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Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme Review

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The Pascal architecture is one of Nvidia’s most outstanding launches of new GPU architecture. With almost over a 60% increase of the previous generation Maxwell cards, Nvidia is clearly the forefront of R&D of new GPU architecture. Aside from the massive performance increase, thanks to its 16nmFinFett technology, it is also extremely power efficient compared to previous gen flagship cards (i.e. 980, Titan X, Titan, 780, etc).

Since the release of the GTX1080 Founder Edition, it has been breaking down benchmarks over benchmarks over benchmarks, even beating the former most powerful card – the Titan X, in some games and in Virtual Reality performance, and that’s just the Founders Edition (reference). So what if let’s take the Pascal and 1080 architecture and make it more powerful. This is where Zotac comes along. There are many higher end cards by manufacturers such as Asus, Palit, etc, (known as aftermarket or oem) but here we have is the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme Edition.

Zotac has several GTX 1080 versions from the Founders version to their own OEM, but here we’ll be benchmarking their most powerful GTX 1080 available and compare its specifications to its little brother – the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Edition, and the Founders GTX1080. The card itself is capable of running almost any game in their max settings at 1440p, let alone 1080p. We’ll be benchmarking the card in several games, but do take note that we are not overclocking the card nor we are gonna test it for VR as of now. We will be making a full video review, an overclocking guide/review and VR performance review of the card in the future. Let’s see what does the card offer.

Specifications

GPU Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Edition GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition
CUDA Cores: 2560 2560 2560
Base Clock 1771 MHz 1683 MHz 1607 Mhz
Boost Clock 1911 MHz 1822 MHz 1733 Mhz
Memory Clock: 10.8 GHz 10 Ghz 10 Ghz
Memory Size: 8 GB GDDR5X 8 GB GDDR5X 8 GB GDDR5X
Memory Interface Width: 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwith (GB/sec): 360 360 360
Simulataneous Multi-Projection: Yes Yes Yes
 VR Ready: Yes Yes Yes
 Nvidia Ansel: Yes Yes Yes
 NVIDIA SLI Ready: Yes Yes Yes
 NVIDIA G-SYNC Ready: Yes Yes Yes
 NVIDIA GameStream Ready: Yes Yes Yes
 NVIDIA GPU Boost: 3.0 3.0 3.0
 Microsoft Direct X: 12 12 12
 Vulkan API: Yes Yes Yes
 OpenGL: 4.5 4.5 4.5
 Bus Support: PCIe 3 PCIe 3 PCIe 3
 Height: 5.82677″ 5.82677″ 4.376″
 Length: 12.7953″ 11.811″ 10.5″
 Width: 2.5 Slot Dual Dual
 Graphics Card Power: 270W 230W 180W
 Recommended Power Supply: 500W 500W 500W

Judging from the specifications, the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme clearly dominates both the Founders and standard Amp! Edition graphics cards. Having a 1771Mhz of base clock speed, the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme has more power than the Founders Edition even when on turbo.This is great which means it clearly will deliver an advantage in framerates, and overall performance. The Amp! Extreme also features higher memory speed, an a whopping 1911Mhz Boost clock speed.

With the faster memory and clock speeds of the Amp! Extreme, it comes with a price. The Amp! Extreme Edition draws 270W of power, and is almost an inch longer than the regular Amp! Edition while more than 2 inches longer than the Founders Edition. Asides from the higher power consumption and an longer size, the Amp! Extreme is also thicker, consuming a 2.5 slot. If your case is a full tower and has plenty of room, you shouldn’t worry about this.

We are intrigued to see how much of a performance difference would this 1080 be when overclocked. Keep on reading to know more about its overclocked performance on game benchmarks below.

Unboxing

I31B8762The GTX 1080 Founders Edition has a very compelling packaging. That is not the same for the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme. The box is huge. It is bigger than the box of the Founders Edition and it’s somewhat heavier too (even without the card) for only about 0.056 pounds compared to the Founders Edition’s box.

The box is beautifully designed by Zotac featuring its classic yellow/black/orange color scheme and the box itself is very durable. Behind the box are the specifications and more details about the GTX 1080’s technology.I31B8765

When removing the outside yellow box (or sleeve if you may call it), comes with a premium-looking all matte-black box containing the card itself. Atop the black box is the Zotac logo printed, and is noticeable due to its glossy texture.

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Upon opening the box you’ll quickly see an envelop which contains the CD and manuals, and a foam padding protecting the card itself.

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Removing the foam padding you’ll quickly see the huge GPU protected by bubble wrap, and two dual 6-Pin PCIe female to 8-Pin PCIe male adapters.

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All in all the card looks amazing despite its huge size and the packaging is very great. Zotac clearly makes sure that the card is well protected and even the box itself doesn’t feel cheap in any way.

Design and Construction

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Just by looking at the card, you will instantly notice that it is extremely well built. The entire card feels very durable unlike other GTX 1080 aftermarket cards.

I31B8779For Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme Edition’s output connectors, we have one DVI-D Dual Link connector, 3 Display Ports1.4(DP), and a single HDMI connector. The card’s maximum resolution is 7680×[email protected] while also capable of simultaneous multi-display.I31B8791At the side of the card, we see the two 8-pin external power connectors, the Ice Storm Heatsink, and a part of the CarbonExo Armor backlate. The length of the card is 12.7953″, while its height and width is 5.82677″ and 2.5slots, respectively.I31B8798In the upper left corner, we have the SLI connector of the Zotac GTX 1080. We will not have any SLI performance benchmarks in this review.

Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Edition Review

The card just like all modern graphics cards, run on a PCIe 3.0 lane while draws 270W of overall external power.

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I31B8800The Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme Edition also features their so-called “Spectra” lighting. Controlled by the Firestorm Software, we’ll provide more detail of that down below.

Features

Intro

Like every aftermarket brand, each and every one of their products has something new and better to offer. Asus’ STRIX series offers a unique cooling system, and RGB lighting. MSI’s gaming series has their “Twin-Frozr” cooling system, etc etc. Every brand has their own unique features of the card.

Zotac’s standard for all of their Amp! series (including the GTX 1080 Amp! Edition-Non Extreme) includes Firestorm, Freeze, CarbonExo Armor, Ice Storm, and lighting called Spectra. We’ll get down to more details with these below with our own experiences with them.

Firestorm

Firestorm

Firestorm is Zotac’s “GPU Control Panel”. It controls everything including overclocking, RGB lighting, temperature details, and other configurations as well. Firestorm controls both the Memory Speed and Clock Speed of the GPU, and you can create your own profiles containing your preferred settings of the GPU. We’ll be overclocking the card later on for benchmarks and compare the difference to the default speed of the GPU.

Freeze

Freeze

Freeze is Zotac’s cooling system for their Amp! cards. Whenever the card is idle or if you’re only playing low-end non intensive games, the card’s fan doesn’t spin (depending on the ambient room temperature). If you’re playing high end games such as GTA V or The Witcher 3, the fans become active only if the GPU is having pressure and is overheating.

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In one of my benchmarks, the fans of the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme while playing Tomb Raider 2013 in Ultimate Settings at 1080p, only one of them spun. This is great. Not only does the card exerts less wear and tear on the fan, but also conserves energy. The fans are smart enough to know on which fan should be running and on what speed it should be. While playing GTA V, I’ve noticed that 2 fans are spinning rapidly while the remaining fan is spinning very slow. This doesn’t mean the other fan is broken, it only means that the card knows its thermal capabilities and puts the adequate amount of airflow through its heatsink to provide an optimal cooling system. A big plus to Zotac for this one.

Ice Storm

Ice Storm

Accompanying Freeze is the Icestorm – Zotac’s custom Heatsink. Relatively, the design of the card makes the heatsink less “shown”. Thanks to Freeze and Icestorm, the GTX 1080 is well cooled even under heavy load.

Carbon ExoArmor

Backplate

The special custom backplate of the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme is the CarboExo Armor. The backplate is very sturdy, that expands up to the front and sides of the GPU, adding more protection to the card. I31B8798

Spectra

Spectra

Spectra is Zotac’s RGB lighting system for their Amp! Edition cards. It is controlled via the Firestorm Software.

Benchmarks (Default, non-overclocked) & Temperature

In every GPU review, the thing that matters the most are benchmarks. Take note that we will not be overclocking the GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme. We will only be utilizing the factory OC of 1771Mhz with a Boost clock of 1911Mhz. We will update the review and create a full video review with unboxing and overclocking performance in the future.

For our setup, we’ll be using the following specifications:

CPU Specs:

GPU Intel Core i7-4790k
GPU Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme
RAM 16GBs Corsair Dominator Platinum
MOBO: Maximus VI Extreme
HDD: 2TB Seagate 7200rpm
SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 250gbs
PSU: Corsair AX1200i

Take note that the i7-4790K is not overclocked. We wil be benchmarking the games below with stock speeds with no overclocking on RAM, Processor, and GPU.

Grand Theft Auto V

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Our favorite game back in 2015 until today, GTA V is an extremely well-detailed, beautiful game. The lighting, particle effects, whether, environment, and grass, overall brings Los Santos to an incredible level of immersion unlike any other GTA game before. Aside from the incredible story, amazing gameplay, and the funny trio of characters, the Grand Theft Auto series revolutionized the entire open-world gameplay that we know today, and GTA V is the perfect example of what open world games should be about.

GTA V Final

Performance wise, the 1080 is extremely consistent with the game. While maxing every setting out including the advance graphics but the Anti-Aliasing and Nvidia TXAA, GTA V run extremely well even at 4K. Take note that the benchmarks that we have here are purely based on GTA V’s integrated benchmark.

On our own custom playing experiences, the graphics looked extremely great especially on sunsets while driving a plane across Los Santos. The game rarely dipped below 60FPS on 1440p even on grassy lands and during funfights. On 4K however the experience was different. Game still looked amazing and incredible while delivering an almost 60FPS experience, but sometimes drops below 50 to even 30 fps on 4K when playing missions and in high-detailed areas and gun-fights.

Temperature wise with an ambient room temperature of 31C, the GPUs max temperature is only 65C. An extremely great cooling performance by the fans even on high load in Max Settings at 4K. Overall, this card is a beast when playing GTA V.

Assassins Creed Syndicate

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I’ve been a fan of the Assassins Creed series ever since AC2 back in 2009. Throughout each and every game, graphics has improved dramatically. Here in AC Syndicate, the story is just the same. You are an assassin and you try to save the world by ending the templars.

Assassins Creed Syndicate Final

Graphics wise, the game itself is stunning. London is huge and the ability to ride carriages, go inside buildings, and jump across rooftops of 19th century London is a very pleasing experience. For the GTX 1080, Assassins Creed Syndicate ran extremely well rarely going below 60FPS on 1080p even on high chases and fights on extensively detailed areas, and has a constant 60FPS performance in 1440p though it does drop casually to around 50+ FPS.

In 4K gaming experience, the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme (not overclocked) was capable of pushing through with the same settings while still delivering quality framerates above 30FPS. There are times that the framerates go below 30 but those are extremely rare during our benchmarks. Temperature wise, the game reached up to a hot 73C with an ambient room temperature of 31C but never went above that.

Overall, the experience of Assassins Creed Syndicate is buttery smooth, thanks to the GTX 1080.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

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When I first played Tomb Raider back in 2013, the graphics were stunning (until today). The implementation of AMD’s TressFX Hair system really brought the game to a more realistic level. Unfortunately back then, we didn’t have a beefy card to run the game at 1080p with Ultimate Settings and Shadows on Ultra, but things are different now.

Unlike the first game, Rise of the Tomb Raider is significantly more optimized, and at the same time more demanding for graphics cards due to its huge texture files, the level of detail, and Lara’s facial details including the hair system. Since the game is significantly more optimized than the first, one should expect things to run much smoother and consistent even on heavy detailed areas.

That being said, this is one of the best benchmarking games that we have today since the game is also more taxing on the GPU.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Final

In our Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmarks, Lara looked extremely stunning in Nigeria with an extremely detailed environment including lens flares, amazing implementation of Tessellation, and overall lighting thanks to the GTX 1080 and the game studio.

Performance wise, the game run buttery smooth at 1080p, never dipping below 60FPS and in most cases go above 90. In 1440p, performance has degraded massively down to an average of 60FPS. This was expected though since most of the texture files in Rise of the Tomb Raider are optimized for 1080p according to some sources. Nevertheless, the game still looked fantastic and was still buttery smooth with a constant average of 60FPS.

In 4K, gaming things turned abit sour as the average FPS was only around 40+, though in our benchmarks 38 was the average, but in most cases it was around 40+ though sometimes dripping at 20. But still, the game is extremely playable and looks just as fantastic as it was in 1080p and 1440p. The overall temperature of the card was only around an average of 63C.

The Witcher 3

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With Tomb Raider leading AMD’s effort in bringing “True-Hair” in PC gaming, Nvidia’s effort was the Witcher 3. This game is extremely well optimized, and more optimized for Nvidia Graphics cards especially when utilizing Nvida Hairworks.

An extremely graphically demanding game, Witcher is perfect for our benchmark thanks to its Nvidia Hairworks, lush and rich environment, a huge amount of NPC characters, and overall an amazing graphical game to date.

The Witcher 3 Final

For our benchmarks, the GTX 1080 run extremely great, much more than what I expected. In all of our benchmark settings, we maxed everything out including with Nvidia Hardworks ON with 8X multisampling. In 1080p, the game runs flawlessly running over 80FPS in most cases which in some areas would even lead to a hundred, while rarely dropping down 70. The worst FPS case we’ve reached with our benchmarks in 1080p was only a 64FPS drop. It remained very consistent throughout the game.

In 1440p, things start to get different. Despite losing around 20FPS of performance, the game still run buttery smooth with the same all-maxed out settings with Hairworks On and 8X multi sampling, having an average of around 57FPS. In some cases (usually in less detailed environements), the game would even reach up to 70FPS. The worse FPS drop that we have experienced so far is only 43FPS. It never went below that even when on high detailed places with massive fights.

