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Zotac GTX 480 AMP! Graphics Card review

Rating: 8.0.

A few weeks ago we reviewed the GTX480 and walked away with generally favourable feelings – after all there was no doubting the astonishing tessellation performance and frame rate prowess with all of the leading game engines. We did however have reservations as it was running at a shade under 100c while consuming around 320w of power. It was a little like driving a turbo injected Hummer – totally ‘in your face’ and a gas guzzling beast.

Today we look at the new top of the line Zotac GTX 480 AMP! Edition which aims to redress some of the product flaws by adding a hefty, customised cooler. To further tickle the taste glands they have also decided to ramp up the clock speeds for an extra performance boost. 56mhz is added to the core clock, 104mhz to the memory and 111mhz to the shaders.

The GTX480 is already an expensive card but this elusive AMP! Edition from Zotac pushes the price point even higher with an RRP of £510 inc vat. While this seems an inordinate amount of money KitGuru doesn’t believe price points for this specific high end sector are really that relevant. Have you ever heard a guy who buys one or even two of these for SLI complaining about the price? Its a very dedicated, niche audience and all we are really concerned about today is performance.

KitGuru will give it a thrashing today to find out if this high end behemoth is worth your time.

Specifications Zotac GTX480 AMP!
Graphics processor Nvidia GeForce GTX480, 756MHz
Pipeline 480 stream processors (1,512MHz), 48 ROPs
Bandwidth 182.4GB/sec, 384-bit interface
Memory 1.5GB GDDR5, 3.8GHz effective
Tech Capabilities DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1
Outputs/Inputs 2 x DVI, 1 x Mini HDMI, 2 x SLI
Power Connections 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin side-mounted
Size 270mm long, Triple-slot
Warranty 5 Years

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  • Tim

    Great review zardon interesting to read about temps and power consumption with this board. I could never buy this mind you the missus would kill me, literally.

  • Eric K

    This will really put Zotac on the map. first good 480 GTX ive seen. mega money aint it? ouchies

  • Death Dealer

    Grreat review man. Seems to be a very solid product from Zotac, shame Nvidia didnt work out a deal with zalman for the reference products.

  • Harry

    Funny enough I was thinking the same thing, why not have put a good cooler on it in the first place? people in this sector can live with the power drain, but the noise and heat? mad.

  • Tech Head

    Great looking board, but 3 slots? christ they are struggling to cool this monster.

  • Bob

    Very interesting…

    It has huge power consumption drops, despite actually having a higher voltage. It is possible that the better cooling on the VRM area has made it more effeicient?

  • Thomas

    Excellent Review! Overall looks like a very nice improvement, but im sure the 257 drivers helped .

  • Harry J

    Hi,Is it possible to ajust fan speed at lower level with rivatuner for the noise in idle mode.

  • Flo

    The standard VF3000 connected to a standard fan header though, the custom one Zotac is using connects directly to the card’s fan header. Which I would guess means it has fan control.

  • Brian

    Still hoping I’d see more competition against the 5970

  • Trevor

    maybe because they use more efficient cooler and not using those stupid high ampere fan, and because they are lower temperature it’s make the fan spin less, thus make power consumption to drop.

  • Derek

    This price is high, but so is 5970

  • Bjorn

    I dont think its as high as people say. for the technology.

  • Fred

    And I would hardly consider it priced competitive when the closest option performance wise is $100 cheaper, and of course by closest I mean virtually identical performance.

  • Tres Kool

    I’m not surprised about the power consumption; it’s been compared to the power consumption of the “launch card” not the mass production card. My GTX 480 consumes just 50w more at load that my old GTX 285. By the way most GTX 480 owners seem to reach 830-840 on the core with stock voltage; otherwise another excellent review.

  • Hard Man

    So if I wanted to put two of these big daddies on my Asus Rampage III Extreme motherboard… would I have to use slot 1 and 4? Wonder if slot 4 would even have enough room below it…

  • swayye

    These chips are just not that great. Need a refresh for sure. I can’t wait to see how that turns out and if this ends up being one of the more inefficent GPUs. I’d bring up the R600 -> RV670 transition but they enjoyed a major new manufacturing process there and added Powerplay. I can’t see the refresh to this beast being on anything other than 40nm again.

  • Brokrk

    It’s a known fact that when electronics get hot, they become inefficient. That’s why I don’t let my CPU over 60C and my GPU over 70C because they just start getting really inefficient, plus it’s not good for them. When you are dealling with something with 3 billion transistors, it’s definately going to make a difference when they start expanding from heat and such.

