Zotac GTS250 ‘AMP’ 1GB PCIe Graphics card

The G92 GPU core has been used in a number of GPU’s in varying guises thanks to NVidia’s strategic renaming policy. Way back in 2007, the phenomenal and very popular 8800GT was the first of a long line of graphics card to make use of this very versatile core, albeit in a crippled fashion as Nvidia wanted to keep the full fat version of the G92 for the 8800GTS which came to fruition in December 2007. This card was not to be confused (although it was) with the older G80 based 320MB and 640MB 8800GTS variants.
Leap forward a 6 months and we see NVidia’s dastardly plan come to the forefront with the G92 based 8800GTS renamed to the 9800GTX and then after a fabrication revision to 55nm, we had the 9800GTX+ resulting in what was in effect an overclocked 9800GTX. Confused yet? Well stay with me because we are almost there as the Zotac GTS250 1GB AMP is the natural transition of the 9800GTX+ consolidating all the advantages the 55nm process brings such as a reduction in heat, power consumption and an increase in overclocks.
Zotac have been around for a few years now and are more commonly associated with their fine range of cherry picked overclocked GPU’s such as the one we have today, the GTS250 AMP 1GB graphics card. As the history lesson above as taught us, the G92 core has seen many revisions up to this point and we have not been disappointed with any of the revisions so, assuming this is now the pinnacle of the G92 core one would hope that, along with a magic sprinkling of Zotacs overclocking prowess, this graphics card will stomp over it’s nearest competitors and arch rivals, the ATI 1GB HD4850 and 4870 GPU’s.
As the GTS250 AMP is retailing around the £145 mark it nestles quite nicely between the two GPU’s and should provide some stiff competition. However, we are edging ever closer to a major ATI revision with the impending arrival of the 5 series of GPU’s now being ‘guesstimated’ around the world wide web so it will remain to be seen just how this latest revision of the GTS250 compares not only to the current crop of GPU’s but to the storm of ATI cards brewing on the horizon. For now though we will throw the GTS250 AMP into the maelstrom of current GPU’s from the low end to the current kings of power to see how well it performs.
Here’s what Zotac had to say about their version of the GTS250 :
Supercharge your gaming experience with the ZOTAC GeForce GTS 250 AMP! Edition, tuned and tweaked with higher engine, memory and shader clock speeds for unprecedented gaming performance. Powered by high-speed GDDR3 video memory, the ZOTAC GeForce GTS 250 AMP! Edition delivers unmatched performance and value.

NVIDIA PhysX technology takes the ZOTAC GeForce GTS 250 AMP! Edition beyond 3D gaming with graphics plus capabilities. PhysX technology enables the ZOTAC GeForce GTS 250 AMP! Edition to calculate realistic physics in real-time for realistic environmental interaction and effects for an immersive gaming experience that blurs the line between reality and the virtual world.

The following specification was taken from the Zotac product page.
Model: ZT-20102-10P
: Interface PCI Express 2.0 x16 (Compatible with 1.1)
Chipset Manufacturer:
: GeForce® GTS 250
Core clock:
Stream Processors:
Shader Clock:
1890 MHz
Memory Clock:
Memory Size:
Memory Interface:
Memory Type:
DirectX 10
OpenGL 2.1
DVI 2, HDMI with adapter, TV-Out HDTV / S-Video / Composite out with adapter, VGA with adapter
400 MHz
Max Resolution
: 2560 x 1600
RoHS Compliant
: Yes
SLI Supported
: Yes(3-way)
Dual-Link DVI Supported:
2 lbs
13.26“ X 10.23“ X 2.67“
: 2 Years (extended to 5 with upon product registration).
 As you can see from the specification above, this is the overclocked ‘AMP’ edition of the GTS250. With the core clockspeed increased by 12MHz from stock and the memory also adjusted from 1836MHz to 1890MHz it remains to be seen if this is the maximum the card will allow. This is something I will be investigating later in the review as the increase in speeds is pretty low by Zotac standards so hopefully they have erred on the side of caution and have left some of the reserves to the overclockers out there.
Before we arrive at the overclocking section though, let’s see how Zotac have presented the product…