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Does the VRAM difference matter? Not particularly, especially at 1080p where VRAM is not such a big deal. In fact, we see that the faster clocks of the 1060 really help make it excel at Full HD resolutions. Does that mean that the RX 580 pulls away as we move up in resolution?
The gap at 1080p in terms of framerate is about the same as it is at 1440p, around 2-3 fps faster for the 1060. It is almost universal in games that operate in DirectX11, the 1060 pulls just ahead of the RX 580.
At 1080p on ultra-quality the GTX 1060 reaches lofty heights of 170fps, whilst the RX580 blows it out the water with 193fps. This is also a testament to how well put together the Vulkan API is.
Things like MSAA will be a bit too much for these cards. Higher resolutions than 1080 also see the lack of VRAM become a problem. If you have no intention of leaving 1080p, these cheaper alternatives are a great option to have. This shows that in the future the RX 580 may prove to be a late bloomer in regards to its full potential. GTX 1060 vs RX 580: Which card is most power efficient?
Efficiency is a really big factor nowadays, especially for those looking for a small form factor build. It is well known that NVidia has the market cornered when it comes to the power consumption of their cards, it is really impressive how they manage to keep the power draw so low on such powerful cards.
AMD has been making strides in this aspect and their new RX series of cards are a huge improvement over their power hungry RX 200 and 300 series of cards but they are still quite a way away from matching NVidia. The RX 580 under idle will pull a respectable 75 watts but under load this figure jumps to 344. For comparison, the 1060 manages 61 watts at idle and 281 watts under full load. That kind of difference can be the deciding factor in needing to purchase a more powerful PSU, costing you more money overall.
It is worth noting that depending on which GPU vendor you choose; these figures can be different. In terms of operating temperatures, it gets a little more involved than choosing either AMD or NVidia.
These often come with factory overclocks and coolers that a lot more efficient than their reference cousins. For the 1060 in terms of cooling a lot of the aftermarket coolers are equal in performance.
It even comes with a zero RPM feature that turns off the fan when the GPU is running at a low enough temperature, a great feature for those where noise is a big factor. It comes with a three-fan design and for those that care, full RGB lighting.
Similarly, for the RX 580 the ASUS ROG Strix is a great choice for those that want to get the most out of their card, with essentially the same heatsink that is present on the 1060 version. Do you value efficiency more than anything else? Then the 1060 is really a no brainer, the RX 580 is a bit lacking in that aspect.
When it comes to raw performance, the 1060 may initially sound better on paper but as more games move from the outdated DX11 to the new DX12 API the RX 580 really pulls ahead. The resolution in which you game at is a big factor as well, the general rule of thumb is that the higher you go, the more VRAM is needed.
The 8GB of the RX 580 is sure to future proof somewhat. The 6GB of the 1060 seems to be a bit on the low side considering where we are going with the way HBM2 will be really cranking the VRAM totals up due to the memory stacking approach.
Now, it is unknown as to whether the Vega series will tailor to this market segment but if you can wait, Vega may prove to be a good choice. If it turns out to be geared fully towards the high end, it should at least go someway to pushing down the prices of the cards in the mid range. Considering that the prices for both of these cards are around the same ballpark it really depends on your use case for the GPU itself.