GTX 1060 3GB vs. 6GB Benchmark: Some Major Performance Swings

By Published September 15, 2016 at 8:30 am
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Additional Info

  • Component: Video Card
  • Original MSRP: 200
  • Manufacturer: EVGA

GTA V Benchmark – GTX 1060 3GB vs. 6GB

Starting with GTA V at 1080p and Very High / Ultra settings, the GTX 1060 6GB card performs at 95FPS AVG with 66.3FPS and 60.7FPS lows. The GTX 1060 3GB trails this at 89.3FPS AVG, 64FPS 1% low, and 56FPS 0.1% lows. At this resolution, the differences are largely inconsequential to gameplay, but are measurable. The performance difference is about 6.3% between the two, with the MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X ($280) marginally ahead of each of these, a result of its higher clock-rate.

At 1440p, we're looking at 68FPS AVG for the 6GB card, or about 63FPS average for the 3GB card. The 0.1% lows are mostly the same between the two, and that remains the case for 4K – which is too taxing for the 1060, anyway, but a worthwhile benchmark to see if any hidden failures are rooted-out.

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Shadow of Mordor Benchmark – GTX 1060 6GB vs. 3GB FPS

Shadow of Mordor produces more varied results. At 1080p, the GTX 1060 6GB card operates at 87.7FPS AVG, with lows ranked at 68.7FPS and 66FPS 0.1% low. The 3GB card runs at 77.3FPS AVG – a percent change of 13.5%, old to new – with the lows most noticeably different at 45FPS versus 66FPS on the 6GB card. That's the big point, here, and generally has been for VRAM differences in these tests.

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Moving to 1440p, the trend continues and posts the GTX 1060 6GB at 63FPS AVG, 51FPS 1% low, and 49.3FPS 0.1% low. The 3GB card sustains 58.7FPS AVG, 45.3FPS 1% low, and 36.3FPS 0.1% lows – a somewhat significant difference, and one which is edging on visible, though it depends on what's going on in-game.

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Assassin's Creed: Syndicate – GTX 1060 6GB vs. 3GB

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Assassin's Creed Syndicate was revived because it has historically shown us fairly large performance gaps between 4GB and 8GB solutions – like the RX 480 4GB, which struggled in its lows when compared to the RX 480 8GB. In this benchmark, though, we're seeing similar performance from each card. The 1060 6GB card is slightly ahead, but there's no game-breaking disparity. Stutters are infrequent on both devices, and lows are mostly identical.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Benchmark – GTX 1060 3GB or 6GB

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Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a title fairly sensitive to clock-rate and VRAM changes, and we can normally rely on it to show swings between similar spec cards. At 1080p, the GTX 1060 6GB card is performing at 122.7FPS AVG, with the 3GB card at 113.7FPS AVG. That's a performance change of about 8%. The 1% low values are gapped by 10FPS, with the 0.1% lows similarly spaced at 87FPS and 79FPS. This maintains a performance difference in the low metrics of about 8 to 10%.

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1440p posts slightly bigger scaling gaps, with the 6GB card at 78FPS AVG and the 3GB card at 71FPS AVG. That's a 10% performance difference, or twice the 5% advertised by nVidia. 1% lows are also fairly gapped, at 60.3FPS and 53.7FPS.

Metro: Last Light Benchmark – GTX 1060 3GB vs. 6GB

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Metro: Last Light shows fairly linear scaling across the board, with the 3GB card not visually worse than the 6GB model.

The Division – GTX 1060 3GB vs. 6GB FPS Benchmark

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The Division shows a measurable gap at 74.7FPS AVG for the 3GB card, or 80.3FPS for the 6GB card, but not one which is inherently visible to gameplay. The same remains true when dropping to 1440p, with both cards within a few FPS of one another – though the 0.1% lows do start seeing some threat on the 3GB card, they are still within a range of “measurable, but not perceptible.”

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Mirror's Edge Catalyst (Hyper & Ultra) – GTX 1060 6GB vs. 3GB

Mirror's Edge Catalyst posts some of the biggest performance differences for these cards, as we've previously found with the RX 480 4GB vs. 8GB cards.

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At 1080p/ultra, the difference is present, but not dismal – we're at 82FPS AVG for the GTX 1060 FE 6GB, and 75.3FPS AVG for the 3GB alternative. That's a reasonable gap – more than the 5% nVidia advertises – but not terrible.

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What is a terribly large gap, though, is the Hyper performance. We're seeing a dip from 58.3FPS AVG and 39.3FPS 0.1% low, numbers which are generally considered “playable” for MEC, down to 33FPS AVG and 22.7FPS 0.1% low. Just over half the performance with the 3GB card, thanks to MEC's VRAM-intensive Hyper setting. Sure, the settings could be dropped to Ultra – but with a GTX 1060 6GB capable of playing Hyper just fine, for the most part, this is a big change. Our tests make clear that the 3GB model of the GTX 1060 is not, in fact, an effective equivalent to the 6GB model.

Continue to the final page for the conclusion.


Last modified on September 15, 2016 at 8:30 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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