ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review

ZOTAC goes for gold with its GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, with an absolutely massive video card that has the performance to back up its hefty size.

@anthony256
Published Tue, Jul 28 2015 9:17 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: ZOTAC

Introduction, Quick Specs and Availability & Price

I've been a fan of ZOTAC's video cards for a while now, but when I saw their GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition card at Computex this year, I knew I had to have it. It was going to be a beast, but now that it's here and I've reviewed it, you're going to see this is the fastest single video card in the world.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 03 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 57 IMAGES

Not only does it beat the reference GTX 980 Ti by at least 10% in every test, but it does so using just a little more power, all while it looks great. ZOTAC's AMP! Extreme range of cards are always, well, extreme. But the GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition takes it to a whole new level with its massive cooler and huge clock speeds.

I'll leave you with this tease for our introduction in our review for our ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition: it is the fastest card we've tested yet. We've seen it smash the reference GTX 980 Ti, and the HBM-based AMD Radeon R9 Fury X.

Quick Specs

ZOTAC has the usual 2816 CUDA cores on its GM200 GPU, but has increased the reference Core and Boost clocks from the stock 1000MHz and 1075MHz (Core and Boost, respectively) to a huge 1253MHz and 1355MHz. This results in a massive increase in performance, thanks to the GM200 core that powers the GTX 980 Ti having so much headroom for overclocking.

The GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition sees the 6GB of GDDR5 overclocked, up from the 7000MHz on the reference card, to 7220MHz. This overclock on the VRAM increases the memory bandwidth from 336.5GB/sec to 346.6GB/sec on the ZOTAC card. We have a 384-bit memory bus, and our testing will show that the huge 4096-bit memory bus on the Fury X with its HBM doesn't begin to compete with what ZOTAC has here with the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition.

Availability & Price

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is available on Amazon for $699.95 with stock available now. With some of the competing cards from EVGA, ASUS and MSI being more expensive, ZOTAC has a huge win here with the price right now.

Packaging & Detailed Look

The Packaging

For the best video card we've ever tested, you wouldn't know that from the box. ZOTAC hasn't changed up its GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition packaging. Let's take a look now.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 01 | TweakTown.com

From the front of the box, we see in the top right hand corner that this is the 'AMP! Extreme Edition' version of ZOTAC's GeForce GTX 980 Ti. In the bottom right, we have 6GB of VRAM, Power Boost, and Ice Storm technologies.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 02 | TweakTown.com

On the back of the box, we have some more details on the card. We can see the seriously elaborate cooler that ZOTAC has deployed on the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition. To the right, we can see that ZOTAC has used its dual-blade EKO fan, which increases airflow by 30%.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The card comes in some good packaging, keeping your video card nice and safe.

Detailed Look

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition has a very unique look, but it's ultimately a ZOTAC design. This is definitely not a bad thing, as I'm a fan of the work ZOTAC has on the AMP! Extreme Edition cards.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 05 | TweakTown.com

We can see the beautiful dual-blade fans that ZOTAC has used, with three of them keeping the card nice and cool.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 06 | TweakTown.com

On the back of the card, we can see that ZOTAC is teasing 'Push the Limit'. Under that, ZOTAC's Power Boost technology can be seen here.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 07 | TweakTown.com

ZOTAC has stuck with the reference Maxwell display output configuration, so we have 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.0 and 1 x DVI.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 08 | TweakTown.com
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 12 | TweakTown.com

From the top of the card, we have the extensive 2.5-slot cooling system, as well as the 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors to the right. On the bottom of the card, we can see that elaborate cooling system on show.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 09 | TweakTown.com

A closer look at the 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and the heat sink keeping the VRMs cool.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 10 | TweakTown.com

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition can be used in SLI for some serious frame rates.

Card Specifications & Cooling Setup

Card Specifications

ZOTAC has overclocked both the GPU and the RAM on the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, with most other AIB partners not touching the VRAM clock speeds, ZOTAC has gone above and beyond with this card.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Cooling Setup

ZOTAC has used quite an elaborate cooling setup on the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition card, with a triple-fan cooler that uses 3 x 90mm 'Ice Storm EKO' fans on a huge heat sink that has some very thick heat pipes running through it.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 05 | TweakTown.com

As you can see, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition looks great, but the fans look even better.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 14 | TweakTown.com
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 19 | TweakTown.com

The GM200 GPU is kept nice and cool thanks to the gigantic heat sink array used.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 13 | TweakTown.com

The VRMs are kept quite cool thanks to a huge heat sink and heat pipes running over them.

