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MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G
After reviewing its GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070, MSI is presenting us with a third graphics card armed with the same cooler. Naturally, on a GeForce GTX 1060, it feels just a little oversized. The big thermal solution’s advantage is pretty apparent though; it’s likely to be even quieter than either of both higher-end models. Otherwise, this card looks pretty similar. The most apparent difference is its insufficient an SLI connector. Black Friday is here to give you amazing discount so that you can buy your dream gadget at low cost.
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Even if there’s not really a lot about the card’s appearance to introduce, our performance email address details are still worth entering depth on. And there’s a significant caveat we must present upfront:
We test all samples because they arrive, out from the box, precisely because so many gamers utilize them. Bundled control software or third-party tools are deliberately avoided. Once more, MSI tried to exploit this policy by delivering a so-called golden sample with a modified firmware, just since it did regarding our GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G. The sample employs higher clock rates (as well as perhaps an increased power target) compared to the BIOS you’d receive from an off-the-shelf board.Therefore, we can not grant this card any award, regardless of how good the technical implementation could be. In addition, we also need to disqualify this card from our comparative summary; it just wouldn’t be fair to the other contenders.
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Exterior & Interfaces
Similar to its higher-end relatives, this card’s fan shroud is constructed of relatively thin plastic. Underneath, you’ll discover a massive frame that increases the structure’s stability.
Weighing 35.4 oz (1003 grams), the GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G isn’t light (it’s no more than 100g lighter compared to the GTX 1080 version). The card measures 28.4cm long, 13.5cm tall, and 3.5cm wide, monopolizing two full expansion slots and a good amount of area vertically, coming off the motherboard. That is because of the large fan blades, which loosen up to a diameter of 9.5cm.
The trunk of the board is included in a single-piece plate with some ventilation holes. Unfortunately, there are no thermal pads connecting it to the circuit board, therefore the plate does nothing to greatly help with cooling. As a result of backplate, though, you need to plan for yet another one-fifth of an inch (5mm) of clearance in order to avoid collisions together with your CPU’s cooler, particularly in small form factor cases. Too little SLI support means you don’t need to worry about fitting two GeForce GTX 1060s back again to back a case.
MSI’s logo at the top of the card lights up. Again, both 6mm heat pipes make a prominent appearance, as does an 8mm pipe. The eight-pin power connector sits on the finish of the card, turned by 180°.
The black and scarlet colors follow MSI’s corporate design, while, again, the card’s condition resembles GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 boards in the Gaming X line-up.
The trunk of the card is totally open. The cooler’s fins sit horizontally, directing airflow towards the slot cover and the trunk. This design gets the advantage that the majority of its heated air gets blown out the trunk of your chassis.
The slot cover sports five connectors, four which can be utilised concurrently in a multi-monitor setup. There’s one dual-link DVI-D connector lacking any analog signal, joined by two HDMI 2.0 connectors and three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs.
Where you do not find display outputs, all of those other bracket features openings to facilitate airflow. If MSI thought we would leave off the seldom-used DVI connector, there’d be a lot more space for ventilation. As you might have noticed, Nvidia went that route using its recent GeForce GTX 1080 Ti announcement, bundling a DP-to-DVI dongle for many who still need the interface.
Board & Components
All five phases are powered through the auxiliary connector. The memory modules have their own phase supplied through the motherboard’s PCIe slot.
The GPU power supply’s five phases are manipulated by a uP9511P created by uPI Semiconductor Corp. Dual N-channel MOSFETs in the M381 line are being used for the high and low side voltage converters. This setup eliminates the necessity for separate gate drivers, which saves both space and money.
The memory’s single phase has one small uP1641P also given by uPI Semiconductor Corp. It’s joined by a different voltage converter, the SM7320, which can be a dual N-channel MOSFET.
MSI uses the same coils we’ve seen for a long time. Their quality is merely what you’d expect from a mass-market product in this category with decent encapsulation. That’s to state they’re much better than Foxconn’s Magic coils.
