ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega Tested

INTRODUCTION:

While we were practically enjoying our time with ZOTAC’s GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme with its over the top performance, there’s another SKU with a practically identical design but with a toned down specification. This of course is the ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega, with a slightly lighter core clock speed but is certainly, still way above your normal GTX 980 Ti.

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Basically, the ZOTAC AMP! Omega is the company’s second fastest card to date with a 1178 MHz core clock speed and an effective 1279 MHz boost clock. The memory clock speed is up at 1755 MHz respectively, and to be honest those figures were just the differences that we could see at least externally. The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega is priced at 603.99 USD as of this writing, with a PH equivalent SRP at 31, 500 Pesos more or less.

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3, 500 Pesos is a huge savings, especially if the clock-per-clock speed differences are not that high compared to the top end offering. Not to mention that both Extreme and Omega Edition shares the same chassis and the latter could be most likely be overclocked to the same heights of the Extreme Edition. This is why we’re going to test the ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega, to see if it’s any better compared to its almost identical, yet higher clocked sibling.

FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS: CLICK HERE

The GeForce GTX 980 Ti from Nvidia boasts the big boy of the Maxwell Architecture – which basically features better thermals, power efficiency, and memory management over its predecessors. Along with it comes the DirectX 12 support, Dynamic Super Resolution (4K on 1080P), VXGI (Lighting), and MFAA (Anti-Aliasing) to name a few. This card is a direct replacement for the aging GTX 780 Ti and is aimed at enthusiast and gamers who want to play the latest titles at their best settings and at higher resolutions. The card also supports Nvidia’s ShadowPlay and G-SYNC.

GRAPHICS SPECIFICATIONS

MAKE & MODEL NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! EXTREME ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! OMEGA
GPU GM200 GM200 GM200
CORES 2816 (CUDA) 2816 (CUDA) 2816 (CUDA)
CORE CLOCK 1000 MHZ – 1075 MHZ 1253 MHZ – 1355 MHZ 1178 MHZ – 1279 MHZ
VRAM  6 GB GDDR5  6 GB GDDR5  6 GB GDDR5
MEMORY BUS  384-BIT  384-BIT  384-BIT
MEMORY CLOCK  1750 MHZ  1805 MHZ  1755 MHZ
PCI-E STANDARD  PCI-E 3.0  PCI-E 3.0  PCI-E 3.0
DISPLAY SUPPORT 4X DISPLAY 4X DISPLAY 4X DISPLAY
DISPLAY OUTPUTS 3x DP 2.0, HDMI 2.0, DL-DVI  3x DP 2.0, HDMI 2.0, DL-DVI  3x DP 2.0, HDMI 2.0, DL-DVI
POWER OUTPUT  250W  258W  258W
POWER INPUT  6-PIN + 8-PIN 8-PIN + 8-PIN 8-PIN + 8-PIN
DIMENSIONS  10.5 X 4.4 INCHES  12.9 X 5.2 INCHES  12.9 X 5.2 INCHES
SLOT TYPE  DUAL TRIPLE TRIPLE
COOLER TYPE  SINGLE FAN + NVTTM  TRIPLE FAN + CUSTOM DESIGN  TRIPLE FAN + CUSTOM DESIGN
PRICING

 CHECK AT AMAZON

 CHECK AT AMAZON

CHECK AT AMAZON

There are more features to be discussed, but if you want to learn more, check out the GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overview from Nvidia.[nextpage title=”Unboxing the ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! OMEGA”]

UNBOXING & BUNDLED ACCESSORIES:

The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega comes in a standard ZOTAC packaging that features the card’s strong points specifically the extended warranty – which we’d love to be emphasized a little bit better. The specifications are actually located at the side, rather than the back of the packaging.

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The back is well designed with graphics and contextually elaborated feature sets. As far as packaging goes, there isn’t much to complain here as ZOTAC used a foam-insert to cradle the card together with a corrugated internal packaging which is more than enough for the card’s protection.

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Accessories includes a quick installation guide, a ZOTAC Software DVD, a ZOTAC Case Badge, DVI to VGA adapter, and a 6+6-Pin to 8-Pin power connector in Twos that are not sleeved as opposed to the AMP! Extreme’s offering. No SLI bridge here so you’re better off to purchase a board that comes with it – which is usually included on SLI compatible motherboards from Intel & AMD.

ZOTAC-980-Ti-AMP-Omega-Pictures-1 [nextpage title=”The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! OMEGA”]

THE ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! OMEGA:

The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega is definitely a looker, and that’s exactly because it shares the same physiques with it’s faster brother, the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme. The resemblance is so uncanny, that if you put both card side by side, you wouldn’t even know who’s the Omega and who’s the Extreme variant. However, they are not exactly 1:1 as the Omega is definitely going to be slower in terms of raw performance due to its lower clock speeds along with a few smaller differences which we will detail later.