Testing Method & Test System Configuration

Testing Method

I've played Battlefield 4 on a 64-player server to provide some real-world performance numbers. I've found this is one of the best ways to provide the most realistic performance numbers, as it involves actual gameplay in a large server that really strains most setups.

For now, I'm going to be using the same suite of benchmarks I've been using on my Tweakipedia articles, which uses a mix of synthetic benchmarks with Futuremark's 3DMark and Unigine Heaven. After that, we have a bunch of titles with built-in benchmarks (which does not represent actual in-game performance) but they are repeatable for you at home to gauge the performance of your PC or GPU.

Over time, I will be adding in new benchmarks and a new section that will concentrate solely on real-time gaming benchmarks. This will take more time per review, as I'll have to invest time into actually physically playing the games, but it'll be worth it in the long run. For now, let's get right into the synthetic benchmarks and see how this video card performs.

Test System Configuration

We only recently built our new X99-powered system, something you can read about here. As for the detailed specifications, this is what we're running:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K processor w/Corsair H110 cooler
  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE X99 Gaming G1 Wi-Fi
  • RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance 2666MHz DDR4
  • Storage: 240GB SanDisk Extreme II and 480GB SanDisk Extreme II
  • Chassis: Lian Li T60 Pit Stop
  • PSU: Corsair AX1200i digital PSU
  • Software: Windows 7 Ultimate x64

We're running the system at stock CPU speeds, which will provide more of a 'real-world' feel to our benchmarks. Sure, this isn't an i7-5960X at 5GHz, but what person is going to team up an incredibly expensive CPU with a mid-range GPU? Not many.

Our GPU tests are changing, shifting toward more of a real-world feel. But don't worry, we will be doing some crazy balls-to-the-wall tests that will see serious overclocks, Extreme Edition processors, and much more in the coming months. For the most part, we will be doing more real-world testing by teaming up the right processor with the right GPU in its price category.

Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike - 1080p

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 50 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme - 1440p

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 51 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra - 4K

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 71 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1080p

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 52 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1440p

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 53 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 4K

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 72 | TweakTown.com

One of the best examples of the increased speed of the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is in its synthetic testing, where we have a 15% increase in performance on 3DMark Fire Strike, at 1080p. The Fire Strike Extreme benchmark is 20% faster on the ZOTAC card, while at 4K it is 16% faster than the reference card.

Heaven squeezes a little more out of the card in terms of additional performance, with the ZOTAC card being 18% faster at 1080p, while at 1440p we see it being 22% faster. Bumping our card all the way up to 4K, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is 20% faster.

Benchmarks - 1080p

Battlefield 4

This is one game that we did differently, as it does not feature a built-in benchmarking feature. When it comes to Battlefield 4, there are countless ways you can benchmark it. Some find a spot in the single player campaign which is easily repeatable, and use that. For our testing, we've chosen to use a 64-player online multiplayer server for real-time performance statistics.

We joined a 64-player map and played for five minutes using FRAPS, pulling our minimum/average and maximum FPS. We did this for each test, we run the game for 5 minutes at 1080p/1440p and 4K. We are using a custom Ultra preset (disabling AA). It's time consuming, but it gives us a perfect look into true real-world performance.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 61 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 69 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 62 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 63 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 64 | TweakTown.com

Thief

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 65 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 67 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 68 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Benchmarks - 1440p

Battlefield 4

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 89 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 87 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 81 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 82 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 83 | TweakTown.com

Thief

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 84 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 85 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 86 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Benchmarks - 4K

Battlefield 4

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 41 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 49 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 42 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 43 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 44 | TweakTown.com

Thief

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 45 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 47 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 48 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Performance Summary

How Does The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Stack Up?

Let's face it: you're not going to be buying a $650+ video card to game at 1080p, but some gamers will. We will always include 1080p results, but the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition really comes into its own at 1440p and 4K.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 10 | TweakTown.com

We run our 4K benchmarks at Medium/High settings for a more real-world feel, and at these settings, every single one of our games apart from Thief run at 60FPS. Damn good results here from Palit, but let's take a deeper look. We will be comparing the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition directly against the reference GTX 980 Ti from NVIDIA.

Performance at 1080p

Starting with Battlefield 4, we are hitting a ceiling of 175FPS average at 1080p. We won't see much more performance out of BF4 until we get to 1440p, and then 4K. Next up, we have a 16% increase in performance over the reference GTX 980 Ti in Metro: Last Light.

Shadow of Mordor squeezes more out of the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition at 1080p, with an additional 18% performance. Thief enjoys an additional 12% more performance with the ZOTAC card, while Tomb Raider is 17% faster with the overclocked AMP! Extreme Edition card.

