ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 AMP Edition Review
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 AMP Gets Tested
The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 AMP Edition is one of the most affordable, factory overclocked GTX 1060 graphics card out in the prowl. It features a custom cooling solution, and a PCB design built from the ground up by ZOTAC. This card falls under the AMP Edition series of cards which symbolizes the company’s passion to provide extra performance with a price to match at 289 USD or at 13, 995 PHP.
Specification wise, we are looking at a 1556 MHz core clock and a 1771 MHz boost clock touting GTX 1060. That’s 50 MHz and 63 MHz faster than the Founders Edition respectively. This effectively puts the card at the line of the modestly clocked GTX 1060 models out there with room for additional tuning based on the AMP monicker. The direct competition of the GeForce GTX 1060 is the Radeon RX 480 8GB from AMD. And thus, we came prepared to show a comparison between the two mainstream champions.
QUICK SPECS COMPARISON
MAKE & MODEL
NVIDIA GTX 1060
ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP
1506 – 1708 MHZ
1556– 1771 MHZ
249 – 299 USD
THE NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1060 6GB:
The GeForce GTX 1060 is Nvidia’s take on the sweet mid-range category, featuring the GP106 GPU at its core. It is definitely a lighter package compared to the GP104 but don’t make fun of this 120W GPU. Nvidia stated that its performance is comparable to the GTX 980 at a much smaller package, excellent starting point, and better power figures. That’s 300 USD less for the same performance 2 years back.
The GP106 based on its diagram features two Graphics Processing Clusters with five Streaming Multiprocessors per GPC. Each SM has 128 CUDA cores amounting to a total of 1280 CUDA cores for the whole GPU. Notice that there are six 32-bit Memory Controllers shown at the diagram totaling at 192-bit bus width. That’s a memory interface that could utilize 6GB and potentially 3GB VRAM capacities. With that said, a GTX 1060 3GB model is not far off the charts.
TDP is at 120W, putting it 30W shy of the RX 480’s 150W TDP. Now as for Nvidia exclusive features, the card supports most of Pascal’s technologies with the exception of SLI support. More info about Pascal’s technological achievements can be read here and here.
PACKAGING & BUNDLED ACCESSORIES:
The card came in a usual ZOTAC inspired packaging which tells a lot about the company’s design philosophy. The packaging is clean, simple, and easily translates what ZOTAC wants you to know from the get go. Inside, you’ll find a well packed card with all the accessories included.
Accessories are pretty light considering the price point. But since the card doesn’t need SLI nor retarded amounts of power, you’ll get a simple dual molex to 6 pin power adapter a quick start guide and a catalog for the ZOTAC SONIX SSD. I expected a case badge here to be included at the very least. But, whatever.
THE ZOTAC GEFORCE GTX 1060 AMP EDITION:
The ZOTAC Geforce GTX 1060 AMP Edition features a fresh design made from the ground up just for the GTX 10 series of cards. It is a refreshing look at the mid-range cards from ZOTAC and we very much approve this design even though it has less metal compared to the previous generation AMP cards. This is an inch and a half shorter than the Founders Edition at just around 8 inches, but is a little wider at 5 inches. The GTX 1060 AMP Edition will definitely fit on most enclosures even on some ITX standard ones.
Cooling is provided by dual 90mm ZOTAC FREEZE fans – which are 0dB compliant. Meaning they do not spin up if the temperature is well within a safe threshold. These are rated to run at 1700 RPM which is just 50% of the fan’s total RPM.
The PCB is matte black, with a mighty fine soldering job from ZOTAC. Haven’t seen a PCB this clean in a while with perfectly aligned surface-mount resistors, integrated chips, and high quality silk screening. No need for a back-plate eh?
A look at the side profile shows the custom built cooler of the card complete with its dual U-shaped copper heat-pipes. The main heat sink cools off both the GPU and the card’s VRAM modules, while a block of aluminum cools off the VRM of the card. The inverted 6 pin power connector is located here as well.
The cooler over extends the card to reach the 8 incher mark, which is kinda cool to look at. I kinda wish the ZOTAC logo can be lit up though.
Connectivity is nothing special, but is proper with a 3x DisplayPort configuration 1x HDMI 2.0b, and a DVI port. ZOTAC maximizes the ventilation on the bracket area which is a plus.
TEST SYSTEM & BENCHMARKS:
Graphics cards are not total strangers in our labs, but providing a precise result usually needs a lot of time and effort on our end. Helping us to do those things are hardware and software based measurement tools, a wide selection of popular titles, and benchmarks.
The ZOTAC Geforce GTX 1060 AMP Edition scored 8.3 on the SteamVR Performance Test. A good start.
