The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 might be quite different from simply a small memory capacity difference between its smaller 3GB variant and the relatively full GP 106 chip on the 6GB variant to support its $199 RRP according to preliminary reports and speculation. While thanks to reports available across the board, one can already conclude that there are 2 GP-106 chip variants, the GP106-300-A1 and the GP 106-400-A1, they can both be similar cards in terms of name but might have significantly different hardware under the hood. For example, the 3GB version of the GPU is believed to be a slightly cut down version of the 6GB variant, powered by 1152 CUDA Cores vs 1280 on the 6GB variant and while it shares the same bus interface as well as display outputs and power connector, it is expected to consume as much as 100 watts of power vs the 120 watt TDP that the 6GB variant is advertised at. With expected die size and transistor counts remaining the same, the 3GB variant might be low-yield chips with sections simply lasered off the main GPU.
Both GPU versions will not support SLI out of the box with Nvidia’s official statement on the matter as follows: “With SLI we focused our efforts on creating the biggest and the best gaming PCs possible, using our high end enthusiast-class GPUs with our new high-bandwidth bridges.” Given the price performance king that the AMD RX 480 currently is in the mainstream segment, a slightly underpowered GTX 1060 with 3GB of VRAM could essentially upset Team Red’s apple cart with ease.
The Nvidia GTX 1060* already outperforms the RX 480 with ease, and based on leaked benchmarks, it steadily maintains a lead in just about every game thrown at it with a 1%-33% gain in various benches. It also steadily outperforms it once again on the Steam VR Performance test, scoring an 8.2 vs the RX 480’s VR-Capable 6.6. With the GTX 1060 6GB version expected to retail between $249-300 for the AIB versions with the Founders Edition retailing at the highest point of this price range, one could argue that the 6GB version essentially does not compete with the RX 480. A 3GB variant priced at a tentative $199 could be significantly more devastating for AMD and replace the RX 480 as the price: performance king in the short term even if it was as much as 10% slower than its higher end offering. Whether Nvidia is able to do so and quantify the rumours is another story altogether.
*Based on our knowledge, the 6GB variant was benchmarked against the GTX 960 and RX 480 respectively.