Performance at 1440p

Adjusting the resolution to 2560x1440, we see the ZOTAC card beating out the reference GTX 980 Ti by 8%, while Metro: Last Light enjoys an additional 11% performance. Moving to Shadow of Mordor, we see the overclocked ZOTAC card providing 13% more performance.

Next up we have Thief, which was 19% faster on the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition. Tomb Raider is another game which is much faster on the overclocked card, with another 20% performance over NVIDIA's reference GTX 980 Ti.

Performance at 4K

I was expecting performance to start jumping up in Battlefield 4 on 4K, where we have an increase of 14% with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition. Metro: Last Light continues to have a spotlight on the overclocked card from ZOTAC, with an additional 18% performance.

Another game I was hoping to see more performance from was Shadow of Mordor, where the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition didn't disappoint, spitting out an extra 18% more frames per second. We have Thief being 21% faster on the ZOTAC card while Tomb Raider is 19% faster.

Overclocking, Power Consumption and Sound Testing

Overclocking - Let's See How Far We Can Go

With an already factory overclocked GPU and RAM, we push the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition a little further, where we were able to reach 1324MHz on the Core, up from the already super-fast 1253MHz. This resulted in a Boost clock of 1425MHz, up from 1355MHz. Not too much more, but it does bump the performance up a little bit.

Battlefield 4

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 151 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 152 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme - 1440p

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 153 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1440p

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 154 | TweakTown.com

Power Consumption

Most of the aftermarket GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards are sitting at around 390-400W of power, with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition card sitting right on 400W of power. It jumps up a little bit when we overclock it, though.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 777 | TweakTown.com

As you can see, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition uses another 30W of power when overclocked, for a total of 430W power consumption.

Sound Testing

With three big fans on the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, we expected the card to make quite a bit of noise when it was manually pushed to 100%, and it did. But, during all of our testing, the card was silent - which is a big plus, considering its massive performance.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 888 | TweakTown.com

What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition.

What's Hot

Insane Performance: I was expecting some great performance from the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, but it instead blew us away, becoming the fastest video card we've ever tested.

Insane Performance + Silence: Alongside the insane performance, the card is silent, totally silent. With ZOTAC using a hefty cooler, I thought the card would be loud, but I was very wrong. I was gaming through the night, during my hours of stress testing, with no noticeable sound coming from the card.

The Best GTX 980 Ti So Far: ZOTAC has the best GeForce GTX 980 Ti card on the market with its GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, with it easily beating out every other GTX 980 Ti we have here in the labs.

NVIDIA's Maxwell Architecture: NVIDIA created a champion when it designed the Maxwell architecture, so we have a power efficient card that runs cool, but it is also feature loaded. Things like HDMI 2.0, VR compatibility, triple DisplayPort outputs, GameStream, and so much more are included.

What's Not

It's Too Thick: I really would've loved to have seen what four of these cards could do in SLI, but that's a near impossibility. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is too thick, so you will have 2-way SLI and possibly 3-way (depending on the board and chassis used) - where you should truly experience out-of-this-world performance. A 2-slot cooler would've been a nice touch, especially with this type of performance under the hood.

Final Thoughts

This is the fastest card we've tested, period. ZOTAC has done an amazing job with its GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, with absolutely mind-blowing performance, great looks, and amazing sound performance.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Video Card Review 17 | TweakTown.com

ZOTAC has surprised me here, as I expected the likes of MSI or EVGA to kick ass and have the fastest GTX 980 Ti out on the market, but it was ZOTAC. ZOTAC has been trying to compete with the likes of MSI, ASUS and EVGA, and with the AMP! Extreme Edition it doesn't just compete, it beats them. This is a huge deal for ZOTAC, as in enthusiasts' eyes, ZOTAC has it in the bag.

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition takes swings at the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X, beats it in virtually every single test, and does so without requiring water cooling. There is an issue that the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is thick, very thick. There is no chance of running four of these in a 4-way SLI system (and 3-way could be tough, too), but two of these cards would represent some of the best video cards you can install into your machine.

If you're in the market for a new GTX 980 Ti, you need to seriously consider the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, this thing is one of the most amazing pieces of video card technology we've ever seen. This is a card for enthusiasts and performance users, who want to squeeze absolutely everything out of the NVIDIA GM200 GPU. Wow. Just, wow.

TweakTown award
Performance (overclocking, power)95%
Quality (build, design, cooling)95%
General Features (display outputs, etc)95%
Bundle, Packaging & Software90%
Value for Money99%
Overall95%

The Bottom Line: ZOTAC has created the best GeForce GTX 980 Ti of them all, and with performance that rivals every single video card out on the market, the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is an absolute beast. No compromises, just utter glory.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles