The second of our two-for-one GTX660Ti reviews is the Zotac AMP! edition.
Regular readers will know that the AMP! Editions usually come with a good factory overclock and Zotac's custom cooler, and the GTX660Ti AMP! Edition is no exception.
If you've come straight here and skipped the Windforce review then it's worth pointing out that because of the identical GPU clocks we're just seeing how the Zotac performs when overclocked. The 'out of the box' results were so similar between the two cards that it is pointless to clutter up the graphs with repeated results.
So enough preamble, does the Zotac manage to make better use of the overclock than the Gigabyte did?
Despite being a very different brand with a different cooler, the Zotac AMP! has an identical clockspeed to the Windforce, both on the Base clock and the Boost clock.
However, Zotac have greatly increased the Memory clockspeed, up from 6008 MHz effective to 6608 MHz effective. Hopefully this extra boost will overcome some of the limitations of the GTX660Ti we've seen thus far.
|Base Clock||1033 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1111 MHz|
|Memory Clock||6608 MHz|
|Total Memory||2048MB GDDR5|
|Transistor Count||3.54 Billion|
|Connectors||2 Dual-Link DVI|
|Form Factor||Dual Slot|
|Power Input||2x 6-pin PCIe|
Whilst other manufacturers tend to stick rigidly to the idea that if it isn't blue and black it should be red and black, Zotac have always ploughed their own furrow with their yellow and black colour scheme. We really like it, and it's different which is always a good thing. Although most of you don't see enough hardware to grow tired of certain combinations, we most certainly do, so a Zotac product always makes a welcome change.
The card itself is tiny, but the cooler actually fits on it perfectly. Considering how little space there is to work with (the card isn't much longer than a PCI Express socket) Zotac have done a great job in miniaturising their AMP! cooler whilst still keeping the proportions pleasing to the eye.
There is no doubt that the orange fans help to provide an eye-catching centrepiece to the card.
Otherwise it's business as usual with two DVIs, an HDMI and a DisplayPort, with power provided by the two 6pin PCIe connectors.
Zotac GTX660Ti AMP! Edition
Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.6GHz
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
Noctua NF-F12 Fans
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
All of our benchmarks are focussing upon the overclocked settings, because the stock ones were nigh-on identical. If that continues with the overclocked results then our comments will be brief to save repeating the same information on every page.
Coming out of the box with the same clockspeeds as we saw from the Windforce, the overclock is the same too, although the memory is 20MHz shy of the heights we saw from the Gigabyte offering.
The AMP! cooler keep the card a fraction cooler than the Windforce did. Although it's just as quiet, and a single degree isn't anything to write home about.
3D Mark Vantage
With the stock results being so similar we're only looking at the overclock on the AMP!, and in Vantage it's just an edge ahead of the Windforce, but nothing that can't be explained just by error tolerance in the actual test.
3D Mark 11
In 3D Mark 11 we see that again the AMP! is every so slightly ahead of the Windforce. Not mind-blowing improvements but we'll see if this continues through the rest of our testing.
Alien vs Predator
Similar overclocks and we see similar results. Half a frame here and there is nothing of note.
Batman Arkham City
The two cards are incredibly close, even if Arkham City isn't the game most likely to highlight any variances.
The Windforce just edges ahead in the minimum frame-rate, but the average remains inseparable.
The game might change but the results are much the same. The Zotac AMP! and Gigabyte Windforce are extremely closely matched.
The Zotac is a tiny bit behind the Gigabyte, especially the minimum framerate which is 5 frames behind. Not much, but when we're normally dealing with a tenth or two it's worth noting, although gameplay is still buttery smooth.
Far Cry 2
Barely a gnats chuff between the two cards once again. Onwards dear reader.
The Zotac AMP! has a much better minimum frame-rate than the overclocked Windforce, although the Gigabyte offering just edges ahead in average frame-rate. Still not a lot between them in noticeable terms though.
As to be expected, Metro 2033 is disappointing now matter what card you're running it on.
Resident Evil 5 - DX9
I think you all know what to expect by now. The two GTX660Ti's are inseparable.
Resident Evil 5- DX10
The AMP! has a 0.3% improvement over the Gigabyte. Or, to put it another way, nothing you'll ever notice.
In Unigine we finally see our first major improvement. The Zotac is clearly better than the Gigabyte when we're running the Heaven benchmark without any anti-aliasing. Although the maximum frames per second is pretty much the same, the minimum and average frame-rates definitely favour the AMP!.
After a review full of half a frame here and there it's nice to have something to talk about. Even with the anti-aliasing turned on the Zotac AMP! is better than the Gigabyte in the Heaven benchmark. Sadly neither card particularly inspires when compared to the competition.
The Witcher 2
Finishing off with The Witcher 2 and we return to where we have been throughout this review. A pair of cards that are impossible to separate such is the closeness of their results.
All of the problems that affect the GTX660Ti as a concept when we summarised our thoughts in our Gigabyte Windforce review remain here. It's still either far too expensive, or not powerful enough. We've often commented upon how manufactures end up over-saturating the marketplace with endless varieties of graphics cards that are all too close in performance and price to really make them easy to recommend.
What we need is a dirt-cheap base model for those who play Farmville and watch DVDs. A midrange card for the majority of people who have a couple of hundred to spend, and then an all-singing, all-dancing model for those who wont settle for anything less. We don't need 10 models of the same thing all a few pounds apart. We often compare hardware to the car industry and we'd be wise to take their business plan. You can't buy a Fiesta with a 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 etc etc sized engine. There is a small economical one, one that will sell by the bucketload, and a powerful one.
So what is the difference between the AMP! and the Windforce? The most obvious, and by far the most important, is the design of the cooler. Whereas Gigabyte appear to have reached into a hardware lucky-dip and bolted on whatever they had in their hand, Zotac have designed a cooler that perfectly fits the PCB of the card it's being attached to. Although it's purely aesthetic, we are visual creatures. It looks better, and that means a lot to us. The biggest surprise is how tiny the card is. We've tested, and this will fit onto a mini-ITX board. If it was any shorter we'd expect it to have a Napoleon Complex.
The Zotac also comes out of the box with a bigger overclock on the GDDR5, although in our testing this had a negligible benefit. It also only overclocked to the same levels as the Gigabyte, and our results pretty much backed this up. Only in the synthetics did the Zotac take a noticeable lead and even then it's only noticeable when compared to the tiny variances in the gaming results.
So all in all there isn't much to choose between the cards. Both are cool, both are quiet, and both perform identically. The only genuine difference is in the looks where we think the Zotac AMP! has the clear upper hand, and so we're glad to award it our OC3D Gamers Choice award.
Thanks to Zotac for supplying the GTX660Ti AMP! Edition for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.