Of all of the 900 series cards we have covered recently. Oddly enough, we haven’t really gotten any 970’s in. The same can be said for of coverage of Zotac cards, we haven’t heard much from them for a while now. Lucky for us they sent over a GTX 970 so not only do we get the chance to see how well the 970 performs, but I also can see what Zotac has been doing with their cards. This should be especially interesting because the GTX 970 they sent over to review is their AMP! Omega model with its HUGE cooler and a few overclocking specific features that I am excited to check out.

Product Name: Zotac GTX 970 AMP! Omega

Review Sample Provided by: Zotac

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Model

ZT-90102-10P

Interface

PCI Express 3.0 x16 (Compatible with 1.1)

Chipset Manufacturer

NVIDIA

GPU

GeForce GTX 970

Core clock

1102 MHz (base) 1241 MHz (boost)

Cores

1,664

Memory Clock

7046 MHz

Memory Size

4GB

Memory Interface

256-bit

Memory Type

GDDR5

DirectX

DirectX 12

OpenGL

OpenGL 4.4

DVI

1 (2560x1600)

HDMI

1 (4K @ 60 Hz)

DisplayPort

3 (4K @ 60 Hz)

VGA

(with included adapter)

RAMDAC

400 MHz

Max Resolution

4K

RoHS Compliant

Yes

SLI Supported

2-way

Cooler

Dual-fan IceStorm w/ ExoArmor

Dual-Link DVI Supported

Yes

Supported OS

Certified for Windows 8 / 7 / Vista

Package Contents

ZT-90102-10P DVI-to-VGA adapter 2 x Dual 4-pin-to-8-pin PCIe adapter Mini USB-to-internal USB header cable Driver Disk User Manual

 


Packaging

The GTX 970 comes in a blacked out box. On the cover you have the standard Geforce GTX 970 logo that wraps around the side. Also on the cover are a few small badges with information on the card like the 4GB logo, AMP! Omega logo up in the top right corner, and the Zotac logo. On the back, you get a small feature list as well as a system requirements list. There is a small photo of the card itself on the back but I would love to see a larger photo and maybe even a breakdown of the large cooler. There is also a line drawing of the rear connections to make sure you know all of your connection options.

image 1

image 2

Inside you have a second box, this one is simpler with just the Zotac logo in the middle. Inside everything sits in a foam tray with the card wrapped up in a static protective bag. Under everything Zotac put all of their documentation in a small black pouch. You get a user guide, warranty guide, and also a driver/software disc. For accessories, you get a DVI to VGA adapter, two double 6-pin to 8-pin adapters, and also a USB cable that hooks up an internal USB connection to a micro USB plug for Zotac’s OC+ connection.

image 3

image 4

image 5

image 6

image 7

 


Card Layout and Photos

Right out of the hole I can say without a doubt that the GTX 970 AMP! Omega is one of the largest and heaviest cards that I have ever seen. It is a monster! The card is about three slots wide at the cooler but the PCI slots are only two wide. While the width doesn’t help, the reason this is such a heavy card is because the entire fan shroud is metal and at the top of the card there is a thick heatsink as well. This makes the GTX 970 AMP! Omega a tall card as well as being thick. The all metal fan shroud looks great, Zotac went with a light grey color for most of it with light orange accents in three strips across the side. The bottom left corner of the shroud also has additional machined panels bolted to it as well.

image 8

image 9

image 16

The thick cooling design does leave room for a huge heatsink under the fan shroud. Zotac uses the cards two fans to blow down over the two halves of the heatsink and out the bottom and end of the card. They pull heat from the GPU out over the heatsinks using four long heatpipes that run from one heatink, across the GPU, and out over the second heatsink. The design does leave a nice sized gap between the heatsink and the PCB to get good airflow across the PCB to keep everything else cool as well. Blocking the top of the card does limit the air to exiting the end and bottom of the card as well as a tiny bit through the vent on the PCI expansion slots.

image 10

image 11

image 12

Where the PCB is taller on the top of the GTX 970 AMP! Omega Zotac uses an inch thick machined aluminum heatsink. It attaches to the fan shroud and also bolts through the PCB to the backplate as well.

image 13

image 18

For power connections the Zotac requires two 8-pin power connections. This is different than the reference GTX 970 that only uses two 6-pin connections. Zotac went with the extra power to give leeway for overclocking the card.

image 14

The GTX 970 has two SLI bridge connections meaning you can run up to triple SLI with them.

