GeForce GTX 1060 review: Nvidia battles AMD for PC gaming's next-gen sweet spot

The first head-to-head battle in the next-generation graphics card war is here.

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Hitman

The Radeon RX 480 walks into Hitman with a default advantage, because IO Interactive’s Glacier engine heavily favors AMD hardware. It’s no surprise; Hitman’s a flagship AMD Gaming Evolved title, complete with a DirectX 12 mode that was patched in after the game’s launch.

There’s one important thing to pay attention to while you view these results. Hitman automatically caps the game’s Texture Quality, Shadow Maps, and Shadow Resolution at medium on cards with 2GB of onboard memory. The EVGA GTX 970 FTW and VisionTek R9 380 were thus tested with those lower graphical settings. I’ve still included them in the graphs below for two reasons: 1) because they’re the $200 cards the GTX 1060 and RX 480 are directly replacing, and 2) so you can see the comparative DX11 vs. DX12 performance on those cards.

gtx 1060 hitman dx11
gtx 1060 hitman dx12

The RX 480 wins again here, though once again, that’s no surprise considering Hitman’s extreme AMD bias. Those victories widen when you enable DirectX 12, which provides a huge boost on Radeon graphics cards. But the DirectX 11 results should prove heartening for Nvidia fans: The new Pascal GPU performs much, much better than older 900-series Maxwell GPU-based cards, greatly closing the gap between Team Green and Team Red. The GTX 1060 indeed outperforms the GTX 980 here.

Next page: Rise of the Tomb Raider

At a Glance
  • Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 offers no-compromises 1080p gaming and supreme power efficiency for an affordable price.

    Pros

    • No compromises 1080p gaming performance
    • Extremely power efficient and cool
    • Can run virtual reality experiences

    Cons

    • No SLI connector
    • More expensive than AMD's Radeon RX 480, but similar performance
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