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At around 1.4 Kilograms, the card is definitely one of heaviest I have used so far and thus it requires extra care when handling it inside a case. It is a triple slot card to begin with, and along with its 13 inch length, you’d better have a case that could support it. This thing is massive I tell you – with a great build quality to match.

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There are 3 90mm ZOTAC EKO fans present at the facade of the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega, and they are capable of delivering 0dB cooling together with the dense heat-sinks – should the ambient temperature inside the case permits the functionality. We have seen the AMP! Extreme capable of doing this and it’s just expected that the AMP! Omega should be able to do it too inside our test system.

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The back plate of the ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega is thicker than your normal back plate. It envelopes the back of the card and extends to the side of the PCB where the plate meets with the shroud. On this side, lies the ZOTAC logo which could be mistaken for a LED lit one if compared to the AMP! Extreme. ZOTAC has to shave some minor features for a better pricing and ending up with a non LED version of the logo and shroud are acceptable.

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Right next the to the back plate’s ZOTAC logo is the Power Boost technology which is basically a ceramic super capacitor that should reduce ripple noise, and minimize power fluctuation. This feature is present on most high end cards especially those that require more power than the norm. A novel feature I must say. Speaking of power, the card requires 258W according to ZOTAC – which is 8W away from Nvidia’s rated TDP. With Dual 8-Pin power connectors (300W capable), and an additional 75W from the PCI-E slot, there is an available 375W of power for the card. That’s more than plenty for extra overclocking headroom.

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The card is 4-Way SLI compatible, but there is no reason to go that far in all honesty. The card also features aplenty of display port options to choose from depending on your needs. We’ve got a Dual Link DVI, an HDMI 2.0 Port, and Three full sized Display Port that conforms to the Display Port 2.0 standard. An array of ventilation holes are visible here as well. Now onto the testing and the bulk of this GTX 980 Ti Review.

ZOTAC-980-Ti-AMP-Omega-Pictures-4 [nextpage title=”Test System & How We Test”]

TEST SYSTEM & SPECIFICATIONS:

Graphics cards are no strangers in our labs, but providing a precise result usually needs a lot of time and effort on our end. Helping us to do those things are hardware and software based measurement tools, an updated copy of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 for the OS, and wide selection of the popular games that most probably, will sate your appetite. The BIOS/UEFI, Chipset, and Video Card drivers of the test system will be updated too, as much as possible every review. Power Options is set to balanced.

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No third party background softwares should be executed while the benchmarks are on going unless it is needed or stated. As for the gaming benchmarks alone, tests should include 720P (1280 x 720), 1080p (1920 x 1080), 1440p (2560 x 1440), and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution results if permitted by the games, and benchmarking tools, or if necessary to the hardware being tested.

TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS

CPU Intel Core i5 4670K
MOTHERBOARD ASUS Z97-PRO WiFi AC
CPU COOLER Cooler Master Seidon 120XL
MEMORY CORSAIR Vengeance PRO @2133 MHz 16GB
GRAPHICS CARD ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! OMEGA 6GB
INT. STORAGE Kingston HyperX Fury SSD 240GB
PSU BitFenix Fury 650G 650W
DISPLAY 27″ DELL U2715H WQHD IPS Panel
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Updated)
SOUND CARD Realtek ALC1150
EXT. STORAGE 2TB Western Digital My Passport

HOW WE TEST: AVERAGE FRAMES PER SECOND & 1% MINIMUM

For refreshment purposes, let us talk for a moment about FPS or Frames Per Second. Also known as Frame Rate, FPS is the general unit of which we measure a graphics card’s performance. Generally, the higher value, the smoother the gameplay should be, since higher FPS means higher frames are rendered each second, except when high latency between frames are present (See Frame Time Variance). Please do note that Resolution and in-game settings has a huge effect in any system’s frame rate. Better yet, check out the difference of 30 and 60 FPS HERE & ON THIS LINK.

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Frames Per Second will be recorded by FRAPS in game using a linear gameplay method at each titles for consistency. Results will include the Average FPS and 1% Minimum FPS – The most important things to check  out in any FPS related results. The 1% Minimum FPS is an important addition because it represents the negative spikes in FPS in-game which is sufficient enough for a gamer to notice.