Third party background softwares are disabled while the benchmarks are running unless required. Benchmarks should include 720p, 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p if permitted or if necessary to the hardware being tested. The OS of choice is a 64-bit Windows 10 Pro with power options set to balanced.
TEST SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
INTEL CORE I5 6600K
CRUCIAL BALLISTIX TACTICAL 16GB
ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP EDITION
KINGSTON HYPERX FURY SSD 240GB
COOLER MASTER SPH 1300W
27″ DELL U2715H WQHD IPS PANEL
MICROSOFT WINDOWS 10 PRO
FRAMES PER SECOND 101:
For refreshment purposes, let us talk for a moment about FPS or Frames Per Second. FPS is the general unit of which we measure a graphics card’s performance and, the higher value, the smoother the gameplay should be. Higher FPS means that there are more frames rendered each second. Check out the difference of 30 and 60 FPS ON THIS LINK.
FPS values will be recorded by FRAPS in game using a linear method with each titles for consistency. Results will include the Average FPS and 1% Minimum FPS, unless the game does not support FRAPS. The 1% Minimum FPS is important because it represents the negative spikes or drops in-game sufficient enough for a gamer to notice. If the game doesn’t support FRAPS, we will use the in-game benchmark or have the frame rate recorded via Mirillis Action, or EVGA’s PrecisionX OC.
TEMPERATURE NOISE & POWER CONSUMPTION:
The Unigine Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that measures the performance of the graphics card. It doubles up as a stress testing tool with heavy usage of tessellation. Temperature values will be taken directly from GPU-Z, and will be cross referenced from other temperature logging tools. The ambient room temperature is checked at 27 Degree Celsius. Overwatch is used for the in-game temperature test.
Our power consumption test will show how the GPU impacts system power consumption using Unigine Heaven, and Overwatch. The game and benchmark will run for approximately 15 minutes. Power readings are then taken from the entire test system using a watt meter connected to the wall socket.
The sound level of the whole system with the graphics card is taken as well. The room has an ambient noise level at around 37 dBA which is good enough to test the acoustic performance of any system or a graphics card’s cooling solution. The sound level meter is situated 2 feet away from the system.
The ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP features a good balance between cooling and acoustics, showing a maximum of 40dB at load with a respectable 77c maximum temperature. By default, the fan speeds up at 50% which is the main reason why both figures are at such acceptable levels. This card is almost dead silent by default, and will attain a 45dB : 64c maximum figures if set at 80% power. Compared to the reference RX 480 8GB, the GTX 1060 is definitely a less power hungry GPU.
ASUS GTX 1080 STRIX OC SYNTHETIC PERFORMANCE:
3DMark 2013 is a suite of benchmarks catered for the gamers and enthusiasts. It features the FireStrike, FireStrike Extreme, and FireStirke Ultra benchmark presets which are suitable for wide range of systems. The total system scores from each presets will be used.
Unigine Heaven is a stress test and a benchmark tool built specifically for the graphics card. We will run a full test to see how the graphics card performs under such benchmark. The total system score will be used for comparison.
Unigine Valley is a stress test and a benchmark tool built specifically for graphics cards, similar to the Heaven benchmark. We will run a full test to see how the graphics card performs under such benchmark. The total system score will be used for comparison.
At 1080P resolution, the ZOTAC GTX 1060 showed a 7% to 28% increase in performance compared to the RX 480. At 1440P performance gains are at 11% to 24% which is definitely around the levels of what a reference GTX 980 could do. The 3DMark Fire Strike benchmarks on the other hand features less gains but it is still a win thus far for the non reference GTX 1060.
|TITLE||AMD RX 480 8GB||ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP 6GB|
|UNIGINE VALLEY 1080P||100%||+28%|
|UNIGINE VALLEY 1440P||100%||+24%|
|UNIGINE VALLEY 2160P||100%||+19%|
|UNIGINE HEAVEN 1080P||100%||+26%|
|UNIGINE HEAVEN 1440P||100%||+11%|
|UNIGINE HEAVEN 2160P||100%||+15%|
|3DMARK FIRE STRIKE||100%||+7%|
|3DMARK FIRE STRIKE EXT||100%||+12%|
|3DMARK FIRE STRIKE ULTRA||100%||+13%|
ASUS GTX 1080 STRIX OC GAMING PERFORMANCE:
Overwatch is Blizzard Entertainment’s critically acclaimed FPS shooter, running on a custom game engine developed by Blizzard utilizing the DirectX 11 API. Benchmarks will be taken from a custom game on a map called Temple of Anubis. The graphic settings is set to ultra with a 100% render scale.
