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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?

Temperature, Noise And Power Benchmarks

Load Temperature

The first comparison is between Zotac's cooler and the reference GeForce GTX 980. Is this third-party solution an improvement over Nvidia's popular design?

The results are surprisingly close. Zotac's cooler does take a little longer to reach peak temperature, and it beats the stock cooler's maximum by a couple degrees, but our measurements aren't anything to write home about. In fact, the reference cooler's advantage is that it pushes heated air out of the back of your case, while Zotac's cooler recirculates waste heat.

Acoustics

In order to focus on the graphics card's acoustics, we stop all of the system's fans during our measurement. Noise is sampled two inches from the card's output bezel.  

The chart starts at 30dB, which is the practical floor of what a human might consider silence. Once again, we see near-identical performance from both solutions. That's not necessarily a bad thing because the reference cooler is quite good, but we expect more from an aftermarket solution.

Power

Finally, let's see how power draw compares to the reference model.

We begin this chart at 80W, which is the approximate power draw of the system at idle minus the graphics card. Zotac's AMP! Omega Edition pulls almost 5W more at idle and about 4W more under a Battlefield 4 load. This certainly doesn't necessitate stepping up to two 8-pin auxiliary power connectors, so let's see what happens when we overclock the card on the next page.

  • 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