HOW WE TEST: FRAME TIME VARIANCE & 99TH PERCENTILE

Frame Time Analysis is another thing worth diving into when it comes to testing games with GPUs, as FPS alone wont directly measure the smoothness of a game. Basically, what we are looking for here are the variances (in ms) between frames rendered inside a second and consistency between them is the key to a smooth gameplay experience. What we want to see are nice graphs of the Frame Times from start to finish, with little variances (less spikes) between each. Spikes from the graphs represents that it took more than enough time for a frame to render, and this is not bad if it’s not happening every now and then. Here’s a sample below using our Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti:

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Another thing worth noting is the 99th Percentile Frame Time Variance which is basically the lowest Frame Time you should expect 99% of the time. Here’s an example below from the same results we gathered above:

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Based on the results above, you should expect the Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti to render frames faster  than 21 ms 99% of the time at the Dragon Age: Inquisition. On our 1440P test above, that is already a good result.

[nextpage title=”Synthetic Graphics Performance”]

SYNTHETIC/GPU COMPUTE PERFORMANCE:

3DMARK (2013) is a multi-platform benchmarking tool from FUTUREMARK, consisting of comprehensive tests that aims to gauge your gaming hardware. Fire Strike is our selected benchmark preset.

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CINEBENCH R15 is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates the computer’s performance capabilities. The OpenGL benchmark is selected for this test.

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Kishonti’s CompuBench is an easy to use, no frills high performance suite of benchmarks. We selected the Face Detection & Vector Calculation tests as our benchmarks.

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The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega performs similar to that of the AMP! Extreme variant with only a noticeable performance difference over at the 3DMARK 2013 Fire Strike benchmarks – a benchmarking tool that behaves like how a game does so we are most likely to see differences on the gaming performance charts up next.

[nextpage title=”Real World Gaming Performance”]

GAMING PERFORMANCE:

Dragon Age: Inquisition an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. It utilizes the Frosbite 3 Engine with the SpeedTree technology. VSync is off.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an action role-playing video game set in an open world environment, developed by Polish video game developer CD Projekt RED. Nvidia HairWorks is disabled, and VSync is off.

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Battlefield 4 is one of EA & DICE‘s first person shooters utilizing the Frostbite 3 game engine. It features greater tessellation effects and destruction compared to its predecessor. VSync is turned off.

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DOTA 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) video game developed by Valve and is the stand-alone sequel to the Warcraft III based Defense of the Ancients (DotA) mod. VSync is off, and we are using DOTA 2’s OpenGL Engine for the benchmark.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a popular online tactical first-person shooter developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation, utilizing the Source Engine. Vsync is off as well as FXAA.

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A flagship card will always perform like a flagship card and that’s what the ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega is all about – catching up with its bigger brother on almost every games we tested with 2 to 8 difference at the 1% minimum FPS results from the games, and 2 to 11 difference at the average FPS performance. The AMP! Extreme is still faster overall.

[nextpage title=”Overclocking & Frame Time Analysis”]

FRAME TIME ANALYSIS & 99TH PERCENTILE:

Our game of choice when it comes to Frame Time Analysis is Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s basically a finished game and works quite nice with AMD & Nvidia cards despite the branding with AMD’s Mantle.

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The Frame Time Variance between each frames rendered are smooth with the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega, and there hasn’t been any major anomalies between frames or skipping based on our analysis. Further more, the 99th Percentile, the card is expected to render frames below 17.6 ms most of the time – which is more than enough to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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OVERCLOCKING PERFORMANCE:

The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega comes bundled with the FireStorm overclocking utility which enables the users to fine tune their graphics for better gaming, and even thermal performance. That said, the utility offers so much for the card to unleash its full performance. However, we decided to go with the MSI Afterburner overclocking utility for comparison, and consistency across the tested cards. You could however, download the ZOTAC FireStorm utility LINK.

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The card easily clocks its core at 1310 MHz (+132 MHz), with an effective 1855 MHz memory clock (+100 MHz) increase too on the VRAM which is more than enough than what we ask for, but we wished we could squeeze a little more on the memory clock department just for the kicks. Boost clock is reported at 1411 MHz and it can actually maintain an extra 88 MHz for an actual 1499 MHz boost clock. Insane.

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A 6.6% increase in performance can be seen with our 1440P Witcher 3 benchmark, with another 8.7% increase on 3DMARK’s Fire Strike Extreme benchmark. For the record, the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme has a 9271 Graphics Score at the Fire Strike Extreme benchmark and with this stable OC from the AMP! Omega, we concluded a better performance over the AMP! Extreme on an OC vs stock clock basis.

[nextpage title=”Temperature, Noise, & Power Consumption”]

THEORETICAL & IN-GAME TEMPERATURE:

FurMark is a very intensive OpenGL benchmark that uses fur rendering algorithms to measure the performance of the graphics card. It’s not the best tool to measure a graphics card’s horse power, but it excels at displaying the theoretical heat output of the card using its stress test feature. To record the GPU’s maximum temperatures, I will run Furmark’s Fur Rendering Burn-in Test, and let it run for 30 Minutes. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is our chosen game for this task, and we will gather our temperature results roaming Velen’s (No Man’s Land) outskirts. 15 minutes of hacking and slashing should be enough for our Witcher senses. As always, we keep the results consistent by keeping the ambient temperature checked at 27ºC.

