Zotac GTX 480 AMP! Edition VideoCard Review
It's common to see video cards featuring aftermarket cooling come along after the initial launch date. Overclocked versions almost always pop up as well. These models give each company a way to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack, since all AIB partners initially release identical reference design cards at launch.
The PCB used on the AMP! Edition GTX 480 is the same one found on the reference design. It measures 10.5" in length, making it one of the longer cards available. It is an inch longer than the GTX 470, which measures 9.5", but is still shorter than the 12" ATI HD 5970.
The top edge of the card features power and SLI connections. Like the reference design, Zotac's AMP! Edition GTX 480 requires two power jacks, one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI Express connector. Dual SLI connectors enable the use of multi-card gaming, but don't expect to fit more than two of these cards on the same motherboard due to its triple slot form factor.
Zotac partnered with Zalman and used their VF3000 GPU cooler on the AMP! Edition GTX 480. It worth noting that Zalman makes different models of this cooler for specific products. For example, the VF3000N is compatible with the GTX 285, 280, 275, and 260, while the VF3000A is designed for the HD 5870, 5850, and 5830. The AMP! Edition sports a customized VF3000F made specifically for Fermi models, but features Zotac's black and orange color scheme. The standard VF3000F comes with a green cover instead of the black one you see above.
In many ways, this article is as much a review of the VF3000F as it is Zotac's AMP! Edition GTX 480. The cooler is not widely available yet, but we can imagine there are plenty of GTX 480 owners who want to see just how well it cools the GF100 GPU.
With the cooler removed, the GTX 480 PCB is on full display. For the image above, we left on the memory heatsinks included with the Zalman VF3000F.
The AMP! Edition offers the same dual slot bracket found on the standard GTX 480. You get a mini-HDMI port along with two dual-link DVI connectors. Keep in mind that NVIDIA Surround technology requires two current generation video cards, so don't expect multi-monitor gaming capability from a single card like ATI's Eyefinity technology offers.
The included accessory bundle has everything you need to get up and running quickly. There is a quick start guide, user's manual, driver disk, NVIDIA DX11 demo disk, DVI-to-VGA adapter, and HDMI-to-mini HDMI adapter. The demo disk contains NVIDIA's Supersonic Sled and Design Garage. The only thing missing is an overclocking utility from Zotac, something offered by both EVGA and MSI.