Zotac Nitro VGA Overclocking Controller
Zotac is one of the largest NVIDIA board partners. They are well known for their special edition cards called "AMP Edition" which come at higher clock speed and offer additional features.
Zotac's latest enthusiast gadget is their Nitro Overclocking Controller. It is a USB based device that lets you adjust clock speed and fan settings on the fly without having to quit the game you are currently playing.
Zotac ships their Nitro in a blister pack which can be easily opened and reused. You can get a clear look at what you are purchasing which will certainly help with the buying decision.
Inside the package you will find the Nitro, a stand for your desk, a USB cable, an instruction manual and the software CD.
A Closer Look
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Z...tro1_small.jpg http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Z...tro2_small.jpg http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Z...tro3_small.jpg
Zotac has chosen to go with an orange design that reflect the company's corporate colors. All components are of high build quality, it feels very solid when held in your hands. Even though the pictures might suggest that the orange shell is some soft rubber-like plastic, it is hard in reality.
A VFD display is used inside the Nitro which offers a much better contrast ratio than LCD based displays. On the other hand LCDs are more flexible because they offer a dot matrix, just like your screen. A VFD display has preconfigured segments which can be turned on and off.
A small connector on the side is used to connect the Nitro to your computer. The cable is a standard USB cable which is also used with digital cameras for example. This lets you replace the cable easily in case you break it.
When taken apart, the most prominent features you can see are the VFD screen and the buttons on the front. On the back you find a VFD controller IC which also handles all USB communication.
The software for the Nitro is called "FireStorm" and works without the Nitro too, then it is a normal overclocking utility. Once you attach the Nitro, FireStorm will detect its presence and send output to it.
The options are fairly basic but cover everything you would need to configure.
Whenever the Nitro is idle it will show the main menu. The three text strings at the bottom of the display refer to the action that is executed when the button below it is pressed.
Here you can go to "Set" - which allows changing clocks and fan speed, "Profiles" and to restore the BIOS default clocks of the VGA card.
The profiles management system is fairly basic (mainly because of the limited number of buttons). You can create a new profile which will take your current settings and store them away. By pressing the Next button you will cycle through your saved profiles. The profile's settings will be displayed on the main screen. Once you have the one you want, you just press the apply button and the profile's settings will be applied. Unfortunately naming the profiles is not possible.
Every time you press the Set button, the red arrow will move one step forward. It starts at core clock, goes to memory clock, shader clock and fan speed. Then it starts at core clock again. This is a very intuitive system and easy to use.
Once you are at the desired setting that you want to change, you just press the + or - button to instantly change the setting.
Fan speed can be changed as well. The default is to use the automatic fan speed settings as defined in the BIOS. If you want more cooling performance or a quieter system you can select a fixed fan speed here.
Value and Conclusion
<table width="100%" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" id="result">
<td>Zotac has successfully engineered a unique way to overclock your graphics card. On the other hand most users will be fine by using one of the free VGA overclocking utilities in Windows. The dedicated hardware approach does have its advantages. For example you could change clocks during benchmark runs to optimize the VGA clocks for the benchmark's workloads. Also you can change clocks while gaming without having to quit your game.<br />
Only recently it was discovered that the Zotac software can be forced to run on any NVIDIA card by holding Shift and then clicking the OK button in the "works only on ZOTAC cards" dialog. Still, no go for ATI users. Zotac's Nitro does exactly what it is supposed to, I found it intuitively to use, so even novice users can overclock with it. One of the major advantages is that Zotac gives you full warranty for all overclocking done with the Nitro. I seriously doubt that they can detect if a card was overclocked with the Nitro or Rivatuner for example. So the Nitro could be you $90 overclocking safety net.<br />
At is price of $90 however, this is an expensive gadget that not everybody wants to spend his money on. Still, the Zotac Nitro is certainly a cool toy to have if you can spare the money.
it can work on other cards if you do that bypass that was mentioned on a news article before..
|All times are GMT. The time now is 08:58 PM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.