Official NVIDIA GTX 1060 3GB Specs: One SM Disabled, 3GB Framebuffer

By Published August 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm

There were rumors of a GTX 1060 3GB card, but the launch of the GTX 1060 featured a single 6GB model. Almost exactly one month later, nVidia has announced its 3GB GTX 1060 with 1152 CUDA Cores, down from 1280, and a halved framebuffer. The card will also run fewer TMUs as a result of disabling 1 SM, for a total of 9 simultaneous multiprocessors versus the 10 SMs on the GTX 1060 6GB. This brings down TMU count from 80 to 72 (with 8x texture map units per SM), making for marginally reduced power coupled with a greatly reduced framebuffer.

(Update: The card is already available on etailers, see here.)

In theory, this will most heavily impact 0.1% low and 1% low frame performance, as we showed in the AMD RX 480 8GB vs. 4GB comparison. Games which rely less upon Post FX and more heavily upon large resolution textures and maps (as in shadow, normal, specular – not as in levels) will most immediately show the difference. Assassin's Creed, Black Ops III (in some use cases), and Mirror's Edge Catalyst are poised to show the greatest differences between the two. NVidia has advertised an approximate 5% performance difference when looking at the GTX 1060 3GB vs. GTX 1060 6GB, but that number will almost certainly be blown out when looking at VRAM stressing titles.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB vs. 3GB Specs

NVIDIA Pascal vs. Maxwell Specs Comparison
  GTX 1080 GTX 1070 GTX 1060 3GB GTX 1060 6GB GTX 960
GPU GP104-400 Pascal GP104-200 Pascal GP106 Pascal GP106 Pascal GM204
Transistor Count 7.2B 7.2B 4.4B 4.4B 2.94B
Fab Process 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 28nm
CUDA Cores 2560 1920 1152 1280 1024
GPCs 4 3 2 2 2
SMs 20 15 9 10 8
TPCs 20 15 9 10 -
TMUs 160 120 72 80 64
ROPs 64 64 48 (?) 48 32
Core Clock 1607MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz 1506MHz 1126MHz
Boost Clock 1733MHz 1683MHz 1708MHz 1708MHz 1178MHz
Memory Capacity 8GB 8GB 3GB 6GB 2GB, 4GB
Memory Clock 10Gbps GDDR5X 4006MHz 8Gbps 8Gbps 7Gbps
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 320.32GB/s 256GB/s 192GB/s 192GB/s 115GB/s
TDP 180W 150W 120W 120W 120W
Power Connectors 1x 8-pin 1x 8-pin 1x 6-pin 1x 6-pin 1x 6-pin
Release Date 5/27/2016 6/10/2016 August, 2016 7/19/2016 01/22/15
Release Price Reference: $700
MSRP: $600
Reference: $450
MSRP: $380
MSRP: $200 Reference: $300
MSRP: $250

In other marketing language, nVidia directly claims a 10% speed increase in the 3GB GTX 1060 over the 8GB RX 480. Again, that'll depend on the game and can't just be applied as a blanket performance swing, so we'll validate that ourselves.


Above: Ignore one SM. That's the 3GB model.

Availability of the GTX 1060 3GB card will begin “over the next couple of weeks,” with a driver update pushed today to support the card. NVidia does not plan to seed the cards directly for review, but that won't stop us from running 3GB vs. 6GB comparisons and validating the percentage performance claims. The clock-rate is actually the same on both models, and the same goes for the memory clock -- so performance should be mostly identical, sans the core difference and games with real memory dependencies.

The card will be priced at $200, landing it about $50 cheaper than the low-end of the GTX 1060 MSRP, and equal with the 4GB RX 480. We have not received word if this will have a reference card.

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Last modified on August 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm
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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