Zotac GTX280 AMP! Edition Reviewccokeman -
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The Zotac 280GTX is a massive card! It stretches about an inch past the end of my standard ATX motherboard and takes up two expansion slots total. The card plugs directly into the PCI-E x16 port of your motherboard. The card has the dragon on top of it but features nothing but black on the rest of the card giving it a sleek look. On the sides of this video card, you'll find some serial numbers, a "GeForce" logo, and other stickers. What the balance of this information does not tell you is that this card is a hopped up version of the standard GTX280, hence the Amp Edition graphic on the bottom edge of the card. So just what does this mean? Well, for starters it gives you a 700MHz clock speed on the GT200 core and 1150MHz on the 1GB of GDDR3 memory with 1400MHz on the shader cores. To put that into perspective that is a 100MHz increase on the GPU core and 40+MHz on the memory.
nVidia's 280GTX supports not only standard dual card SLI but TRI SLI so Zotac has placed SLI bridge connectors on this graphics card for users to take advantage of that technology. There is a rubber-like boot used to provide protection when not used.
The card is a beast and therefore, needs beast-like power! This card needs not just one six pin cable but one eight pin with it as well. There are power adapters included but the optimum power solution is to use a power supply that features both a six and eight pin PCIe power connections. Beside the power connections is a small two pin connection that is used to input the high definition digital audio stream onto the card so that when used the full high definition experience can be enjoyed. The Included HDMI adapter is a big step forward as not all manufacturers supply this adapter.
The business end of the Zotac Amp Edition GTX280 houses the display out connections. Pretty much standard fare for video cards at this time. The connectivity options include 2 DVI ports that support Dual Link DVI and one HD out for use with the supplied dongle. The heat generated by the GTX280 is exhausted from the rear of the card through the vent above the video out connections. There is a small light that provides an external indication of the state of the power going to the GTX280, Green = Good! The back end of the card has an air intake to help feed the card cool air when run in an SLI configuration. You will notice that the fan shroud also necks in to provide a path for air to reach the blower style fan.
Now that we've examined the card, let's get the drivers installed and take a look at some of the included programs.