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Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP Review

Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP Review

zt-t20820b-10p_image01_rgbThe Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP is the first card we’ve seen from the latest Nvidia refresh. It’s an exciting move in the face of renewed competition from AMD, and it sees Nvidia retiring a trio of old cards in favour of Super versions that promise better performance at lower prices. Read our Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP review to find out if the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super is a worthwhile upgrade despite its £800 UK price and $740 USA cost – or if Nvidia has dropped the ball.

Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP Review – The RTX 2080 Super Core

The Nvidia Turing architecture has been around for over a year, but this new card doesn’t make drastic changes. The RTX 2080 Super still uses the core that was in the existing RTX 2070 and RTX 2080, which means it retains 13.6 billion transistors and a 12nm manufacturing process.

Instead of changing the architecture or developing a new GPU, Nvidia has turbo-charged that existing TU104 core. This is the first time the TU104 part has been used to its full potential – in older cards it has some of its stream processors de-activated.

That means the RTX 2080 Super uses 3,072 stream processors – 128 more than the RTX 2080, but still a long way short of the 4,352 included in the range-topping RTX 2080 Ti.

zt-t20820b-10p_image02_rgbThe RTX 2080 Super’s increased number of processors also mean more Tensor and RT cores – so more muscle for DLSS and ray-tracing. The new card has 384 Tensor cores and 48 RT cores. The older RTX 2080 had 368 and 46 of each.

Unsurprisingly, the clock speeds have been given a boost. Nvidia’s reference RTX 2080 Super has base and boost clocks of 1,650MHz and 1,815MHz. Those figures are both more than 100MHz better than the original RTX 2080. They’re actually the best anywhere in Nvidia’s Turing range.

Nvidia has also boosted the RTX 2080 Super’s memory. This new card still has 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, but it runs at 15.5Gbps. It’s the first time an Nvidia card has got beyond 14Gbps. That’s because this is the first time that faster GDDR6 memory has been available in the quantity needed for production.

The RTX 2080 Super replaces the RTX 2080, and supersedes the older card in virtually every way. Unsurprisingly, Nvidia reckons that this improved card can tackle 1440p and 4K gaming along with high refresh-rate panels, VR headsets and widescreens – almost anything, in fact.

zt-t20820b-10p_image04The downside of all of the RTX 2080 Super’s improvements is that the new core has a TDP of 250W. That’s 35W more than the original RTX 2080, and now level with the RTX 2080 Ti.

Your system will consume a little more electricity because of this. However, most people will likely not be bothered. If you’ve got a PC and a PSU that can handle an RTX 2080, then it’ll probably be fine with an RTX 2080 Super.

Elsewhere, Nvidia packages the RTX 2080 Super with its new FrameView tool, which is a handy utility for benchmarking, trouble-shooting and overclocking. You also get a couple of free games – Wolfenstein Youngblood and Control are both included at the moment.

The RTX 2080 Super has been produced in response to AMD’s Navi-based GPUs. AMD’s range-topping Radeon RX 5700 XT is cheaper than the RTX 2080 Super – but it still has the power under the hood to handle the vast majority of gaming situations.

The RX 5700 XT uses 2,560 processing cores, 8GB of GDDR6 memory running at the slower 14Gbps speed, and it has reasonable clock speeds of 1,605MHz and 1,905MHz. It doesn’t have any ray-tracing or DLSS, though..

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Zotac’s Card

Zotac RTX 2080 Super 05The Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMD takes the impressive RTX 2080 Super core and turbo-charges it with overclocking – although the speeds change if you’re buying in the UK or the US.

For UK buyers, the AMP Extreme card improves the Boost speed to 1,875MHz. For US buyers, the normal AMP model runs at 1,845MHz, and the AMP Extreme model isn’t available. You’re still getting an overclock on both sides of the Atlantic, and the difference between the AMP and the AMP Extreme is tiny.

On the outside, the Zotac card looks much the same as the firm’s older products – and that’s no bad thing.

The front is adorned with a trio of 90mm fans, a sturdy plastic shroud and three sizeable RGB LED lighting zones. The top has a Zotac Gaming logo that also lights up with RGB LEDs. The rear of the card is protected and bolstered by a thick slab of metal that extends around the edges.

The four RGB LED zones can be configured with the expected array of colours and patterns, and under the hood you get the usual aluminium heatsinks and copper heatpipes. In short, the Zotac card looks superb – just as good as anything else out there – and has solid cooling.

