Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming vs Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB Review and Benchmarks

 

1. Introduction

            Green team’s latest Pascal based medium range GPU GTX 1060 is being praised forits best performance/price ratio. As of today, GTX 1060’s 3 GB variant costs around $200 as does the GTX 970. Nvidia’s last generation Maxwell based medium high range GPU, GTX 970 was crowned best GPU in its early release time for its best performance/price ratio.

            Things got interesting when the GTX 970 prices dropped down after the release of GTX 1060. As both of the GPUs variants,Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gamingand ZotacGTX 1060 Mini 3GBcost almost same; it is time to test both GPUs gaming power and see if the old king is still worth purchasing for gaming as the new king.

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For the performance comparison, we have a Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB and a Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming.

 

1.1. Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB:

Here is how Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB box looks like from the outside

The box looks great from outside. Let’s take a peek inside the box and find out what’s inside it,

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This is what you get inside the box. Inner GPU framing box build quality looks very cheap. It looks like low quality material is used to make inner GPU framing box. It is hard and rough which is not that much suitable for GPU. Inside the box with GPU comes a quick guide book for the installation of the GPU in few different languages.

            The GPU looks very decent though;this GPU takes dual PCI-E slots space in the case and it contains 3 display ports, 1 HDMI 2.0 port and 1 DVI-D (Dual Link) port for output. Ports are not gold plated and there is no cover for the ports if they are not in use.

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As, it is a mini version of GTX 1060 it doesn’t support SLI, it comes with only one fan for air cooling and it requires one 6-pin PCI-E power cable connector as it draws only 120W max power at 100% GPU usage. This GPU looks decent enough to be considered worthy of being in your arsenal but it doesn’t look premium at all as it doesn’t have any kind of GPU back plate as well.

 

 

1.2. Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming:

            Here is how Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming box looks like from outside,

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            Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming box also looksgreat from the outside. Let’s check what is inside the box and see if this GPU disappoints us as well in delivering premium feel like the Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB or not.

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            Inside the box, along with GPU there are 2 molex to PCI-E power cable connector convertors one of them is molex to 6-pin PCI-E and other one is molex to 8-pin PCI-E. The box also contains a quick guide book for the installation of the GPU in few different languages and a Gigabyte DVD Disc for GPU Nvidia Drivers and OC Guru II.

            The GPU itself looks amazing and huge! It is longer than a foot. It’s very lengthy size of course prevents it to be installed into the smaller cases but man it looks premium and its nothing like its rival GPU. Due to its length and size it has many perks at its side also, such as it supports SLI, it has 3 stylish fans for air cooling, it requires one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-E power cable connectors and draws 148W max power at 100% GPU usage. More power requirements than the base GPU, give it more headroom for overclocking as well.

It takes dual PCI-E slots space to fit into the case. It contains 3 display ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, one DVI-D (Dual Link) port and a DVI-I (Dual Link) port. The ports are gold plated and covers are available to cover up ports when not in use to avoid rusting and dusting into the GPU ports.

It has a stylish metallic back plate and RGB LED light on Windforce logo on the GPU. Light on Windforce turns on when the system boots up and as it is RGB LED light, light color is changeable and can be picked up from 16.7M colors formed by RGB. Light can be set into different patterns as well to match case colors and other customizations of the system. Overall, this GPU looks premium and feels premium from every aspect.

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2. Specifications

System Specifications

Motherboard: Intel® Desktop Board DX58SO

CPU: Intel Xeon W3690 Hexa Core (@ 3.46 GHzupto 3.73 GHz)

Ram: Samsung 12 GB DDR3 (@ 1333 MHz) ECC Memory

SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 250 GB

HDD: Seagate 3TB Sata 3 (ST3000DM001)

GPU1: Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming(@ Stock)

GPU2: Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3 GB (@ Stock)

Driver: NvidiaGeforce Drivers 373.06

 

 

 

GPU Specifications

 

ZotacGTX 1060 Mini 3 GB

Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming

Architecture

GP106

GM204

Process Size (nm)

16

28

Transistors (billion)

4.4

5.2

Die Size (mm^2)

200

398

SMMs

10

13

CUDA Cores

1280

1664

Base Clock (MHz)

1506

1178

Boost Clock (MHz)

1708

1329

VRAM Speed (MT/s)

