Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti AMP 11 GB Review 18

Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti AMP 11 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Zotac RTX 2080 Ti AMP is currently listed for $1,200, which matches the Founders Edition.
  • Faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Same price as the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
  • RTX Technology not gimmicky, brings tangible IQ improvements
  • Deep-learning feature set
  • Low temperatures
  • DLSS an effective new AA method
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Backplate included
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, 8K support
  • High price
  • Small overclock out of the box
  • High fan noise
  • Power limit adjustment range lower than on Founders Edition
  • No Windows 7 support for RTX, requires Windows 10 Fall 2018 Update
  • Bogged down by power limits
  • High multi-monitor power consumption
Zotac's GeForce RTX 2080 Ti AMP comes with a large triple-slot, triple-fan cooler to ensure low temperatures. The PCB seems to be identical to the NVIDIA Founders Edition, which is a very solid design with a good 13+3 phase VRM. With an out-of-the-box overclock of 1665 MHz boost, the RTX 2080 Ti AMP is clocked just 30 MHz higher than the Founders Edition, which is quite meager, especially compared to other RTX 2080 Ti cards we've reviewed so far. Memory isn't overclocked even though the chips could certainly handle it, as our manual overclocking tests show.

Thanks to its out-of-the-box overclock, the Zotac RTX 2080 Ti AMP runs 3% faster when averaged over our test suite at 4K resolution, which isn't a lot, but not any different to what we've seen on other RTX 2080 Ti cards. With those results, the RTX 2080 Ti is the perfect choice for 4K 60 FPS gaming with highest details activated in most titles. The card is also almost twice as fast as the Radeon RX Vega 64—the fastest AMD can offer. Compared to the RTX 2080, the performance uplift is 33%.

NVIDIA only made small changes in their Boost 4.0 algorithm compared to what we saw with Pascal. For example, instead of dropping all the way to base clock when the card reaches its temperature target, there is now a grace zone in which temperatures drop slowly towards the base clock, which is reached when a second temperature cut-off point is hit. With only 65°C, temperatures of the Zotac RTX 2080 Ti AMP are much better than the Founders Edition, and it is the coolest 2080 Ti we have come across thus far, sharing that title with the ASUS RTX 2080 Ti STRIX. Generally, thermal throttling is a complete non-issue on Turing because of the NVIDIA power limit.

Every single Turing card we tested so far will sit in its power limit all the time during gaming. This means the highest boost clocks are never reached during regular gameplay, which is in stark contrast to Pascal, where custom designs were almost always running at peak boost clocks. It simply looks like with Turing, the bottleneck is no longer temperature, but power consumption or, rather, the BIOS-defined limit for it. Manually adjusting the power limit didn't solve the power-throttling problem, but it provided additional performance, making this the easiest way to increase FPS besides manual overclocking. Surprisingly, even though the Zotac card is pretty much identical to the Founders Edition, Zotac has chosen to lower the maximum power limit adjustment range from 320 W to 300 W (default power limit is identical at 260 W). Maybe this is just an oversight, and Zotac will post a BIOS with a higher power limit; other vendors already have.

NVIDIA has once more made significant improvements in power efficiency with their Turing architecture, which has roughly 10%–15% better performance per watt compared to Pascal. Compared to AMD, NVIDIA is now almost twice as power efficient and twice as fast at the same time! The red team has some catching up to do as power, which generates heat, which requires fan noise to get rid of, is now the number one limiting factor in graphics card design. What's also worth mentioning is that multi-monitor power consumption of all Turing cards is extremely high, and it's unknown whether NVIDIA can/will fix that in the future. An issue with single-monitor idle power consumption was addressed promptly though.

As mentioned before, Zotac's large cooler looks good and delivers excellent temperatures. Unfortunately, it is missing the super-popular fan-stop-in-idle feature for a completely silent operation during idle, Internet browsing, and light gaming. While gaming, the cooler does ramp up quite a bit and ends up fairly noisy when compared to other RTX 2080 Ti cards. With 39 dBA, it emits much more noise than other cards we tested before. In return, you get substantially lower temperatures, which of course have no impact other than to look nice in monitoring software. Besides these lower numbers, there is no difference between a card running at 65°C and another running at 75°C—not for overclocking or in any significant way for longevity.

Looking at the OC results, the Zotac card delivered the highest GPU overclock we reached so far with 2145 MHz, which is a good deal higher than the other 2080 Tis we tested before. Maybe, we just won the silicon lottery, or it's because the GPU used is marked as a "qualification sample". Memory overclocking, on the other hand, was fairly low with the card reaching 2000 MHz.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX doesn't just give you more performance in existing games. It introduces RTX cores, which accelerate ray tracing—a rendering technique that can give you realism that's impossible with today's rasterization rendering. At this time, not a single game has RTX support, but the number of titles that will support it is growing by the day. We had the chance to check out a few demos and were impressed by the promise of ray tracing in games. Many studios have already announced support for RTX, but it'll be a long time before ray-tracing hardware becomes mandatory.

The second big novelty of Turing is acceleration for artificial intelligence. While it was at first thought that it won't do much for gamers, the company devised a clever new anti-aliasing algorithm called DLSS (Deep Learning Super-Sampling), which utilizes Turing's artificial intelligence engine. DLSS is designed to achieve quality similar to temporal anti-aliasing and solve some of its shortcomings with a much smaller performance hit. We tested several tech demos for this feature and had difficulty telling the difference between TAA and DLSS in most scenes. The difference only became obvious in cases where TAA fails; for example, when it estimates motion vectors incorrectly. Under the hood, DLSS renders the scene at lower resolution (typically 50%, so 2880x1620 for 4K) and feeds the frame to the tensor cores, which use a predefined deep neural network to enhance that image.

Priced at $1,200, the Zotac RTX 2080 Ti AMP matches NVIDIA Founders Edition pricing, which is great. This is actually the first custom design I've reviewed that achieves that price point. This means that unless you want the pretty looks of the Founders Edition, you're pretty much always better off opting for the Zotac card. The exception being noise levels (both idle-fan stop and gaming noise), which other, more expensive custom designs handle better.
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