The 10 series of NVIDIA graphics cards has been a blast with good mid-range (GTX 1070/1070 TI) and absolutely beast-like high-end models (GTX 1080/1080 TI). The 20 series that has been marketed recently is rather expensive, so most gamers tend to buy models of the previous generation. Even lower-end models of the 10 series – GTX 1060 and GTX 1050 TI – show great results in most modern video games, so it is a good opportunity to save some money while being able to enjoy decent graphics. Today we will compare those low-tier graphics cards and share the results with our readers. If you are about to get a new video card and still cannot make your final decision between GTX 1060 and GTX 1050 TI, this review will surely help you.
Before we start comparing these two cards by NVIDIA, we want to point out that the GTX 1060 card has three versions. One has 3GB of video memory, the other comes with 6GB of VRAM, and the third one is a Chine exclusive with 5GB of VRAM.
How do you plan to use your GPU?
If you want a graphics card for a couple of years but don’t have enough funds for the pricier models such as GTX 1070/1080, then you should definitely go for the GTX 1060 with 6GB of video memory. By the time of writing this article, the price of GTX 1060 on the NVIDIA website was $299. The version with halved VRAM is cheaper – depending on the country or online retailer you can save up to $90.
Also, if you are interested in the VR technology and VR gaming, you should pay extra for the 6GB version of GTX 1060. The GTX 1050 TI is also marketed as “VR-ready,” but they have different specs. In the end, when you end up with a VR helmet on your head, you will be happy you chose the GTX 1060.
However, if you need a temporary solution, for example, if you are waiting for the NVIDIA 30 series or GTX 1080 price drops, then going for the GTX 1050 TI would be smart. Especially, if you look at the price, which starts from $155 and finishes around $200 (depending on the brand: ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, etc.).
Another important note to remember: the GTX 1050 TI model does not need an extra power cable to connect it with your power supply unit. The power coming from the motherboard is enough to keep this model up and running. While the GTX 1060 needs an additional power line. Both these models don’t need a beefy PSU – the younger one consumes only 75 Watts, while the older brother needs 120 Watts. It means that you can save even more money because you don’t need a new PSU for your budget rig.
Tech specs and benchmarks
Here is a table with the main characteristics of the GTX 1050 TI/GTX 1060 (3GB)/GTX 1060 (6GB) models:
As you see, the GTX 1050 TI has a lower memory bandwidth, fewer CUDA cores, and not as good clock speeds as the GTX 1060. The difference will be noticeable is some games, of course, but remember that you are paying less for the GTX 1050 TI. To get a better understanding of these specs differences, you should check benchmarks and in-game test results.
For example, the GTX 1060 with 6GB on RAM pushes around 162 FPS in Counter-Strike Global Offensive on max settings in Full HD (1080p). While in GTA V on max settings in Full HD it is capable of reaching only 61 FPS, which is also enough for comfortable playing. If you switch to the version with 3GBs of VRAM, you will get 157 FPS and 60 FPS on the same settings and at the same resolution. In more graphics-heavy games such as Battlefield 1, the GTX 1060 (6GB) still performs well with an average of 74 FPS on max settings in Full HD. The version with 3GBs of VRAM hits only 55 FPS. This information we got from UserBenchmark.
As for the 1050 TI, in CS: GO it pushes out stable 120 FPS and only 44 FPS in GTA at 1080p on max settings. Interestingly enough, in Battlefield 1 the younger model also averages around 44.5 frames per second. If you compare these results with the GTX 1060 (6GB) benchmarks, you will understand what you are paying for. However, if you compare the 1050 TI/1060 (3GB) benchmarks, you will see that they are almost identical so that the cheaper model would be preferable.
Which GPU should I choose?
The price difference between the GTX 1050 TI and the GTX 1060 with 6GB VRAM is about $140. The latter model offers much better performance, which is the most important thing for gamers and people interested in testing the VR technology. The price tags on 3GB and 6GB were almost identical, but now the gap is much bigger – about $90. At this point, you should pay attention to sales and product availability, really. Since the 3GB version of the GTX 1060 and the GTX 1050 TI are almost equal in real-life tests, the final choice should be between the GTX 1060 6BG and the GTX 1050 TI.
If you are aiming at budget gaming setup, the GTX 1050 TI is enough for decent performance in most modern games. With its price below $200, it is the best choice for a cost-effective build.