8008

7012

VRAM (GB)

3

4 (3.5)

Bus Width (bit)

192

256

ROPs

48

56

Pixel Rate (GP/s)

72.3

66.0

TMUs

72

104

Textures Rate (GT/s)

108.4

122.5

TFLOPS (boost)

4370

3920

Bandwidth (GB/s)

192.2

224.4

DirectX

12.0

12.0

OpenGL

4.5

4.5

OpenCL

1.2

1.2

CUDA

6.1

5.2

Shader Model

5.0

5.0

TDP (watts)

120

148

Launch Date

Aug 18th, 2016

Sep 19th, 2014

Launch Price

$199

$359

Current Price

$199

$200

 

3. Performance

            To compare performance of Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming against Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3 GB, only games were used and all games were tested at 1080p (FHD) resolution. Games used for gameplay comparison and benchmark tests are:

  1. Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX12)
  2. Doom (Vulkan)
  3. Mafia III (DX11)
  4. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (DX11)

 

3.1. Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX12)

Performance of Rise of the Tomb Raider game was tested by using in-game benchmark tool on DirectX 12 for both of the GPUs at thefollowing settings:

Video Option Name

Video Option Status

FULLSCREEN

ON

RESOLUTION

1920 X 1080

VSYNC

OFF

DIRECTX 12

ON

ANTI ALIASING

FXAA

TEXTURE QUALITY

HIGH

ANISOTROPIC FILTER

16X

SHADOW QUALITY

VERY HIGH

SUN SOFT SHADOWS

VERY HIGH

AMBIENT OCCLUSION

HBAO+

DEPTH OF FIELD

VERY HIGH

LEVEL OF DETAILS

VERY HIGH

VOLUMETRIC EFFECTS

HIGH

TESSELATION

ON

SCREEN SPACE REFLECTIONS

ON

SPECULAR REFLECTION QUALITY

VERY HIGH

DYNAMIC FOLIAGE

HIGH

BLOOM

ON

VIGNETTE BLUR

ON

MOTION BLUR

ON

PUREHAIR

VERY HIGH

LENS FLARES

ON

SCREEN EFFECTS

ON

FILM GRAIN

ON

 

Benchmark results for the GTX 970 G1 Gaming are:

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Benchmark results for the GTX 1060 Mini 3 GB are:

 

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The graph shown below yields both GPUs results comparison:

            Minimum and maximum fps delivered by GTX 1060 Mini 3GB were slightly better than its rival but in overall average performance, it got outperformed by GTX 970 G1 Gaming. Even on old architecture and on lower clocks; more texture fill rate and bandwidth of GTX 970 G1 Gaming helped it to outperform GTX 1060 Mini 3GB by 7% (~5 fps) on average.

3.2. Doom (Vulkan)

            Doom performance was tested by gameplay on Vulkan for both of the GPUs. We played first mission on both GPUs to see how they perform in-game aside of their specifications. The in-game settings used for tests are:

Video Option Name

Video Option Status

FULLSCREEN

ON

RESOLUTION

1920 X 1080

VSYNC

OFF

GRAPHIC API

VULKAN

ANTI ALIASING

FXAA

CHROMATIC ABERRATION

ON

RESOLUTION SCALE

100%

TEXTURE QUALITY

ULTRA

ANISOTROPIC FILTER

16X

SHADOW QUALITY

ULTRA

LIGHTS QUALITY

ULTRA

PLAYER SELF SHADOW

ON

DIRECTIONAL OCCULSION QUALITY

HIGH

DECAL QUALITY

ULTRA

REFLECTION QUALITY

ULTRA

PARTICLES QUALITY

ULTRA

COMPUTE SHADERS

ON

DEPTH OF FIELD

ON

DEPTH OF FIELD ANTIALIASING

ON

HDR BLOOM

ON

HDR BLOOM

ON

LENS FLARES

ON

LENS DIRT

ON

MOTION BLUR

ULTRA

RENDERING MODE

GRITTY

 

 

In-game performance results comparison for both of the GPUs are in the chart below:

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            GTX 1060 Mini 3GB performed good enough to deliver 60 fps in doom but not good as 105 fps delivered by GTX 970 G1 Gaming. GTX 970 G1 Gaming delivered 76% (~45 fps) more performance on average than competitor GPU. Higher clocks of GTX 1060 Mini 3GB looks good on paper but doom gameplay tells us another story.