Two capacitors are added right below the GPU to erase voltage peaks. This design is comparable to Nvidia’s reference implementation.
Only six of the eight available memory emplacements are populated with Samsung K4G41325FC-HC25 modules (32x 128 Mb). Their voltages range between 1.305 and 1.597V, according to clock rate. Altogether, this amounts to just 3GB of graphics memory.
Before addressing power consumption directly, let’s look into the partnership between clock rate and voltage. Regarding MSI’s GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G, this illustrates that frequency doesn’t drop drastically during gaming, even after an imposed warm-up period.
Our observed GPU Boost rate falls from 2000 MHz to a still-respectable 1974 MHz as time passes and under load. The curve’s slope is mirrored inside our voltage readings. A 1.05V starting place pulls back ever-so-slightly to at least one 1.043V by the finish of our run.
The cheapest GPU clock rate measured at idle is approximately 240 MHz.
We took our measurements by using a variable low-pass filter, so we mention short load peaks only as a side note (start to see the grayed-out bar in the chart below), since those peaks are rarely relevant used.
Power Connector Load
Since MSI’s GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G doesn’t utilize the motherboard slot’s 3.3V rail, we left it out of our chart.
The energy distribution we observe shows much bias toward the auxiliary power connector, which supplies slightly below 100W.
Here’s the info for the gaming and stress tests:
Power consumption alone only tells us section of the story. The PCI-SIG specifies no more than 5.5A at the motherboard slot, and we’re showing a reading under 3A, which puts MSI’s GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G in the green.
Of course, we’ve the info for measured currents aswell:
The Cooler & Its Performance
Behind every successful high-performance graphics card is a well-designed cooler. In cases like this, MSI’s implementation is pretty elaborate given the GP106 GPU’s thermal ceiling. As opposed to MSI’s GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 Gaming X boards, the 1060 Gaming X uses closed frame that not merely keeps the board nice and stable, but also helps cool the memory modules and VRMs.
Thermal pads supply the bridge essential to transfer heat from the memory and power circuitry, though we’d have recommended a thinner and better design. In the end, MSI uses low fan speeds that don’t move much air.
The frame is screwed to the backplate, and ~3mm-tall spacers allow some air to flow between your plate and PCB.
As stated, this cooler is nearly identical to the main one applied to the GTX 1070 and 1080 Gaming cards. It uses the same horizontally-oriented fins and heat pipe configuration. The direction they face is pretty much irrelevant, since they’re manufactured from sintered composite material.
An enormous nickel-plated sink takes heat from those pipes and dissipates it out through aluminum fins.
The cooler does its job almost inaudibly. Yet it performs incredibly well, enabling readings around 145°F (63°C) during our gaming loop, and topping out at 149°F (65°C) in a closed case.
Our measurements with the backplate and stabilizing frame removed show that MSI won’t let this card rise in flames. The gaming loop and stress test neglect to arrive any apparent issues.
It becomes clear during our gaming test sequence that the low five voltage regulator phases handle almost all of the load, as the memory’s VRM remains fairly cool because of its less demanding task.
Ultimately, MSI’s cooling solution does an excellent job (since it should, because it was suitable for loads almost completely higher).
Because of an exemplary implementation of hysteresis and fan speeds around 800 RPM, this card is nearly inaudible.
When the GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G is idle, its noise isn’t measurable because of a semi-passive mode. Thus, we abstained from taking those readings.
Since this card’s fans will be the same kinds used to cool MSI’s GeForce GTX 1070/1080 Gaming boards (meaning they’re almost overkill), our test chamber remains frighteningly quiet. A fantastic 29.3 dB(A) result drops below the threshold of minimal background noise for an area in the quiet apartment.
All we found were minimal vibrations in the low-frequency range due to the slow-spinning fan motors. That’s basically nit-picking though, since these vibrati