Zotac GTX1060 AMP! Review
No matter which angle you approach the GTX 1060 from it ends up being impressive.
First and foremost, and probably the biggest jaw-dropping factor, is the capability to have GTX 980 performance at half the price that was when it launched, and at a greatly reduced power draw requirement. Sure it doesn't support SLI, which is still baffling to us, but unless you plan on gaming the very latest, high detail, high resolution titles then the GTX 1060 is plenty of horsepower. As we saw throughout our testing if you've got a 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 monitor then you are guaranteed a smooth gaming experience no matter which game you choose to play.
Whilst the nVidia and ASUS variants used a short PCB and full size cooler or full size PCB and cooler respectively, the Zotac AMP! goes down the compact route with a small PCB and twin fan cooler. This is perfect if you have a case of smaller dimensions or just prefer a shorter card. There are some slight thermal limitations to how much heat such a reduced cooler size can disperse - the Zotac is about 10°C warmer than the other 1060s - but the card is quiet in use and there is enough headroom that if you want to manually tune the fans you can squeeze some more overclocking out of it beyond the factory boost.
Speaking of performance, the GTX 1060 range is insanely linear in how the performance scales with the clock speed. Most cards are non-linear, where you need a certain amount of clock speed to see any improvement and there is a definite sweet spot after which your gains reduce. If one thing became clear in our testing the more clock speed you have, the better your performance. The Zotac AMP! is about 100MHz faster than the Founders Edition and in every single benchmark it just edged it in performance. Equally the Strix is faster still and edged the Zotac in every test. Enticing stuff if you're planning on manually overclocking the card to achieve higher frame rates. It's nice to know in advance that your efforts will be rewarded.
If you are in the market for a GTX 1060 and want a card that is compact enough to fit in your system then the Zotac AMP! is an excellent buy. Great performance. Quiet operation. Lovely.