DOTA 2 is Valve’s popular MOBA game, running on their own Source Engine 2. Benchmarks are taken from a match replay between Alliance and Natus Vincere. The graphic settings is set to the maximum. The frame rate is uncapped, and v-sync is turned off.
Ashes of The Singularity is an RTS game developed by Stardock and one of the first games to support the DirectX 12 API. Benchmarks will be taken directly from the game’s benchmarking tool, with the graphic settings is set to extreme.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is the direct sequel to 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot. It is developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, with support for the DirectX 12 API. Settings are set to Very High, with SMAA, HBAO+, and Pure Hair enabled. Benchmarks were taken from the Syria level.
DIRT: Rally is Codemaster’s proper take on the rally racing game genre, with support for the DirectX 11 API. Settings are set to Ultra, with 8x SMAA enabled. Benchmarks were taken from the stages at Hafren, Wales.
Graphics performance on games definitely varies from title to title, but there is definitely a trend of +20% performance gain for the GTX 1060 vs the RX 480 8GB. 1080P performance is stellar, with a few exceptions. Ashes of The Singularity for example is a DirectX 12 title that featured an actual decrease in performance. A 5% to 11% gain at the Rise of The Tomb Raider also showed that scaling between the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 isn’t that far off. This is something that you should look out for, especially if you are planning to invest on the DirectX 12 titles of tomorrow. Overall, the current titles are still in favor of the GTX 1060 over the RX 480 8GB even at 4K UHD.
|TITLE||AMD RX 480 8GB||ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP 6GB|
|DOTA 2 1080P||100%||-3%|
|DOTA 2 1440P||100%||+27%|
|DOTA 2 2160P||100%||+18%|
|TOMB RAIDER 2016 1080P||100%||+11%|
|TOMB RAIDER 2016 1440P||100%||+5%|
|TOMB RAIDER 2016 2160P||100%||0%|
|DIRT RALLY 1080P||100%||+27%|
|DIRT RALLY 1440P||100%||+21%|
|DIRT RALLY 2160P||100%||+11%|
OVERCLOCKING THE ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP EDITION:
The ZOTAC FireStorm is an easy to use graphics overclocking tool. It featured an upgraded UI which is a far cry from the last version I’ve seen. Pleasant and easy to use, we got a maximum of 1707 Mhz base clock followed by a 1922 MHz boost clock with ease. Memory clock is overclocked at 2101 MHz. This isn’t the highest we got with this card, but it is nonetheless a good OC without exploring the VID settings.
Gains we got from overclocking were good at 6% to 7% across the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark runs from 1080P to 4K UHD. Not a bad result right?
WRAPPING IT UP:
The ZOTAC Geforce GTX 1060 AMP is a fantastic mid range card able to deliver up its promise without breaking the bank at 13, 995 Pesos. Performance is definitely better than the reference AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB on this side of the globe where Nvidia has the upper hand when it comes to mid-range pricing. It is a challenge for AMD to step their game up or lose the chance to take the red flag up the hill which will be dictated by months to come. AMD really needs to normalizes the pricing and stocks of their RX 480 8GB cards on the region.
Now going back to the performance, there’s no denying that this card merits an excellent performance across the titles tested. With as much as 27% gains on some games we tested compared to the RX 480 8GB. Granted, that card is a reference edition, but since both cards offers a similar price point at the moment there’s no reason to get the current RX 480 8GB models at the market. Unless of course you require the extra amount of VRAM, the AMD CrossFire capability, and you happen to sniff a custom AIB partner card that features the same price point which should minimize the performance gap on titles especially with Vulkan and DirectX 12 support. A quick look shows custom RX 480 8GB cards retailing as much as 15, 000 Pesos.
Build quality is superb with the GTX 1060 AMP, however we felt that the good balance between cooling and acoustics could be even better. 77c isn’t bad, but the guys at ZOTAC could definitely push the fan speeds at 65% without sacrificing acoustics. This card is almost dead silent, so there’s no reason not to configure the fan speed at that level. Luckily, it can be done easily via the ZOTAC FireStorm software. As a reminder, there are zero LED / RGB lighting show here folks nor a back plate included. For 289 USD, I expected any of those but it is still a competitively priced card so I’m not complaining badly.
Finally, we get a legendary 5 year manufacturer warranty with the ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP. It is a value added feature that only a few managed to attain. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 AMP is one fine example of what a mid range graphics should be, and we do highly recommend it for its sheer performance and set of excellent features.
- BUILD QUALITY
The ZOTAC Geforce GTX 1060 AMP is a fantastic mid-range card able to deliver up its promise without breaking the bank at 13, 995 Pesos. Performance is definitely better than the reference AMD Radeon RX 480, and is a card that is hard to beat with a 5 year manufacturer warranty.