ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP Extreme Review 9

ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP Extreme Review

(9 User Comments) »

Value and Conclusion

  • According to Zotac, their RTX 2080 Super AMP Extreme will retail for €829 including VAT, which we converted to $780 excluding taxes.
  • Solid performance increase over the original RTX 2080
  • Fastest memory ever seen on a graphics card—15.5 Gbps
  • RTX Technology
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Idle fan stop
  • Power limit increased
  • No price increase over existing RTX 2080
  • Backplate included
  • Highly energy efficient
  • DLSS could lift the card to 4K 60 FPS performance
  • Game bundle includes both Control and Wolfenstein: Youngblood
  • SLI support
  • VESA Adaptive-Sync, HDMI 2.0b, USB-C, DisplayPort 1.4, 8K support
  • High price
  • Could be quieter/cooler
  • Only small performance gain over Founders Edition
  • Memory not overclocked
Today, NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080 Super is available in both the Founders Edition and custom design variants. While it seems surprising at first that NVIDIA is releasing a new model for a market segment they have zero competition in, it makes sense if you take a closer look at their product stack. In order to counter AMD's Navi-based Radeon RX 5700 Series, NVIDIA released the "Super" refresh of Turing, which offers faster variants of the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070. Unlike the original RTX 2070, the RTX 2070 Super is based on the TU104 graphics processor, which is the same chip that powers the RTX 2080 lineup. This jump in performance shrunk the gap between the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080, which makes the original RTX 2080 less attractive to potential buyers, especially at its current price point. That's why NVIDIA is giving the RTX 2080 the +1 treatment, too. The RTX 2080 Super is based on the same TU104 GPU that powers the RTX 2080, but uses all shaders available in the silicon. NVIDIA is also bumping their memory clocks up to 15.5 Gbps, which helps with performance, too.

Zotac's RTX 2080 Super AMP Extreme comes with a large overclock out of the box, to a rated boost clock of 1875 MHz, which is 60 MHz higher than the Founders Edition. Overall, when averaged over our benchmarks at 4K resolution, this results in only a 2% performance improvement over the NVIDIA reference—not a lot. The RTX 2080 AMP Extreme is 10% faster than the original RTX 2080, which widens the gap to the RTX 2070 Super to 19%, restoring the balance in this market segment. NVIDIA's flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti, is 15% faster than the RTX 2080 Super. AMD's fastest, the now end-of-life Radeon VII, is 17% behind, and the new Navi-based RX 5700 XT is 26% slower—not even close. Performance numbers of the RTX 2080 Super are good; the higher FPS rates definitely help improve the gaming experience at 4K. While not a 4K60 max details card, it is good enough for solid 4K gaming with decent frame rates if you are willing to sacrifice some details settings (depending on the game). Its high performance will also help gamers looking to drive a high-refresh-rate monitor beyond 60 Hz on 1440p at the highest details.

Zotac is reusing the PCB and cooler design of their RTX 2080 AMP Extreme, which is a perfectly fine choice. What really stands out here is the massively overbuilt VRM that's now 16+4 phase—stronger than many RTX 2080 Ti cards even. The thermal solution is also bigger than the Founders Edition, using a triple-slot, triple-fan design. Unfortunately, both temperatures and noise levels are increased over the Founders Edition, which is surprising. It probably has to do with the power limit increase and the peculiarities of the cooler itself. With 37 dBA, the AMP Extreme is 1 dBA noisier than the Founders Edition, nothing you'd ever notice. Other custom board designs are doing better here. The MSI Gaming X Trio, for example, ends up significantly quieter with 32 dBA, and runs much cooler at the same time. A definitive win over the Founders Edition is the inclusion of idle fan stop, which completely shuts off the card's fans in idle, desktop work, and light gaming for the perfect noise-free experience.

Just like on all other Turing cards, power efficiency of RTX 2080 Super is excellent. Zotac did increase its card's power limit to 280 W, which is a 30 W increase over the Founders Edition. This ensures that the card won't run into its power limiter during overclocking, making your life much easier because you can dial in exactly the clocks you want. Our manual overclocking tests show good results, leading to a 7.5% real-life performance improvement—more than expected. Especially the Samsung 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory chips overclock extremely well, reaching 2255 MHz in frequency (18 Gbps). Wondering why NVIDIA chose to clock their card at 15.5 Gbps even though the memory chips themselves are guaranteed to run at 16 Gbps, I reached out to them and was told that "this is related to the PCB design of the original 2080 board. On the 2080 Super we reach max stability at 15.5, while leaving some OC headroom".

Like all other NVIDIA RTX cards, the RTX 2080 Super includes support for raytracing hardware acceleration. With only a few titles so far, I'm not sure if it's the most important technology to have today, but I am convinced that with their close ties to developers NVIDIA will do everything they can to push this technology forward, which ultimately will result in an improvement of fidelity in games. Console makers Sony and Microsoft are also working on raytracing for their next-gen hardware, which will definitely help adoption rates, too. The RTX 2080 Super has additional RT cores and higher performance overall, which will help cushion the performance hit from raytracing.

Priced at $780, the Zotac RTX 2080 Super AMP Extreme is $80 more expensive than the Founders Edition, which will be a tough sell, especially considering the small performance gain out of the box. The lack of improved noise and temperatures over the Founders Edition won't help, either. However, I can see the card being popular with overclockers because it has an incredibly strong VRM, and to this crowd, heat and noise don't matter much. What could be an interesting alternative is the original RTX 2080, which will go end-of-life very soon. I'd expect to see significant rebates on that card, and it's not that much slower than the RTX 2080 Super, especially when you pick the highly overclocked custom designs. On the other hand, NVIDIA gives you a two-game bundle with all RTX Super cards consisting of Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Control, which will offset the cost, too.
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