image 15

For display connections the GTX 970 AMP! Omega has a similar layout to the GTX 980 and GTX 960s that I have previously reviewed. You get one DVI connection as well as three DisplayPorts and one full sized HDMI. I would personally prefer to see two DVI’s still, it is still great to see manufactures adding more connection options. Hopefully this will mean more DisplayPort monitors in the future as well.

image 17

The back of the AMP! Omega is mostly covered with a backplate. Zotac went with the same light grey as the fan shroud. The backplate has openings on the back of the GPU, around the OC+ interface, and around the power boost circuitry. For airflow the rest of the backplate has vents machined into it to keep things cool as well. This rear view is a great way to see just how tall the card is as well. The SLI fan bridges are at a standard height but in the middle the card is over an inch taller than reference.

image 19

image 22

One of the most unique parts to the AMP! Omega is the OC+ interface on the end of the PCB. This uses a micro USB plug that plugs into one of your internal USB headers. This interface works with Zotacs software to allow you to tune and tweak the power settings even more than normal.

image 21

 


Our Test Rig and Procedures

Our Test Rig

CPU

Intel i7-3960X

Live Pricing

Memory

Corsair Vengeance 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM Quad Channel  (4x4GB)

Live Pricing

Motherboard

Asus Rampage IV X79 Motherboard 

Live Pricing

Cooling

Intel Active Thermal Solution RTS2011LC

Live Pricing

Power Supply

Cooler Master Gold Series 1200 Watt PSU

Live Pricing

Storage

Kingston Hyper X 120 SSD

Seagate Constellation 2tb Hard drive 

Live Pricing

Live Pricing

Case

High Speed PC Test Bench

Live Pricing

Our Testing Procedures

Bioshock Infinite

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Bioshock Infinite on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, FXAA turned on, Ultra Texture detail, 16x Aniso Texture Filtering, Ultra Dynamic Shadows, Normal Postprocessing, Light Shafts on, Ambient Occlusion set to ultra, and the Level of Detail set to Ultra as well. We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above.

Tomb Raider

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Tomb Raider on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, Exclusive Fullscreen turned on, Anti-Aliasing set to 2xSSAA, Texture Quality set to Ultra, Texture Aniso set to 16x Aniso, Hair Quality set to TressFX, Shadow set to Normal, Shadow Resolution on High, Ultra SSAO, Ultra Depth of Field, High Reflection quality, Ultra LOD scale, Post Processing On, High Precision RT turned on, and Tessellation is also turned on.  We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above.

Hitman: Absolution

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Hitman: Absolution on the “Xtreme” quality setting other than the MSAA setting is turned down from 8x to 2x. That setting puts the resolution at 1920x1080, MSAA is set to 2x, Texture Quality is set to High, Texture Aniso is set to 16x, Shadows are on Ultra, SSA is set to high, Global Illumination is turned on, Reflections are set to High, FXAA is on, Level of Detail is set to Ultra, Depth of Field is high, Tessellation is turned on, and Bloom is set to normal. We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above, except on the “high” setting.

Sleeping Dogs

Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Sleeping Dogs on the “Xtreme” quality setting. That means our resolution is set to 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing is set to Extreme, Texture Quality is set to High-Res, Shadow Quality is High, Shadow Filter is set to high, SSAO is set to High, Motion Blur Level is set to High, and World Density is set to Extreme. We also run this same test at 2560x1440 using the same settings as mentioned above.

F1 2014

We use the built in benchmark for F1 2014. We use the Ultra setting and then test at 2560x1440 and 1920x1080

Total War: ROME II

Ultra setting tested at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, built in forest benchmark

Crysis 2

Using Adrenaline Crysis 2 benchmark.  1080p, 4x Anti-Aliasing, DX11, Laplace Edge Detection Edge AA, on the Times Square map, with hi res textures turned on.

Sniper Elite 3

Ultra setting tested at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, built in benchmark

GRID Autosport

Ultra setting tested at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, built in benchmark

Metro Last Light

Using the included benchmark tool. The settings are set to 1920x1080, DirectX 11, quality is set to very high, Texture filtering is untouched at 4x, and motion blue is set to normal. SSAA is unselected, PhysX is unselected, Tessellation is off. We run through scene D6 three times to get an average score.

Theif

Tested using the “Very High” setting at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440

3DMark

The same goes for the most current version of 3DMark using the Fire Strike benchmark in normal, extreme, and ultra settings

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0

Using the “Extreme” preset

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0 heat testing

We run through Unreal Heaven using the “Extreme” preset for 30 minutes to test in game cooling performance.

