Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme 6GB Review 27

Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme 6GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Zotac GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme can be found online for $680.
  • Relatively small price increase over reference design
  • Huge overclock out of the box
  • 18% faster than the GTX 980 Ti reference at 4K
  • Quiet during gaming
  • Memory is also overclocked out of the box
  • Fans turn off in idle and light gaming—no noise!
  • Good temperatures
  • Backplate included
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Higher power draw than comparable cards
  • Triple-slot cooler might not fit into all cases
Zotac's GTX 980 Ti Amp! Extreme is an impressive custom GTX 980 Ti variant, which, unlike many of its direct competitors, is relatively affordable. Zotac has overclocked their card to a base clock of 1253 MHz, which boosts up to 1419 MHz on average. As a result, the card is 18% faster than the GTX 980 Ti reference design at 4K resolution—an impressive score that's only bested by MSI's GTX 980 Ti Lightning with a lower base clock that boosts higher, resulting in higher overall performance as it is around 20% faster than NVIDIA's reference card. Compared to GTX 970 SLI, the Zotac Amp! Extreme delivers the same performance without any of the problems inherent to multi-GPU setups. AMD's R9 Fury X is a staggering 14% behind, and even the Titan X is 11% slower. Zotac has also included a large memory overclock, which definitely boosts performance.

Zotac's new triple-fan, triple-slot thermal solution provides excellent cooling that keeps temperatures low despite the large overclock out of the box, which increases heat output. The cooler also stops its fans in idle and light gaming for the perfect noise-free experience. Under gaming, the cooler is quiet, comparable to other quiet GTX 980 Tis, but it is not nearly as quiet as the cooler on the MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning, which seems to be in a league of its own. Zotac has included a great-looking metal backplate with their card, which scores extra points by wrapping around the PCB for good looks and additional physical protection. Also make sure to check on whether the card will fit into your case as it is huge and requires three slots.

Power consumption of NVIDIA Maxwell cards is great, and Zotac's Amp Extreme Edition is no exception, but it does draw a little bit more power than other GTX 980 Ti cards. It requires around 20W in idle, which is nearly twice that of the reference design. Some of its added power draw while gaming can be attributed to the higher clocks, but with 268 W typical gaming power consumption, it definitely needs more juice than other custom designs as those usually sit at around 230-240 W. My guess is that Zotac's modified VRM circuitry is not as efficient as those on other cards. However, relatively speaking, the differences are not big enough to strike this card from your shopping list.

The best argument for Zotac's GTX 980 Ti Amp! Extreme is definitely its price. With just $680, it is much cheaper than such competing cards as MSI's Lightning, which is better at everything, but requires you to cough up $780, or the ASUS Matrix, which will also clock in at more than $750. The AMP! Extreme is obviously cheaper than NVIDIA's $1000 Titan X, and beats it in every metric. When looking at performance-per-dollar, Zotac's card is an excellent deal compared to the reference design GTX 980 Ti, its price increase of 10% more than justified as it is 18% faster, and you get a better cooler to boot. GTX 970 SLI is another great option. It's only $580, just as fast, but noisier and requires optimum game support, which NVIDIA usually delivers on before a game's release.
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