Skip to main content

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
Benchmarks
Battlefield 4Version 1.3.2.3825, Custom THG Benchmark, 10 Minutes
  • chimera201
    "which allows us to provide a stable higher factory clock setting without reducing the lifespan of the components of the graphics card"

    Almost everyone needs a GPU upgrade in less than 3 years. Who cares about the lifespan if it is more than 3 years?

    Reply
  • wh3resmycar
    i'm currently using the 970 version of this card. sweeeeeetttt
    Reply
  • MeteorsRaining
    It's ridiculous to see this card doesn't provide the actual OCing experience one hopes for. Out of the box OC is good, but one simply doesn't expect it to be enough, atleast not for the card in the OCing segment of the brand. This was supposed to be a OCer's card, it failed on those terms. Too many software-bound restrictions. But yes, the hardware does look quite appealing.
    Reply
  • ralanahm
    did you try the nitro boost switch to see if that unlocks the locks. I would hope for a fw or software update.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    Not impressed with the Zotac at all.

    I bought an EVGA 980 ACX 2.0 (1266 base clock, 1367 boost), it scores 14260 for
    the Firestrike test just at default settings, it's a proper 2 slot card, much quieter
    (the fans don't turn on until the GPU goes over 65C) and from what I've read will
    oc better. Also, in the UK the EVGA card is 35 to 40 UKP cheaper; I can't imagine
    why anyone would buy the Zotac.

    Don, did you try using Afterburner instead for the oc tests?

    Ian.

    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    So zotac goes and over engineer's the hell out of a 980, adding LN2 dip switches, Voltage Readouts, Beefed up power delivery, High performance inductors, and then what do they do?

    They lower the TDP by 11%, when compared to the Nvidia Reference Model. Whats the use of LN2 features if your going to handicap the voltage cap?

    My reference 980 hit 1.5ghz with ease. 1st try overclock actually. And reference board is using the cheapest coils and inductors money can buy.
    Reply
  • WithoutWeakness
    What is the point of this monstrosity of a card? It has an oversized PCB and massive 2.5-slot open air cooler and isn't any faster, cooler, or quieter than Nvidia's reference design. GM104 is only a 165W chip and Zotac designs this huge overkill cooler and it's no better than Nvidia's rear-exhaust design AND takes up 3 slots? What a joke.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth
    I'm skeptical that the 980 needs such a beefy cooler, even when overclocked.
    Reply
  • The original Derfman
    Seriously people, you sound like the kind of people that would buy a $100,000 muscle car, then bitch that you can't turn it into a formula dragster and still drive it on the street. This card is seriously overclocked already and yet people still want more, with an intact warranty. Spoiled much?
    Reply
  • coolitic
    Apparently I can't rate posts if I don't disable adblock.

    Toms is really pissing everyone off.
    Reply