The GTX 10 series has been a high point for PC gamers since it was first announced. The generational leap from the 900 series was astounding and that such improved performance cost less bucked expectation. We’ve looked at earlier entries in the GTX 10 series, and today we’re taking on “The Ultimate.” Zotac was kind enough to loan us their 1080Ti AMP Edition to test its merits. Is it the 4K killer we hoped for? You’ll be interested to see what we found.
Despite coming in at $709.99 at the time of this writing, ($10 more than NVidia’s Founder’s Edition and about $40 less than most other aftermarket Tis), it boasts respectable core clock speeds of 1569MHz base and 1683MHz boost. In actual use, however, it far exceeds this, hovering at a consistent 1875-1915MHz in most games. The quoted out-of-the-box clock speeds meet or exceed those of much more expensive cards, immediately increasing the value per dollar for users who don’t want to overclock themselves. There’s 11GB of GGDR5X running at 11GHz with a 352-bit width and 484GB/s bandwidth, a significant improvement over the standard GTX 1080. On the back, ZOTAC has included the DVI-d, three display ports, and one HDMI 2.0.
The added performance comes at a bit of a power premium, however. Instead of a 6- and 8-pin PSU requirement, the AMP requires two 8-pin connectors and boosts the power draw from 250 watts to 270 watts, while keeping the overall system power requirement steady at 600 watts.
ZOTAC has added some extra circuitry that accounts for the added watts, as well as their own cooling system which we’ll get to in a moment. Overclockers will be pleased to hear that that the AMP edition features a 16+2 power phase system, up from the standard 10, to provide added stability to your overclocks. In our tests, we found the AMP quite overclockable with only minor tweaks, easily achieving a 2GHz core clock with a +150MHz memory speed offset. ZOTAC’s PowerBoost control chip acts as a current regulator, which should help maintain overclocks in the long-term and extend the life of the card. It’s also RGB enabled for the main ZOTAC logo.
The 1080Ti AMP Edition features ZOTAC’s IceStorm cooling tech. Six copper heatpipes draw heat away from the processor and memory modules into two large and heavy aluminum heatsinks. Heat is then swept away by a pair of 100mm fans. Thermal pads are attached to every heat generating element, and the metal backplate which should, theoretically, result in some added heat dissipation. The IceStorm sinks are big and heavy, not only pushing the card into 2.5 slot territory, but also adding a solid inch and a half to the card’s width. Suffice it to say, this is a card you need that needs to be screwed tight or you’ll find yourself in sag city and possibly damaging your rig.
So how does it work? With the default 1:1 fan curve, this is what we found:
Test system: MSI Z270 Gaming M7 Motherboard, i7-7700k at 4.5GHz, 16GB G.Skill 3200MHz DDR4 RAM, Corsair HX1050 1050 watt PSU, Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 case
With the stock fan curve, the AMP’s dual fans succeed in dropping the average temperature around 10 degrees from the mid-80s average widely reported in the reference 1080Ti (which we hope to have soon). Adjusting the fan curve to a more aggressive approach definitely lowers these numbers, but even at 70% the Ti was easily louder than the seven fans mounted in our case.
We ran benchmarks in a number of MMORPGs, RPGs, and other major games at each of the three main resolutions. We always selected the maximum preset for each game, then manually turned every setting to its highest, excepting only supersampling. At 4K resolution only, we disabled anti-aliasing as in most titles it is simply unnecessary at such a high resolution. In-game benchmarks were used where available. Where they weren’t, we repeated cycles of representative gameplay in as highly a populated an area and activity as possible.
The 1080Ti AMP is a beast. Running at 4K, it met or surpassed the coveted 60FPS mark other cards have aspired to. Only the most demanding and poorly optimized fell short. Looking at our benchmarks from our review of EVGA’s standard GTX 1080 SC2, it’s interesting to note that the biggest gains from upgrading are found at higher resolutions. Using the same selection of games and test scenarios, the Ti only performed 11% better than the SC2 at 1080p, 15% better at 1440p, and 20% better at 4K. These comparisons are anecdotal, as the clock speeds of each card are non-standard. Interesting, nonetheless.
Without a stable of custom 1080Ti’s to benchmark against, we obviously cannot provide a comparison to other cards. What these results, the higher-than-reported clock speeds, and easy overclockability show, however, is that the ZOTAC 1080Ti AMP is an extremely capable card while costing less than much of its competition. I do wish that it ran just a bit cooler - anything over 70 and I start to push fan curves - but the mid-70s range is still well below the 91C throttle point. All in all, this card is a value in the 1080Ti market.