Power Usage

Using Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0, we get our “load” power usage number from the peak power usage during our test. We get our numbers from a Kill-A-Watt connected to the test benches power cord.

Noise Testing

Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 3 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test an idle noise level and then to get an idea of how loud the card will get if it warms all the way up we also turn the fan speed up to 50% and 100% and test both speeds as well. The 100% test isn’t a representation of typical in game noise levels, but it will show you how loud a card can be if you run it at its highest setting or if it gets very hot.

 


Synthetic Benchmarks

To start off our testing I ran the GTX970 AMP! Omega through three different 3DMark benchmarks that cover testing at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k and I also include Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 results as well. These benchmarks give us a great way to compare from card to card. So how well did the AMP! Omega perform? Well in 3DMark Fire Strike Performance it performed basically on par with the GTX 780 Ti and just below the overclocked R9 290X. The results were similar in the Extreme and Ultra benchmarks as well. In Heaven Benchmark 4.0 the GTX 780 Ti performed better but the AMP! Omega was still just below the overclocked R9 290X.

graph1

graph2

graph3

graph4

 


In- Game Benchmarks

Synthetic benchmarks are interesting, but they doesn’t really show how well a card will perform in game and that is why we buy video cards right? To see how the GTX 970 AMP! Omega would perform I benchmarked the card in 9 different modern games to get an idea of the performance you should expect. In each game I benchmarked at both 1080p and 1440p. In all nine games the GTX 970 performed with an average FPS of 60 or higher, in most cases it was well above 60. At 1440p the GTX 970 performed with an average of 60 or higher in four of the nine games. In the other five the performance was a little rougher with them all coming in at over 30 FPS but under 60 FPS. This means that at 1080p you can throw anything you want at the card and you can expect perfect framerates but at 1440p you are going to run into more games that you will need to adjust the settings down from the max settings that we test at if your expectation in 60 FPS or higher. That said, even the lowest performing games are still considered playable with results over 30 FPS.

graph5

graph6

graph7

graph8

graph9

graph10

graph11

graph12

graph13

graph14

graph15

graph16

graph17

 


Cooling, Noise, and Power

In game performance is very important, but when it comes to the difference between cards that have the same GPU manufactures can really stand out with cooling and noise performance. Both are completely dependent on their cooling design. In this case though this is actually the first GTX 970 that I have had the chance to check out. While the AMP! Omega is a heavily modified card, this will still give us an idea of where the GTX 970 stands in the power consumption testing. So where did it land? Well when under load the Zotac card pulls 389 watts putting it up near the reference GTX 980. For reference, the stock GTX 980 pulls about 20 watts less than an overclocked 980, so we can assume that the reference GTX 970 would be similar.

graph18

When it came to noise testing I was expecting the huge cooler on the AMP! Omega to be on the noisy side but I was pleasantly surprised with performance numbers near the best we have ever tested. From what I can tell the thicker design made for easier air flow and with that less noise. This put the GTX 970 AMP! Omega down with low power cards that make a lot less noise.

graph19

So it runs quiet, but what about the cooling performance of that monster heatsink. Well after running in game under load the GTX 970 AMP! Omega topped off at 73 degrees. This is substantially better than what you can expect from an Nvidia reference design, they typically set the temperature goal on them to 80 flat. That said I would have liked to see this card run cooler. The overclocked GTX 980’s and GTX 780s that I tested in the past all run about 7 degrees cooler. With the Asus GTX980 not only is it running cooler, but it is also a faster card overall. I feel like Zotac pulled back on the cooling performance to get better noise performance but with a little too far.

graph20

 


Overclocking

With Zotac manufacturing a wide variety of GTX 970s, the AMP! Omega version clearly falls into the designed specifically for overclocking category. So when I finished up my standard testing I was excited to see how well it would overclock. Specifically I was really interested to see what the OC+ USB plug on the card would do for performance. Typically when overclocking I just use Asus’s software because it works across both Nvidia and AMD cards but in this case Zotac introduced their own software that works specifically with the OC+ interface so I used it for my overclocking. For the most part the software is similar to what you will find from all of the manufactures, but it is great to see them including it because in most cases unless you own a manufactures card it is hard to get their software. The Firestorm software gives you a memory and GPU core clock speed graph at all times up top. Down in the bottom you have adjustment bars just like EVGA and Asus offer. With our OC+ cable plugged in I did get access to an additional page though called the SSP Chip Setting page. Here I was able to see all of the voltages on the card and adjust GPU Vcore and memory voltages.

