EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ Gaming ACX 3.0 Video Card Review

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Today I had a chance to review EVGA’s flagship GTX 1060 in its FTW+ Gaming ACX 3.0 Video card. This card has the updated ACX 3.0 Cooler, a better power delivery area/PCB, as well as the highest clocks of EVGA’s GTX 1060 lineup. Take a read below and see what features it brought to the table and how it performs in our testing suite!

Specifications

Taking a look at the specifications table and GPU-Z, we see the spec’s of the full blown GTX 1060 6GB. EVGA slapped on its new ACX3.0 cooler, improved upon the reference PCB, and gave it higher clocks. To that end, the 1060 FTW+ comes in with 1632 MHz base clock with boost to around 1860 MHz. With Boost 3.0, in practice that 1860 MHz is around 100 MHz lower to what most will see while gaming. In this case, at stock it ran at 2000 MHz most of time. It did bump up a bin or so in less stressful tests. The 6GB of GDDR5 memory comes in at 2002 MHz (8000 MHz effective) which is 192 GB/s of bandwidth across its 192-bit bus. The card supports up to four monitors and a total resolution of 7680×4320 at 60Hz.

For outputs, you have a typical mix of 1x DL DVI-D, 3x DisplayPort (v1.4), and 1x HDMI (2.0b). The card is a bit over 4.25″ high and exactly 11″ long. The ACX 3.0 cooler, it is a dual slot cooling solution. Last but not least, EVGA recommends a 400W or greater power supply with a single 8-Pin PCIe connector. That should be plenty considering it’s a 150W draw card (a bit over reference at 120W).

Specifications are from the EVGA website for the 1060 FTW+.

EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ Gaming ACX 3.0
Graphics Processing GeForce® GTX 1060
Core Clock 1632 MHz Base Clock, 1860 MHz Boost Clock
Memory Clock 2002 MHz (8008 MHz effective)
192 GB/s Memory Bandwidth
Process Technology 16nm
Memory Size 6 GB
Memory Bus 192 bit
Card Bus PCI-E 3.0 x16
Memory Type GDDR5
Direct X/ Open GL Version Support DX – 12
Open GL – 4.5
Digital max resolution 7680×4320 @ 60Hz
Max Monitors 4
I/O DVI-D, 3x DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b
Card Size Height: 4.376in – 111.15mm
Length: 11in – 279.4mm
Width: Dual Slot
Recommended PSU Minimum of a 400 Watt power supply.
One available 8-pin PCI-E power dongle
Total Power Draw : 150 Watts

GPU-Z

Below is our screenshot of GPU-Z. We see the GP106 silicon has the full 1280 Shaders with 48 ROPs and 80 TMUs on the back end. The memory side of the house brings you a total of 6GB using Samsung ICs on a 192-bit bus running at 2002 MHz. This yields a total of 192.2 GB/s bandwidth. Plenty to play games at 1080p and even a bit higher. The base core clock comes in at 1633 MHz, boosting to at least 1860 MHz.

GPUz v1.11

GPUz v1.11

Features

EVGA updated their famed ACX cooler to version 3.0. With that they include double ball bearing fans for increased life expectancy, a 0 dB operation mode with an optimized fan curve, and a cooling plate for the MOSFETs and memory. Also, the heatsink/fin design is optimally tuned for quiet operation including a straight heatpipe for increased contact area. All of these features combine to give you superior cooling and quiet operation, particularly over the reference blower design.

With the GPU overclocking world left as it has been by NVIDIA (neutered without significant changes), every Watt counts when trying to push these cards to the limit. Even your fan speed counts against the power allotment setup in each card’s BIOS. To that end, the fans EVGA uses here less power than typical fans giving one a bit more headroom on your power limit.

These features and more can be found at the EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ webpage.

