Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! Edition 8 GB Review 43

Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! Edition 8 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! Edition currently retails at $670.
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Extremely quiet during gaming
  • $30 cheaper than the Founders Edition
  • Fans turn off in idle
  • 8 GB VRAM
  • Backplate included
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • SLI improved beyond 4K at 60 FPS
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4
  • DVI port included
  • Temperatures slightly on the high side
  • 10% reduced power efficiency vs. reference design
  • Memory not overclocked
  • DVI output no longer includes analog VGA signals
Zotac's GTX 1080 AMP! Edition is one of the more affordable GTX 1080s, retailing cheaper than the Founders Edition, which is the reference design. It still comes with a high-quality cooler and decent overclock. Out of the box, the card runs a base clock of 1683 MHz versus the 1607 MHz on the reference design. This translates into an average clock of 1870 MHz versus the 1783 MHz on NVIDIA's reference design after GPU Boost 3.0 is applied. That clock increase translates into 5% additional performance when averaged out over our benchmark suite, which is less than other high-clocked custom designs, but still noteworthy. This makes the card more than 20% faster than the GTX 1070 reference. AMD's fastest, the Fury X, is out of the game, more than 30% slower. I only wish Zotac had overclocked their memory chips too, which would have provided an additional performance boost.

Zotac is using a cooler theme similar to what we've seen on their 900 Series cards. Large metal surfaces add to the overall look and feel of the product; Zotac also addressed cost and uses plastic for other pieces, but the difference is not easy to spot. In terms of cooling performance, the cooler works well, reaching a quiet 32 dBA during gaming, which makes it one of the quietest dual-slot GTX 1080 designs, similar to MSI Gaming X in terms of noise. Only the Palit triple-slot GameRock is quieter. ZOTAC has also included the idle-fan-off feature we love so much since it provides a perfect noise-free experience during desktop work, Internet browsing, and even light gaming. Gaming temperatures are slightly on the high side, reaching more than 80°C, which is not that far from the 83°C temperature limit beyond which NVIDIA Boost will dial down clocks to keep the card cool. Given that the cooler runs quietly, I think this is the best choice Zotac could have made; I would have built my card the same way.

Just like on the reference design, power efficiency is amazing, with huge improvements over the Maxwell architecture that is already highly efficient in the first place. However, it looks as though Zotac traded some efficiency for more performance, which isn't unreasonable. Compared to the reference design, we see about 30 W more power draw in gaming. What really surprised me is the low power limit of the board, which is set to 200 W only. Zotac upgraded the power input configuration from 6+8 to two 8-pins, which enables upward of 375 W to be drawn, yet Zotac limits their card to 200 W. This means that the more powerful configuration isn't good for anything. Zotac also added a super capacitor on the back of the card, which helps smooth out power ripples, but doesn't do anything tangible for users. Zotac could have saved money by leaving out those two "features", which would have brought down the price some more to capture an even bigger market share.

Currently, the Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! Edition is listed at $670, which is $30 cheaper than the reference design and much cheaper than other well-performing custom-design cards. It looks like Founders Edition pricing will be the price to compare to for the GTX 1080, which is sad, but most people will just be happy if they even find a card in stock. Since the Founders Edition is $699, the Zotac AMP! should be a no-brainer for everyone who's looking for more value than the FE, with better cooling performance and an OC out of the box.
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