Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Amp Holo ReviewJanuary 8, 2021
Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Amp Holo – Design and Features
The Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Amp Holo is a gorgeous GPU. It’s clear that the designers put a lot of time into making it an eye-catching centerpiece for your gaming PC. This is largely because of the striking RGB strip and logo along its side. It’s shielded in glossy plastic, which is terrible for fingerprints, but in person makes the card look a bit fancier and higher-end than comparable cards like the MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio. The backplate is also cut with a pattern of RGB stripes. Curiously, the face of the card is completely un-illuminated, so it’s a bit less impressive in a vertical orientation, but given its comparatively higher temps, it’s better to avoid this mounting style if at all possible.Compared to the Founders Edition, the Amp Holo is large. In fact, it’s even longer than the RTX 3090 Founders Edition at 12.5 inches, but is slightly slimmer at 5.2 inches wide and a 2.5 slot width instead of the BFGPU’s triple-slot girth. You’ll want to check your case carefully, especially if you have a front mounted radiator.
That extra size is to accommodate the card’s large, triple-fan cooler. The RTX 3080 Amp Holo uses Zotac’s Icestorm 2.0 cooling system. Compared to prior generations, the fans feature more blades which increases airflow up to 10%. The finstack built around seven copper heat pipes to efficiently transfer heat from the components into the aluminum fin array. The speed of each fan can also be independently controlled.
In practice, the cooler is only so-so. In my testing in the Lian Li LanCool II chassis, the card peaked at 78C, making it the hottest RTX 3080 I’ve tested yet. Unlike many AIB cards, Zotac didn’t follow Nvidia’s lead by installing a meaningful vent into the backplate and the one that is there appears blocked by the PCB. I wanted to see how it would perform in a more air-limited scenario, so left it to run a cycling benchmark with the case fans reduced to 20%. When I returned, the card had spiked all the way to 85C and scaled the fans up to 85% speed, which sounded like a small jet engine. There is no way I would ever use this card in a vertical mount where a glass side panel might obstruct airflow, so it’s a good thing it looks best on its side. However at fan speeds below 60%, where it runs most of the time, it blended in well with my case fans, so it wasn’t overly noisy.
The Amp Holo features the same baseline specs as every RTX 3080: 8704 CUDA cores, 10 GB of ultra-fast GDDR6X VRAM, and Nvidia’s Ampere architecture which combines RT cores for ray tracing, Tensor Cores for AI operations, and Shader Cores for normal game rendering. Where the Holo takes it up a notch is with its factory overclock, which comes in at 1770 MHz, 60 MHz higher than the Founders Edition. With GPU Boost, Nvidia’s automatic overclocking behavior, I regularly found myself gaming between 1900 – 1950 MHz, even with the higher temperatures – so, even though it’s warm, it’s not enough to cause the card to throttle down.
Along with this, it includes the other highlights of RTX cards this generation, including DLSS upscaling, RTX Broadcast, and RTX Boost, as well as H.265 and AV1 encoding and decoding for streaming and media consumption. The biggest and best of these is clearly DLSS, which allows you to game at 4K with ultra settings, RTX on, with FPS closer to what you would expect at 1440p. This upscaling can have some anomalies – such as flickering decals – at lower settings, but is generally extremely good. Textures sometimes can even look more crisp than at native resolutions which is downright remarkable.
Finally, when it comes to video outputs, the card supports three DisplayPort 1.4a connections and HDMI 2.1 for a maximum resolution of 8K across four displays.
Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Amp Holo – Performance
I test every graphics card using a combination of real-world and synthetic tests. I also include a mix of ray tracing and DLSS-enabled games and benchmarks to provide a wide representation of the kind of performance you can expect across multiple games and genres. All games are set to Ultra settings and DLSS is enabled wherever possible.
Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Amp Holo – Synthetic Benchmarks
Beginning with rasterization-based synthetics, the Amp Holo performed well in both 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Heaven. It offered a moderate lead over the Founders Edition in both tests, though the architecture powering AMD’s RX 6800 allowed that card to remain reasonably close in each test.
Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Amp Holo – Ray Tracing Synthetics
Turning to ray tracing, I use a combination of two 3DMark tests and Surgical Scalpel’s Boundary benchmark. Again, the results are very close, with the Amp Holo besting the FE in both Port Royal and 3DMark’s Ray Tracing Performance Test. Technically, the Founders Edition outperformed the Zotac in Boundary; however, the results are so close as to be negligible.
On to the gaming tests…
Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Amp Holo Gaming Benchmarks
When it comes to gaming, the Zotac Amp Holo finds itself in good company with the rest of the RTX 3080 line-up. Thanks to GPU Boost, most RTX cards, whether they’re Founders Editions or not, will offer similar levels of performance, but the card still turned in impressive results. Across every resolution, the card delivered excellent frame rates of 60 FPS or more on Ultra settings and ray tracing turned on. The only exception is Total War: Three Kingdoms which is a system crusher at Ultra settings, stopping even the RTX 3090 from topping 55 FPS in my testing.
When it comes to comparisons, the Amp Holo was faster than both the RTX 3080 Founders Edition and AMD’s RX 6800 XT. At 4K, what I consider the target resolution of this card, it averaged 3% faster than its FE counterpart. Thanks to DLSS, the cumulative average against the RX 6800 XT is a whopping 87% percent faster, but in a more fair comparison focusing squarely on rasterization, it was 8% faster. At 1440p and 1080p, the Holo was only 1% faster than the original RTX 3080. Against the RX 6800 XT (rasterization only), it was 2% faster at both 1440p and 1080p.