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ACX 3.0 Cooler

  • Double Ball Bearing fans (400% longer lifespan)
  • 0 dB Operation & optimized Fan Curve
  • Memory/MOSFET Cooling plate (15% Cooler Memory, 13% Cooler GPU MOSFETs)
  • Optimally Tuned Heatsinks and Fin Design (13% Quieter)
  • Straight Heat Pipe – for increased copper contact area
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Double Ball Bearing Fan

  • EVGA ACX fans use double ball bearings, which offer 4X longer lifespan than the sleeve bearing fans used by competitors. The oil that is used in sleeve bearing fans makes them vulnerable and prone to failure after time when the oil dries up. Upgrade to EVGA ACX and your card will go the distance!
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EVGA ACX Means Better Overclocking

  • Did you know that power consumption of the fans can directly affect your maximum overclock? The maximum “power target” takes into account the fan power consumption, meaning the lower the power consumption from the fan, the more power available for the card. EVGA ACX coolers use more than 4X lower power than competitors allowing for better and more stable overclocks.

Retail Packaging and Accessories

In the slideshow below, you see the retail packaging and accessories. The front of the box is your typical EVGA theme with black and grey with a hint of blue between the FTW nomenclature listed prominently. The back of the box shows high-level features, and specifications. Never too much to see on the sides, this particular packaging even less… no serial numbers. You can see that on the back (in sticker form) as well as on the card itself through the back of the packaging.

It comes with a quick start guide, driver disk and a sticker.

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Meet the EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ Gaming ACX 3.0

Our first pictures of the card show it in a most typical EVGA fashion with little glitz and glamour. The ACX 3.0 Heatsink shroud is black with a couple of badges in the middle between the fans with EVGA on the top and Geforce GTX 1060 on the bottom. It should fit quietly into any build. The back of the card shows that it does not come with a backplate. Can’t say I miss it, but I have to say I expected it on the card. It seems like the cooling plate under the cooler does a good job for any additional rigidity, but I like the look of one.

All three heatpipes are ‘internal’ in that you are unable to see them without taking the heatsink off, or looking closely through the fans.

EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ ACX

EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ ACX

Back

Back

Bottom's Up

Bottom’s Up

Top Down

Top Down

Side

Side

 

A Closer Look

Looking more closely at the card, we will start off with looking at its output. We can see a DL DVI-D connector up top, while there are a total of 3x DisplayPorts (v1.4), and 1x HDMI (v2.0b). You can use up to four monitors with this configuration supporting up to 8K (7680×4320) at 60 Hz.

Power delivered to the card is handled by a single 8-Pin PCIe power connector. The rest comes through the PCIe slot on this 150W TPD card. There is plenty of headroom power wise to push these cards.

Outputs - 1x DL DVI-D, 3x DisplayPorts, 1x HDMI

Outputs – 1x DL DVI-D, 3x DisplayPorts, 1x HDMI

8-Pin PCIe Power Connection Required

8-Pin PCIe Power Connection Required

Taking off the ACX 3.0 heatsink reveals the cooling plate covering the memory and VRM area keeping things cool there. Removing it exposes the board and the upgraded PCB and power bits sporting 6 phases for the GPU. The bottom of the heatsink shows contact on the core is made with a copper heatplate which transfers its heatload to three large, flat heatpipes which then make their way through the medium density fin array. From the looks of it, it should keep the card cool and quiet with ease.

Card No Heatsink Showing Cooling Plate for Memory and VRMs

Card No Heatsink Showing Cooling Plate for Memory and VRMs

Card Without Cooling Plate

Card Without Cooling Plate

Heatsink Base - 3 Flat Copper Pipes

Heatsink Base – 3 Flat Copper Pipes

Cooling Plate Base

Cooling Plate Base

Zooming in even further you see a closeup of the power delivery area. Again we see a total of 6 phases here which is enough to deliver a lot of clean power to the GPU. Next up is the Samsung Memory IC (K4G80325FB-HC25) rated at 8000MHz at 1.5V, followed by the GP106 core used in the GTX 1060.

Power Delivery - 6 Phases

Power Delivery – 6 Phases

Samsung Memory

Samsung Memory

Pascal GP106 Core

Pascal GP106 Core

Monitoring/Overclocking Software – EVGA Precision XOC

EVGA also has their own monitoring and overclocking software, EVGA Precision. A new version, EVGA Precision XOC is out supporting the latest Pascal graphics card (as well as older models). The display is easy to read and also easy to use. You can set up manual fan profiles, or adjust manually period. Precision XOC also has an OSD component so you can have the important information on screen during your gaming endeavors. Of course, a tool named XOC (Extreme Overclock) has to be able to overclock and it certainly does. All in all another solid monitoring and overclock tool. I didn’t have any problems working with the software.

EVGA Precision XOC

EVGA Precision XOC

Test System

GPU Test System
CPU Intel 6700K @ Stock (for the motherboard – 4.2 GHz)
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme
RAM 2×4 GB DDR4 GSkill Ripjaws4 @ 3000 MHz 15-15-15-35 2T 1.35 V
Graphics Card EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ Gaming ACX 3.0
Stock : Core: 1632 MHz (Actual Boost 2000 MHz) / 8004 MHz Memory
Overclocked: 1721 MHz (Actual Boost 2088 MHz) / 8820 MHz
Solid State Drive OCZ RD400 (512GB)
Power Supply SeaSonic SS-1000XP (80+ Platinum)
Operating System Windows 10 x64 (Fully Updated)
Graphics Drivers 372.90
Other Equipment
Digital Multimeter, Kill-A-Watt

Other cards used for comparison are as follows (links are to their reviews):

Benchmarking Method/Settings

Note all testing below uses 1920×1080 screen resolution (settings also carry over to 2560 x 1440 and Surround/Eyefinity testing if applicable).

All Synthetic benchmarks were at their default settings, with game benchmarks at noted settings:

  • 3DMark Fire Strike – Extreme, default setting.
  • 3DMark Time Spy – Default
  • Unigine Valley Benchmark v1.0 – 1080p, DX11, Ultra Quality, 8x AA, Full Screen
  • Unigine Heaven (HWbot) – Extreme setting
  • Crysis 3 – Very High settings with 8xMSAA/16xAF (2nd level when you procure and use the Crossbow to get across the level and kill the Helicopter)
  • Metro:LL – DX11, Very High, 16xAF, Motion Blur – Normal, SSAA Enabled, DX11 Tessellation – Very High, Advanced PhysX – Disabled, Scene D6
  • Dirt: Rally – 1080p, 8x MSAA, everything on Ultra that can be, enable Advanced Blending
  • Grand Theft Auto V – 1080p, high settings (see article below for details).
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – 1080p, everything Ultra that can be (Lighting quality High), FXAA and Camera + Object Blur, DOF/OIT/Tessellation enabled.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – 1080p, SSAA 4X, VSync Off, DirectX 12 On, Very High Preset
  • The Division – 1080p, Ultra Preset, VSync Off
  • Far Cry: Primal – 1080p, Ultra Preset, VSync Off
  • Ashes of the Singularity – 1080p, DX12, Crazy Preset

More details found in our article: Overclockers.com GPU Testing Procedures

Synthetic Benchmarks

Getting into the benchmarking/synthetic performance of the EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+, we see it fits right in with the other GTX 1060’s we reviewed in the past scoring 6,009 in Fire Strike Extreme. The card’s ‘eventually stable’ (what it settles on in my environment) boost rests at 2000 MHz which is inline with or a boost bin below, hence the meager difference we see between the cards. The RX 480 comes in several percent behind here. In the latest and greatest from Futurmark, 3DMark Time Spy, the EVGA 1060 FTW+ scored 4,318, while splitting the small difference between the other two 1060’s. The 480 makes a comeback here and is less than a percentage point behind surprisingly.

3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) and 3DMark Time Spy

3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) and 3DMark Time Spy

Moving forward to our other synthetic benchmarks, The EVGA 1060 FTW+ scores 2,831 in Unigine Valley, again a mere single percent behind the other cards (which I would call a statistical tie). The RX 480 falls considerably behind here by 20%. In the older Unigine Heaven, it scored 3,685.8, again falling negligibly behind the other two 1060’s.

Unigine Valley and Unigine Heaven (Hwbot version - Extreme)

Unigine Valley and Unigine Heaven (Hwbot version – Extreme)

Gaming Benchmarks

Moving on to our gaming suite, Crysis 3 starts off fairly playable for our settings, 39.4 FPS. This beats out the other 1060 by 1 FPS and matches the second exactly. In Dirt: Rally, the FTW+ manages 59.7 FPS which is less than a FPS behind the Gigabyte 1060, but beats out the MSI 1060 by over 2 FPS. Last up for this graph, Metro: Last Light. In this benchmark it reaches an average of 56 FPS which is right in line with the other 1060’s.

