NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1060 3GB is a very interesting product, because not only did NVIDIA cut the video memory in half, they also disabled a SM giving it a lower core count than its bigger 6GB brother. Sadly, we do not have a 6GB version of the GTX 1060 to test the 3GB version against, but from what we’ve seen around the web the difference between the 6GB and 3GB versions is around ~10% in most cases.
There is a $50 difference between the 3GB and 6GB model. That is a big chunk of change, especially if you are buying in this price range. So it really comes down to what resolution you are playing at and how picky you want to be about your quality settings. If you are a 1080p gamer the 3GB version is the logical choice, it will handle pretty much any title out there at 1080p with quite high settings. Now if we move up into 1440p resolution the 6GB model would be the better choice, although if you are mainly playing eSports titles (Counter-Strike, Overwatch, etc) you could get away with the 3GB model at 1440p. No need to talk about 4K as all cards in this price range will not play games in 4K as respectable frame rates.
MSI’s Gaming X version of the card is one of the better iterations of the card out there. We are a huge fan of the Gaming X cards and its great to see such craftsmanship go into a card in this category. Starting out with the overall design, the TwinFrozr VI cooling solution looks great on the card and just picking up the card it feels solid. That is likely because of the full backplate and baseplate that covers most of the top of the card as well. Logo lighting on the side of the card seems to be standard now, but MSI upped the ante by adding red LEDs to the cooler shroud as well.
The TwinFrozr VI cooling solution not only does a great job cooling the card, but is very quiet as well. In our testing the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 3GB is quieter and runs coolers than both cards we tested against it. A lot of that is due to NVIDIA’s new GPU and its lower heat output. And remember the fans on the card don’t even turn on until the GPU reaches 60C.
MSI outfits this card with three different profiles, which carry with them different core and GPU Boost frequencies. These are easily changed with MSI’s Gaming App, which is actually one of the better companion software’s out there for graphics cards in terms of features and ease of use.
Right now you can pickup the GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 3GB at our favorite online retailer for $219.99, which actually only makes it a $20 premium over the $199 MSRP of the GTX 1060. But still that is a premium, and when you are shopping in this price range every penny counts. We do however feel that the GTX 1060 Gaming X 3GB from MSI is one of the best GTX 1060 3GB cards available. Overall we give it a 9 out of 10 score.
– TwinFrozr VI cooling solution
– 3 different performance profiles
– Quality built
– Gaming App works quite well
– Very quiet
– No SLI
– Carries a premium over stock GTX 1060 3GB cards