ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition 11GB Graphics Card Review


Introduction

We’ve noted in our initial review of the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti  that it has one glaring issue and that’s the cooling. As many enthusiasts know, there’s just a short wait until AIC partners step-in and deliver their renditions of the flagship GPU. ZOTAC as one of the more exciting brands to look out for has been steadily redefining their product lineup and 2017 has been nothing but spectacular for the company releasing various new products at COMPUTEX.

In this review we check out their variation of the flagship GTX 1080 Ti with their AMP Edition version featuring an all-new cooler dubbed the Ice Storm Cooling solution. This goes in hand with their new Power Boost power delivery system along with many other refinement that makes ZOTAC a brand to look out for in the coming months.

Update 02/05/18 – Updated graphs with non-reference GTX 1080 Ti for better comparison.

For now let’s focus on the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition and see how it performs!

About the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made the announcement in his GDC keynote where he went in detail about the GTX 1080 Ti. To start things off, the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti will be based off the same GP102 die as the TITAN X Pascal. The GPU will have 3584 CUDA cores and will have a base clock frequency of 1480Mhz and will be able to boost up to 1582Mhz. Similar to the GTX 1080 and TITAN X Pascal, the GTX 1080 Ti will also be equipped with next-gen GDDR5X running at 11Gbps. This next-gen GDDR5X is different from the previous GDDR5X NVIDIA utilized as it is engineered to deliver cleaner signals which in turn benefits the card with much faster memory IO capabilities. This is wired to a 352-bit wide memory interface which yields a maximum memory bandwidth of 484GB/s.

With this release, NVIDIA is also releasing a few changes to its software ecosystem with the announcement of new additions to Gameworks, DX12 support for VRWorks, FCAT VR performance analysis tools, and the reintroduction of ShadowPlay.

About the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition

The ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP brings us a few improvements on the table for the GTX 1080 Ti which we cited as having plenty of room for improvements particularly in the cooling department. ZOTAC didn’t settle for a cooler replacement though and went ahead and redesigned the PCB for their GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition. The new PCB means a new cooler design as well which brings us the custom version of their IceStorm Cooling which features dual-fans blowing over dense fins wired to large copper heatpipes.

ZOTAC ships the GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition with a 1159Mhz base clock frequency and has a Boost frequency of 1683Mhz. The memory remains untouched at 1376Mhz (11Ghz effective).

Official product page

Closer Look

The ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP is the mainstream variation of ZOTAC’s GTX 1080 Ti’s with the high-end honor going to the AMP EXTREME. The ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti though is not as excessive in terms of heft and size as the 2-slot cooler design allows it to fit even in modest mATX builds and not saturate the slots. The cooling of any graphics card usually make or break the appeal and ZOTAC has went with a subdued gunmetal grey on their IceStorm cooler on this card with two 100mm fans evenly spaced to provide ample cooling on key areas of the GPU.

Like with most high-end card, the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP edition sports a metal backplate for aesthetics and PCB integrity.

ZOTAC has brought back the DVI output port on their GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition whilst still retaining the single HDMI and trio of DisplayPort options.

As a 2-slot cooler, the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP edition will fit just right in most build but its length of 11.81″ is something to note as well as its relatively wider depth. There’s not much in the shroud of the IceStorm cooler in terms of looks, its pretty discrete which is great in its own way and keeps all the bling to its light-up ZOTAC logo which is fully customizable with RGB lighting.

A shot of the dual Power Boost chips that help stabilize and optimize power delivery to the graphics card components ensuring highly dependable operation even under intense loads.

The ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP requires two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors to operate.

Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 7700K
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus IX APEX
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z DDR4-3200 16GB (Running at JEDEC DDR4-2133)
Storage: WD Blue 1TB SSD
PSU: Seasonic Platinum 1000
Cooling: Thermaltake Water 3.0 Riings 360mm
Monitor: ViewSonic VX2475Smhl-4K UHD Monitor
VGAZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition

For a full-hardware workout, visit http://www.futuremark.com for our benchmarks of choice.

For benchmarking methodology please see our game benchmark method guide.

Frame rates and frame times of a 60-second game play were recorded using FRAPS v3.5.99. The test results are the average of 3 benchmark runs. Since this is a GPU review, we benchmarked the area of the games that put heavy load on the GPU.

All our test runs are repeatable, click the links below for area and details. Read our benchmarking methodology.

  • Crysis 3 – Post Human
  • Grand Theft Auto V – Palomino Highlands
  • The Witcher 3 – Woesong Bridge
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Valley Farmstead
  • DOTA2 – Shanghai Major Finals, Game 2, Team Secret vs Team Liquid (23:45 – 24:45)

See our Youtube playlist for benchmark sequences.

The games and corresponding image quality settings used are shown in their respective tabs.

