The Retro Series – the RX 580 8GB vs. the GTX 980 4GB vs. the GTX 1060 6GB

It’s been over two years since BTR last compared the RX 480 8GB versus the GTX 1060 6GB, and versus the GTX 980 4GB. Originally when the GTX 1060 launched, it was slower than the GTX 980, but faster than the RX 480.  However, within a year, the RX 480 almost caught up to the GTX 1060 in performance.  Since then AMD has re-released the RX 480 with slightly faster clocks as the RX 580, and it has surpassed the GTX 1060 overall in performance.  But what about today?

For this retro evaluation, we are going to test our Gigabyte RX 480 8GB G1 Gaming Edition, now overclocked to stock RX 580 speeds, against our EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC edition downclocked to stock Founders Editions speeds, and against our Founders Edition of the GTX 980 4GB to see if anything has changed.  Since the RX 480 and the RX 580 are identical cards except for their core speeds, for simplicity’s sake we will refer to our overclocked Gigabyte RX 480 as “RX 580”.

The GTX 1060 6GB and the RX 480/580 have been natural competitors in the same price range since the GTX 1060 launched.  This evaluation will revisit some games from our last showdown together with many newer ones, and we will compare them using the very latest drivers from AMD and from NVIDIA.  We are also going to see if NVIDIA has been neglecting the Maxwell GTX 980 in favor of Pascal or not.

Our game benchmark suite has evolved over the past two years as we always update our games to include the latest and most popular titles including The Crew 2 and Far Cry 5.  Since then, we have also upgraded from an i7-6700K to i7-8700K at 4.7 GHz, but we found almost no performance difference between the two platforms.

We want to see how these competing GPUs stand now in relation to each other by benchmarking the latest games with updated drivers using the most demanding settings at 2560×1440 and at 1920×1080 resolutions.

It will be interesting to see how the GTX 980 performs playing the latest games with its 4GB of vRAM compared with the GTX 1060’s 6GB and the RX 580’s 8GB.  So let’s check out these cards’ performance after we look over our test configuration on the next page.