We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Nvidia’s GTX 1060 gets a GDDR5X update to fend off the AMD RX 590

Nvidia has quietly announced a new graphics card: the GTX 1060 GDDR5X

Nvidia GTX 1060

Nvidia has quietly announced a new graphics card: the GTX 1060 GDDR5X. This new graphics card from the green team has been spotted within Nvidia’s own specs sheet for Nvidia’s popular GTX 1060, although little else is known about the card beyond its faster memory spec.

Nvidia released the RTX 20-series cards last month, starting at $499 for the RTX 2070. Nvidia’s Turing graphics cards don’t even attempt to compete in the entry-level or mid-range segments, leaving the most popular Pascal card, the GTX 1060, continuing to rule the roost – it’s also the most popular graphics card with Steam users according to the latest hardware survey. That has left AMD in with a chance to capitalise.

AMD has been rumoured to be putting together an RX 590 graphics card to capture the volume market. Little is known about the new GPU, but it looks to be similar to the RX 580 – albeit with faster clock speeds than earlier Polaris iterations. That might be why Nvidia has all of a sudden decided to release a new iteration of its most popular graphics card under the radar, fearing AMD securing the mid-range market with a new release.

The new graphics card is confirmed by only a small tweak to the Nvidia website, but one that looks to be intentional at least. Where once the ‘Frame Buffer’ section of the GTX 1060s specs table once read 6 GB GDDR5, it now reads 6 GB GDDR5/X.

That change looks to have been made over a month ago, sometime around the launch of the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080, but has only recently been unearthed by a user on Reddit.

GTX 1060 6GB 9Gbps GTX 1060 6GB 8Gbps GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5X GTX 1060 5GB GTX 1060 3GB
GPU GP106 / GP104 GP106 / GP104 GP106 / GP104 GP106 GP106
CUDA cores 1280 1280 1280 1280 1152
Memory capacity 6GB 6GB 6GB 5GB 3GB
Memory speed 9Gbps 8Gbps 10Gbps 8Gbps 8Gbps
Memory bus 192-bit 192-bit 192-bit 160-bit 192-bit
Memory bandwidth 216GB/s 192GB/s 240GB/s 160GB/s 192GB/s

The memory speed is still only listed at 8Gbps for each variant, although this looks unlikely to be the final spec. Micron lists GDDR5X parts anywhere from 10-12 Gbps. Those memory modules are found in the GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti cards from the Pascal generation, and could be a significant bump to the memory capabilities of Nvidia’s mid-range graphics card.  Running across the same GTX 1060 memory bus, with the slowest version of GDDR5X available, you’re then looking at 240GB/s of memory bandwidth.

A GTX 1060 with higher memory bandwidth would certainly take the fight to a RX 580 8GB or an RX 590 with a 10% performance buff – but all these numbers are almost entirely speculative at this point. The move at least could steal some of AMD’s thunder regardless of how the performance shakes out. The green team will likely be hoping a mild GTX 1060 refresh utilising the now defunct GDDR5X memory will be enough to lessen the marketing win all laid out for AMD due to its own lack of new entry-level / mid-range GPUs.

But the move is a bit of a double-edged sword for gamers. You might be in luck with Nvidia and AMD now potentially duking it out for the volume segment with refreshed cards, however, with Nvidia releasing another updated GTX 1060 – there are already various memory configs for the card – this could mean that the GTX/RTX 2060 and entry-level GPUs based on the Turing architecture are still a long way from release.

So far no GTX 1060 GDDR5X cards have made it out to market, but rumours suggest initial designs are in the labs for release in the near-future.