Zotac enters graphics market

Written by Tim Smalley

June 13, 2007 | 14:00

Tags: #8500 #8600 #8800 #amp #card #centre #geforce #gt #gts #gtx #hdcp #media #passive #solutions #spdif #zone

Companies: #nvidia #zotac

Thus far, we haven't really talked much about Zotac since the brand's CeBIT launch, but the company is starting to make a lot more noise now that it is ready to ship its products to the market.

We popped along to see the company at Computex, not really knowing what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised with some of the kit that the company will be selling across Europe very soon.

Zotac, which is a part of PC Partner, will not only concentrate on Nvidia graphics cards, but also on some motherboards based on Nvidia chipsets too. At the moment though, the focus is very much on the graphics card front.

The company will have two lines of products - one focused on silence, and the second focused on performance. The range of silent cooled graphics cards will go from the GeForce 8600 GTS down to the GeForce 8500 GT, and then lower at a later date. This is collectively known as the Zone series. Each of the cards will be clocked at the reference speeds specified by Nvidia, but the obvious benefit is that these are silent and passively cooled.

Zotac plans to add a SPDIF connector (allowing HDMI with sound via a DVI-to-HDMI converter), along with making all of its cards HDCP compliant. Finally, an Nvidia partner has stepped up to the task of delivering a top-to-bottom line of HDCP compliant graphics cards.

This is something I've been pushing for for a long time with both Nvidia and all of its partners, because the lower-end cards are the ones that really need the HDCP crypto-ROM as standard, due to the fact that they're the cards that will be used in media centre systems. This hasn't been a problem for AMD's partners though, because AMD has implemented HDCP compliancy on all of its HD 2000-series and it implemented it on its X1000-series refresh too.

The performance orientated cards will not feature silent cooling solutions, instead the company will use either the reference fan (at the high-end) or it'll use coolers that it has specifically chosen because the default cooler isn't up to Zotac's standards. This series of cards will be known as the AMP! series, which is certainly catchy enough. AMP! series cards will all be factory overclocked, but interestingly Zotac has opted not to touch the shader clock.

On the whole, there are some quite impressive clock speed increases across the range, with the sweet spot being the N-Fire 8800 GTS 320MB AMP! Edition coming clocked at 570/1800MHz. Zotac said that its prices would be competitive with the market, but it didn't plan to undercut the partners that are already established in the market. Hopefully, we'll have a look at a few of the company's cards in the near future - for now though, we'll leave you with some pictures of its products.

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