Finding the Right Upgrade from NVIDIA‘s Aging GTX 1060 in 2023

Dear reader, is your trusty NVIDIA GTX 1060 finally starting to show its age after serving you well since its launch in 2016? I completely understand – I also rode that capable little graphics card hard for many years.

But with the steep demands of recent game releases, the GTX 1060 is struggling, even at 1080p resolution. Upgrading can bring a much needed boost in performance and visual quality to restore buttery smooth framerates in the latest titles.

Through extensive testing and research, I‘ve selected five of the best graphics card options for GTX 1060 owners seeking to upgrade today. In this guide, we‘ll explore:

  • The GTX 1060‘s capabilities and why an upgrade now makes sense
  • Detailed overviews of each recommended upgrade GPU option from NVIDIA and AMD
  • In-depth tech specs, architecture changes and performance comparisons
  • Buying recommendations based on your budget and needs

Let‘s jump in and revitalize that gaming rig!

The NVIDIA GTX 1060 – Once Great, Now Showing its Age

The GTX 1060 truly was an exceptional 1080p gaming graphics card when it first hit the market. Based on NVIDIA‘s 16nm Pascal architecture, it delivered smooth 60 FPS gameplay in 2016‘s top titles like Battlefield 1 and Doom thanks to:

  • 1920 CUDA processing cores
  • 6GB of GDDR5 video memory
  • 192-bit memory bus
  • 1506 MHz base clock/1709 MHz boost clock

However, after over 6 years the GTX 1060 is really struggling with today‘s games. Modern Warfare 2 lists it under minimum specs, where you‘ll have to use low resolution and settings just to get 30 FPS. Specific weaknesses hindering current game performance include:

  • No Ray Tracing Support – Unable to run cutting-edge lighting/reflection tech in modern games and lacks optimization for it.
  • VR Ready Label Now Overstated – Dropping frames and unable to adequately drive higher resolution headsets.
  • Limited VRAM – 6GB not enough now for high texture settings at 1080p.
  • Outdated Pascal Architecture – Inefficient compared to latest GPU designs, hurting frame rates despite once good specs.

Upgrading to a more recent graphics card can greatly improve performance while adding exciting new technologies like ray tracing. Let‘s explore some stellar options from both NVIDIA and AMD!

NVIDIA RTX 3060 – Excellent Budget 1080p/1440p Gaming

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 delivers a superb generational leap in performance and capabilities over the GTX 1060 at a very appealing $329 price point.



Cyberpunk 2077 Average FPS in 1080p – Source: Tom‘s Hardware

It achieves this thanks to considerable spec improvements:

  • Ampere Architecture – 2x the shader performance of Pascal
  • 12GB GDDR6 VRAM – Double the capacity, running at 15 Gbps
  • 4864 CUDA Cores – Massive 2.5x increase over GTX 1060
  • 1837 MHz Boost Clock – 8% faster than GTX 1060

This all combines to deliver buttery smooth 60+ FPS gaming in any title at max settings, with plenty of room to upgrade monitors to 1440p down the track. Ray tracing is also now achievable, transforming lighting and shadows.

The venerable RTX 3060 brings modern gaming goodness to GTX 1060 owners without breaking the bank. Let‘s check out some more muscly alternatives.

NVIDIA RTX 3070 – Flagship-Level 1440p/4K Gaming

If your budget can stretch a little further, the GeForce RTX 3070 offers a sizeable performance bump thanks to significant spec improvements:

  • 29% More CUDA Cores – 5824 vs 4864 in RTX 3060
  • Faster Memory – GDDR6 19 Gbps speed
  • More Memory Bandwidth – 448GB/s via 256-bit bus
  • Higher Power Limit – 220W vs 170W



Forza Horizon 5 4K Benchmark – Source: TechSpot

This hardware combo delivers outstanding 1440p and entry-level 4K gaming performance with all settings cranked up. Even intensive titles like Cyberpunk 2077 can surpass 60 FPS at max graphics in 1440p.

If you‘re looking for a more substantial upgrade from your GTX 1060 the RTX 3070 delivers flagship-level performance at a reasonable $470. Pair it with a high resolution monitor and you‘ll unlock the stunning visuals modern games can produce.

Now let‘s explore a couple of great AMD options…

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT – Top Tier 4K Gaming, Lower Cost

If your upgrade budget can stretch up to around $570, AMD‘s RX 6800 XT is a very compelling high performance option.

It actually surpasses NVIDIA‘s RTX 3070 in several areas:

  • More VRAM – 16GB vs 8GB GDDR6
  • Faster Boost Clock – 2250 MHz vs 1815 MHz
  • Comparable Compute Units – 72 vs 58 in RTX 3070



Avg FPS in Hitman 3 4K Benchmark – Source: Tom‘s Hardware

This muscle combines to deliver superb high resolution performance – matching even the $1200 RTX 3080 in many 4K gaming benchmarks while costing less than half as much!

If your priority is no-compromises 4K gaming at the best price, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is a stellar choice over NVIDIA‘s offerings. AMD also takes the win if you create content and can leverage the extra VRAM.

AMD Radeon RX 7600 – New Budget 1080p Gaming Option

On a tighter budget but still want modern architectural improvements over Pascal? AMD‘s new Radeon RX 7600 delivers for only $299.

  • RDNA 3 Architecture – Improved efficiency and performance per watt
  • 8GB GDDR6 Memory – Faster and higher capacity than GTX 1060
  • 10.4 billion transistors – Built on a cutting-edge TSMC 5nm process

Now it doesn‘t quite have the performance capabilities targeting higher resolutions like other GPUs here. However, the RX 7600 provides very playable 1080p performance in the latest games:



Cyberpunk 2077 Avg FPS in 1080p – Source: TechPowerUp

If your priority is great 1080p gaming in modern titles rather than higher resolutions, the 7600 delivers excellent improvements over the GTX 1060 at an accessible sub-$300 price point.

Recommended Upgrade Picks for GTX 1060 Owners

Based on extensive benchmark analysis and tech spec comparison between these GPUs, here are my top recommended upgrade picks depending on budget and gaming resolution priorities:

1080p Gaming

  1. NVIDIA RTX 3060 – $329
  2. AMD Radeon RX 7600 – $299

1440p Gaming

  1. NVIDIA RTX 3070 – $470
  2. NVIDIA RTX 3060 – $329

4K Gaming

  1. AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT – $570
  2. NVIDIA RTX 3070 – $470

I hope this guide has helped present the data to make an informed upgrade decision from your aging but still legendary GTX 1060. Please let me know if you have any other questions – I‘m always happy to help a fellow PC builder!

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