Nvidia 1050 Ti vs 1060 Max-Q – Laptop Graphics Comparison. Should you buy a laptop with Nvidia’s 1050 Ti graphics, or a 1060 with Max-Q? We’re going to benchmark two laptops in a number of games to see the performance differences between them to help you decide if it’s worth paying more money for the 1060. I’ve previously compared the 1050 Ti against the regular 1060 before the Max-Q version was released, and now that we’ve got the Max-Q version of the 1060 which comes in just under the regular 1060 I wanted to see how it fills the gap.
The two laptops that I’m testing here are very close to being the same in terms of specs. Both have an Intel 7700HQ quad core CPU with 16GB of DDR4 memory and use an SSD for the primary hard drive, which is running Windows 10 with all available updates applied. No manual overclocking was performed for any of these tests, and G-Sync was disabled.
The main difference between the two laptops is of course that one is running an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, while the other laptop has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with Max-q design. The specs between these two graphics cards are a bit different, although the 1060 with Max-Q has more cuda cores, it’s got lower base and boost clock speeds compared to the 1050 Ti to help it run cooler and quieter, which is the main point of the Max-Q graphics cards. With that in mind let’s take a look at our benchmarks and find out how each of these cards perform! We’ll cover both real world gaming benchmarks first, then the results of some benchmarking tools.
All games were tested with a 1080p using all available setting presets. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was tested with the latest 1.0 version using the replay feature. The first thing I noticed was that there’s quite a big difference between the two in this game, with the 1% lows of the 1060 with max-q above the averages of the 1050 Ti, and overall the 1060 with max-q is performing 62% better than the 1050 Ti.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was tested using the built in benchmark with Direct X 12 and things change quite a bit, although there’s a nice performance boost it’s nowhere near as big as we saw in PUBG, at around 21% of an improvement. Watchdogs 2 is a fairly resource intensive game, and we can see the difference between the two is even less here, with the 1050 Ti actually performing better at the lower setting levels, possibly due to the higher clock speed and there being less work for it to do. Due to this the overall performance of the 1060 with Max-q is 2% worse than the 1050 Ti, as we’re only getting better performance at very high and ultra.
In the Witcher 3 there’s a much more positive increase in performance from the 1060 with max-q, I wouldn’t mind playing at ultra on it whereas the experience was much more choppy on the 1050 Ti, and on average the max-q 1060 is performing 43% better. Ghost Recon is another resource intensive game, and not something I’d want to play on on the 1050 Ti myself, but the max-q 1060 is giving a nice performance boost and performing around 34% better in this title.
Shadow of War using the built in benchmark showed a fair improvement of 24% with the max-q 1060, allowing us to almost average 60 FPS at high settings, while the 1050 Ti needs medium settings to achieve a similar result. I’ve found Battlefield 1 to run quite well on most hardware, and it’s definitely showing quite a large difference here, with the max-q 1060 performing 77% better at ultra settings in particular, or otherwise 53% better over all setting levels. Doom is another game that usually performs pretty well regardless of graphics power, and usually the frame rate doesn’t change too much between the different setting levels.
Even the 1050 Ti is almost able to average 60 FPS at ultra settings, so realistically either card is going to give an acceptable experience, with the max-q 1060 performing around 24% better here. Finally Ashes of the Singularity is another resource intensive game, and running the built in benchmark in Direct X 11 we’re seeing a 15% boost with the max-q 1060 compared to the 1050 Ti.
Before we get into the benchmarking tools I’ll just quickly note that so far the performance improvement over the games tested is a 30% increase for the max-q 1060 over the 1050 Ti, pretty decent. It really seems to depend on the game, and as expected in general we’re seeing a larger difference at the higher setting levels as the better card is actually able to get put to work. Now onto the benchmarking tools, while a useful indicator note that these results are less practical compared to the real world gaming tests previously shown, as synthetic tests seem to scale better compared to real games with better hardware.
In the Heaven benchmark the difference between the two graphics cards is fairly similar at all setting levels, whereas in Valley benchmark the differences between the two are much closer together regardless of setting level used. I’ve also tested the latest Superposition benchmark from Unigine, and these are the results at the different 1080p levels.
Finally I’ve tested Fire Strike and Time Spy benchmarks from 3DMark, which showed a similar increase. On average from these benchmark tools the max-q 1060 is performing just over 31% better than the 1050 Ti, so not actually that much of a difference compared to the real world gaming results which was interesting, usually the difference is much bigger. As expected the max-q 1060 came out ahead of the 1050 Ti in almost all tests, performing over 30% percent better on average when compared to the 1050 Ti, a pretty noticeable difference, a much bigger jump compared to say the 1050 and 1050 Ti, or 1060 max-q and regular 1060. If you’ve already got a laptop with the 1050 Ti is it worth upgrading to the 1060 with max-q? Although the performance difference is a fair amount, I’d generally say no unless you really need it, as in most cases this would involve buying a new laptop, a fairly expensive process. If you’re looking at buying a new laptop and trying to decide between either of these, then it depends more on the games you’re wanting to play with them.
Personally I play most of the games tested earlier, so I’d lean towards the max-q 1060 for the better experience at higher settings, but if you’re playing less demanding games like Overwatch the 1050 Ti is still a great option for 1080p gaming. I’d be looking at the max-q 1060 if I wanted a cooler and quieter option, and also planned on playing modern AAA games at 1080p with high settings, or just as an option that will increase the lifespan of your laptop it may be worth saving the extra money to get. Otherwise you can save money with the generally cheaper 1050 Ti, which may be perfectly fine depending on what games you’ll actually be playing.
The 1060 with Max-Q should use less power and produce less noise, however as both of the laptops I’ve tested are completely different in terms of overall form factor as they’re from different companies it wouldn’t really be a fair comparison, ideally I’d need two laptops of the same brand and model to do that justice. Regardless, I’m sure people will want to know what I got anyway, so keeping in mind that these results are basically useless as both laptops were from completely different companies with different cooling designs, these are the results.
We can see that the max-q 1060 actually ran a little cooler than the 1050 Ti which was quite interesting considering the 30% performance increase. In terms of sounds under full load the 1050 Ti laptop was 51 decibels while the Max-Q 1060 was slightly quieter at 49 decibels, so it is doing what it’s meant to. I hope that these benchmarks have shown you the real world differences in performance between the Nvidia 1050 Ti and 1060 with max-q laptop graphics cards, and helped you choose between them.
Let me know down in the comments which graphics card you’ll be getting in your next laptop and why, and leave a share if you found the information useful.