PC gaming is always about advancement and many PC gamers out there desire to get the highest end hardware on the markets, but cold hard cash (Or a crisp check, stating a large sum as ‘ONLY’) comes in between you and the hardware, so you try to make your gaming house in a much more affordable way. But then again you have the permanent tingling of “I wish I could have spent some a bit more”, and if you are going to build or buy a PC in the upcoming months, a lot of thinking is going to be required. I mean the 4 GB version of the RX 480 is 200$ and the GTX 1060, 6 GB version (Which is the only one) is for 250$, but, but, but, the RX 480, 8 GB version is for 240$. We can ourselves see the difference over here, both cards are at a difference of 10$ in their highest prices. For those of you interested in mid ranged gaming segment, the RX 480 and GTX 1060 is going to be a hell of a mind wrecking fest. So let’s try to break all the aspects down and see which one can be the better choice.
Note: This is more like a pre-release post and we will update with benchmarks once the embargo has been released.
This is the most important factor considered by all practical people while buying a card and both cards seemingly exceed anything we have seen in the past. Yes we know this kind of jump happens every hardware gen, but this is quite a jump if we consider 8 GB of RAM on the RX 480 and the 6 GB of RAM on the 1060. Considering the stagnation of 2 GB cards limiting the GPUs, this is specially a big jump for the Nvidia side. They had been stuck on 2 GB VRAM for the past 3 generations and many were expecting a 3 GB version and a 6 GB version to show up just like previous gen’s 2 GB and 4 GB variants at launch, but now the 3 GB version will be coming out with GTX 950, cost not known.
As for the RX 480, going for the 8 GB version will be better, because the 8 GB RAM will provide you a good enough amount of memory to go for higher resolutions. Coming to raw performance, Nvidia has claimed that the power of 1060 is at par with the GTX 980 and if that’s true, then as per proof, it will be a slightly better bargain than the RX 480, because, in the DX 11 benchmark, GTX 970 vs RX 480, the GTX 970 won over by a margin, but in case of DX 12 games, the RX 480 gave better performance, but here the issue is that, not many games have yet implemented DX 12 yet and we still don’t know how well the Pascal architecture works along with DX12.
Also we have to factor in the new API, Vulcan, which is yet to have any conclusive results. A few days ago, I had seen a report where a Bethesda developer was surprised on why developers were not moving to Vulcan and hence we can’t be sure about which API the developers will go for in the future. But currently if RAW power is being considered I would go with the GTX 1060 because the claimed performance is at par with GTX 980 and after market cards may also provide lots of overclocking which will increase the performance even more. But if you are strictly on a budget of 200$, then of course the RX 480 is also quite a power house. Don’t worry about the 2 GB VRAM difference in the higher models, most games won’t be bogged down due to them.
Though features may not play a major role in main-stream gaming, there is still a huge crowd out there for whom small features make the experience much more better. And I would have to say, Nvidia has won it in the past with features, but this time it has just blown AMD out of the water. With technologies like Simultaneous Multi-Projection, Ansel, G-Sync (Yes I know AMD has A-sync), Shadow Play and all such features, it is impossible to dispute that Nvidia is the clear winner.
The extras don’t stop there as well, GTX 1060 supports a maximum digital resolution of 8K, whereas RX 480 has a digital resolution support of only 4K. While this may not be very significant since most games are still not able to play at 4K, it is still a nice thing. While having all these features and raw performance, it is also note worthy that the GTX 1060 will also consume less power than the RX 480, as per the specs. With all this said, we can see that Nvidia is the clear winner in terms of features.
Note For the Indian Viewers:
In India the AMD RX 480 4 GB version comes in at INR 23K (Round off) and the 8 GB version comes at INR 30K, but the GTX 1060 comes in at INR 23K. So your best bet will be to buy the GTX 1060 which for the extra 2 GB RAM and the extra features that come along with it. If the RX 480 would have been anywhere near the same price as it is in the US, it would have been an easy choice, but the price is simply a no go with the GTX 1060 offering same or better performance.