ZOTAC GeForce 8800GTX AMP! Edition

ZOTAC is a brand new graphics cards maker - we take their factory overclocked GeForce 8800GTX AMP! Edition for a spin!
| Jul 2, 2007 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Zotac


IntroductionWho's ZOTAC? Well, to be completely honest, we only have a slightly better idea than you probably do.ZOTAC are the latest Nvidia partner to pop up in the competitive world of graphics cards, and they also happen to be a member of the PC Partner group based out of Hong Kong. If there wasn't already enough competition as it is, Nvidia thought that they could add a little bit more to it.Zotac are currently an Nvidia only GPU partner and stock the full range of 8 series starting with the 8400GS and moving all the way up to the GTX, though there doesn't seem to be any Ultra's listed on their site at the moment. Apart from the 8 series we also have everything lower going all the way down to the 5200.Today we're looking at Zotac's highest end card, the 8800GTX AMP edition. It's an overclocked model and we intend to see if Zotac can be a strong force in the already competitive graphics card market.

The Package

The PackageLooking at the front of the box we have quite a cool looking image displayed. As always, the front of the box is very standard with the company name and model listed. We also have some of the main specifications on there, including the fact that HDCP is supported. There is also the clear indication that this particular model is their "AMP! Edition" variant.
The back of the box has the information we see on most 8 series graphics card boxes including the table that gives us an idea of what card is best for you. We also have an explanation on a number of the main features that the 8800 series offers.
Moving over to the package, it's pretty light. We have the standard power cables and DVI to VGA connectors. Also included is the HD-Out cable which has S-Video connectivity as well. Last of all we see some component cables and of course a driver CD.
It would have been nice to have a game included within the package, but it's possible that because Zotac are quite new they haven't been able to establish a relationship with any game companies just yet. Hopefully this is something that is looked at sooner rather than later. The inclusion of the component cables were nice to see, as this isn't something we see very often. This allows anyone who wants to make use of TV-Out have multiple connectivity options out of the box.

The Card

The CardThe card uses the default GeForce 8800GTX cooler with Zotac's own sticker placed over the top of it. We can see that the same image displayed on the front of the box is also used on the front of the card. Visually it's really no different to any other 8800GTX (apart from the sticker).
Moving across the top of the card we have two 6-pin PCI Express connectors to power the beast along with our two SLI connectors. Hopefully we will know what our second SLI connector is for in the near future so we can have some more fun.
Moving to the I/O side of things we have two DVI connectors which support not only HDCP but also Dual-Link connectivity for 30" monitors. We also have the TV-Out port in the event you want to chuck that picture onto a big screen.
The biggest feature of the AMP! Edition is the massive overclock. The card clocks in at 630MHz on the core (which is 55MHz over the stock 575MHz clock speed) and also a huge 2000MHz DDR on the memory (200MHz DDR over the stock 1800MHz DDR speed).

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05

Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)Motherboard(s): ASUS P5K3 Deluxe (Supplied by ASUS)Memory: 2 X 1GB Corsair XMS3 DDR-3 1066MHz 7-7-7-21 (Supplied by Corsair)Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA-II Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2Drivers: Nvidia ForceWare 158.22, ATI Catalyst 7.6 and DX9cWith our factory overclocked 8800GTX in hand from Zotac we thought we should compare against the stock clocked 8800GTX from MSI, along with an 8800GTS 640MB and HD 2900 XT 512MB for good measure.Let's see how it goes and if it is worth spending the extra money on the Zotac product over others.3DMark05Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/Buy It Here
3DMark05 is now the second latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and above.For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.
We can see the overclock gives us big gains across the board in the older version of 3DMark.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/Buy It Here
3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.
When we jump onto the more intensive 3DMark06, we again see that there are large gains across the board on the AMP! Edition from Zotac.

Benchmarks - RyderMark

RyderMarkVersion and / or Patch Used: Beta 2Developer Homepage: http://www.candellasoftware.com
RyderMark is a new 3D benchmark application by Candella Software designed to take on the 3DMark series from Futuremark.We are testing using the early Beta 2 version which was sent to us by the developers. For a closer look at the benchmark software, take a look at our preview.
We can see that the overall score is a lot higher with the Zotac 8800GTX, while the minimum FPS seems to be lower. Rydermark is still in beta form though, so we don't pay too much attention to it just yet.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Lost Coast HDR)

Half Life 2 (Lost Coast HDR)Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from SteamTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.comBuy It Here
By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Lost Coast opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.We benchmark Half Life 2 Lost Coast with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.
Source engine games generally seem to operate strange when we overclock the cards too high; it isn't until 2560 x 1600 that there is a noticeable difference between the two GTX cards.

Benchmarks - Prey

PreyVersion and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom BenchmarkDeveloper Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com Product Homepage: http://www.prey.comBuy It Here
Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4, and puts quite a lot of strain on our test systems.
While Prey doesn't see any gains at the lower resolution, as we move up and everything becomes more intensive, we can see that the overclocked Zotac GTX begins to excel.

Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R.Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.vugames.com Product Homepage: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/Buy It Here
F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror...and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.
The minimum FPS gets a jump at the higher resolution and we see gains across the average at both resolutions.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes

Company of HeroesVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.relic.comProduct Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.comBuy It Here
Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.
Company of Heroes sees gains across the whole board, including the minimum and average FPS department. The Zotac continues to show us some serious power!

Benchmarks - Supreme Commander

Supreme CommanderVersion and / or Patch Used: 3220Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.gaspowered.com Product Homepage: http://www.supremecommander.comBuy It Here
In the 37th Century, you are the Supreme Commander of three races, with a single goal in mind-to end the 1000 year Infinite War and become the reigning power supreme. For a thousand years, three opposing forces have waged war for what they believe is true. There can be no room for compromise: their way is the only way. Dubbed The Infinite War, this devastating conflict has taken its toll on a once-peaceful galaxy and has only served to deepen the hatred between the factions.
Supreme Commander continues to spit out some weird numbers. The game is heavily limited by the CPU, so overclocking the graphics card really does nothing for the game. Only a CPU speed increase will result in better performance with this title.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before, they will start to now.
We again see in 3DMark06 that the gains are huge with the overclocked Zotac card.
Lost Coast shows big gains when under a lot of pressure, especially when we overclock the CPU or graphics card.
We again see big gains in Prey with the overclocked 8800GTX.

Benchmarks - Overclocking

OverclockingMoving to overclocking, in previous tests we managed to ramp up the GeForce 8800 Ultra from the default 612MHz core to 662MHz. The memory was able to be pushed from 2080MHz DDR to 2280MHz DDR.The Zotac 8800GTX already comes with quite a large overclock, so we didn't expect much more. We managed to go from 630MHz core to 655MHz core and the memory moved slightly from 2000MHz DDR to 2048MHz DDR.
Since the card didn't overclock too much we can see that the card almost scores the same.
We again see the small overclock really does nothing for overall performance.

Temperature and Sound Tests

Temperature Tests
With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand, we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).There are two places we pull temperatures from - the back of the card directly behind the core, and if the card is dual slot with an exhaust point we also pull a temperature from there, as shown in the picture.
We see that the GTX is quite warm behind the core, while the exhaust temperature is significantly lower than the ATI HD 2900 XT.Sound Tests
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level when idle (2D mode), and under load (3D mode).
The GTX continues to be one of the quietest high-end cards on the market and the overclocked Zotac is no different of course, since it uses the same cooling setup.

Power Consumption Tests

Power Consumption Tests
Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly referred to by our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system along with the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into an AC wall socket).There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD-ROM or many cooling fans.So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is inevitably going to be higher.
The massive overclock only draws an extra couple of watts both at idle and under load.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts8800GTX AMP! Edition is a fantastic graphics card from Zotac, especially considering they are very new to the market. We can see that the overclock really manages to give us some serious performance gains across the board. This is an excellent way for a new company to stand out, and the name "AMP! Edition" sounds pretty funky, too.The biggest let down is the package. The inclusion of component cables is nice but it would have been good to see a game included as well. Though as mentioned earlier, there's probably a good reason for this. Given the company has only officially launched earlier this year, it's likely they haven't been able to strike a deal up with the game manufacturers as yet. On the other hand, the card is clocked at the same speeds as the 8800GTX XXX edition from XFX, so the lack of any included games and the urge to be priced aggressively to compete in the market means that this could be a great alternative.Overclocking was a slight let down, but like most cards clocked extremely high out of the box, they are normally sitting on the edge of maximum attainable performance, so it's not really a con. At least you're guaranteed these high speeds off the bat, which we can see translates to some serious performance!Looking at the pros and cons we kind of have this uneven amount where there are more cons than pros, yet we still find ourselves giving it a generous rating of 9 out of 10 along with our performance award. Two of the cons will improve over time and the third (being the package) hopefully also gets improved upon. It's hard to mention if it's good value or not at this stage, seeing as we don't have any pricing yet. This is again something that will take a few months as Zotac products become more readily available around the world.For performance junkies, it is great. If we find that the pricing is significantly cheaper than a company like XFX, who offers the same speed on their top mode, you could just about upgrade the performance only award to an all round editor's choice award, as it would not only go like stink but manage to do it at a damn good price as well.It really looks like Zotac is serious about becoming a force in the graphics card market. We hope that they can apply more pressure to the market so that competition is fierce, and they continue to create fast products like the one witnessed today. Hopefully we will see an 8800 Ultra AMP! Edition in the near future and preferably with a game to further compliment it.- ProsExcellent performance - factory overclockedComponent cables included- ConsPackage a little light - no game includedStill an unknown companyAvailability unknown at this stageRating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Performance Award!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:26 pm CDT

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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