Zotac AMP!: The Unloved

NCX

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Why? For the past few years, the AMP!'s received positive reviews and seem to be one of the best in terms of price vs. performance, especially where I live (Canada) since they are usually <50$ more than most reference cards.

PS: I have never owned a Zotac card since they usually take too long to be released here and I didn't know about them when I purchased previous cards in 2012 (MSI 680 4gb) and 2010 (Evga 480 SSC). I have a MSI Lightning 780 now (purchased used from the forum for almost 200$ less than a new 780 in Canada), but plan to get an AMP! next time.
 

cortexodus

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My experience with Zotac is admittedly limited, but with the GTX 460 Amp! the Heatsink situation pretty much seemed to suck. It has a copper slug with aluminum fins and this thick set of overhangs above the BGAs that you would think would be heat-padded, but they're not. If it got even a little dust in the cooler, it would rapidly overheat and start artifacting. I was not impressed and it colored my already somewhat low perception of them.

However, I really did like the way this little guy looked, but it wasn't available in the US.
 

polonyc2

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Zotac does seem like the black sheep of Nvidia partners...they do seem to get good reviews and are always priced the cheapest but I always seem to ignore them for no rational reason
 

Tup3x

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My AMP! has absolutely horrible coil whine. Cooling is a bit so so especially for vrm. I have changed TIM which probably helps a bit. It is quite quiet card though (well, fan sound wise). Stays around 75c under load. But you can't really compare this to their current products.
 

Starrbuck

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I had to send my 980 AMP! back as it was defective. I doubt I will put my trust in Zotac again.
 
D

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All the reviews I've seen have generally been positive. They've always been on my radar for a potential purchase as they always have products which cater to the Mini ITX form factor - and all of the systems I've put together in the last few years have been ITX ones.

I've not yet purchased one - the only discrete GPU I have right now is an EVGA 560Ti that I scooped up used a ways back for $50 - but once the rest of the 900 series is out I plan to buy both their 970 to replace my 560Ti, and a second card, whatever they release that is low profile and single slot (940? 930?) for another system I have which is much more restricted on space and power.

I'm not sure why it is they seem to fly under the radar so much, though. Maybe it's just because they're not as big as Asus, MSI and Gigabyte, they just don't have the name recognition?
 

DooKey

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I have a Zotac AMP! Omega Edition 980 and I love it. Super quiet and clocks to 1.5ghz no probs. Great card.
 

polonyc2

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I'm not sure why it is they seem to fly under the radar so much, though. Maybe it's just because they're not as big as Asus, MSI and Gigabyte, they just don't have the name recognition?

Zotac has the name recognition just maybe not in the way they want...it's like choose Zotac only if those other manufacturer cards are out of stock...Zotac needs to build a really kick ass custom card to really put it on the map and make it stand out
 

NCX

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Zotac has the name recognition just maybe not in the way they want...it's like choose Zotac only if those other manufacturer cards are out of stock...Zotac needs to build a really kick ass custom card to really put it on the map and make it stand out

They have been for years, the AMP! consistently matches or comes very close to the Classified and Lightning for up to 200$ less. I could ask the same question about PNY/Palitt, but their cards are usually expensive.
 

limitedaccess

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Something interesting, that people might not be aware of, Zotac actually has the same parent company as Sapphire. Sapphire is AMDs largest AiB partner. As whole they are actually the second largest video card manufacturer.

I'm not sure why it is they seem to fly under the radar so much, though. Maybe it's just because they're not as big as Asus, MSI and Gigabyte, they just don't have the name recognition?

One difference is that those 3 essentially offer a transferable 3 year warranty without initial registration. While for Zotac you need to register within 30 days for a 3 year warranty or it's a 2 year warranty and you need to provide the original invoice.

In terms of name recognition look at the 970/980 launch for example. On launch day you already had multiple major sites have reviews and coverage of Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI. I was not aware of any of Zotac, actually I'm still not aware of any review of their basic 970 model?
 

cortexodus

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I will say that this thing gives me the same tingling vibe that the 770 and 780 HOF did the first time I laid eyes on them.
 
D

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On launch day you already had multiple major sites have reviews and coverage of Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI. I was not aware of any of Zotac, actually I'm still not aware of any review of their basic 970 model?

It's so true, and given that their base 970 is the shortest of all of them, I'd have expected to see a review of it SOMEWHERE - lots of people with ITX cases with length limitations are interested in a card with that much power in that form factor.
 

Lord_Exodia

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I had a Zotac GTX 680 that worked awesome. It even overclocked better than my Asus GTX 680. My younger brother ended up buying that from me very cheat and it's still going strong.

I would purchase a Zotac product again.
 
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I got an 970 amp! omega, runs great! Overclocked to 1500core/8k memory without issue, and the fan is inaudible even on full load (temps stayed between 68-74c with fan at 60% in alien). No coil whine either, very happy!

Vkp1VeI.png
 
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Lord_Exodia

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I got an 970 amp! omega, runs great! Overclocked to 1500core/8k memory without issue, and the fan is inaudible even on full load (temps stayed between 68-74c with fan at 60% in alien). No coil whine either, very happy!

Wait wait wait. You didn't buy the AMP Omega to run at 1500mhz did you? :) at 1500 on a GTX970 your just getting started. Leave the voltage at stock and see if you can go up to 1600mhz. People (many) are hitting 1600mhz on the Gigabyte Gaming 970. Go to my thread and see what others are doing with these things. I'd love to see your results and feedback there. Also some pics of your card and setup too.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1834506
 

NCX

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Firestorm looks cool. I can max everything I want to play now, but will consider the 980 successor (980 Ti or 990?) AMP! since the performance leap from a 780-980 is too small IMO, and I can't afford a new gpu. The pricing will likely be ridiculous since the reference 980's cost >650$+12% tax here, though the minimum wage is 10.25$.

Hopefully more people post their AMP! OC results.
 
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Wait wait wait. You didn't buy the AMP Omega to run at 1500mhz did you? :) at 1500 on a GTX970 your just getting started. Leave the voltage at stock and see if you can go up to 1600mhz. People (many) are hitting 1600mhz on the Gigabyte Gaming 970. Go to my thread and see what others are doing with these things. I'd love to see your results and feedback there. Also some pics of your card and setup too.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1834506

The Omega is voltage locked (the extreme is supposedly not, but i havent seen anyone with it yet to ask). I'm quite happy with my 1525 OC.
 

NCX

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Review of the GTX 980 Gigabyte G1 & Zotac AMP! Omega

Tech Report said:
As for everything else, well, that's where things get shaky. Maybe it was just some quirk of my system, but I couldn't get Zotac's included FireStorm utility to modify the Omega's clock speeds or other parameters at all. It just didn't work. The OC+ monitoring feature is a nice idea, but the lack of documentation and poorly executed user interface dampen my enthusiasm for it. Why go to the trouble of adding this sort of custom hardware if you're not going to develop the appropriate software and documentation to take advantage of it?

Then there's the fact that the Omega doesn't offer any more overclocking headroom than a reference GTX 980, despite the enormous cooler, the dual eight-pin power input requirement, and the giant "OC+" label on the side of the card. The trappings are there, but the Omega just doesn't deliver on its apparent promise.

The Omega's redeeming quality is a fairly modest price premium of 30 bucks over reference cards&#8212;and being in stock right now at Newegg. If you have the room in your system to accommodate this monster and the twin eight-pin power plugs to feed it, the Omega isn't a bad choice. Just be aware that you're paying more for two things&#8212;somewhat higher base clocks and a big, quiet cooler&#8212;and not much else.

The AMP! Omega is 40$ cheaper than the G1 and the AMP! Extreme is 10$ cheaper here (Canada).
 
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Karlitos

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Got a GTX 680 Zotac AMP Edition and it was a mint card, no issues, no coil whine, card was cool.

I also got a Zotac GTX 780, it was also neat.
 
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Wait wait wait. You didn't buy the AMP Omega to run at 1500mhz did you? :) at 1500 on a GTX970 your just getting started. Leave the voltage at stock and see if you can go up to 1600mhz. People (many) are hitting 1600mhz on the Gigabyte Gaming 970. Go to my thread and see what others are doing with these things. I'd love to see your results and feedback there. Also some pics of your card and setup too.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1834506

Just put my 970s in this weekend. Haven't had time to mess actually overclock them yet (damn pesky family obligations) but here are some pics.



and here is a size comparison to a 680. These things are fat.
 

vicks

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I'll be getting my 2x zotac 980 amp editions tomorrow. The ones at reference card prices with a albeit simple, non reference cooler that seemingly never goes out of stock at newegg with no reviews there. Having had no issues with a zotac gtx 680, I'm excited to try these. Just curious as to why they aren't selling out especially considering the entry level pricing with aftermarket cooling and some mild out of the box overclocking... We will see this week...
 

limitedaccess

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It's one of the only cards left on Newegg for the 980s.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500361

I don't see why the card has such a bad rap... Even in the dealpost it was listed and someone said HELLZ NO to it.

Since you represent a retailer there's hope maybe you can pass along public sentiment to the manufacturer.

