Why Upgrade from the GTX 1060?
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 was released in 2016 and quickly became one of the most popular mid-range graphics cards for gaming. With its Pascal architecture, 6GB of VRAM, and excellent performance per dollar, the GTX 1060 was a go-to choice for smooth 1080p gaming.
However, in the world of PC gaming hardware, the sands of time shift quickly. The GTX 1060 is now over 6 years old and is starting to show its age, struggling to keep up with modern games at high settings and frame rates. Upgrading can provide a major boost in performance and allow you to game comfortably at higher resolutions like 1440p or experience cutting edge features like ray tracing.
Some key signs it‘s time to upgrade your GTX 1060:
- You have to lower graphical settings in new games to maintain frame rates
- You want to game at 1440p or higher resolution but your card can‘t handle it
- You‘re interested in ray tracing, DLSS, and other new graphics tech
- You play VR games and want a smoother, higher fidelity experience
While the GTX 1060 can still muscle through 1080p gaming, an upgrade opens the door to higher resolutions, smoother frame rates, improved visuals, and a better overall gaming experience.
5 Great Upgrade Options from the GTX 1060
If you‘re ready to upgrade from your aging GTX 1060, here are 5 excellent graphics cards to consider from both NVIDIA and AMD:
1. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
The RTX 3060 Ti delivers a significant generational leap in performance over the GTX 1060. Based on NVIDIA‘s Ampere architecture, it provides nearly twice the speed, more VRAM, and support for advanced graphics features.
Key specs and improvements:
- 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM (vs 6GB GDDR5 on GTX 1060)
- 1920 CUDA cores (vs 1280 on GTX 1060)
- 256-bit memory interface (vs 192-bit on GTX 1060)
- 1665MHz boost clock (vs 1708MHz on GTX 1060)
- DLSS, Ray Tracing, NVENC encoder
In benchmarks, the RTX 3060 Ti is roughly 75-90% faster than the GTX 1060. It handles 1440p gaming with ease, often surpassing 60 FPS on high settings in demanding titles. ray tracing is also accessible on this card, allowing you to experience the visual splendor in games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Control.
The 3060 Ti is a high value card that crushes 1080p gaming and can tackle higher resolutions at a reasonable price. If you want a fast, fairly future-proof GPU upgrade from the GTX 1060, the RTX 3060 Ti is an outstanding choice.
2. AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
On the AMD side, the Radeon RX 6700 XT represents a massive upgrade over the old GTX 1060. Part of AMD‘s RDNA 2 architecture, it delivers excellent 1440p performance complete with ray tracing support.
- 12GB GDDR6 VRAM
- 2560 Stream Processors
- 40 Compute Units
- 96MB Infinity Cache
- Up to 2424MHz Game Clock
In addition to the ample on-board VRAM, the 6700 XT enjoys excellent clock speeds and takes advantage of AMD‘s Infinity Cache to keep performance high. This card routinely outpaces the GTX 1060 by 100% or more and can usually handle 1440p gaming with max settings.
The RX 6700 XT is a great high-end option if you want to jump to 1440p. It‘s also an interesting alternative to the RTX 3060 Ti, trading blows in most games. Overall it‘s a blazing fast upgrade over the GTX 1060.
3. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
If you want to push your performance even higher, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti delivers enthusiast-class power way beyond the old GTX 1060. This Ampere card crushes 1440p gaming and can even handle 4K in many titles.
- 8GB GDDR6X VRAM
- 6144 CUDA cores
- 48 RT cores for ray tracing
- 272 Tensor cores for DLSS/AI
- Up to 1770MHz boost clock
With its muscular GPU and memory clocks, upgraded GDDR6X VRAM, and plenty of tensor and RT cores, the 3070 Ti trounces its Pascal predecessor. Performance is often 2-2.5X higher, allowing you to game well past the limits of the GTX 1060.
If you have a high refresh rate 1440p monitor or want to step up to 4K, the RTX 3070 Ti is an excellent choice. It has the brute force necessary for high resolution gaming with all the bells and whistles turned on. A worthy upgrade if you want to leave 1080p behind.
4. AMD Radeon RX 6800
For Team Red enthusiasts, the Radeon RX 6800 delivers a beastly upgrade over the GTX 1060. This powerful RDNA 2 card offers excellent performance at 1440p and can even provide smooth 4K gameplay.
- 16GB GDDR6 memory
- 3840 Stream Processors
- 96 MB Infinity Cache
- 1815MHz Game Clock
- 128MB bus
The combination of an upgraded memory bus, plentiful VRAM, and RDNA 2 architecture gives the RX 6800 series a huge advantage over Pascal. It provides 100%+ gains over the GTX 1060, allowing you to game comfortably at higher resolutions with maxed out settings.
The RX 6800 should be more than enough GPU for most gamers looking to upgrade from their GTX 1060. It crushes 2560 x 1440 gameplay while being able to handle 4K competently as well. For an AMD-powered beast of a card, look no further.
5. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070
On the absolute cutting edge of performance is NVIDIA‘s new GeForce RTX 4070. This card just launched in 2023 as part of the Ada Lovelace architecture, bringing colossal gains over previous generation GPUs. If you want the latest and greatest power, the 4070 delivers.
- 12GB GDDR6X memory
- 7680 CUDA cores
- 60 RT cores, 240 Tensor cores
- Up to 2610 MHz boost clock
Benchmarks show the 4070 providing a whopping 200%+ increase over the GTX 1060, even at higher resolutions. It‘s complete overkill for 1080p gaming but allows you to push into 4K with ease or run lighter games at high frame rates.
As a brand new card, the RTX 4070 is quite pricey. But if budget is no concern and you want an enormous upgrade over your GTX 1060, it brings bleeding-edge performance. This card is built for high refresh rate 1440p and 4K gaming.
Key Considerations for Upgrading from the GTX 1060
When shopping for a new graphics card to replace your GTX 1060, keep the following factors in mind:
Intended resolution and frame rate – Cards like the RTX 3060 Ti and RX 6700 XT are excellent for high FPS 1080p and 1440p gaming, while the 3070 Ti and RX 6800 can comfortably handle higher resolutions and quality settings. Select a card appropriate for your monitor.
Budget – Fortunately most of the cards listed above can be had for under $600 in today‘s market, with good deals on the 3060 Ti often dipping under $400. Set a budget that makes sense for your needs.
Ray tracing requirements – If you want to experience ray traced lighting, shadows, and reflections, NVIDIA RTX cards are currently the only viable option. RDNA 2 cards do support ray tracing, but without the benefit of DLSS, performance takes a significant hit.
Monitor connections – Double check display connectors; some older cards lack HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort 1.4 needed for high refresh rate connections.
Power supply capacity – More powerful cards like the RTX 3070 Ti and RX 6800 require beefy power supplies. Ensure your PSU has enough headroom and PCIe power connectors.
As long as you keep resolution goals, budget, and other factors in mind, all the cards discussed above will provide an excellent experience coming from the aging GTX 1060. Time to upgrade and step into modern gaming!