It looks like AMD isn’t the only company looking to refresh midrange cards from two years ago. Following on from rumors of AMD working on a new RX 590 card based on a revised Polaris 30 GPU, Nvidia has debuted an iteration of its most popular midrange card, the GTX 1060. This new version has faster memory, potentially providing greater competition for AMD’s as-yet-unreleased refresh.
As much as Nvidia’s new RTX-series cards are exciting, they are priced high enough that the majority of gamers and consumers are unlikely to ever adopt them. The Steam Hardware Survey shows us that the most popular cards are time and again the far more affordable — they’re our favorites too. No doubt those figures would be even more skewed if GPU pricing problems of the past couple of years hadn’t prevented many gamers from upgrading. That’s why a refresh of both AMD and Nvidia’s midrange cards is so important, despite the GPUs offering only small overall improvements.
Where AMD’s RX 590 boosted core clock speed, though, Nvidia has instead focused on the memory of its new GTX 1060 refresh. It upgrades the GDDR5 from the original GTX 1060 6GB to GDDR5X. While the official specifications suggest that hasn’t actually increased speed, the newer, more capable standard should see a rise in overall bandwidth leading to greater performance for the card.
It does appear that the revised GTX 1060 has replaced the older variant on Nvidia’s official site, but as TechRadar points out, that listing doesn’t mention other GTX 1060 revisions, like one sporting 9Gbps GDDR5 memory, either.
It may be that we’ll need to wait for third parties to adopt this new standard to find out what kind of clocks and overall memory bandwidth will result from the upgrade. Pricing is arguably the more important factor, however, as if this new card retains standard GTX 1060 pricing of around $280, then it could prove to be a competitive entry in the mid-market.
However, with AMD’s RX 580 still offering comparable (or in some cases better) performance than the existing 1060 6GB, the RX 590 could prove to be a better midrange card still. If it’s priced competitively, that is. If it comes in at around the $250 price point the RX 580 currently occupies, Nvidia’s refresh may seem far less desirable.