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Nvidia throws $200 GeForce GTX 1060 3GB into the ring

Less onboard memory, fewer cores, lower MSRP.

Just when it seemed like things were settling down in the graphics card department, Nvidia has come out with a version of its GeForce GTX 1060 that has half the amount of RAM (3GB versus 6GB) and a lower sticker price at $200 MSRP, putting it in direct competition with AMD's Radeon RX 480 4GB.

It was rumored Nvidia would release a 3GB version of its GeForce GTX 1060, a card that we gave high marks to (check out our review of the 6GB model). Turning rumor into reality, Nvidia's hardware partners have started announcing their own versions of the new card.

EVGA, for example, has not one but five different SKUs. They include:

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB FTW+ (03G-P4-6367)
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB FTW (03G-P4-6267)
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB SSC (03G-P4-6263)
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB SC (03G-P4-6162)
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB (03G-P4-6160)

Only the bottom model is currently in-stock and ready to order direct from EVGA, at Nvidia's $200 MSRP. It's a shortened card measuring 6.8 inches (172.72mm) long with a single ACX 2.0 cooling fan.

MSI also unveiled a lineup of GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with 3GB of onboard memory. Like EVGA, it has five models on tap:

  • MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming 3G
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor 3G OCV1
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor 3GV1
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1060 3GT OC

Speeds and cooling vary by model, though all of the 3GB cards have fewer CUDA cores (1,152 versus 1,280) and one less simultaneous microprocessor (9 versus 10), which brings the number of texture mapping units (TMUs) down to 72 (from 80).

Nvidia's reference blueprint leaves the rest of the specs alone, including the base (1.5GHz) and boost (1.7GHz) clockspeeds, and 192-bit memory bus. Where that leaves performance is something we'll have to test once we get our hands on one of these new cards, though Nvidia tells PCWorld that it's about ten percent faster than AMD's Radeon RX 480. Given our own numbers put the 6GB model at ten percent faster and Nvidia has disabled an extra SM, it's probably pretty close to performance parity with the 4GB RX 480.

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