software 1

software 2

My overclock testing was broken down into three parts. I started by overclocking the GPU, then the Memory, then I attempted to run my peak overclocks on both together to see if the card could handle it. So how did the AMP! Omega overclock? Well on the GPU side of things I took the stock overclock of 1241MHz up to 1430MHz in my testing. On the memory side of things I started at 7046MHz and overclocked up to 8200MHz before running into issues. Memory overclocking didn’t really give much of an improvement on the FPS numbers, in fact the results actually got slower near the end. When running everything together though the overclocked memory did add an additional 1 FPS to the 8 FPS improvement that the GPU overclock gave me.

GPU Clock Speed Overclocking

GPU Clock Speed

Pass/Fail

FPS Result

Notes

1241MHz

Pass

61.63

Stock Clock

1300MHz

Pass

65.37

 

1400MHz

Pass

67.64

 

1450MHz

Fail

N/A

Driver Crash

1430MHz

Pass

69.99

 

1440MHz

Fail

N/A

Driver Crash

Memory Clock Offset Overclocking

Memory Clock Speed

Pass/Fail

FPS Result

Notes

7046MHz

Pass

61.63

Stock Clock

7500MHz

Pass

61.74

 

7700MHz

Pass

61.82

 

7900MHz

Pass

61.90

 

8000MHz

Pass

61.95

 

8100MHz

Pass

61.92

 

8200MHz

Pass

61.93

 

8300MHz

Fail

61.98

artifacts

GPU and Memory Overclocks Together

GPU Clock Speed

Memory Clock Speed

FPS Result

Notes

1430MHz

8200MHz

70.84

 

 


Overall and Final Verdict

One thing is for sure, Zotac didn’t skimp on materials when manufacturing the GTX 970 AMP! Omega. I love that they didn’t try to save money by going with a cheap and thin plastic fan shroud for this card. The entire fan shroud is a thick metal design. Add to that the machined aluminum panels on the fan shroud and the solid backplate as well you get a feeling of nothing but quality when holding the card. The downside though is all of the metal used makes this an extremely heavy card. With a lot of the weight at the top edge of the PCB I would be a little worried about making sure the card is secured and that it doesn’t put too much strain on the PCI slot as well. In addition to its weight, this is a big card. If you have a smaller case you will want to make sure that the height won’t be an issue. In addition to that you won’t want to run this in Mini-ITX builds or builds where the three slot design will cause issues. That means if you plan on running two in SLI you can’t run this on a Micro-ATX board for example.

The big size did allow Zotac to let the card run extremely quiet, even at 100% fan speed. Performance in both synthetic and In-Game was also equally impressive. If you are running at 1080p this card is most likely overkill or perfect if you are looking to take advantage of a high refresh rate monitor. At 1440p performance was good, but did leave room for improvement. Cooling performance did leave a little to be desired though. The numbers were better than what you would see with a reference cooler, but worse than what I saw with a few of our GTX 980’s with aftermarket coolers.

Given the recent attention, it should also be pointed out that while this is a 4 GB card, the way that Nvidia divided things up you only get access to 3.5 most of the time with the other half gig being used only when you need it. Testing at 1440p and a little at 4k I didn’t run into any issues but I can confirm that when using tools like GPUz you are only going to see the 3.5 gigs of ram, giving people reason to be a little worried originally.

Finding a price for the Zotac GTX970 AMP! Omega edition was actually a little hard, it seems that it is currently not really available in most places. I found one priced at 439.99 and seems to be the closest to normal price. That said this is a little more than what you can currently get any other GTX 970. You are getting a heavily overclocked/overclockable card with what I can only assume is a pricey all metal design. I would consider the all metal design to be worth a little over a standard GTX 970 but at that price it is a little more than I would want to spend on a GTX 970 as a whole. That said with GTX 980 pricing still well above this, there is still room to play before you getting into GTX 980 pricing. That means if a GTX 980 is out of your price range, the GTX 970 AMP! Omega is a nice premium card for you to look at..

fv4recommended

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

Log in to comment

garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #36398 11 Mar 2015 20:19
I know things have been a little slow around here. Between me being sick and then an increased focus on our upcoming LAN I have been behind. I do have a mid week review for everyone today though. Today I check out a monster of a card from Zotac, enjoy!

We have 1751 guests and one member online

supportus