Before we embark, remember that every GPU is different, and our results won't necessarily mirror yours. With that said, we still want to see what Zotac’s GeForce GTX 960 AMP! Edition can do, regardless of the variables beyond our control.
Back in November, Don Woligroski took a look at Zotac’s 980 AMP! Omega and had issues starting the company’s Firestorm overclocking utility. That was not the case this time around. Using version 1.0.44.008, we didn't need to launch the software as an administrator. Unfortunately, there has been no obvious attempt at making the interface easier to use. The 2D, 3D and 3D+ fields are still as ambiguous as they were previously. This card doesn’t have OC+, so the Gamer option isn't exposed, though there's nothing indicating why.
Ironically, once you click on the “Advance” button, the options become easier to understand. The familiar GPU Clock Offset, Mem Clock Offset, GPU Temp Target and so on are all available. When Don looked at Firestorm, the GPU voltage slider was visible but not usable. Thankfully, that's no longer the case. The slider is locked by default, though clicking on the padlock icon enables it.
We started by adjusting the Power limit to its maximum of 108%. The GPU Temp Target rose to 95 °C in response. Next, we adjusted the GPU clock rate. Starting with modest increments of 20MHz, I got up to +120MHz before encountering instability. In the end, I was able to dial in a 1449MHz GPU Boost frequency, which was reported in-game as 1524MHz by GPU-Z.
After finding the highest stable GPU clock, we moved on to the memory. Fifty-megahertz bumps make the best use of time, since most of the Maxwell-based cards we've seen seem to be good for significant overclocks. That ended up being a smart strategy in this case, since the memory didn't have much headroom.
At +150MHz we couldn’t complete a run of 3DMark; it'd crash every time. Sadly, +125MHz wasn't stable either, so we dropped down to +100MHz and started adjusting in 5MHz increments. Ultimately, +120MHz was the best we could do.
Hoping for more, we started adjusting voltages (Firestorm lets you tune in 1mV steps). Unfortunately, that didn't seem to help. If anything, the GPU became even less stable after increasing the voltage setting.