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Nvidia might play AMD’s game with new, low-memory GTX 1060 graphics card

The GTX 1060 is a powerful graphics card — more powerful in fact than most of AMD’s new RX series. That isn’t stopping AMD from offering some serious competition, however, which may spurring Nvidia to consider a 3GB version of its GTX 1060, to fill in a gap in its pricing.

The problem with Nvidia hardware is that it’s almost invariably more expensive than its AMD counterparts. That’s not an issue when it comes to being the undisputed king of performance, but when the average gamer is unable to spend upward of a couple of hundred dollars on a graphics card, that can really affect sales numbers.

So with AMD gunning hard for cost-cutting and efficiency improvements with this generation rather than competing head-to-head on power, Nvidia may well need to do something to maintain a strong footing in the entry level, midrange market. While we don’t know for sure if it is working on a reduced memory, reduced CUDA core graphics card, the evidence is reasonably strong.

Related: Leak suggests mobile version of Nvidia’s GTX 1070 and 1060 won’t differ much from the desktop

For starters, AMD is doing very well in that sub-GTX 1060 market. That gives Nvidia a motive, but it’s a claimed picture taken of a Nvidia slide during a press briefing from Chinese site IT House (via TechReport) that really makes this rumor hot. It seems to show a Nvidia slide detailing a GTX 1060 with just 3GB of GDDR5x (instead of 6GB) and only 1,152 CUDA cores (rather than the usual 1,280).

We’re told that the listed specifications were otherwise identical, so this likely wouldn’t impact performance too severely. It would likely be games with big memory draws that use high-resolution textures where the little 1060 could run into issues.

There’s no word on pricing or release date since this is all rumor and conjecture at this point, but it’s fun to speculate. Considering the reference GTX 1060 often comes in at around the $250 price point, perhaps we could see this one hit $200. If it beats out the RX 480 at that price, we could have a real fight on our hands.