MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G Review: Page 4 of 13

Posted by Paul Malfy on Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 8:00am

A Closer Look

The 3gb MSI Gaming X GTX 1060


Aesthetically, the 3gb MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G looks like all the other cards sporting the Twin Frozr VI Cooler. It also has many of the same features as the other cards in the line-up such as the Gaming X 1070. The rear IO consists of a single DVI-D, a single HDMI 2.0 and 3 x Display-port 1.4. Like all other Gaming and Gaming X cards from MSI, they include a back-plate with the MSI Dragon logo and plenty of air holes for ventilation. There are two separate RGB zones that can be controlled using the MSI gaming app. You can download it direct from the MSI website. The MSI Gaming App allows for 16.8 million color combinations and 5 different options for LED effects. These effects include a breathing effect, a flashing effect, double flashing, set it for a random effect or just leave it as a static color. Another cool feature is the ability to set the RGB effect to the beat of music. The MSI Gaming App also allows you to set both the color and effect for each of the separate RGB Zones. The first is on the side of the card, where the MSI Dragon logo is. The second RGB zone is around the fan furthest from the IO.

The IO consists of a DVI-D, HDMI 2.0, and 3 DisplayPort 1.4


This is what the MSI Gaming App looks like when first opened. Here you can switch between the 3 modes, set the RGB profiles and more

The MSI logo is one of the RGB zones on the card.

This is the other RGB Zone. Each zone can be lit separately or synced together

The TORX 2.0 fans have a dual blade design for better airflow and dispersion over the heat sink.

This view shows how dense the fins on the heat sink actually are.

The heat sink has heat pipes up to 8mm thick.

Here you see a full length shot of the GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G

The actual Twin Frozr cooler is made up of a rather large heat sink and two fans. But these aren’t just any fans. The Twin Frozr Cooler is rocking MSI’s Torx 2.0 fans. With its Torx 2.0 fans, the Twin Frozr VI is designed to keep the GPU cool, even under the most stressful gaming sessions. The Torx 2.0 fans are designed to generate 22% more air pressure than traditional fans. This is in part to the Torx 2.0 fans dual blade design. Each fan has two different types of alternation blades. The first is the dispersion fan blade. This blade has a steeper curved blade which increases the rate of airflow. The other type is the traditional fan blade which pushes down the air to the heat sink below it. The double ball bearings in the Torx 2.0 fans allow the Twin Frozr VI cooler to stay near silent, even under load.

The Twin Frozr VI also features MSI’s patented “ZeroFrozr” technology. Introduced in 2008, the ZeroFrozr Technology allows the fans to not spin up until the GPU temperature reached 60°c. So in very light load tasks, the cards fans may never turn on. This keeps the card running near silent much of the time. However, it isn’t just the fans that keep the Twin Frozr VI cooler so cool. Underneath the Torx 2.0 fans lies the main feature in the Twin Frozr Cooler, the actual heat sink. Made up of a series of heat pipes up to 8mm in thickness and forged from sintered copper, connected to a nickel-plated copper cold plate, the Twin Frozr’s heat sink it an excellent heat sink and an engineering masterpiece. This heat sink used advanced aerodynamics to catch more air flow than previous iterations of the cooler. So cool in-fact, that this card never went over 65°c, even during benchmarks. That’s impressive. However, the fans and massive heat sink mean nothing without proper thermal paste. This is why MSI uses only Premium Thermal Compound X, specifically designed for GPUs on all of their Twin Frozr cards.

Here is the cooler removed for the actual custom PCB

The Twin Frozr Cooler has a massive a nickel-plated copper cold plate

Here is a close up of the a nickel-plated copper cold plate

The GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G has a GP106 GPU at the heart of the card.

Although MSI Gaming X GTX1060 looks much like every other MSI GPU with the Twin Frozr VI, there are a few major differences between this and the other Twin Frozr Cards. One of the most noticeable features, or non-features, has to be the lack of SLI fingers. Although the 60 series cards have historically come with SLI support, Nvidia has decided to eliminate SLI support for their mid and lower ranged cards. This does make some sense. It’s a well-known fact that you’re better with one higher-end card over 2 on the lower end. I just wish they gave us the option like in the past. Even with the removal of SLI support, this mid-range cards packs some serious performance. Mostly due to the fact it’s a Pascal GPU. The GTX 1060 has a GeForce Pascal, or GP106 GPU as the heart of this card. Where the 6gb card has 1280 Cuda cores, the 3gb version is slightly cut down at 1152 Cuda cores. Aside from that, the specs are exactly the same. Both cards are sporting GDDR5 memory at 8 Gbps on a 192-bit memory bus. They also have the same base and boot clock speeds on 1506 and 1708. However, the MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G has 3 different modes, each with a different base and boost clock. The base and boost clock in silent mode is the advertised stock speeds of the GTX 1060, 1506 MHz base, 1708 MHz boost and a memory clock of 8008 MHz. Gaming Mode, which is the mode the GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G is shipped in, has a base of 1569 MHz, a boost of 1784 MHz and a Memory clock of 8008 MHz. The last mode, and the mode I used to run all my benchmarks, is the Gaming Mode. Gaming Mode has a base clock of 1594 MHz, a boost of 1809 MHz and a memory clock of 8108 MHz. Like all other Pascal cards, the 1060 is very power efficient at a TDP of only 120 watts. One of the most power efficient cards ever produced and the performance per watt is outstanding. The GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G is on a custom PCB with a 6-phase PWM power delivery powered by a single 8 pin power connector. This PCB is designed with the highest quality Military Class components such as Hi-C CAPS, Super Ferrite Chokes and Japanese Solid Caps. This ensures excellent efficiency, extreme reliability and great overclockability.

The GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G comes equipped with a vent back plate with the MSI Dragon logo on it.

The back plate that comes on the GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G

The rear of the custom PCB with the back plate removed

The custom PCB uses all Military Class components

The GTX 1060 Gaming X 3G comes equipped with an 8-pin power connector


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