Zotac GTS250 'AMP' 1GB PCIe Graphics card

Packaging & Appearance

Packaging & Appearance
 
Swathed in the familiar company colours of black and orange, the GTS250 Amp box is attractive from the outset. Despite me not being a fan of beasts/elves/warriors etc adorning the front of any product, the dragon spewing fire on the front of this box is somehow fitting to the black and orange theme so I will let it go on this occasion. The same mythical creature is to be found on the GPU itself if the window cutout is anything to judge by. A sticker across this window shows us that  the included game with this package is the XIII Century 'Death or Glory' - a game I have not tried so I cannot comment on how good/bad this inclusion is I'm afraid. Below this sticker we find the main title of the card along with a few features and a small AMP emblem. Switching to the rear of the box we find Zotac have gone into great details to explain the video and graphics advantages this card will afford the end user.
 
front box rear
 
Upon opening the box, I was greeted with a plastic shield which protected the contents of the box as well as preventing them from falling out of the box window! I am becoming a great admirer of Zotacs packaging as everything is neatly stowed away yet easily accessible thanks to the Styrofoam cut-outs holding everything in place. Perhaps my one criticism is that the card was not protected by it's own anti-static bag but it seems Zotac feel this is an unnecessary addition.
 
The accessories included with the graphics card are as good as you are going to find anywhere. A driver and utility disc are complemented by separate Game(XIII Century) and benchmark (Futuremark 3D Vantage) disks. Two adaptors allow the connection of VGA/DVI and HDMI should you have the need and to power the card, a 2xMolex to 8-pin PCIe power cable. An S/PDiff cable and manuals round the list of nicely. Perhaps the only item missing is an SLI bridge but these bridges are normally included with motherboards which support SLI so you should have everything here to get you started.
 
open box accessories
 
The card itself is slightly longer than the 512MB variant, having the same dimensions of the 8800GTX/280GTX. The cooler is however slightly different in that it has an additional set of vents that will help the card 'breathe more easily' near the back plate. Apart from that the stock cooler is pretty much a clone of other high end Nvidia coolers. Flipping the card over we see that Zotac have chosen to use an exposed blue PCB which is perhaps not the best colour to match the rest of the cards orange and black theme. As there are no memory chips on the back of the card to cool, a rear plate was deemed not necessary on this variant. The spaces for an additional 1GB of memory do however signify the possibilities of 2GB version of this card should Nvidia feel the need to expand the G92 range more.  
 
GPU front GPU rear
 
A nice touch of the card was to include 2x colour co-ordinated DVI ports. This effect was however, not mirrored with the standard black TV-out port situated left most to the orange DVI ports. Note that there is space for a power LED on the back plate but sadly, no such LED exists on the GTS250. TRI SLI is however possible with the GPU judging by the 2 SLI tabs situated in the normal place adjacent to the white S/PDiff port.
 
DVI Xfire
 
Another change from the 512MB card is the inclusion of an 8-pin PCIe power port rather than the standard 6 pin. This is the first card we have tested with a single 8-pin port so it will be interesting to see the power consumption of this card. While there is also space for an additional 6-pin port, the power requirements of the card are such that Zotac deem two power connectors unnecessary. The coolers fan is a standard affair found on most mid/high end GPU's with this cooler design and as such it is quiet in operation, even under moderate load. It isn't until the card is put under extreme load that it becomes intrusive.
 
8 pin fan
 
Removing the cooler was a moderately easy affair with just 8 spring loaded screws holding the full length cooler to the card itself. Thermal pads are the order of the day fro transferring heat from the memory to the aluminium heatsink. As with all heatsinks, copper would be a much better material to use but with all things copper, there comes an additional price which would inevitably effect this cards potential market.
 
heatsink top
 
I was happy to see that this G92 did not have an integrated heatspreader over the GPU. The paste used on the core was very good if somewhat applied in an excessive amount. However, the mount was very good with a thin sliver of non-conductive paste covering the exposed core. Note that the cooler does not afford active cooling to the VRM's with all ten Mosfets simply being cooled by airflow rather than the heatsink. This is also the case for the SLI chip, which again receives no contact with the cooler itself.
 
GPU POWER
 
I must say I am becoming very impressed with the Zotac range of GPU's and the manner in which they are being presented. Despite the odd choice of PCB colour, this is one fine looking GPU and one which should arrive safely on your doorstep thanks to the very good method of packaging.
 
