- The NVIDIA GTX 1060 served as a mid-range GPU for the Pascal architecture, but it is now showing its age and lacks the power for more demanding games.
- Suitable replacements for the GTX 1060 include the NVIDIA RTX 3060, RTX 3070, and RTX 4060, as well as the AMD RX 6800 XT and RX 7600.
- The RTX 3070 offers an upgrade from the GTX 1060 with increased VRAM, faster clocks, and the ability to handle 1440p resolution and VR gaming.
- The RTX 4060 is a newer GPU that provides a significant upgrade from the GTX 1060 at a more affordable price.
- The AMD RX 6800 XT offers high performance at a lower cost compared to flagship GPUs.
What is a true upgrade from the GTX 1060? The NVIDIA GTX 1060 served admirably as the mid-range GPU for the Pascal architecture. While it was certainly powerful for its time, the intervening six years since its release have seen many improvements to GPUs.
While it is certainly adequate for older games today, it lacks some of the punch needed to maintain stable framerates for more demanding releases. So, with this in mind, it is time to take a look at five suitable replacements.
Now, don’t worry, none of these GPUs are going to break the bank; they should fall in line with reasonable contemporary graphics card prices. If you’re on the hunt for something with a little more power, you’re in the right place.
NVIDIA GTX 1060: Overview
The GTX 1060 was originally released in 2016 and served as a step below the GTX 1070. It came with 6GB of VRAM and required an external power supply to effectively deliver power. This particular segment for NVIDIA has proven to be very popular, being an affordable but potent choice.
The GTX 1060 has certainly begun to show its age, especially with more modern releases like Modern Warfare 2 listing it as the bare minimum for its recommended system requirements. It is still perfectly usable, nearly seven years later.
However, you’ll likely have to adjust settings and the like as necessary.
|NVIDIA GTX 1060|
|Base Clock||1,506 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1,709 MHz|
|Memory Clock||2,002 MHz|
|Memory Amount||6 GB|
|Interface||PCI-E 3.0 x16|
1. RTX 3060
- NVIDIA Ampere architecture with ray tracing and tensor cores
- 12GB GDDR6 VRAM, PCIe 4.0 support, 1807 MHz boost clock
- IceStorm 2.0 Cooling, active fan control, metal backplate
- DisplayPort 1.4a, HDMI 2.1, 8K resolution, DirectX 12 Ultimate support
The first real upgrade from the GTX 1060 isn’t terribly surprising. The RTX 3060 is a modern take on the same overall concept. Users get high performance in an affordable package. The RTX 3060 is a slightly older GPU, having been introduced in 2020.
However, it is still perfectly usable for today’s modern games. Users get access to up to 12GB of GDDR6 RAM. The same memory bus of 192-bit is used. Thankfully, power requirements remain largely the same with identical connections as you might need on the GTX 1060.
These can be found readily for around $300-350, making it a great choice.
2. RTX 3070
- NVIDIA Ampere Streaming Multiprocessors
- 8GB graphics RAM
- 256-bit memory interface
- 1815 MHz GPU clock speed
- DisplayPort and HDMI video output interface
The RTX 3070 is a more plush upgrade from the GTX 1060. It does cost more, make no mistake about it. However, you get some extra power to make up for the fact. The VRAM increases from 6 GB to 8 GB, and you’ll see an upgrade from GDDR5 to GDDR6.
The RTX 3070 is a stellar GPU when it comes to overall performance, boasting a 256-bit memory bus and blazingly fast core and memory clocks. This will likely handle most modern games you want to play, while also being capable of 1440p resolution playback.
You could stretch up to 4K, but you’ll have to adjust settings accordingly. The RTX 3070 would also be a great choice for VR gameplay, especially if you have one of the more powerful headsets like the Valve Index.
3. RTX 4060
The NVIDIA RTX 4060 is likely the newest GPU on this list. It isn’t a massive jump up from the RTX 3060, but it is an enormous upgrade from the GTX 1060. The RTX 4060 is a return to more sane GPU prices, as you’ll regularly find new examples for $300 and under.
You get access to GDDR6 VRAM, with 8 GB on most models. The same 192-bit memory bus is still present, but it is compatible with the latest PCI-Express protocol. Using newer standards means the RTX 4060 will feel like a night and day difference if you’re upgrading from an older GPU.
It handles modern games well, and can comfortably push to 1440p. You might have to do a little tweaking for 4K, but it’ll also handle VR gaming just fine.
The RTX 4060 is very similar in overall performance to the RTX 3070, while being a much more affordable GPU overall.
4. Radeon RX 6800 XT
- 16 GB GDDR6
- 2065 MHz clock speed
- 7680 × 4320 maximum resolution
- PCI Express, HDMI, and DisplayPort video output interface
Another deluxe choice comes from competitor AMD. The RX 6800 XT is quite a substantial upgrade from the GTX 1060. You get 16 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, more than enough for any high-resolution texture pack.
The RX 6800 XT comes with a 256-bit memory bus and utilizes the latest PCI-E standard, meaning you’re going to get blazingly fast performance on modern games. AMD’s RX 6800 XT is capable of pushing playable framerates at high detail settings in 4K.
It is an utter steal compared to other GPUs while costing well below what a flagship GPU retails for. You can the RX 6800 XT easily for under $500, more substantial discounts are certainly available for users who can wait on sales.
The RX 6800 XT is an older GPU but is certainly quite capable when compared to other more expensive offerings from the likes of NVIDIA.
5. RX 7600
The final option on today’s guide, and quite an attractive one all things said. The AMD RX 7600 is an equivalent upgrade from the GTX 1060. It does feature a smaller memory bus, coming in at 128-bit. However, its use of the latest PCI-Express standard does give it some advantages.
Users get access to 8 GB of GDDR6 VRAM. It lacks some grunt when compared to other contemporary GPUs like the RTX 4060. However, if you’re wanting to save a little bit and don’t mind 1080p or 1440p, it will serve quite well in that capacity.
The RX 7600 is very much in the mid-range niche. Some great changes to see would be a slightly larger memory bus, but given the below $300 price point, it can be forgiven. The RX 7600 serves as a budget-conscious choice and doesn’t compromise performance in the same way as an RTX 3050 might.
The GTX 1060 was a wonderful GPU for its time, but you might find it is time to move on to greener pastures. In terms of an overall winner, it is hard to deny the RTX 4060. It offers up great performance while keeping the same suggested retail price the GTX 1060 originally launched at.
If you’re looking for a powerful GPU under $400, the RTX 4060 more than has you covered. If you can stretch your budget a bit, the 6800 XT is a GPU that closes in on the heels of GPUs like the RTX 4070 Ti and RTX 3080 quite readily.
Before purchasing a new GPU, make sure you have a supported power supply unit. When it comes time to upgrade, it always helps to be aware of what your components and their operational conditions.
If necessary, it might be time for a whole new build, with whichever GPU you’ve chosen as the centerpiece of your gaming rig.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©DMegias/Shutterstock.com.