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.
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.
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.