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The ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Omega doesn’t just look cool, it’s also relatively cool too as far as temperatures are concerned. Furmark reported the card to attain 70 Degree Celsius, and the same could be said on a normal gaming load with a 70 Degree Celsius result. On idle, the card is just a degree cooler than the AMP! Extreme variant. It’s within our 3% margin of error so the difference can be disregarded.

THEORETICAL & IN-GAME POWER CONSUMPTION:

We also check to see how the GPU impacts power consumption using FurMark. The system is left to idle for 30 minutes before readings are taken, and load data is taken 30 minutes while FurMark is running. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is our chosen game for this task, and we will gather our power consumption results roaming Velen’s (No Man’s Land) outskirts. 15 minutes of hacking and slashing should be enough for our Witcher senses. Power readings are taken for the entire system from the socket.

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As expected, the AMP! Extreme features a lower power consumption compared to its bigger brother  – with a gaming load measured at 374W. Under Furmark, the card is actually a little bit less hungrier. Do note that you could always save power by limiting the frames renderedby the games via V-SYNC or via other means.

THEORETICAL & IN-GAME ACOUSTICS/NOISE:

Using FurMark, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and our handy Sound Level Meter, we will take sound level measurements while the system is idling and at load. Our rooms ambient noise levels are around 37 dBA (-1/+1) which is somewhat between a quiet library and a public library. Refer to the chart below for comparison.

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The cooling solution dictates a card’s cooling & noise levels,  and sometimes it breaks a consumer’s purchase if the card is proven to be noisy. So how does the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega fared on our test? To be honest, the noise output is similar to that of the AMP! Extreme variant, with a higher 1dBA difference at load. Again, this is within the 3% margin of error.

[nextpage title=”Value & Conclusion”]

HOW GOOD IS THE OMEGA?

The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega is a familiar card, and could perhaps be possibly a lighter reincarnation of the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme in many ways. But first, let us talk about the build quality. Being an almost a carbon copy of the latter, the AMP! Omega’s build quality is astounding. Metal is present everywhere, as there are only a couple of plastic parts in place, and they do not interfere with the card’s rigidity at all. Looks are subjective, but the neutral gun metal grey theme proves that this card could fit nicely on almost any style of builds. Be wary though, that this card is far from being a featherweight at around 1.4 kilos.

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Performance is impressive for this particular GTX 980 Ti variant, especially if we’re talking about the performance distinctions between itself and its bigger brother. Specification wise, we could see a 75 MHz difference at the core clock department, and 50 MHz at the memory clocks accordingly. With that said, the small difference means small performance distinctions. For a card that offers a lower yet still acceptable performance differences in games whether it is 1080P, 1440P, or even 2160P, this is already more than what I could ask for, especially if we’re going to take the overclocked performance into consideration. This card could easily surpass the GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme when overclocked.

Pricing is also one big leap for this card, considering that we could get it for 603 USD at Amazon compared to the 669 USD pricing of the AMP! Extreme variant. Locally, both cards has around 100-150 USD price differentials, and suffice to say that’s enough to keep us wanting this lighter yet capable card into great consideration. After all 5, 000 Pesos isn’t cheap and could be used for other components. The GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme however is not a bad card. Far from being bad to be precise as it features LED lighting, fancier accessories, better stock clock speeds, and a better overclocking potential so it’s still the best when it comes to raw performance and tuning. Both cards screams at you to overclock them, and there is no reason not to do so with a good cooling solution in tow.

The ZOTAC GTX 980 Ti AMP! Omega might not be the most extreme GTX 980 Ti out there, but it shares the same genes with the AMP! Extreme featuring rock solid build quality, extreme performance, good cooling, and a 5 year extended warranty.

THE ZOTAC GTX 980 TI AMP! OMEGA 6GB RETAILS FOR AROUND 31, 500 PESOS OR 603 USD INTL AND IS BACKED BY A 5 YEAR EXTENDED WARRANTY.

THE VERDICT

PROS:

  • INCREDIBLY WELL BUILT
  • GREAT FACTORY OC PERFORMANCE
  • OVERCLOCKING PERFORMANCE
  • AESTHETICALLY APPEALING
  • COOLING PERFORMANCE
  • 5 YEAR EXTENDED WARRANTY
CONS:

  • HUGE TRIPLE SLOT COOLER
2016-Editor

2016-Performance