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Zotac GeForce GTX 980 AMP! Omega Edition Review: The Big Gun

Zotac's GeForce GTX 980 AMP! Omega edition boasts a large aftermarket cooling solution enabling an aggressive factory overclock. How does the board perform right out of its box? How about after we try to push it even harder?

How We Tested

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 980 is one of the most powerful and energy-efficient graphics cards we've ever tested. It's a product we tested in depth in "Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 And 980 Review: Maximum Maxwell". Those of you unfamiliar with the GeForce GTX 980 are encouraged to read that piece for detailed GPU info and game benchmarks. In a nutshell, the GTX 980 is about as fast as the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, with a much lower 165 TDP and a $550 MSRP.

Today, we're focusing on Zotac's GeForce GTX 980 AMP! Omega Edition and what differentiates it from other models on the market. To that end, the emphasis is on the cooler's thermal and acoustic performance. Then, we'll examine power usage and test overclockability. All of this data will be compared to the reference GeForce GTX 980 design.

Graphics cards like the GeForce GTX 980 require a substantial amount of stable power, so XFX sent us its PRO850W 80 PLUS Bronze-certified supply. This modular PSU employs a single +12V rail rated for 70A. XFX claims continuous (not peak) output of up to 850W at 50 degrees Celsius.

We've almost exclusively eliminated mechanical disks in the lab, preferring solid-state storage for alleviating I/O-related bottlenecks. Samsung sent all of our labs 256GB 840 Pros, so we standardize on these exceptional SSDs.

Test System
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 3.3GHz, Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading enabled.
MotherboardASRock X79 Extreme9 (LGA 2011) Chipset: Intel X79 Express
NetworkingOn-Board Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4GB, 1600MT/s, CL 8-8-8-24-2T
GraphicsZotac GeForce GTX 980 AMP! Omega Edition1203MHz GPU, 4GB GDDR5 at 1762MHz (7048MT/s)Reference GeForce GTX 9801126MHz GPU, 2GB GDDR5 at 1750MHz (7000MT/s)
SSDSamsung 840 Pro, 256 GB SSD, SATA 6Gb/s
PowerXFX PRO850W, ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriversGeForce 344.16
Battlefield 4Version, Custom THG Benchmark, 10 Minutes