If I understand your last comment correctly, what you're saying is that if DX12 and Vulkan become more and more of a standard, the 1060 will give me extras the 970 can't, while making the CPU issue much less of an issue - right?
The 1060 doesn't benefit more from DX12/Vulkan then the 970 does (the architecture is mostly unchanged), but since it's newer Nvidia will give it better driver support and has newer things added to it in general. It has a ton of VR optimizations added to it for instances. Making it much faster for that. The 1060 is also more blatantly powerful then the 970 is.
The RX480 on the other hand.. I'll get to that in a minute.
1) which entry level 1060 would you recommend and where would you recommend to buy one (in the States)?
Anything from MSI or XFX. They don't make the best cards, real middle of the road, but their customer support is legendary. In the future if your card failed (under warranty of course) they'd either send you a brand new one, or send you a newer model GPU if the one you bought isn't manufactured anymore.
Where as any other brand would do a 6 month legal battle of them sending you re-furbed "fixed" (but still broken) cards, you sending them back, and the continuation of doing this until your warranty expires and they refuse to continue contact with you after said warranty.
EVGA is somewhat between those two.
Physical store- MicroCenter
Online store for best reliability/price ratio- Newegg
Online store for best support period- Amazon (directly from amazon. Not someone using Amazon as a store front).
Let me start with both cards are near impossible to find in stock anywhere. It'll be another month before you could order one of either easily, or a week or two if you put in a pre-order to auto buy it when they get in stock. You'd have better chance finding them in a physical store if that matters to you.
Which one you choose is more of a personal preference.
Nvidia GTX 1060- 250$
The GTX 1060 is 10%-15% stronger then the RX480, in all but a select few games, at a price of 250$.
It's Nvidia so you get all the Nvidia only features such as Ansel, PhysX, Multi-Projection, ETC
It by default comes with HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI (digital DVI only).
in DX12 and Vulkan it actually gets worse performance then it does in DX11 (if the CPU is strong enough). All driver "improvements" to make it run faster under said APIs, force disables them to run in the older mode.
Nvidia has a sort of "make and forget" approach. Meaning they're quicker to drop support for a card. They'll still officially "support" them, but there'll be a weirdly bigger then normal performance gap between them and the newer stuff then their should be on paper.
AMD RX480 (4GB variant)- 200$
It's architecture is built from the ground up to utilize the new graphics APIs DX12 and Vulkan meaning-
- anything that uses it, will get a huge performance jump letting it outperform the 1060.
- will have better long term support then the 1060.
At the 200$ price point, it's the best price to performance ratio card to date. Making it a must-buy if you want to maximizing money spent on a build.
AMD has their own variants of most of the "Nvidia only" tech.
Their architecture for their cards is more scale-able. Meaning any performance improvements added into drivers for new cards, also works for older cards from 4 years ago without much issue on their end. (better long term support)
Most of their variants of Nvidia tech have to be added in by developers to use it. If a game uses the Nvidia stuff, an AMD can not (though technically possible) be run through a kind of converter to use their variant of said tech.
Its performance is worse then that of the GTX 1060 in DX11 based games.
It has no DVI out video port by default. Only uses HDMI and Display Port.
AMD has a lower market share then Nvidia, and thus less games are optimized for AMD cards then Nvidia cards.
Vulkan/DX12 has only been implemented in a small number of games as of right now. Making the 1060 the better "right now" choice performance wise.
I think I covered all the ups and downs of both. I probably missed some, but I think you get the gist of what they both are. Oh and the AMD brands to get are still MSI and XFX, but with Sapphire instead of EVGA.
Edited by SEANIA, 31 July 2016 - 12:39 PM.