The warranty reputation and listed terms are not as strong relative to competitors. EVGA is the other end of the spectrum comparison (very strong reputation and warranty terms). Sapphire shares the same company and they aren't notable for their warranty service either (conflicting reports of turnaround time and needing to send the card overseas for example). Although I don't believe this is the case with Zotac, but if not why not list the RMA service center locations on their webpage? Shouldn't be a big secret and others do it.

Also the lack of sampling to reviewers. This issue gets compounded due to Zotac's reputation (or lack thereof). So buyer's are more likely to want to spend comparable money on a more known alternative.

Of course with a higher end video card these become more important since the price difference (relative to the cost of the card) between brands/models is smaller.
 

RadXge

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With respect to generic (non-customized) video cards, it is known that each "manufacturer" slaps its sticker on the card provided by NVIDIA and assembles the box for retail.

Despite this, some individuals are convinced that a particular brand is more prone to issues (e.g. coil whine) than the competition. The error of this "analysis" is due to the lack of credibility in the data (size of sample is too small, hearing varies by individual, dependence on other system components). This is an example of "anecdotal evidence".

Obviously, the terms of the warranty and the quality of service varies by brand are facts and may indeed influence the consumer.

That being said, I do not buy Zotac because the second hand market has much less appetite for this brand (I do not keep my video cards more than one year). It is much more easy to resell an EVGA card.
 

Putz

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ived a few zotacs in the 280 days and 480 days and a 770, never had issues with any of them, they all overclocked to decent levels on par with SSC, decent coolers and always cheaper by 50-100$ here in Canada. Used a couple at work only ever had a 260 die but that was my fault for putting it in a 2u chassis with crappy cooling i think, but they replaced it anyways. not EVGA level of service but also not Asus level of service either
 

NCX

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Wonder why Zotac does not send units to [H] for review since they send them out to a few other sites. If I worked for Zotac, I would send [H] both the 970 & 980 AMP! Omega's to review and use as their reference cards so they can repeatedly praise the value aspect, even though they are not the fastest.
 

vicks

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Got them both in the machine today (the base Amp edition with non reference cooler), coming from 2 x r9 290 reference cards, these guys are quiet and quite cool. With a solid 250/500 overclock on them - some simple messing around in online BF4 - well over a solid 120 fps on my asus VG248qe - on ultra setting. the 290s had to be set to low setting, with the fans sitting at 60% to get to that point, so, pretty loud.

Maxed out Witcher 2 at 1440p with ubersampling and overclocking - 70+ fps solid. All the while staying much quieter and cooler than the reference cards. The biggest 2 reasons why I felt the need to move on. So with the so far, tiny sample size, quite happy with the cards. Feel solid and sturdy - well put together pieces. Excited to throw some newer games at them. I will admit I jumped too quickly to AMDs side with those reference cards, but glad to be back on nVidias side with their quiet and energy efficient cards...that perform absurdly to boot...
 

dccmadams

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I just bought the Zotac 980 ref cooler, runs great, no coil whine, $549 at amazon. Seems to clock same as all other 980s.......2 six pin power connectors also.
 

limitedaccess

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I just bought the Zotac 980 ref cooler, runs great, no coil whine, $549 at amazon. Seems to clock same as all other 980s.......2 six pin power connectors also.

All reference cards would be hardware identical since they are made by the same OEM (or OEMs if multiplier suppliers) and just re-branded for each AiB. The only difference among reference cards would be the support, this is why EVGA is a bit more of a go to in this case (unless specific reasons).
 
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Looks like the same pcb. I wonder if you could flash the extreme bios onto it.

Yep you can flash the extreme bios, but all it does is raise your base/boost clock. The problem is the extreme amp! is voltage locked as well atm. It seems to have been some kind of mistake to lock all the cards despite their marketing claiming to go above the 1.212v with the OC plus.
 

polonyc2

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how does the Zotac 970/980 match up against the Gigabyte, MSI and ASUS offerings in terms of performance, cooling and temps?
 

Jeffredo

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Zotac does seem like the black sheep of Nvidia partners...

Which is interesting since its the same company as Sapphire for Radeon (and they're generally held up as one of the best AMD partners).
 

BababooeyHTJ

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Which is interesting since its the same company as Sapphire for Radeon (and they're generally held up as one of the best AMD partners).

I thought that it was the same parent company. Warranty services and customer support seem different.

Here is sapphire's new policy which seems awful.

RMA/Warranty

Sapphire VGA products carry a 2 year warranty* with all enquires carried out through your initial place of purchase. This can only be carried out by the original purchaser Please contact your Dealer/Reseller for Warranty / RMA service. They will require proof of purchase which includes the original invoice/documentation.

Much different than Zotac.
 
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