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March 22, 2016

Unboxing & Review: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition


ZOTAC has been around as one of NVIDIA's partner for years and it's renown for its distinctive orange fan design, insanely overclocked models and the hard to beat value that not many brands can offer. 

We've received a care package from ZOTAC Malaysia just recently with a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition inside. Just like any previous ZOTAC AMP! Extreme Editon card, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti comes with an insanely high 1355MHz clock speed on boost compared to the reference design at only 1075MHz clock speed on boost. With no further adieu, let's find out just how much difference can we expect from that extra 280MHz! 

(The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition retails at RM 3559)  


Specifications


Unboxing



At the front of the box, you'll find the highlighted features such as 6GB GDDR5 memory, Power Boost technology for stable power delivery, Ice Storm cooling technology for that extra cooling performance, but what interests us the most is the ridiculously long period of extended warranty - 5 years anyone? Well played ZOTAC.


At the back of the box, you'll find more details on the highlighted features such as the EKO fan design, Power Boost design, Ice Storm cooler design, etc. Also the multi-lingual package contents in the grey box of course (super important).


The accessories included are the user's guide, DVI-D to VGA adapter, a ZOTAC sticker, Driver CD and 2 pieces of PCIe 6pin to PCIe 8pin Y-splitter - it's sleeved by the way ;)


The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is one of the biggest GTX 980 Ti you can get on the market, featuring the triple fan design dubbed as the IceStorm cooler. 






This specially designed dual-blade EKO fan is what ZOTAC boasts to be able to provide 30% extra cooling performance compared to most traditional fan design. 


The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme isn't just a monster by its appearance, it's also a monster that requires a total of 2 x 8pin PCIe power to power up.


The thickness of the card is no joke as the card itself is taking up as much of 3 slots in total, given that its width is already much wider than your average GTX 980 Ti card. 




Copper heat pipes and thin aluminum fins array are used to maximize the cooling performance. 





At the back of the card, you'll find a badass looking metal backplate as an enhancement to its rigidity in overall.




The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme is capable of 4-way SLI setup, but do note that you won't be able to do that with a rigid SLI bridge unless you're using another GTX 980 Ti that shares the same width as this one.

 

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme comes with the Power Boost design to ensure minimal power fluctuation and ripple so that you can expect the best possible performance from this factory overclocked card. 



The display output consists of 1 x DVI-I, 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI.


Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Raijintek Triton 240
CPU
Intel Core i7 4790K @4.6GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus Hero VII
Memory
G.Skill TridentX 2400MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
Power Supply
Be Quiet! Straight Power 10 600W
Chassis
Vector Benchcase

We mounted the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme on our test bench as above and each and every benchmark is conducted in a room of about 30C° ambient temperature.


Performance

We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmarks in our possession on a selected settings, which is considered as high for much of our test as usual.The final result of each benchmark is presented in the form of the graph below:


We did a quick comparison with the result we have for the reference design GTX Titan X as well and it is quite surprising. The reference design GTX Titan X got 'Pwned' across the board in the benchmarks we have conducted.



Overclocking
We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmark in our possession on 1080p with the highest achievable clock speed for both its memory and GPU that is stable enough to be able to complete each benchmark with the following values:
  • Maximum boost clock of 1415MHz 
  • 7665 MHz on the memory clock
  • 1.11V on the voltage for GPU
That's not much gain from the already insane stock boost clock of 1355MHz for GPU but hey, this is probably the only few GTX 980 Ti that comes at this speed, right out of the box.



Temperature
Temperature wise, there isn't much difference observable from the minimal raise on the clock speed. The EKO fan and IceStorm cooler did a pretty good job by keeping the temperature low on 35°C during idle and 68°C on load, which is quite impressive actually.

Verdict
Performance wise, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme is on par (if not better) with the reference GeForce GTX Titan X on most benchmarks we've conducted. We managed to squeeze another reasonable performance boost from overclocking, albeit 60MHz isn't much but there is still some extra improvements from the stock clock speed of 1355MHz. 

While it runs at a much faster speed compared to the reference GTX 980 Ti, the Ice Storm cooler did a fairly good job in keeping the GPU cool during operation. Idle temperature of 35C° and load temperature of 68C° can be achieved with ease with the fans on auto mode and the temperature could go down, even more, should you run it on 100% manually; if you don't mind sacrificing the acoustic performance.

When it comes down to the value, the targeted SRP of RM 3559 is a pretty fair deal for what the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme can deliver. There are GTX 980 Ti that cost few hundred RM lower which you can opt for if you're on a rather limited budget for a GTX 980 Ti, but there isn't much option that comes with such insane clock speed right out of the box. If the 6GB GDDR5 memory isn't really any issue, we'd definitely recommend the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme to gamers or enthusiasts as a worthy alternative to a GTX Titan X.

Pros
  • Comes factory overclocked
  • Performs better than GTX Titan X on most occasion
  • Decent cooling performance
  • Very rigid design and pretty much immune to PCB sagging
  • Reasonable price for the performance that it can deliver
Cons
  • Limited overclocking headroom on GPU
  • Flexible SLI bridge is needed if you're setting up SLI with other brands of GTX 980 Ti
  • Very bulky and takes up the space of around 3 PCIe expansion slot

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