Zotac RTX 2080 Super 06Zotac’s overclocking means that this GPU uses two eight-pin power connectors rather than the eight- and six-pin connectors of the standard RTX 2080 Super. Most power supplies at this level will support two eight-pin connections, but Zotac includes a couple of six-to-eight pin adapters in the box.

At the rear you get three DisplayPort 1.4 connections and a sole HDMI 2.0 port – normal connectivity at this level. There’s no USB Type-C, but the Zotac card does have a VirtualLink connector instead, so VR can still be handled – albeit by a connection that’ll actually be inside your PC.

High-end operation is also supported by the Zotac’s circuit board. This card has a 16+4 power phase design, which is superb – better than many RTX 2080 Ti cards. That means that you’ll be able to push clock speeds higher with fewer fears about stability.

In fact, the biggest issue with the Zotac card may be just that – its sheer size. It’s a 2.5mm slot unit that is 324mm long, so you need to make sure you have enough room in your case before installation.

It weighs 1.44kg, which makes it one of the heftier GPUs around. It’s a good idea to install this card with a supporting bracket, especially if your motherboard doesn’t have steel-supported PCI slots.

Head here for the latest information on the status of ray-tracing on the entire Nvidia range of GPUs!

Pricing

The Zotac AMP Extreme tips the scales at £800 in the UK and US buyers have to spend $740 to get their hands on the AMP model with that slightly lower overclock.

Zotac RTX 2080 Super 02The UK version of the card is about £100 more than the cheapest RTX 2080 Super products. Of course, you get more overclocking and better cooling. Every other board partner has a version of the RTX 2080 Super available at the same price.

Impressively, the Zotac card is one of the fastest available – most of the other GPUs, even at £800, top out with a Boost speed of 1,845MHz, and even cards at £900 also peak at similar speeds.

The only reason to spend more than this on an RTX 2080 Super is because you want a specialist water-cooled card.

The US-only AMP model, at $740, is a mid-range RTX 2080 Super option for US buyers. Happily, this card matches its rivals for overclocks, so it represents solid value for a decent overclock and plenty of cooling and RGB LEDs.

Impressively, the RTX 2080 Super is actually cheaper than equivalent RTX 2080 cards – so you’re getting more power for less with Nvidia’s revamped GPU.

It’s also still miles behind the RTX 2080 Ti, which starts at £1,050 in the UK and $1,050 in the US.

However, less-demanding gamers should also remember that the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is out there. Prices start at £400 in the UK and $400 in the US. And Nvidia’s own RTX 2070 Super is out now – and it starts at £500 and $500.

Here’s Our Guide to the Best PCs for Work, Play and Everything In Between

Performance

The Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP is an excellent graphics card, and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super is an excellent core.

However, Nvidia and Zotac’s improvements only provide relatively small performance gains, so don’t expect a revolutionary leap forward.

Happily, the RTX 2080 Super is capable of playing any current game at 1080p and 1440p without breaking a sweat. It’ll handle competitive titles on high refresh-rate screens at triple figures too – so it’s easily powerful enough for esports.

It’s also got enough grunt for VR headsets and widescreen panels.

When testing at 4K the Zotac-made GPU impressed. At this demanding resolution, across eleven games, its averages ranged between 43fps and 89fps. It beat or neared the critical 60fps mark in eight tests, which is superb. In short, it means you’ll get smooth 4K gameplay in the most demanding titles. And it’ll manage to do that for several years into the future.

The Zotac card, with its overclock, was a frame or two quicker than the stock-speed RTX 2080 Super. We’ve shown the difference in the 4K results graph.

The RTX 2080 Super only opened a modest lead over the outgoing RTX 2080. The new RTX 2080 Super was between three and eight frames faster than the older card in most games, with only a handful where the RTX 2080 Super’s performance gain hit double figures.

And, unsurprisingly, the RTX 2080 Super could never match the RTX 2080 Ti. The more expensive Nvidia card was significantly quicker in almost every test.

The Zotac card and the RTX 2080 Super’s position in the market is further illustrated by theoretical tests. Zotac’s overclocked GPU maintained a small lead over the standard RTX 2080 Super, and opened a wider gap over the older RTX 2080. The RTX 2080 Ti retained its overall lead.

While the RTX 2080 Ti is always faster, it must be noted that both RTX Super 2080 cards were almost always closer to the RTX 2080 Ti than the older RTX 2080. That bodes well for ongoing performance.

