NVIDIA GTX 1060 Review & Benchmark vs. RX 480 (Ft. MSI Gaming X)

By Published July 19, 2016 at 9:00 am

Additional Info

  • Component: Video Card
  • Original MSRP: 300
  • Manufacturer: NVIDIA


GTA V Benchmark on GTX 1060 vs. RX 480, GTX 1070, 960, 390X

GTA V remains one of our most demanding gaming benchmarks. The RX 480 launch debuted with drivers (16.6.1) that occasionally allowed large hits to framerate on the RX 480, sometimes dipping as low as 5FPS and hitting our 0.1% low metric hard. With 16.7.1 (and the publicly-released 16.7.2), the RX 480's stutters have been resolved and course-corrected, and now perform with tighter timing. We retested GTA V with 16.7.2 drivers to reflect this improvement.

For a better understanding of GTA V's graphics settings, read this GTA V Graphics Optimization Guide we previously wrote. We test GTA V with no “Advanced Graphics” settings enabled, and configure all settings to “Very High” or “Ultra” where possible, with the exception of Tessellation (left to “High”). Only FXAA is enabled, with no other anti-aliasing present. We call this settings cluster “VHU” (Very High/Ultra) in our benchmarks.



At 1080p with Very High and Ultra settings, we're hitting 95FPS AVG on the FE card, or 98FPS AVG on the MSI Gaming X. The 1% and 0.1% lows remain reasonably tightly timed and above 60FPS for even the dips. The RX 480 8GB is competitive at 85.3FPS, marking a difference of 10.8%. This is consistent with Mordor scaling. For reference, the GTX 1070 FE sits at 120.3FPS, a difference of 23.5%.

Moving on to 4K, the 1060 predictably struggles at 33FPS AVG, though it still sits above the SSC version of the 970. We've only run a few of the most recent cards through GTA V at 1440p, and don't yet have full charts available. Just for the curious, we're getting 63FPS AVG on the 1060 and about the same on the RX 480.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst Benchmark on GTX 1060 vs. GTX 960, RX 480, 1070, 390X


Our full Mirror's Edge Catalyst analysis is available here.

At 1080p with Ultra settings, the GTX 1060 Founders Edition (Reference) card is hitting 82FPS AVG, with the MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X at 86FPS. That's a difference of 4.7%, consistent with some of the other ~5% (+/- 1%) increase we're seeing from the Gaming X card. The RX 480 8GB card is at 74FPS, or about a 10% different from the GTX 1060 FE – again, consistent with scaling between the two throughout most Dx11 tests. The GTX 960 SSC pre-OC'd card sits at 51FPS, or a full 46.6% different from the GTX 1060 FE. Pretty large generational growth.


At 1440p/Ultra, the GTX 1060 FE and Gaming X remain gapped similarly to 1080p, both just below 60FPS. The RX 480 8GB struggles with 0.1% low values, dipping to 20 FPS with the 8GB card while keeping a 47FPS AVG. You'd want to drop to 'high' settings for a more fluid output, as those lows introduce a lot of stuttering and jarring motion.


1080p/Hyper runs well on the GTX 1060s, keeping near 60FPS AVG. The RX 480 sits around 53FPS, also reasonable, though the 4GB card struggles with 18FPS 0.1% lows and a 40FPS AVG. We explain this phenomenon in the RX 480 4GB vs. 8GB test.


4K had the GTX 1060s at or below 30FPS with 'High' settings. The GTX 1060 is not built for 4K, clearly, but we do like to run the tests for future generational growth trend charts.

The Division Benchmark – GTX 1060 vs. RX 480, GTX 960, 1070, R9 390X




Metro: Last Light Benchmark – GTX 1060 vs. RX 480, GTX 1070, GTX 1080




Metro: Last Light stays on the bench until its dying breath, apparently, as we've found the game to be exceptionally reliable in its “repro-ability” for testing.

At 1080p with Very High quality and High tessellation (no SSAO), the GTX 1060 FE card lands at 85.7FPS AVG, with tightly timed 1% and 0.1% lows (62FPS, 59.7FPS, respectively). The Gaming X sees a measurable but imperceptible jump to 87.3FPS. This performance sees the EVGA GTX 970 SSC flanked by the two GTX 1060s. AMD's RX 480 8GB card performs at 80.3FPS, with the 4GB model at 77.7FPS – marking a 10FPS swing from the 4GB card to the MSI 1060 Gaming X. The value proposition is a moving target depending on game, as always.

