ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme voltage limitations and in-depth look

ZOTAC is manufacturing GeForce GPUs for quite some time but is still unable to topple the giants like EVGA, ASUS and MSI. Ever since the release of NVIDIA’s Maxwell based GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 at Game24, ZOTAC has been successful enough to capture the media’s attention with its insane offerings. While the reference models and the AMP! Omega editions are not extra ordinary, the AMP! Extreme editions are in a league of their own. The beautifully crafted carbon-fiber look alike heatsink housing three fans and an insane amount of VRM to push overclocking to its limits are enough positives to be excited about. ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme edition is yet to launch in the market but early review sample received by Gamers Nexus reveals a concerning problem. The GPU voltage is limited to just 1212.5 mV which is lower than the maximum limit on the reference design. While we show you the dismantled ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme edition courtesy ExPreview, you can see why the limit is heart breaking for such a powerful GPU.

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ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme dismantled; OC Module, Power Boost Capacitors & 8+2 VRM

ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme is a power house featuring NVIDIA’s Maxwell based GM204 GPU and 4 GB GDDR5 memory with a 256-bit interface. The GPU core is clocked at 1291 MHz with Boost up to 1393 MHz and memory is clocked at 7200 MHz. It has five display outputs – DVI, HDMI and three DisplayPorts capable of outputting 4K resolution. The exterior is just phenomenal, GTX 980 AMP! Extreme houses a triple fan IceStorm cooling solution with two exhaust fans and one central intake fan. The cooler shroud is classified as Carbon ExoArmor giving it a Carbon Fiber feel and added lighting makes the whole system glow.

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GTx 980 AMP! Extreme features Power+ customized circuitry with 8+2 phase VRM design and Power Boost decoupling capacitors. ZOTAC also included an advanced OC Panel on-board which is connected directly to the motherboard via a USB cable allowing users to tweak the settings through the company’s own Fire Storm utility. The GPU also includes Carbon Fiber look alike backplate with Power Boost and Titanium capacitors underneath. On paper, this GPU is capable enough to give EVGA’s K|NGP|N a run for its money.

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The VRM is cooled by separate heatsinks under neath the dual aluminum fin stacks of the cooler and the memory modules are supplied by Samsung. The Gm204 chip is also hand picked and tested by ZOTAC to ensure the best overclocking potential. Two 8-pin PCIe power connectors deliver up to 300W of power which should be plenty for maximum air overclock. Be sure to check out the rest of the images of the dismantling below.

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ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme Voltage Limitation Issue

This might sound concerning for the potential buyers of this gem but don’t lose hope because the voltage limitation issue is not related to hardware. While testing their sample, Gamers Nexus encountered an issue with ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme. The reviewer noticed that the maximum GPU voltage is limited to just 1212.5 mV which restricted the overclock to just 1510 MHz lower than what you can achieve on the reference model. After further investigating the issue, they found out that the limitation is set in the BIOS not the Fire Storm utility. They have already contacted ZOTAC regarding the issue and the company has assured them that the issue will be resolved in the final retail versions of the graphics card.

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ZOTACT GTX 980 AMP! Extreme will retail for $610 but taking the worldwide shortages of GTX 980 in to account retailers might charge a premium till the supply is restored. We suggest that you wait for the final review from several websites before making your purchase but since its a software issue its nothing to be concerned about. We are looking forward to some promising results from this beast.


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