Happily, the Zotac RTX 2080 Super is solid with Ray-Tracing. We ran Battlefield V at 4K and Ultra settings, and without Ray-Tracing – and the card averaged 56fps. With Ray-Tracing and DLSS activated the average dropped to 43fps, which is still playable – so we have no concerns. It’s just a shame that not many games still offer Ray-Tracing support, although the number is growing.

The Zotac card isn’t particularly loud, either; there’s fan noise, of course, but it’s not worse than anything else on the market.

It’s good performance, but there are potential stings in the RTX 2080 Super’s tail. The first comes from AMD.

Nvidia has launched the RTX 2080 Super as a response to AMD’s improving fortunes. This new GPU is faster than the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT – but the gaps aren’t huge. The Zotac and stock RTX 2080 Super cards scored 7,061 and 6,848 points in Fire Strike Ultra. However, the Radeon RX 5700 XT, which costs half the price, still scored around 6,000 points in that test.

In Time Spy, the new Nvidia cards scored 11,416 and 10,964 points. The AMD card hit a peak of around 9,000 points.

So, while Nvidia does maintain a lead over AMD, it’s not huge – especially when price differences are concerned.

The RTX 2070 Super throws a spanner in the works, too. That new card costs around £500 and $500 and in those same 3D Mark tests it returns pace on par with the older RTX 2080.

We’ve tested the UK’s AMP Extreme model of the RTX 2080 Super in our Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP review, which has that overclocked boost speed of 1,875MHz. The US-based AMP version runs at 1,845MHz, but benchmarks and test results are still applicable across both cards.

Head Here for our full guide to AMD Ryzen 3000 and AMD X570 motherboards

Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP Review – Conclusion

Our Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP review illustrates that this card – and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super cards in general – are excellent products that may struggle to find an audience.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super will handle any gaming task, including 4K. Its gain over the original RTX 2080 allows it to prove more adept at trickier scenarios – because the original RTX 2080 was sometimes only just on the cusp of playable speeds.

Zotac RTX 2080 Super 03The Zotac GPU justifies its price increase over the more affordable cards, too. It’s a couple of frames faster, and it has better cooling, loads of RGB LEDs and solid build quality. If you’re looking for an RTX 2080 Super, the Zotac AMP or AMP Extreme models are excellent.

As good as these cards are, though, there may not be many people who actually need one.

If you’ve got an original RTX 2080, for instance, the gain is not worth the price of the new GPUs. Similarly, it’s only worth upgrading from an RTX 2060 or RTX 2070 if you’re flush with cash and you want an immediate leap forward to 4K.

If you’re not fussed about 4K and other demanding situations, then the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT or the new RTX 2060 or 2070 Super cards are all excellent and all far more affordable than the Zotac card or other RTX 2080 Super models.

Similarly, if you are bothered about high-end situations, then it’s worth saving up for an RTX 2080 Ti. Nvidia’s range-topper is more expensive, sure, but it’s far faster – so it’ll handle tough games for longer.

If you’re upgrading from older cards, or building a new rig, then the RTX 2080 Super represents a good deal. It’ll give you a huge amount of power and costs less than the original RTX 2080. It’s one of the most affordable 4K-capable GPUs around, so it is an impressive bit of kit.

It’s a shame that the RTX 2080 Super is under attack from so many angles, really. Below it is a stack of cheaper, powerful competitors, and above it is a faster flagship.

However, if this card does meet the right price point and you do need a 4K-capable upgrade, then it’s an excellent option – and Zotac’s AMP and AMP Extreme GPUs are worthy award-winners.

The Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP costs £800 in the UK and $740 in the US. Discuss our Samsung CRG9 review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Samsung CRG9 review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The GoodRecommended Award

  • Consistently impressive speeds
  • Zotac card outpaces reference model
  • Great physical design
  • Cheaper than predecessor
  • Not too noisy

The Bad

  • Lots of viable competitors
  • Still lags behind the RTX 2080 Ti
  • Modest gains over original RTX 2080

The Specs

Stream processors: 3,072
Base clock: 1,650MHz
Boost clock: 1,845MHz/1,875MHz
Memory: 8GB, 256-bit 15.5Gbps GDDR6
Connectivity: PCI Express 3.0
Display Outputs: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x VirtualLink
Max Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
TDP: 255W
Power connections: 2 x 8-pin
Supported APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 2.2, Vulkan 1.1, CUDA 7.5

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Super AMP

About Author

Mike Jennings

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