For 4K however, the same consistency was still there. The game still run at around 31FPS average with the highest FPS of 43 only. The game rarely dropped below 30, and the lowest that we encountered was only 23 fps. For 4K gaming that’s as intensive as this, the GTX 1080 Amp! Edition really proved well. Temperature was only as high up to 72C on an ambient room temperature of 31C.

Metro 2033 Redux

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One of the great FPS games of all time, Metro 2033 Redux is a “remastered” version of the Metro 2033 game back in 2010. Aside from the compelling story and the intense gameplay and atmosphere, Metro 2033 Redux showcases amazing particle effects, models, and overall graphics similar to the battlefield series. Though not as detailed as other AAA games, Metro 2033 is still has that smooth spot when benchmarking not-so-intensive games to see how high could the GPU run this game especially since there are no FPS locks in the game and it is optimized for Nvidia GPUs.

Metro 2033 Final

As expected, With all settings at Ultra with only SSAA Off, every benchmark reached over 100FPS.Turning the SSAA to around 4X however changes the entire playing field. All in all there’s not much to say rather than the card is overkill for this game.

This is a great example when you’re estimating how high would the FPS be in a game like Dota 2 or CS:GO. Where clearly this is more graphical than both games. Ambient room temperature was 31C and the GPU only reached up to 62C of heat.

Total War: Atilla

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The Total War series have been a personal favorite. Not just in benchmarks, but the series as a whole. We’ve been playing the total war games since Rome: Total War back in 2004, because it showcases how RTS games should be.

Graphically speaking, during Rome II’s launch there were several complaints about bugs and poor optimization. This is almost the same with Atilla, despite the game having a significantly smoother release than Rome II, it is still not that optimized. Unlike Shogun 2 Total War and Empire Total War, Attila and Rome are not that optimized.

Add the poor optimization accompanied by intense graphical effects, intense physics, over 4000+ unit count, and stunning environment especially during war time, Total War: Atille is one of the best games to benchmark out there.

Final Total War Atilla

In order to push things to the limit, we made a custom game with 4 different factions (3 of which are AI) with over 4000+units all in all in a siege battle. We set the graphics to the highest with V-Sync off to see how will the 1080 handle the game, while rendering over 4000+ units, buildings, seige equipments, environments, and other elements. It is a massive graphical game that is extremely intensive to GPUs.

In 1080p, the game run at around 36FPS of an average. This was expected due to the complexity and massive scale of environments and units rendered all at the same time. In 1440p, the game only dropped around 10-15FPS average, giving the game an average of 27FPS (11FPS drop). Once again the settings were the same both graphically and the game. In 4K however, things turned abit unplayable. Due to the massive textures that the card has to handle, plus the poor optimization, massive unit count, intense rendering of environments such as smoke, fog, fire, blood, and extreme physics calculations due to walls tumbling down and units dying at the same time, the game only reached an average of 19FPS with drops to even as low as 9.

That being said, don’t get discouraged because of the results. The game is not that optimized, and the settings that we set for the custom game was very demanding. Rendering over 4000 units at the same time in maximum detail, while rendering the environment is also taxing. Besides, in most cases you won’t be battling 4000+ units anyway in this game at 4K with this game.

With the intense pressure on the GPU, we we’re quite surprised to see that it only reached a temperature of 70C. This could be due to the poorly optimized game, and the GPU isnt utilized 100% or the cooling system is really that good. Either way, the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme Edition is a very pleasing card to have.

Conclusion

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There’s no doubt — the GTX 1080 itself delivers an astonishing gaming experience suitable for anyone especially for those who really wants their framerates cranking up to a hundred. The Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme is more than what the Founders GTX 1080 offers. Do we recommend this card? Yes.

Overall, you could not go wrong against the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme. Aside from having a very powerful card, it is also energy-efficient, drawing only a maximum of 270W of power even on full load. Unlike previous generation cards, Pascal architecture really made a massive difference both in computing power and energy efficiency. This card is a must-have for enthusiasts and those who are extreme gamers, developers, and power editors. This card is a beast for Php39,900. For those who are wanting an Overclocking guide,VR performance, a full video review complete with overclocking is in the works.

 

Pros Cons
Efficient cooling performance Bulky – will not fit in some cases
Extremely fast Expensive
Great overclocking capabilities A tad higher power draw than most 1080s.
Good packaging
RGB lighting is a plus
Currently the fastest GTX 1080 in the market


This article was written by Pete Deyto. A Tech-Enthusiast of all sorts, he is the Business Development Officer of Veer Technologies and Reality+, and the Corporate Relations Manager of VR Philippines. He is currently taking up B.S. Computer Science at the University of Santo Tomas.

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