When purchasing your first gaming laptop, choosing a graphics card can be a little confusing if all you have to go on are names changing in 10-digit intervals. Sure, bigger might be better, but is it worth the extra hundreds of dollars you'll spend?
A Tom's Guide forum user in this very situation came to us, comparing the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q against the GTX 1070 Max-Q.
Umair Shariff writes, "I am on the verge of buying the Gigabyte Aero 15X for work/gaming. I don't know if I should get the [GTX] 1060 Max-Q or the [GTX] 1070 Max-Q. I want to be able to play modern titles and keep the laptop for at least four years."
Not to worry, Umair, we're going to break down these two GPU options based on our extensive in-house testing, starting with the GTX 1070 Max-Q (8GB) in the Gigabyte Aero 15X we reviewed in April. We didn't get to test the GTX 1060 Max-Q (6GB) version, so we'll be using the Dell G7 15 as a test comparison. It has the same Intel Core i7-8750H processor and 16GB of RAM, the only difference being its GPU.
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The GTX 1060 and 1070 versions of the Aero 15X currently sell for $1,849 and $2,149, respectively, on Newegg.
On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark at Very High settings on 1080p, the GTX 1070 hit 57 frames per second, whereas the GTX 1060 got a much lower 35 fps. There was a similar gap on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), as the GTX 1070 averaged 86 fps while the GTX 1060 produced 63 fps.
Even the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (Very High, 1080p) kept an approximate 20-frame gap like the others, with the GTX 1070 running the game at 65 fps and the GTX 1060 getting 45 fps. The gap disappeared during the Middle-earth: Shadow of War benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), as the GTX 1070 hit 70 fps while the GTX 1060 was right behind, it at 67 fps.
On the SteamVR performance test, the GTX 1070 nailed a solid 10 out of 11, which means this card can easily tear up any VR game you throw at it. The GTX 1060 hit a measly 6.3, so don't expect VR to run nearly as smooth on it.
Overall, the benchmarks are clear. We can't exactly say how the GTX 1060 version of the Aero 15X will do, but the gap between these two systems gives you a good idea of where each GPU stands.
You can play high-end games with a GTX 1060, but it's hard to say if this chip will be able to keep up with games in four years' time. The extra $300 may very well be worth it for a system that can consistently play games at well above a playable 30 fps. We hope this helps — let us know which you decide to go with!
Credit: Laptop Mag