  • Rupert Haridicko

    While they a specified for higher, it’s still not good for them. Doesn’t matter how well it’s built, it’s simply physics: when something heats up, it expands. When you have that many tiny little things all bunched together, expansion is the last thing you want, no matter how little.

  • Rupert Haridicko

    im happy with my 4870X2 to be honest, these figures are insanely good, but I dont have a 30 inch screen, its pointless. I dont think many people get that. You arent only buying a card that costs the same as a car, you need a monitor which costs even more.

  • Trebik

    Yeah people do buy cards not GPUs, and many of those same folks whine when they realize their 2Gb card has a 1Gb frame buffer and performs worse than a single GPU in games if a proper driver profile isn’t present. See it constantly on gaming forums.

  • Robert

    No way this should have got 8/10 or whatever. runs too hot still and takes too much power, way too much power. so ineffieicent

  • Eric K

    @ Robert – really? I think it is a good 7 or 8 /10. People that buy this wont care about 300 watts out the window. its performing to a level no other card does right now.

  • Stefan

    I am not sure if I agree, I like the performance, but it all seems so wasteful. I liked the analogy of the humvee in the review, it is exactly tlike that. its like throwing something over the top to get better performance than a product taking half the power. reminds me of the old days with intel V AMD and intel always aiming for clock speed and AMD being more efficient

  • Go Reds

    STill dont rate this series of cards. its an improvement, but at what price? same cost as my car insurance for a year. ill pass, thanks though. good review.

  • tom

    interesting to read, thanks Zardon

  • tri color

    still not sure what to think, fast as hell and then some, but the price and power sucking requirements put me off recommending it. I think the review is generous, I would have gave it 6 or 7 out of ten.


    300 watts power drain, and a three slot cooler to get it around 80c.

    Ludicrous. You were far too nice on this card Zardon.

  • Trev Mang

    I like the cooling solution, glad to see zalman are still alive and kicking

  • Dax

    Good card, but this should be the reference design. Nvidia take note next time, those reference coolers suck the big one.

  • fluffychicken

    interesting to see the power consumption thanks to better effiecency

  • brad

    Good review KG, thanks. enjoyed it. Will never own one, even if I had one id sell it 🙂 quite happy with my 275 GTX

  • jim oldtimer

    How the hell can they get away with charging over 500 quid for a graphics card? seriously w,t,f,

  • geek master

    wicked review. temps are solid. frame rates are up.

    Would need a new PSU to get it to work, but its an improvement over the reference, even if it costs more.

  • Skin force

    SO Zotac have charged £70 (reference is 430 in UK) for a £30 cooler and increased clocks a bit? nice cash in there. wouldnt have gave this 8./10 – 6/10 IMO.

  • Gareth Cringle

    id love one, if they dropped the price to 250. Reckon that will happen? I can dream 🙂

  • Rob Max

    Nah, far too much money Zotac. £450 seems a better price point, would sell more. well maybe not !

  • long jumper

    I like the GTX480. I really love nvidia drivers. But I dont like this price. nice dream card for the rich. im waiting on the GTX460 review !

  • nerd sucker

    informative review and i like the power comsumption figures, well I mean its nice you included them and interesting to see them drop when compared with reference card. Still seems high to me.

  • ron

    Why do they always have crappy dragons on their boxes? Is their CEO Gandalf or something?

  • trix

    three slot cooling, seems really extreme, but clearly its needed. Still not sold on this range nvidia, runs far too hot and needs extreme solutions to compensate.

  • Tim Smalls

    Nvidia – if you built the door way right the first time, then you dont need to knock it down to slot in 4 wider doors later. The core solution is flawed. Performance is great, but it just seems to me like they slotted an F1 car into a fiats chassis and its all over the place.

  • Malek


    Is there a mainboard in the world that would allow you to run SLi with this?

    When EVGA said they’re going early with water cooling it sounded like a mistake

    Now it seems to be the only sensible way to tame this beast

    3 slots


  • Tim Smalls

    Yeah SLI would be impossible wouldnt it ? Surely the cards would be too far apart?

  • DaveyW

    I don’t want to buy one. I just want to own one.

  • Top Best Graphics Cards For The Money: July 2010 here http://stylishfirst.com/best-graphics-cards-for-the-money-july-2010/