Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! (216) Edition

Written by Tim Smalley

October 22, 2008 // 8:24 a.m.

Tags: #216 #260 #amp2 #article #card #consumption #cores #edition #evaluation #geforce #graphics #gtx #overclocking #performance #power #processors #review #stream #test #zotac

Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition

Manufacturer: Zotac
UK Price (as reviewed): £233.82 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $299.99 (ex. Tax)

Core Clock: 650MHz
Shader Clock: 1,400MHz
Memory Clock: 2,100MHz
Memory: 896MB GDDR3
Warranty: Five years (parts and labour)

With the excellent ATI Radeon HD 4800 series stealing a lot of Nvidia's thunder at many of the key price points this summer, many of the company's partners have been pretty quiet of late. Nvidia has been uncharacteristically quiet during this period as well, with an exception made for Nvision in August, with only one new graphics card launch since the original GeForce GTX 280 and 260 – the GeForce GTX 260+, as we've coined it.

You see, there hasn't been an official name given by Nvidia because the company hasn't officially launched it itself – it's just a partner option and so it has instead been up to the partners to differentiate the card from their existing GeForce GTX 260s. BFG Tech is using "Maxcore" to differentiate between its existing products, while Zotac is using "²" to achieve the same.

Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! (216) Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! (216) Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition
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Today we're looking at Zotac's GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition, which comes clocked at similar, albeit slightly lower, frequencies to the BFG Tech GeForce GTX OCX Maxcore we looked at in September. Zotac's core and shader clocks are nearly exactly the same as the Maxcore's at 650MHz and 1,400MHz respectively (compared to 655/1,407MHz on the BFG), while the memory is 150MHz lower at 2,100MHz.

In some scenarios, this could have a telling effect on performance because we felt that BFG Tech's GeForce GTX 260 OCX Maxcore was memory bandwidth limited at higher resolutions or with lots of anti-aliasing enabled.

Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! (216) Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! (216) Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition
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Like the BFG Tech card, Zotac hasn't moved away from the Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 reference design, aside from adding the obligatory Zotac 'dragon' stickers onto the fan and heatsink shroud. Unlike BFG though, Zotac has refrained from adding its own branding along the top edge of the card next to the two six-pin power sockets and the covered S/PDIF connector – instead, the standard GeForce logo is left intact.

Because Zotac has followed the Nvidia reference design, it'll come as no surprise for me to tell you that the cooler spins slowly at approximately 1,400RPM (which equates to 40 percent of the fan's maximum speed) and that it's quiet in almost all scenarios. Even when we were running loops of Crysis for well over two hours, the fan didn't get any louder than it was at idle.

Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! (216) Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! (216) Edition Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition
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The card is packaged well enough in a plain box inside a flashy Zotac orange exterior sleeve, and the included bundle is very good. As well as the expected assortment of two six-pin PCI-Express power connectors, a HDTV component breakout cable, a quick start manual and a driver disc. In addition, we’re also treated to a DVI to HDMI adapter and accompanying internal S/PDIF connector (although there’s no included HMDI cable) and a full copy of Race Driver: GRID – a favourite game in the bit-tech offices.

Warranty

Zotac provides a five year warranty as long as you register the card within 14 days of purchase by completing a simple online form. If you fail to register your card, you’ll be limited to the usual one year warranty covering all electronics purchases, which seems fair – just make sure to register for these extended warranties!

A fortnight is particularly tight, especially since some free delivery systems take a week for the card to get to you. We therefore have to say that Zotac is cutting it a little fine for the end user in our opinion - we'd much prefer to see this extended out to 30 days like other partners offering extended warranties.
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