Note: Some proprietary technologies of NVIDIA like PCSS, HBAO+, and HairWorks work on AMD GPU’s BUT to maintain uniformity amongst GPUs, these have been turned OFF.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as we pick-up from the last game. Featuring upgraded graphics, DX12 support and new image quality improvements, this game challenges new hardware with its graphical offering.

DirectX11
Anti-aliasing: FXAA
Very High settings
Ambient Occlusion: On
Pure Hair: On
Vignette Blur: Off
Motion Blur: Off
Bloom: On
Tessellation: On
Screen Space Reflections: On
Lens Flares: On
Film Grain: Off

1920×1080

2560×1440
3840×2160

Crysis 3

The most visually intense game to have ever been made during its time. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the exquisite particle and water rendering of the engine capable of still giving modern GPUs a workout to this day.

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Texture Resolution: Very High
Anti-aliasing: SMAA 2Tx
System Spec: Very High
Anisotropic Filtering: 16x
Motion Blur: Disabled

1920×1080

2560×1440

3840×2160

DOTA 2

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source 2 engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress most systems especially with Reborn update. This is a game where frame times matter as responsiveness is very important in high-stakes competition.

DirectX9 (default)
Best-Looking slider setting (Ultra)
FPS_MAX 240
Vsync OFF

1920×1080

2560×1440

3840×2160

Grand Theft Auto V

The fifth and most successful installment to date in the highly controversial Grand Theft Auto series brings a graphical overhaul to the PC version of GTA V which many have lauded as a superior approach in porting a console game to PC. Featuring large areas and detailing, GTA V is a highly challenging application in terms of scene complexity.

FXAA Off
MSAA 4x
TXAA Off
Very High settings
Anisotropic Filtering: 16x
Motion Blur disabled
Advanced Graphics enabled

1920×1080

2560×1440

3840×2160

Witcher 3

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

Frame Rate: Unlimited
Nvidia HairWorks: Off
Ultra Settings
Motion Blur: Off
Blur: Off
Anti-aliasing: On
Bloom: On
Sharpening: High
Ambient Occlusion: SSAO
Depth of Field: On
Chromatic Aberration: Off
Vignetting: On
Light Shafts: On

1920×1080

2560×1440

3840×2160

TEMPERATURE & POWER CONSUMPTION

To measure both power consumption and heat, we stress the video card and record the peak values for heat and wattage. We use default values on the cards and stress test them using 3DMark FireStrike Ultra in 20 loops to simulate gaming loads and this is where we also base our power draw. System power draw is measured from the socket.

We have no gripes about the power draw of the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Edition and was surprised to see ASUS’ take actually drawing more power despite the ZOTAC’s relatively souped-up power delivery system. The GTX 1080 Ti itself is quite a toasty chip and ZOTAC does manage to dissipate it enough but the card itself tends to get really warm, albeit quite hot that its possible to hurt yourself on a heavily loaded GPU after a good run when its in peak temps. We can’t really fault ZOTAC here, the chip itself is quite extreme and its a herculean task to cool it with air. So much so that other companies have found it necessary to go 2.5x or 3x slot size coolers. That said, ZOTAC manages to handle the heat but if you’re really conscious about temps, you might want to direct airflow directly towards the card’s PCB.

Conclusion

ZOTAC has been on a tear since the GTX 900  series and have not stopped upping their game since then. With over a decade of experience, ZOTAC has finally managed to carve out a name for themselves amongst enthusiasts and have earned the approval of gamers everywhere thanks to their mix of high-quality products backed by great design, competitive price and an industry-leading 5-year warranty after registering your product.

Focusing on the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition, its an extreme card that needs extreme attention to detail and ZOTAC, tries to balance the act of cooling this beast without sacrificing size and compatibility has been a rough tumble. The wider body and length requires a larger chassis and the 2-slot cooler can only do so much to blow air away from the card, allowing residual heat to build up on the backplate which requires direct cooling. By itself, the card does fine but the inherent build-up of radiant heat really will make your ambient case temp a bit higher.

“but that extra cooling that allows the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti to boost a bit above factory clocks make it quite a performer”

Going over performance, its certainly a no-contest versus the reference design. Whether you’re on a 1080p, 1440p or 4k, the card can chug along quite well like any GTX 1080 Ti but that extra cooling that allows the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti to boost a bit above factory clocks make it quite a performer.

If you’re looking for a 2-slot cooler and you have adequate airflow in your case, then the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Edition is a great choice if you’re into cost-efficient options. The 5-year warranty makes it a sweeter deal especially if you’re looking to invest in this GPU for a long time.

ZOTAC backs the GTX 1080! AMP Edition with a standard 3-year warranty plus 2-year extended warranty after registration. We give it our B2G Silver Award!

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