When it comes to high-end graphics hardware, Zotac has for a number of generations been right at the cutting edge of performance and quality for GeForce cards. Their AMP! Extreme editions tend to push performance to the limits, matching or exceeding the competition and more often than not the top model in the stack has a fair few changes to the reference design. Today we find out what Zotac can do with the latest high-end NVIDIA card in our Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme Edition review.
Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme Edition Review – The Zotac 1080
Zotac’s latest 1080 arrives in a fairly substantial box, giving us a clue that we won’t be finding a reference card design inside. Bundled with the card we find an envelope with product documentation and a software CD. Two power cables are also provided.
The AMP! Extreme Edition will take up three slots (or 2.5 if you have half slots) in your system due to the large cooler used. It features three 90mm fans (designed to have minimal dead zone) above a large aluminium heatsink. Six copper heat pipes pass through that heatsink and draw heat away from the copper GPU plate. Zotac use a metal cover and backplate on the AMP! Extreme and add carbon fibre style detailing to the former.
This cooler also features LED lighting (front and back) which allow us to choose the colour used and add effects such as breathing. It is also worth noting that when the GPU is under low load, or during desktop use, the fans shut down and the card becomes completely silent. Finally, Zotac has altered the card design calling their changes “power boost”. To you and I that means enhanced components on the build to reduce power ripple and noise when in use. The overall size is 325mm x 148mm.
Round at the outputs we have DVI, HDMI 2.0b and, 3x DisplayPort. For the power inputs, we get the 8pin connector which is standard for 1080’s with an additional 8pin connector to ensure stability when overclocking.
All key NVIDIA/Industry features are also supported including DirectX 12, CUDA, DirectCompute, 4K, Audio over DisplayPort/HDMI, PhysX, G-Sync, SLI (inc SLI HB) and Dynamic Super Resolution.
As far as specifications go, this card runs at 1771MHz out of the box with boost up to 1911MHz. Memory sits at 1350MHz. In this 16nm Pascal GPU, there are 2560 CUDA cores, 64 ROPs, 160TMUs, 256bit memory bus and 8GB of GDDR5x.
Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme Edition Review – Software
Zotac provides us with their Firestorm application to monitor and tweak our card. We can, of course, overclock the GPU and memory but this version also allows us to tweak the LED lighting to our requirements.
Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme Edition Review – Performance
Testing was performed on the Intel Core i7-6950X running on an X99 board with 16GB of DDR4 and a Samsung 850 Pro SSD. Windows 10 was the OS and all games along with the OS were patched.
NVIDIA Driver: 368.39
AMD Driver: Latest Crimson Edition (June 16)
Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme Edition Review – Conclusion
The Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme Edition is one of those fun products where you unbox it and immediately get the feeling that this card means business. It is hard not to think that when the weight combines with the feel of the large chunky backplate and heatsink cover. It is always good to see manufacturers tweaking the card design on high-end versions to enhance power circuitry as Zotac have done here but not every change is great when compared to the reference design. Fortunately nothing important, but there are a couple of cheap looking transparent plastic areas on the front of the card. We do like the inclusion of LED lighting here and that it can have varied colours and effects applied, however it doesn’t quite go as far as some other recent products which offer options such as reacting to audio which is being produced by the system.
Pricing for this card is decent. Obviously, any GTX 1080 is going to require a significant amount of money but Zotac has kept their pricing competitive when looking at this model against the equivalent models from other manufacturers. The only thing we would note is that some of them add some extra value with the inclusion of software like X-Split Gamecaster which Zotac do not.
So that brings us to performance, an area where the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme Edition is essentially flawless. We can game in all the latest titles at 4k resolution. It easily outperforms the high-end AMD parts. The performance level is more than adequate for VR, frame rates exceed the reference card and sit at the very top of the GTX 1080 market and power use/thermals are all very good for this class of card.
Summary: A very impressive take on the GTX 1080 which is worthy of our Performance Award.