Crysis 3, Dirt: Rally, and Metro: Last Light

Crysis 3, Dirt: Rally, and Metro: Last Light

In our next grouping of games, we start out with Far Cry: Primal. In this game the EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ ACX hits 61 FPS, 1 FPS behind the other 1060s. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is next. In this title, we see well over 80 FPS coming in at 85.1 FPS. Last but not least, GTA V is plenty playable as well hitting an average of 84.1 FPS across the five benchmarking sub-tests.

Far Cry: Primal, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and GTA V

Far Cry: Primal, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and GTA V

In our last graph, we start out with Rise of the Tomb Raider where the 1060 FTW+ averages 39.8 FPS. This matched my 1060, but for some reason the results from the other review are way out of whack. Moving on to Tom Clancy’s The Division, the FTW+ averages 62 FPS. Finally, in Ashes of the Singularity, the EVGA 1060 FTW+ averages 40.1 FPS at our settings. Overall an expected and solid showing.

Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Division, and Ashes OTS

Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Division, and Ashes OTS

Pushing the Limits

This portion will again be non existent. It seems like what I settle on is close enough to the end of line. Anything else is really just CPU. As mentioned before, these Pascal cards, out of the box, really do not allow much voltage control via software so “pushing” it really isn’t a thing without making changes to increase the voltage going to the card. Knowing this, I try to push my “daily” overclock quite a bit, hence why we are at the end of line. That is a bit disappointing, but NVIDIA seems to have their hands tied for a couple of generations now. Keep an eye out on the forums for ways around these limits!

Temperatures and Power Consumption

Temperatures in our testing held pretty low peaking at 66 °C. At this temperature, the fans have started spinning of course (they ramp up around 60 °C as well), but are dead silent at this fan speed. The ACX 3.0 Cooler really does a great job of keeping temperatures low and noise levels down as we speculated earlier.Cranking the fans up surely made them audible, but nothing annoying. Since they use low power fans (and we barely have any voltage control in any Pascal card it seems), you really don’t have to worry about cranking the fans up here to keep the card cool while benchmarking.

Temperatures

Temperatures

As far as power consumption, it is right in the ballpark of the other two cards reaching a peak of 244W while overclocked in Fire Strike Extreme. The highest value I read while at stock speeds came in Unigine Valley, 234W. Remember folks, this reading is the entire system at the WALL. So actual peak power use is in the area of 260W. Amazing!

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

Conclusion

EVGA has taken a very good reference card from NVIDIA and has made it even better. Replacing the effective, yet noisey reference cooler and replacing it with the ACX 3.0 cooling solution, yielded good temperatures while under load and did so while being quiet. They took the reference 3 phase based PCB, double it to 6 phases, and used better MOSFETs, chokes, etc. so it can more readily support overclocking. If only we had the ability to give these cards a significant amount more voltage, we would really be off to the races.

Pricing on the EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ ACX 3.0 video card comes in at $319.99 at Newegg.com. This make it the most expensive GTX 1060 at and sold by Newegg.com (there is another there for $399 but it is a 3rd party seller) by $10 (ASUS Strix VR Ready and OC Editions $309.99). What you do get, like the other similarly priced models, is the highest clocked 1060 out of the box. It is also a dual slot cooling solution. In case you have multiple cards in the PCIe slots, this can be helpful to retain the use of all them. What you don’t get, which the ASUS offers for less, is one with two HDMI ports for VR.

Overall the card held boost up there with the best of the GTX 1060’s, while its ACX 3.0 cooler kept temperatures well under control with plenty of headroom to spare. It also did so very quietly under gaming situations. The more robust PCB and 6 phase power delivery helps to keep the GP106 core fed with nice clean voltage allowing for those stable overclocks. I’d personally like to see the card priced a bit less, but for what you get for the cost, the highest clocked GTX 1060, it will fetch a premium.

Click here to find out what this means.

Click here to find out what this means.

– Joe Shields (Earthdog)

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