NVIDIA has launched yet another graphics chip and cards based on the NVIDIA Pascal architecture: the GeForce GTX 1060. It is designed to roughly provide the same performance as the GeForce GTX 980, although we’ll wait for independent benchmarks tests to confirm that. From the technical specifications, we estimate that this is probably true.
This is rather exciting because the GTX 980 was introduced at $549 in September 2014, and still retails today for about $320-400, depending on the model. The GeForce GTX 1060 will be priced at $249, with the Founders Edition going for $299.
Additionally, the GeForce GTX 1060 has a TDP of 120W, while the GTX 980 aims for 165W. This means that the 120W segment currently occupied by the GTX 960 (~$200 retail price) will have a much more powerful option for a mere $50 more. This is a popular segment of the market, and NVIDIA is bringing a significant hardware performance upgrade there.
When compared to the GTX 960, the differences are important: 6GB of RAM instead of 2GB, 30% faster memory, 1.4X higher “boost” (1.7GHz instead of 1.178GHz) all contribute to a very significant difference in the $250 price range.
But hardware improvements are compounded with software optimizations. We previously covered NVIDIA’s simultaneous multi-projection technology which was introduced with the Pascal Architecture. It allows VR game programmers to reduce significantly the amount of computation required for VR while preserving the quality. This can increase VR performance by ~50% in many cases, according to NVIDIA. As a cherry on the cake, Pascal-based cards also have artistic features such as the Ansel virtual in-game camera.
With the GeForce GTX 1060 launch, NVIDIA is leveraging the power-efficiency of its latest GPU design. This relentless drive towards efficiency can increase computational density at the very high end with the GTX 1080, and increase competitiveness at the mid-range, and eventually at the low-end.
Combined with a steady flow of software improvements and libraries such as NVIDIA VRWorks, GameWorks and the seven other main SDK from the company, NVIDIA can not only rapidly attack multiple GPU markets that have different characteristics but also help developer integrate and deploy the new design’s advantages quickly in real-world apps.