Don’t be discouraged: this is a powerful Pascal-based graphics card, and 3GB is ample for some fantastic gaming experiences.
It’s worth noting, however, that as well as a lesser memory allocation, the 3GB card has a slightly cut-down GPU, with 1,152 stream processors compared to the 1,280 stream processors in the 6GB edition. It’s otherwise the same spec, though, with a 1506MHz base clock speed that boosts to up to 1708MHz, an 8GHz (effective) GDDR5 memory frequency and a 192-bit wide memory interface.
We’re pleased to say the performance of the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB is only slightly behind that of the 6GB card. It achieved very strong results across the board, with an amazing 66fps average (56fps minimum) in Doom at 2,560 x 1440 with Ultra detail. It also maintained a minimum of 32fps in Fallout 4 at the same settings.
Notably, it even gave the more expensive AMD Radeon RX 480 a run for its money, achieving higher framerates than the AMD card in Crysis 3, Doom and Fallout 4. It couldn’t quite keep up in The Witcher 3, however, nor in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, where it failed to maintain a minimum of 30fps at 2,560 x 1,440.
Indeed, it was notable that that particular game, with its visual memory-hungry effects, taxed the 3GB GTX 1060 to its limits. At Ultra settings, the 3GB card only managed a borderline playable minimum frame rate of 25fps at 1080p, while the 6GB version never dropped below 31fps.
On the upside, power efficiency is great. Our test rig peaked at 243W with the GTX 1060 3GB installed at full load, demonstrating fantastic performance per watt.
With fantastic frame rates, amazingly low power consumption and a surprisingly low price, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 3GB hits a sweet spot, in terms of both bang-per-buck and performance per watt. Even if it were the same price as the AMD RX 480 8GB, we’d probably prefer it.
The only note of doubt is whether it might struggle to meet the memory demands of future titles, as we saw in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. But that will only be an issue in very demanding games at very high settings. If that’s a worry, by all means consider stepping up to the £240 6GB version – but if you’re looking for a bargain, the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB offers amazing performance for the money.