Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition review

Zotac’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition is a factory-overclocked graphics card based on Nvidia’s superb GeForce GTX 980 Ti GPU. This card uses Zotac “IceStorm” cooler, featuring a trio of 90mm fans which help keep temperatures down and noise output low. See also: What's the best graphics card?

Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition review: Design and features

The GeForce GTX 980 Ti is a cut-down version of Nvidia’s flagship GPU, the Titan X which retains most of the performance of the latter while shedding half of its 12GB RAM and 256 of its processor cores, bringing the total down to 2,816. Current games have difficulty filling 6GB of RAM, so halving the total memory translates into a pure cost saving for the customer enough to render the Titan X effectively pointless for many.

By treating the standard core and memory clocks to a moderate speed bump from 1,000MHz (base), 1,075MHz (boost) to 1,051MHz and 1,140MHz respectively Zotac has given you a headstart on unlocking the full potential of the board via DIY overclocking. We tested the card at this speed as it’s the minimum performance you’re guaranteed to get, but you’d be unlucky not to be able to achieve a little better than this through further tweaking.

To boost performance further, you can use Zotac’s supplied Firestorm overclocking application. It offers control over the usual parameters, including clock speeds, voltage offsets and target power draw, but we found it a little less user-friendly than its competitors, thanks to it’s eye-catching but baffling design. Issues include unexplained icons, some of which seem to do nothing when pressed. We would recommend ditching it entirely for a third-party utility were it not for the Quick Boost button which instantly overclocks the base core speed to 1,101MHz and the boost speed to 1,190MHz.

Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition review: Performance

In our tests, the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Amp! Edition performs well, as you would expect given the price, it leaves most of the competition behind. The Zotac card achieves an average frame rate comfortably over 60fps in 4K with Ultra settings when playing Alien isolation and is therefore an excellent choice for gamers looking to venture into Ultra High Definition setups. It also ran quietly under stress testing, but not as quietly as the Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti or the Sapphire Tri-X Fury.

However, even in its fastest modes the Zotac card is comprehensively outclassed by the Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti which performs almost as though it had a different class of GPU altogether. There is a large price differential however, and we feel the Zotac card will offer more than enough performance for the majority of gamers.

There’s every chance you’ll be able to achieve much faster performance out of the Zotac GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition by using the Firestorm application, but if you’d rather spend a your money than your time, you can opt for the Zotac GTX 980 Ti Amp! Extreme edition which is pre-overclocked even higher than the Asus GTX 980 Ti Strix OC at roughly the same price, i.e. around £100 more.

Not to be sniffed at is the card’s five year warranty, which is at least two years longer than the best of the competition. All in all, it's a great deal if you can afford it.

You should also read: Best gaming PCs you can buy

Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition: Specs

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti GPU Codename: Maxwell G200 Process: 28nm Core clock: 1051MHz (base) 1140MHz (boost) Memory clock: 7010MHz Memory bus width: 384-bit Processor cores: 2816 Texture units: 172 ROPs: 96 APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5 Memory type and capacity: GDDR5 6GB Cooling system: IceStorm 3 fans + heatpipes Power connectors: 1x 8-pin PCIe, 1x 6-pin PCIe Ports: 3x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x DVI-D Simultaneous outputs: 4 Card width: 2 slots Dimensions: 300 x 110 x 40mm Cosmetic enhancements: None Software: Zotac Firestorm Accessories: 2x power cables, VGA adaptor Warranty: 5 years
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti GPU Codename: Maxwell G200 Process: 28nm Core clock: 1051MHz (base) 1140MHz (boost) Memory clock: 7010MHz Memory bus width: 384-bit Processor cores: 2816 Texture units: 172 ROPs: 96 APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5 Memory type and capacity: GDDR5 6GB Cooling system: IceStorm 3 fans + heatpipes Power connectors: 1x 8-pin PCIe, 1x 6-pin PCIe Ports: 3x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x DVI-D Simultaneous outputs: 4 Card width: 2 slots Dimensions: 300 x 110 x 40mm Cosmetic enhancements: None Software: Zotac Firestorm Accessories: 2x power cables, VGA adaptor Warranty: 5 years

OUR VERDICT

The Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition performs well and comes at a reasonable price. It’s not as impressive than the Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti, but the Zotac is around £100 cheaper, and has a reassuring five-year warranty.