 memory instead of 4GB on the GTX 1050 Ti.

Benchmark comparison

Despite the lower frequencies, the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) blows the GTX 1050 Ti out of the water in synthetic benchmarks due to the higher memory clock and capacity, amount of CUDA cores and wider bus which represents higher bandwidth.

As you can see from the graph below, the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) scores anywhere between around 20 sometimes reaching as high as almost 30% better than the GTX 1050 Ti, however, what is more important is the gameplay comparison which we will cover further down in the article.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming performance

As you can see, the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) is definitely better in terms of performance. On average, you can get around 30% higher frame rate than using the GTX 1050 Ti. It even allows playing some titles on maxed graphics settings is a playable frame rate of around 30 fps though we recommend lowering the visuals down to get a better and more stable performance. However, it seems that there are some titles which the GTX 1050 Ti handles better like Tom Clancy’s The Division where is scores about 10% higher frame rates than the GTX 1060 (Max-Q). To sum things up, the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) remains the better choice in most cases.

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Max (Check settings)
GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop) 77 fps 25 fps
GTX 1060 (Max-Q) 105 fps (+36%) 33 fps (+32%)

 

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Max (Check settings)
GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop) 56 fps 22 fps
GTX 1060 (Max-Q) 85 fps (+51.7%) 29 fps (+31.8%)

 

Tom Clancy’s The Division Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Max (Check settings)
GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop) 84 fps (+10.5%)  18 fps (+12.5%)
GTX 1060 (Max-Q)  76 fps 16 fps

Gameplay footage – GTX 1060 Max-Q vs GTX 1050 Ti










Temperatures

Comparing temperatures of the two graphics cards is not an easy task. Our tests were performed on HP Omen 15 (GTX 1060 Max-Q) and Lenovo Legion Y520 (GTX 1050 Ti). Despite the fact that it is one of the best budget gaming notebooks at the moment the latter is known for its thermal throttling issues that it faces in extreme conditions the likes of which we simulate during our tests. The HP Omen 15, on the other hand, it handles our tests quite well especially for a 24.8 mm thick notebook. To put all this in simple words, the temperature performance depends mostly on the cooling system of the given notebook rather than on the GPU itself. Other models could handle the temperatures better or worse. The following results are from the aforementioned notebooks and are just to get an idea of what you could expect.

When we put 100% CPU and GPU load on the Legion Y520, the CPU started to throttle severely cycling between 800 MHz and 3.0 GHz every few seconds with temperatures around 95-100 °C. However, the GPU performance is important at the moment and surprisingly it performed very well. It operated at its maximum frequency of 1670 MHz at a rather low temperature of 74 °C.

The CPU of the HP Omen 15 kept a stable frequency of 2.9 GHz with high temperatures again in the upper 90 °C. The GPU did not have such a stable frequency but it was always around the base frequency – around 1150 MHz with temperatures around 75 °C just as the Legion Y520.

At the end, this is not a comparison between the HP Omen 15 and Lenovo Legion Y520. It is important that a notebook equipped with a GTX 1060 (Max-Q) handles temperatures well even under extreme conditions.

Verdict

Clearly, even the Max-Q version of the GTX 1060 is way better in terms of performance than the GTX 1050 Ti. It scores around30% better in synthetic benchmarks and we see the same increase in frame rates in most games. The GTX 1060 (Max-Q) also has the same (it could even be lower) TDP than the GTX 1050 Ti which means that you get better performance without drawing more power and decreasing your battery’s life. And at least the HP Omen 15 that we tested handles GPU temperatures quite well.

To sum things up, the GTX 1060 (Max-Q) is way better than the GTX 1050 Ti in every aspect and we are happy with how it performs. So to the question “Which one is better?” we say without a doubt the GTX 1060 (Max-Q). However, the GTX 1050 Ti is still a very capable GPU which can run every game on medium settings. The GTX 1060 (Max-Q) (nor the regular edition in that manner) is powerful enough to max out all the settings and still get a high frame rate so if you are happy with more modest settings the GTX 1050 Ti is good enough. To address the question “Which one should I buy?” we can say that if money is not a problem always opt for the GTX 1060 (Max-Q), however, if you are on a budget the other way around is still a viable option.

Check out the price and availability of HP Omen 15 over here:  Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Check out the price and availability of Lenovo Legion Y520 over here:  Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

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