Let's move on to the test setup section of the review where I will also analyse the operating temperature, power consumption and overclocking potential of the GTS250 AMP edition...
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Most Recent Comments

27-05-2009, 13:47:25

w3bbo
Just another rehash of the tried and tested G92? Can a sprinkling of Zotac overclocking and 1GB of GDDR3 make this card a 4850/70 killer? Read our latest review to find out...

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...131435136s.jpg

Full review here

27-05-2009, 13:54:41

zak4994
Gah! You should've also compared it too a 9800GT (or whatever it's successor was )

Blue PCB? Sucketh to the max!

27-05-2009, 14:06:25

sammytomjohn
dont think i'l be buyin 1 of these

27-05-2009, 14:07:28

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='zak4994'
Gah! You should've also compared it too a 9800GT (or whatever it's successor was )

Blue PCB? Sucketh to the max!
Sure, I'll just nip into my own personal GPU warehouse.....

Damn sorry m8, I only have an MX440 and a Voodoo, will those do?

Contrary to popular belief I don't get to keep equipment from previous reviews to draw on when needed, I can only go on results that have the same base setup. Sadly the 9800 reviews were done on an inferior setup and thus cannot be compared.

27-05-2009, 14:12:58

Rastalovich
Such an awkward card to find into the mash.

I was quite alarmed when u said the cooler was quiet ! (although not too effective)

That's a first isn't it ? A quiet stock cooler in the GT200 range ?

As to the 'AMP' release - honestly, 12mhz ? why ?

Great reviewage.

27-05-2009, 14:20:38

w3bbo
Cheers Rasta.

When i say 'not effective', it is, it's just not as effective as the ATI coolers. Then again it isn't anywhere near as loud so I guess thats the trade off!

The overclock, is minor because there is very little headroom to begin with I guess.

27-05-2009, 14:21:43

PeterStoba
Publish price - 145.99 but the novatech link says otherwise - http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?ZOT-250

Blue PCB is win!

Graphics Drivers: Supplied by Sapphire

seems odd

27-05-2009, 14:34:54

Mul.
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PeterStoba'
Publish price - 145.99 but the novatech link says otherwise - http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?ZOT-250

Blue PCB is win!

seems odd
That's the 512mb version I'm afraid. You can actually find GTS 250 512mb cards with reference clocks for as little as 85. I personally feel that 145 is a lot for the 1GB version, even with an overclock applied from factory. Looking at the novatech website itself, it's possible to buy a ref clock 1GB GTS 250 for 105. Plus, the HD 4870 1GB has been appearing for around 130 these days and should have a higher margin for an overclock.

Great review w3bbo.

27-05-2009, 14:51:30

PeterStoba
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Mul.'
That's the 512mb version I'm afraid. You can actually find GTS 250 512mb cards with reference clocks for as little as 85. I personally feel that 145 is a lot for the 1GB version, even with an overclock applied from factory. Looking at the novatech website itself, it's possible to buy a ref clock 1GB GTS 250 for 105. Plus, the HD 4870 1GB has been appearing for around 130 these days and should have a higher margin for an overclock.

Great review w3bbo.
My bad, I just assume the link would be correct.

The 512mb cards are good for 90ish, I've used one and they are very good performers.

27-05-2009, 15:31:12

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PeterStoba'
Publish price - 145.99 but the novatech link says otherwise - http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?ZOT-250

Blue PCB is win!

seems odd
Sorted, that'll teach me to C&P the test bed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Mul.'
That's the 512mb version I'm afraid. You can actually find GTS 250 512mb cards with reference clocks for as little as 85. I personally feel that 145 is a lot for the 1GB version, even with an overclock applied from factory. Looking at the novatech website itself, it's possible to buy a ref clock 1GB GTS 250 for 105. Plus, the HD 4870 1GB has been appearing for around 130 these days and should have a higher margin for an overclock.

Great review w3bbo.
Yeah the pricing does need looking at imo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PeterStoba'
My bad, I just assume the link would be correct.

The 512mb cards are good for 90ish, I've used one and they are very good performers.
Crap at high res with filters though. Thats when the added memory comes into it's own.

27-05-2009, 15:33:37

Rastalovich
Looks at 512m card .....

Looks at w3bbo's monitor ....

Looks at 512m card .....

Looks at w3bbo's monitor ....

.. that's just unfair !

27-05-2009, 15:38:28

w3bbo
Lol, it's BECAUSE I have such a large screen I know these things . That said even a 24" screen will show decreases in speed with a 512mb card vs 1GB.

I'm not for minute saying 512mb cards are a steaming pile of dog do, clearly they are not, but if you game at anything above 22" it pays to invest in a card with a little more memory imo.
Reply
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