Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review

Manufacturer: Asus
UK price (as reviewed):
£325.98 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $329.99 (ex Tax)

Asus's Strix brand, when applied to graphics cards, represents its premium air-cooled models, and the GTX 1060 Strix OC is no different. The company also has a few lower-end SKUs and a non-overclocked Strix card, but the one we have here is its most high-end SKU. This is reflected in the price which, at just shy of £330, is a considerable jump up from basic models that currently go for almost £100 less. It actually appears to be the most expensive version of the card currently available – can Asus do enough to justify this extra outlay?

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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As this is the Strix OC, the card carries a pre-applied overclock. By default, it runs with a base clock of 1,620MHz and a boost clock of 1,848MHz. However, using Asus's GPU Tweak II software, you can also switch the card from this so-called Gaming Mode to a slightly faster OC Mode, where the clocks are 1,645MHz base and 1,873MHz boost. This is a 9 percent increase over reference clocks going by the base clock, and is the highest out-of-the-box speed currently available. This is also the mode we have used for all of our testing since, as will be shown and as we've demonstrated before, there's very little reason not to use the fastest available mode. That said, a so-called Silent Mode is also available in GPU Tweak II, which drops the clocks to 1,595MHz base and 1,823MHz boost.

It's not only the GPU that's been overclocked either, as the 6GB of GDDR5 ships at 2.05GHz for an effective speed of 8.2Gbps; a 2.5 percent increase on reference speeds.

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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The card bears striking similarities to the GTX 1070 Strix OC we've already reviewed, which shouldn't come as any surprise since it uses the same DirectCU III cooler. Consequently, the measurements are the same, and at 298mm long and 134mm tall the card is certainly not taking advantage of the GTX 1060's low power consumption to reduce its footprint. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, and the card at least still fits the dual-slot form factor. The cooler shroud is plastic but the build quality is still high and the metal backplate (this time without RGB lighting) boosts rigidity and is a necessity given the size and weight of this thing.

The shroud also sports Asus's Aura RGB lighting system, which you can configure to any colour you want and to one of six effects using the dedicated app. It's unfortunate Asus doesn't have a unified bit of software for overclocking and lighting control, but we're told one is being worked on at least.

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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As with the GTX 1070 Strix, this card uses non-standard outputs. Specifically, Asus swaps one of the three DisplayPorts for a second HDMI output, the idea being that anyone using a VR headset can also use a HDMI-connected TV without ever having to disconnect one or the other – a near idea but perhaps a little less relevant for the GTX 1060 than the GTX 1070.

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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Asus has also upgraded the 6-pin power input of the reference card to an 8-pin one, giving the card a total potential power draw of 225W. Given its 120W TDP rating, this is more than you'll ever need for overclocking.

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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The DirectCU III cooler has five heat pipes, although only two actually make direct contact with the tiny GP106 GPU. Thermal padding allows the massive heatsink to also draw heat away from the MOSFETs, while a separate contact plate takes care of the memory chips. With three of Asus's patented Wing-blade fans delivering airflow, the cooler is arguably overkill for a chip like this, but this is a card more about performance than subtlety. The open shroud and direction of the fins mean that hot air will be directed at your motherboard and into your chassis. Asus says its card is up to 30 percent cooler and three times quieter than the Founders Edition.

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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As ever, the cooler is semi-passive, so the card operates in total silence when it's under no or little load. The card also sees the return of FanConnect, with two four-pin fan headers on the side letting you control a pair of case fans based on GPU temperature. These should be controllable in the newest version of GPU Tweak II as well.

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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Examining the PCB reveals that it is essentially the same as that on the GTX 1070 Strix OC, just with a different GPU, a different number of memory chips and a lack of SLI fingers since the GTX 1060 doesn't support this. The PCB is made with Asus's Auto-Extreme process, which is 100 percent automated and flux-free. The card uses a 6+1 phase power system with Super Alloy Power II components for added quality, longevity and efficiency.

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Strix OC Review
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Accessories are sometimes used to add value, and Asus includes a pair of Velcro cable ties here, a World of Tanks bonus code and a one-year Xsplit Premium license which it values at $99. A three-year warranty completes the package.

Specifications

  • Graphics processor Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, 1,645MHz (1,873MHz boost)
  • Pipeline 1,280 stream processors, 80 texture units, 48 ROPs
  • Memory 6GB GDDR5, 8.2GHz effective
  • Bandwidth 196.8GB/sec, 192-bit interface
  • Compatibility DirectX 12, Vulcan, OpenGL 4.5
  • Outputs/Inputs 2 x DisplayPort 1.4, Dual Link DVI-I, 2 x HDMI 2.0b
  • Power connections 1 x 8-pin PCI-E, top-mounted
  • Size 298mm long, 134mm tall, dual-slot
  • Warranty Three years

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