Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP Extreme 8 GB Review 24

Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP Extreme 8 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Zotac RTX 2080 AMP Extreme isn't listed anywhere yet, but it's expected to retail for around $900.
  • Faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • 16-phase VRM, 4-phase memory
  • Large overclock out of the box
  • Memory overclocked, too
  • Power limits increased, no throttling
  • Fans stop in idle
  • Samsung memory overclocks really well
  • RTX Technology
  • Deep-learning feature set
  • DLSS an effective new AA method
  • Backplate included
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, 8K support
  • Very expensive
  • High temperatures
  • High power consumption
  • No Windows 7 support for RTX, requires Windows 10 Fall 2018 Update
Zotac's GeForce RTX 2080 AMP Extreme almost looks like a technology demonstrator for what you can do if you want to build the most powerful RTX 2080 card. The company has revamped the PCB design and given the VRM circuitry some extra love. The GPU VRM is now 16-phase, which is twice as many as the Founders Edition. Actually, the VRM is even more powerful than on the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, which "only" has 13 phases. The memory VRM has been massively upgraded, too. It comes with four phases—just for memory. I don't think I've ever seen more than three memory phases on a graphics card before.

Zotac has also increased the out-of-the-box clocks of their card massively. The AMP Extreme runs at a rated boost of 1905 MHz, which is 105 MHz higher than the Founders Edition and the highest clock currently available on a RTX 2080 card. Unlike nearly all RTX 2080 cards, Zotac overclocked the memory chips, too. Combined, these changes yield a performance increase of 5% over the RTX 2080 Founders Edition when averaged over all our game tests at 1440p. This makes the card 15% faster than the GTX 1080 Ti and 50% faster than the AMD RX Vega 64. We recommend the RTX 2080 for 1440p highest details gaming—4K is possible, too, but details have to be lowered.

Nearly all Turing cards we've tested so far sit in their power limit all the time, which affects maximum boost clocks. Zotac massively increased the power delivery capability of their card and dialed up the power limit—a lot. With 280 W as the out-of-the-box power limit, the power limit on the RTX 2080 AMP Extreme is higher than most RTX 2080 Ti cards! This is reflected in power consumption, which often exceeds that of the much faster RTX 2080 Ti. Guess NVIDIA has set these power limits for a reason—to operate these Turing GPUs in a highly efficient manner.

In terms of cooling, the card comes with a massive triple-slot, triple-fan cooler, and it's needed since power consumption is increased so much. Even with the large cooler, gaming temperatures reach 84°C, which is higher than with any other RTX 2080 we reviewed before, although not unreasonable for the high heat output of the card. Gaming noise is acceptable with 36 dBA (a bit higher than the Founders Edition). If you had hoped that the AMP Extreme will get you super-low noise levels, then you'll be disappointed. It looks like Zotac did all they could to keep noise levels in check without allowing high temperatures that are too high. I would have done the same.

While every single GeForce RTX card we've reviewed so far came with Micron GDDR6 memory, the Zotac AMP Extreme is the first board using Samsung, which overclocks MUCH better than what we've seen on Micron. Where most Micron chips top out at around 2010 MHz, the Samsung chips on the AMP Extreme reached 2155 MHz, which is a pretty dramatic improvement. Of course, not all of that turns into performance, and I'm not sure if it's worth chasing down cards with Samsung memory just for a few percent more overclocking. GPU overclocking, on the other hand, was completely normal and in the expected range of RTX 2080 overclocks. Do note here that the additional overclocking potential of the AMP Extreme is lower than on other cards because the out-of-the-box overclock is so high. This can be a good thing because Zotac took care of the overclocking for you, so you won't have to deal with it.

Priced at $900, the AMP Extreme is quite expensive. That's a $100 increase over the Founders Edition, and $150 more than the cheapest RTX 2080 you can find. There's no way the 5% additional performance due to the overclock can justify that. Other cards in this price range offer some extra features, like dual BIOS, RGB headers, fan headers, etc. It seems Zotac focused more on increasing the power delivery capability and power limit than ticking those feature checkboxes. If you're looking for the biggest and baddest RTX 2080 out there, possibly to break some records with LN2, then the Zotac AMP Extreme could be for you.
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