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Zotac RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO review: Too pricey

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  • Posted on 15th Nov, 2022 14:05 PM
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The Zotac RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO is impressive, but is it worth the extra $200 compared to the Founders Edition model?

The Zotac RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO has a host of features that you’ll not find on lesser RTX 4080 graphics cards. But is this behemoth worth the extra $200 compared to the Founders Edition model?

We previously took a look at Zotac’s RTX 4090 Amp Extreme AIRO, and now we can compare their RTX 4080 of the same make to Nvidia’s own Founders Edition model of the graphics card. This 3.5-slot behemoth is an extremely long GPU, with a couple of bells and whistles that you just won’t be able to get on the Founder’s Edition model, too.

This RTX 40-series GPU is a premium model, and as such will fetch around $200 more than others, as we’ve previously observed at certain retailers.

Key specs

GPUZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 4080 AMP Extreme AIRO
CUDA Cores9728
Clock speed2565 MHz
Memory speed22.4 Gbps
Memory16GB GDDR6X
Memory bus width256-bit
TDP350W
Power input16-pin 12VHPWR
Size 355.5mm x 149.6mm x 72.1mm (3.5 slot)
Display outputs3x DisplayPort 1.4a, 1x HDMI 2.1
Price$1399

Design

Dexerto

The Zotac AMP Extreme AIRO RTX 4080 is a divisive card, some may love its sweeping, rounded edges, while others might hate it. We think the GPU looks great. It comes with an Aluminum backplate and flow-through design for easy airflow throughout the GPU. The retention plate is also visible from the top of the card. This GPU is also equipped with oodles of RGB, a ring that goes around its edges, in addition to a bar across the side, which has the Zotac gaming logo and is encrusted with RGB, too.

The vapor-chamber equipped heatsink takes up a large part of the GPU, and it’s next to a BIOS switch, in addition to an RGB header for easy control, and the power port. The Amp Extreme AIRO also uses the 12VHPWR connector and is also equipped with an adapter that can be attached to three 8-pin PCIe connectors if you do not have an ATX 3.0 PSU.

At the bottom, you will see a pebble-like fan shroud, equipped with three large fans in order to dissipate the heat coming from the graphics card, too. Unlike the RTX 4090 variant, the stickers on the fan are in black, instead of gold.

It’s a huge graphics card, and you’ll just need to double-check your case before picking one up for yourself. We do still prefer the more professional look of the Founders Edition model compared to the Amp Extreme AIRO. Though, many will be turned off by its curvature.

Gaming performance

Dexerto

In our RTX 4080 Founders Edition review, we showcased a number of different titles, including the performance of DLSS 3 while using the GPU. We will test this again on the Zotac card in order to discern if the performance is still up to scratch, using the Fire Storm BIOS mode, which amps up the fan speed in an effort to garner higher clocks.

Test System

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-13600K
  • CPU cooler: Cooler Master PL360 Flux
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Z790 Maximus Extreme
  • RAM: ADATA XPG Lancer RGB 32GB DDR5-6000
  • Storage: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 4TB
  • Case: Hyte Y60
  • PSU: EVGA Supernova GT 1300

4K gaming performance

4K gaming performance of the Zotac Gaming RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO showed that we had slightly more performance out of the GPU compared to Nvidia’s Founders Edition graphics card. This isn’t a huge jump, either. So, the modes with all of the fancy BIOS settings didn’t really impress us too much. That being said, this is still a supremely powerful GPU for 4K gaming, it only comes second to the RTX 4090.

GameZotac Gaming RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition
Forza Horizon 5 (Ultra)128 FPS125 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, DLSS Performance, Frame Generation)110 FPS108 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, DLSS Performance)74 FPS74 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, DLSS off)31 FPS29 FPS
CS:GO (High, Dust 2)399 FPS399 FPS

1440p gaming performance

We see a similar story in 1440p gaming, where we appear to butt up against our old friend, CPU bottlenecking. We saw almost identical performance in Cyberpunk 2077. However, in Forza Horizon 5 running at Ultra, we saw the Amp Extreme AIRO pump out a few more frames.

GameZotac Gaming RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition
Forza Horizon 5 (Ultra)135 FPS132 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, DLSS Performance, Frame Generation)179 FPS181 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, DLSS Performance)117 FPS116 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, DLSS off)63 FPS63 FPS
CS:GO (High, Dust 2)399 FPS399 FPS

Synthetic benchmarks

Dexerto ZOTAC’s model is a fair sight bigger than the FE model.

Using 3DMark’s suite of benchmarks, we compared the RTX 4080 FE to the Amp Extreme AIRO GPU. However, this time we noted down the percentage difference between the two graphics cards. The Amp Extreme AIRO is indeed faster, owing to the slightly higher boost clocks compared to the standard RTX 4080 FE, though the performance increase is incredibly negligible.

BenchmarkZotac Gaming RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders EditionPercentage difference
Speed Way72177179+0.52%
Port Royal1802617829+1.09%
Time Spy Extreme (Graphics score)1420314028+1.23%
Time Spy (Graphics score)2865928294+1.28%

Thermal performance

Dexerto

Zotac’s RTX 4080 AMP Extreme AIRO has a larger cooler, compared to Nvidia’s RTX 4080 FE, and uses both quiet and boost modes. In our thermal testing, we found that the GPU manages to tap out at around 65 degrees at a sustained 100% load on the Fire Storm setting, while Ice Storm managed to bring this down to around 60.

This is once again extremely impressive, especially since we tested the GPU in an incredibly restrictive case for the graphics card. The RTX 4080 Founders Edition model also achieves similar results under 100% thermal load at 65 degrees, but you get no dual-bios options here.

This 4080 purrs like a cat

The Amp Extreme AIRO RTX 4080 manages to keep itself quiet, even at 100% loads while we tested it. We barely noticed any noise coming from the GPU at all, apart from a slight hiss of coil whine when we tested the GPU using Heaven Benchmark.

Power consumption

In torture test workloads, we saw the GPU reach around 320W of total power consumption. This was monitored via HWinfo. In gaming scenarios, we only reached around 300W of total power consumption from the GPU. We tested the Amp Extreme AIRO using a 1300W PSU, but Nvidia recommends a minimum of 700W. This is a demanding graphics card, but you shouldn’t have to rush out and buy a new one just for the RTX 4080.

Should you buy it?

At the retailers that we’ve seen, the Zotac Gaming RTX 4080 Amp Extreme AIRO retails for just $200 less than an RTX 4090. For that money, we think that you should stretch further and attempt to get an RTX 4090. At $200 more, you get neat additions like an RGB header and a Dual Bios mode, but in reality, you’re not really getting many more frames when compared to Nvidia’s RTX 4080 Founders Edition GPU.

The price is already against the RTX 4080, and unfortunately, the $200 surcharge just makes it a poorer deal. You might be best off waiting for an RTX 4080 at MSRP or picking up an RTX 4090 at MSRP instead. We wish that we could have recommended it further, as we did the 4090 variant of this card. But, as it stands, you’re just going to be getting a raw deal.

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