 

3.2. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (DX11)

            Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was tested by gameplay on DirectX 11 for of the both GPUs. The settings for GPU video memory were kept under 3GB, so both GPUs can perform to their full extent. The settings used for testing are:

Video Option Name

Video Option Status

FULLSCREEN

ON

RESOLUTION

1920 X 1080

VSYNC

OFF

GRAPHIC API

DIRECTX 11

ANTI ALIASING

FXAA

ENVIRONMENT QUALITY

VERY HIGH

TEXTURE QUALITY

ULTRA

AMBIENT OCCULSION

HBAO+ ULTRA

SHADOW QUALITY

PCSS

 

 

 

 

The graph below contains the gameplay performance comparison results:

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            Even on DirectX 11, GTX 970 G1 Gaming performed better than GTX 1060 Mini 3GB in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. This time, GTX 970 G1 Gaming was 14% (~7 fps) faster on average than the GTX 1060 Mini 3GB.

 

3.2. Mafia III (DX11)

            Mafia III was tested by gameplay on DirectX 11 for both of the GPUs. The settings used for Mafia III performance tests are:

Video Option Name

Video Option Status

FULLSCREEN

ON

RESOLUTION

1920 X 1080

VSYNC

OFF

GLOBAL QUALITY PRESET

CUSTOM

AMBIENT OCCLUSION

HIGH

MOTION BLUR

ON

GEOMETRY DETAIL

HIGH

SHADOW QUALITY

HIGH

REFLECTION QUALITY

HIGH

VOLUMETRIC EFFECTS

HIGH

ANTIALIASING

HIGH

 

The graph below indicates the comparison results for both of the GPUs on Mafia III (DX11):

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            Mafia III performance comparison tells us no different story, GTX 970 G1 Gaming outperformed GTX 1060 Mini 3 GB again by 11% (~4 fps) on average this time.

 

 

4. Conclusion

          Both GPUs performed very well in all the titles we tested GTX 970 G1 Gaming outperformed GTX 1060 Mini 3 GB in every title by a good margin. May be there are titles on which GTX 1060 Mini 3 GB can outperform GTX 970 G1 Gaming but not in these titles, specially not in Doom, not even by a long shot.

           

Below given are overall performance comparison results for both of the GPUs to help you decide that with which GPU what kind of performance you are expecting and what kind of performance you really are going to get.

The performance of every GPU varies title to title and type of work you are going to perform on it. So, if you want to play these game titles and want a stylish premium GPU with a great overclocking headroom available, my bet is on GTX 970 G1 Gaming; but if you know some titles in which GTX 1060 Mini 3GB performs better plus you want newer architecture, smaller GPU for your small case and more power efficiency than GTX 970 G1 Gamingthen you would be better off with a GTX 1060 Mini 3GB instead.

 

5. Final Thoughts:

Old or new GTX 970 G1 Gaming still performs like a king and outperforms GTX 1060 Mini 3GB in many titles including older and newer ones and is still worth purchasing and being in GPU arsenal of any gamer due to its more texture fill rate, more bandwidth and performance it has to offer, huge overclock headroom is also a plus point if you want to extract every ounce of performance out of this beast.But if you can bear a performance hit of 10-15% in most titles against GTX 970 G1 Gaming or you have limited case space or have smaller power supply to power up your GPU or you know some titles on which it is going to perform better and want a newer architecture for your GPU then GTX 1060 Mini 3GB is the new performance/price king you are looking for to buy and it is easily available in many countries now.

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We can also say that we have 3GB Mini version of GTX 1060, maybe we can achieve much better results with GTX 1060 AMP EXTREME! Edition. Give us comment if you would like other products to be reviewed by us.

So, let us know in the comments below that which GPU you prefer, Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming or Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB?
 

 

6. Where to buy?

You can purchase Zotac GTX 1060 Mini 3GB from PakDukaan in Pakistan: http://www.pakdukaan.com/nvidia-graphics-cards/475-zotac-geforce-gtx-1060-mini-3gb-zt-p10610a-10l.html

 

7. Special Thanks

Special thanks to Asad Javed for lending us Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming for the review and to MUSAWIR for the amazing photography of the GPUs.