Building a gaming PC doesn’t have to be a complete extravagance, but at the same time, the graphics card is always going to be the component that costs you the most money. This is why a lot of people still prefer to pick up an older card, and the GTX 1060 is a perfect example.
The GTX 1060 can’t run every modern game, but there are plenty that it can manage fine. It’s not good enough for 4K gaming, but in 1080p HD it’ll be able to handle some titles like Death Stranding, although some more demanding games (Cyberpunk 2077 and Microsoft Flight Sim) will still struggle (source).
So, depending on the games you want to play, the GTX 1060 could be the perfect budget solution for your PC, but how much power does it consume and what power supply do you need? Let’s take a look.
How Many Watts Does A GTX 1060 Use?
The GTX 1060 is considered a low-power graphics card. When being used for gaming or rendering animations, it uses 114 watts of power – less than a third of some of the most powerful graphics cards that you can buy.
And while yes it won’t do as good a job as those cards, it still packs enough of a punch to run most of the latest games, even if you will need to turn the settings down a little.
The card uses just 8 watts of power when it’s idle, which only increases to 9 watts if you add a second monitor (provided it’s on the same resolution as the first, otherwise the graphics card will need to work harder). And if you use the graphics card to watch videos, it’ll only use 10 watts, which is very low.
There will be times when the graphics card spikes – when it draws more power than its usual maximum. This won’t happen for long, but this is why you always buy a power supply with enough headway to cope with spikes from the components. More on that below. The GTX 1060 has been recorded at having spikes up to 136 watts (source).
How Many Watts Does A GTX 1060 Use Per Hour?
A GTX 1060 graphics card will use around 114 watt-hours per hour, which is the same as 0.11 kilowatt-hours. This means that, for every hour you use the graphics card, it will cost an average of just 1.5 cents.
This obviously depends on the cost of electricity where you live, with that value based on the typical cost of $0.14 per kilowatt-hour. The average time that people use a gaming PC for games every week is 8.5 hours, so over the course of a week, the card will only use 12 cents of power, which is just $6.24 per year.
That is just the graphics card though, and really you’ll want to know how much power your whole PC is using when calculating the cost of electricity. As a guide, a graphics card normally makes up around 40-50% of the total power draw of your PC, so a typical build with a GTX 1060 would likely cost around $12.50 to run for a year.
Read more: How Many Watts Does A Gaming PC Use?
What Power Supply Do I Need For A GTX 1060?
As a minimum, you should aim for a power supply with a 350- or 400-watt capacity. It’s possible to run a GTX 1060 on a high-end 300-watt power supply but you’ll be limited in your choice of processor and motherboard.
A good rule of thumb when deciding which power supply to buy is to add up the expected maximum wattage of your PC’s components and then add an extra 20%. This gives you some extra capacity to cope with any spikes in the power – that way, if there is a surge, it shouldn’t overload your PSU and shorten its lifespan.
Then there’s the question of efficiency. You’ll want a power supply that’s rated 80+ or better – this means that, at most, it only draws an extra 20% of power than the PC needs to run. The more efficient a power supply is, the less extra power it draws from the mains.
80+ Gold PSUs are even more efficient but you won’t really find these in power supplies that are 300-400 watts.
Read more: Power Supply Ratings Explained
If you want a more efficient power supply that wastes less electricity, you might need to spend more upfront for a 500-watt or better power supply. They’re also easier to find anyway – power supplies with 450 watts and lower are becoming rarer.
The Best Power Supply For A GTX 1060
If you’re planning on running a PC with a GTX 1060, you’re likely on a tight budget. So you need to decide whether to prioritize the upfront cost of an 80+ Gold power supply, or save the money when buying but pay more to run it over time.
This Thermaltake Smart Series 550W PSU is an 80+ Bronze power supply that has more than enough capacity for any PC with a GTX 1060 graphics card.
While there are more efficient 80+ Gold options available, the low cost of this one makes it a good choice if you’re building a gaming PC as cheaply as possible.
Because it’s low-priced that does mean that it’s non-modular, so all the cables are hardwired – any that you aren’t using will need to be hidden away in the PC case. But it does come with a 5-year warranty for extra peace of mind.
What GTX 1060 Power Cable Do I Need?
The power cable you need for your GTX 1060 will depend on the model. Some only require a single 6-pin connector, while others will use both a 6-pin and an 8-pin (6+2). Make sure your power supply is compatible and has the cables you need for your card.
If your 1060 has two ports but you only have one PCI-e power cable from your power supply, you’ll need to swap the power supply out. You can’t get away with only connecting one wire, it won’t power the card.
GTX 1060 Power FAQs
The GTX 1060 graphics card is really efficient when it comes to power consumption. It outperforms some older cards for performance while using fewer watts. It’s a great entry-level graphics card if you want to play some modern games while keeping power consumption low.
A 300-watt power supply might be enough for a GTX 1060 graphics card depending on the quality, but it’s better to get one with a higher capacity to be sure – 400 watts will easily be enough for a budget gaming PC build with a 1060 installed.
A 550-watt power supply is more than enough for a GTX 1060 graphics card. The graphics card will only use around 114 watts in total, and unless you install it in a super-powered PC with a top-end processor then it won’t get anywhere near the upper limits.