Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Ti AMP HoloBlack Review 2

Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Ti AMP HoloBlack Review


Value and Conclusion

  • Zotac hasn't provided us with any pricing information yet, but we estimate it'll end up $100 higher than MSRP.
  • Faster than RTX 3090
  • Excellent 4K gaming performance
  • Second-generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Idle fan stop
  • 12 GB VRAM
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • DLSS improved
  • Adjustable RGB lighting
  • Better energy efficiency than reference design
  • NVIDIA Reflex low-latency technology
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • 8 nanometer production process
  • Actual market pricing and supply levels unknown
  • Louder than other custom designs tested today
  • Power limits not increased
  • Lower power limit adjustment range than Founders Edition
  • Single and multi-monitor Idle power considerably higher than RTX 3080
Right in time for Computex, NVIDIA had great news to share: the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is launching—reviews today, in stores tomorrow. We have a total of six GeForce RTX 3080 Ti reviews today: ASUS RTX 3080 Ti STRIX LC, EVGA RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra, MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X, Palit RTX 3080 Ti Gaming Pro, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, and Zotac RTX 3080 Ti AMP HoloBlack.

The GeForce RTX 3080 has been a huge success NVIDIA sought to +1—partly because AMD has launched extremely competitive cards in the meantime, partly to introduce their hash-rate limiter designed to make new GeForce cards unattractive to miners. The Radeon RX 6800 XT matched the 3080, which the RX 6900 XT beat. That's why NVIDIA has increased the number of cores by 17%, from 8,704 to 10,240. At the same time, the memory bus width got bumped to 384-bit, matching the RTX 3090. VRAM has also been increased from 10 GB to 12 GB, a good PR move of little effect in terms of real-life gaming. Zotac's AMP HoloBlack is the company's premium RTX 3080 Ti. It comes with a small factory overclock of +45 MHz over the NVIDIA Founders Edition.

Averaged over our 22-game-strong test suite at 4K resolution, the ZOTAC RTX 3080 Ti AMP ends up 1% faster than the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition. This is still enough to match the much more expensive GeForce RTX 3090. The RTX 3080 is 11% slower. AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT is beat by 13%, and even the RX 6900 XT can't keep up, being 6% slower. Against last generation's RTX 2080 Ti, the performance uplift is 49%.

With those performance numbers, RTX 3080 Ti is the perfect choice for 4K gaming at 60 FPS and above. It's probably the only resolution you should consider for this beast because some titles are CPU limited at even 1440p—for 1080p, it's definitely overkill. On the other hand, if you have a strong CPU and a 1440p high-refresh-rate monitor, the 3080 Ti could be an option. The added performance of RTX 3080 Ti will also give you more headroom in case future game titles significantly increase their hardware requirements, which seems unlikely considering the new consoles are out and their hardware specifications will define what's possible for the next few years.

There's no big raytracing performance surprises—the RTX 3080 Ti is basically 10% faster than the RTX 3080 and nearly as fast as the RTX 3090. The underlying reason is that there has been no change in the GPU chip or GPU architecture. Still, compared to AMD Radeon RDNA2, NVIDIA's raytracing performance is better. The new game consoles use AMD graphics tech, though, so we'll see how much of that can be helped with optimization, or simply choosing less demanding RT implementations. For example, Resident Evil Village has support for raytracing, but uses only very limited RT effects, which cushions the performance penalty incurred by Radeon cards. I'm sure we'll learn more about it in the coming months if this trend persists, or whether the only option for serious raytracing will continue to be NVIDIA GeForce.

Zotac's AMP Holo cooler has one of the best RGB lighting implementations I've ever seen. The animations are so smooth and mesmerizing! Temperatures are quite good, reaching 76°C, which is the second-best thermal result of all air-cooled cards tested today. With noise levels of 41 dBA, the card is louder than the NVIDIA Founders Edition, and louder than most other RTX 3080 Ti custom designs. It seems Zotac favored low temperatures over noise levels. I would like a better balance. What really helped Zotac with their cooler is that the card operates very efficiently. Unlike other cards, there is no loss in energy efficiency vs. the NVIDIA reference design. Actually, the Zotac has better efficiency than NVIDIA's FE, which means less heat output and the cooler not having to work as hard to get rid of the heat. To put things into perspective, the EVGA RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra consumes 436 W during gaming and the MSI Suprim X 405 W, while the Zotac RTX 3080 Ti makes do with 348 W. These 50 W are almost 15%, which a big difference when cooling is considered. With Ampere, NVIDIA introduced idle fan stop on their Founders Edition, which makes fan stop a mandatory capability for custom designs, too. In idle, during desktop work, internet browsing, and light gaming, the Zotac RTX 3080 Ti will turn off its fans completely for the perfect noise-free experience.

Zotac has not increased the power limit of their card, it's still at 350 W. While this helps energy efficiency, it is at the expense of some performance, which can still be a reasonable trade-off for many. What won't appeal to anyone is that Zotac has set their manual adjustment power limit to 385 W, which is lower than even the NVIDIA Founders Edition limit of 400 W. No idea why. The VRM definitely looks like it can take it.

NVIDIA has announced a $1200 price point for RTX 3080 Ti, which matches the RTX 2080 Ti MSRP. In reality, I doubt we'll see cards retail for anything close to that. To put things into perspective, the RTX 3090 goes for $2900 right now, RTX 3080 for $1500, RX 6800 XT for $1700, and RX 6900 XT for $2100. NVIDIA confirmed to us that the RTX 3080 Ti comes with the LHR (low-hash-rate) mining performance limiter, which hopefully won't be circumvented this time so that at least gamers can get those cards. For pricing, it won't make much of a difference, though. The general market demand is simply too high and supply too low. Zotac hasn't provided us any pricing yet. I'm fairly certain there will be a serious price increase over the NVIDIA baseline price. It is justified to some extent, no doubt. You're getting a factory OC and a better cooler. I still wouldn't spend more than $100 extra for these features, which is why I'm estimating $2100 as a realistic market price. You really have to look at current pricing, though. If you can find the RTX 3080 Ti at similar pricing as the RX 6900 XT, definitely go for the 3080 Ti. It has higher overall performance and better RT performance, though with higher power draw. The RTX 3080 could be an interesting option if the price gap is bigger than the 10% performance gap between the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3080. Last but not least, possibly the strongest competition for GeForce and for the PC gaming market overall comes from game consoles, which can be found for well under $1000 and will play all the new games, too; maybe with slightly worse graphics, but the money saved can buy you a 4K TV and a lot of games.
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