At 1440p, the GTX 1060 FE hits 59.3FPS and lands right around where the 390X performs (with slightly better 1% and 0.1% lows). The 1060 outranks the GTX 970 SSC at this higher resolution, falling between the 390X and 970.

Shadow of Mordor Benchmark – GTX 1060 vs. GTX 1070, RX 480 at 4K, 1440, & 1080


Shadow of Mordor at 1080p/Ultra shows tightly timed 1% and 0.1% low values for the GTX 1060, primarily a result of the generally stable clock-rate. The GTX 1060 FE outputs 87.7FPS AVG, 68.7FPS 1% low, and 66FPS 0.1% lows. The RX 480 performs at 78FPS AVG. The percent difference between the two is 11%, with 1% lows differentiated by a larger 50.5%.

Looking at the MSI 1060 Gaming X, pre-overclocked, we're hitting about the same FPS – so it's mostly a thermal advantage in this instance.

The difference between the 1070 Founders Edition vs. 1060 Founders Edition cards is 31%.


1440p has both the MSI and FE GTX 1060s at ~63FPS AVG, landing them well within playability for Mordor. The RX 480 runs at 58FPS, or a difference of 8% vs. the GTX 1060 FE. The 1070 runs at 77FPS AVG, with repeatably lower 1% low values. The 1070 is separated by a 20% difference from the GTX 1060s at 1440p.


4K is a serious struggle for these low-end cards – they're not built for it. The 1060 runs at 35 to 36FPS, between FE and the Gaming X, and the RX 480 sits at 32FPS. Not a noticeable difference, since the game becomes choppy at this point anyway, but a measurable one. The GTX 1070 Gaming X and R9 390X are more capable cards, running at 51FPS average and 41FPS average, respectively.

Compared to the GTX 960 – which we previously plotted at around 20FPS for 4K (~25FPS 1440p 21:9) – the GTX 1060 is a significant improvement.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate – GTX 1060 vs. RX 480 8GB, 4GB, CrossFire


ACS is one of the most VRAM intensive games we've benchmarked. The game was recently brought out from bench retirement to test the 4GB vs. 8GB RX 480s, and proved useful in locating differences.

AC Syndicate shows significant differences between the GTX 1060 cards and the RX 480, which struggles under load with 0.1% lows. The RX 480 8GB is reasonably playable even with its lows (though fluidity is visibly better with the 1060, but the 4GB card dips enough that we'd encourage higher capacity models instead.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Benchmark – GTX 1060 vs. RX 480, R9 390X, 1080, 970


Black Ops III tends to favor AMD cards a little more than some other games, and is also clock sensitive in some instances. At 1080p with High settings (medium OIT), the GTX 1060 FE runs at 122.7FPS AVG, the RX 480 cards at 127FPS AVG and 132FPS AVG (4GB & 8GB, respectively), and the MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X at 129.3FPS. Lows are fairly consistent across the board, with only the 4GB RX 480 dipping in some instances. We explain that here.

The Gaming X and FE cards are differentiated in averages by 5%. The RX 480 8GB and GTX 1060 FE 6GB are differentiated by 7.5%.


At 1440p, all of these cards remain well within playable range, even for a competitive FPS. The 1060 FE is at 78FPS, Gaming X at 82.3FPS, and the RX 480 is at 83FPS – mostly tied, with the RX 480 8GB outpacing the FE card by about 5FPS. The difference is mitigated as the GTX 1060 gets an overclocking treatment, though AIB partner RX 480s will also soon ship pre-OC'd.


4K sees the FE 1060 dip to 38FPS AVG, and the 4GB RX 480 suddenly becomes unplayable with its 12.7FPS 0.1% lows. The Gaming X is at 40.3 FPS – you'd ideally dip the settings for faster competitive play if desperate to use these cards at 4K, but 1440p is a better fit. Again, none of these cards (GTX 1060, RX 480) are targeted at 4K gameplay.

Continue to the next page for overclocking.

Last modified on July 19, 2016 at 9:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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