Any gaming enthusiast would be aware of the fact that it is the graphics card that makes it possible for them to enjoy the ultimate gaming experience, and everything else comes next. When it comes to graphics cards, or Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), there are two brands that have been rivals for a long time now – AMD and NVIDIA. Offering a wide range of graphics cards in different series, the two brands have constantly been working towards optimizing the performance of their GPU architectures, and the improvements they introduce have always been better than before.
The AMD RX 480 and NVIDIA GTX 1060 are both low- to mid-range contenders currently available in the GPU market, which are known to deliver great power and performance for what you pay. While the latter was considered the better graphics card option among the two when it was initially released, AMD released several updates to their product, eventually making it a worthy contender in all aspects including performance.
Recommended Read: Everything You Need to Know About GPU
Therefore, in order to know which of these two GPUs would be the right choice for you, you need to analyze the following aspects:
AMD RX 480 vs NVIDIA GTX 1060 – Which GPU is best?
The on-paper tech specs are always one of the best ways to determine which GPU is right for you. Firstly, both the AMD RX 480 and the NVIDIA GTX 1060 are available with two different VRAM options each; while the former is available in 4GB and 8GB configurations, the latter comes in 3GB and 6GB options. Here is a deeper look at their specifications:
|Specs||AMD RX 480||NVIDIA GTX 1060|
|VRAM||4 GB and 8 GB GDDR5||3 GB and 6 GB GDDR5|
|Base Clock Speed||1120 MHz||1506 MHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||1266 MHz||1708 MHz|
|Memory Speed||7 GBPS||8 GBPS|
|Memory Bandwidth||224 GB/s||192 GB/s|
As can be seen, the two graphics cards have similar technical specifications. But, it has to be noted that the clock speed of the NVIDIA GTX 1060 is higher than that of the RX 480, which signifies that you can expect faster and smoother game loading times and gameplay. On the other hand, since the memory bandwidth of the AMD GPU is higher than that of the one from NVIDIA, you will experience higher quality images and visuals.
Heat Dissipation, Noise, and Power
AMD has not had a lot of positive reviews in the past about the efficiency and power consumption of their graphics cards. AMD GPUs are known to consume a lot of power, which means they require a heavy-duty laptop or PC with a huge power supply to run the graphics card and eventually they become way more expensive to use as well.
Another common issue that AMD GPU users faced was heat dissipation, a factor that results in fan noise. Graphics cards from the brand, especially the older ones, are known to get really hot when in use, resulting in much louder fans, an issue that made users hesitate or think twice about buying their GPUs.
However, with the RX 480, AMD has managed to address this concern by producing a graphics card that is now much quieter than the company’s previous generation GPUs.
NVIDIA GTX 1060, on the other hand, is able to run without any noise regardless of the type of fan in use.
All things considered, both the RX 480 and GTX 1060 score the same in terms of heat dissipation, noise, and power.
Coming to the most important aspect of the graphics cards, their performance. Well, if you are expecting a significant difference in terms of the GPUs’ performance, so your decision can be made easier, you are about to be disappointed because both the cards deliver similar levels of performance. While the NVIDIA GTX 1060 happens to be quicker in certain games, like Battlefield 1, delivering frame rates higher than that of the AMD RX 480, the latter tends to be quicker in other games, like Fallout 4.
But, it has to be mentioned that even the difference found in their FPS is highly narrow, which means you are less likely to experience any major difference in their performances. Ultimately, the performance can highly depend on the games you play that are optimized for either one of the GPUs; therefore, it is important that you know beforehand the graphics card supported by your favorite games before you invest in one.
All in all, both the AMD RX 480 and NVIDIA GTX 1060 offer great value for money in terms of their performance. If you are an everyday gamer looking to enjoy your games in 1080p resolution, then both these graphics cards would be a perfect choice. In fact, you could also get away with playing games in 1440p resolution, at a decent quality, with these graphics cards.
When it comes to the pricing of these GPUs, you can expect some discrepancies in the same depending on the manufacturer and the additional features they offer them with. During the time this article was written, the AMD RX 480 graphics card is available in the price range $200 to $280 for its 4GB variant, and from $240 to $600 for its 8GB variant. As mentioned, the pricing varies based on the manufacturer and any extras they offer.
As far as the pricing of NVIDIA GTX 1060 goes, its 3GB version starts at $199 and goes all the way up to $820, and the 6GB version starts at $210 and reaches $540. Again, the pricing differs between manufacturers and any additional features included in the package.
Which One Should You Choose?
If you are looking for a straightforward verdict, you will have to settle with our decision that it is a tie between the two GPUs. While the NVIDIA GTX 1060 game as a great option right out of the box, the series of improvements and updates done to the AMD RX 480 has brought in on par with the former offering. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, your decision should be based on the game titles you are interested in playing and the GPU they are optimized for.
Also, if you ask us to choose only one out of these two – we would pick the NVIDIA GTX 1060.
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