Manufacturer: Zotac Gaming
UK price (as reviewed): £349.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $369.99 (exc. tax)
Nvidia’s board partners seem all too keenly aware that high prices have been a major factor in capping sales of RTX hardware, as versions of the RTX 2060 that sit at or very near to the base MSRP of £330 are pretty common. Low stock of the beautifully crafted RTX 2060 Founders Edition also means that these cards really are the best option available for users looking to get in on ray tracing and AI-enhanced visuals at the lowest possible price.
The Zotac Gaming RTX 2060 Amp is one such card, joining the Palit RTX 2060 GamingPro OC that we also looked at recently. The two cards have similar approaches, giving users a factory overclock but little else in terms of features and relatively small and basic coolers. Practically speaking, though, that’ll do fine – these cards are all about bang for buck.
This is one small card! Just 210mm long, Zotac reckons it’ll fit in 99 percent of systems, though where it pulled that figure from we’re not sure. It is taller than a normal expansion card by about 10mm, but it otherwise fits a standard dual-slot form factor. A neutral colour scheme ensures mostly inoffensive aesthetics, though there is a slight green tinge to the metal backplate. This is a feature lacking on the Palit card, and we welcome it here. It looks better than bare PCB and lends additional robustness, giving Zotac a clear edge on build quality.
Adding 120MHz (around seven percent) to the boost clock is generous. Palit and others have a 30MHz edge here, but that won’t make much difference in terms of performance. The 6GB of memory is capped at 14Gbps; it’s rare to see an RTX card with any GDDR6 here.
The overclock pushes the TDP up slightly from 160W to 170W, which is 20W below Palit’s 190W despite the two cards only having a 30MHz difference in boost clock speed. To keep the card fed, Zotac is using the standard eight-pin PCIe connector, which can deliver 150W, the rest coming from the PCIe slot. The connector is indented to mitigate the extra height of the card.
Also along the top edge of the card is a Zotac Gaming logo backlit by LEDs, and you might be relieved to hear these only emit white light rather than RGB.
Zotac has run with pretty high-end display outputs, dropping the DVI connection completely in favour of a third DisplayPort. Also missing is USB-C VirtualLink, a next-gen VR headset connector; we’ve heard from sources elsewhere that Nvidia advised its board partners not to include it, although no real reason for this was given.
Despite the small size, Zotac still manages to include dual 90mm fans, which is the same as we saw with Palit, although they’re not identical models. Once again we have an open cooler shroud, so you can expect a fair amount of heat to be deposited into your chassis. That said, the fins are horizontal here, so at least some should leave directly through the rear I/O. Unfortunately, the fans continue to spin even when the card is idle or under no load.
The PCB appears to be slightly different in design to the stock board, but you still get a 6+2 phase power design. This is very likely the same PCB that Zotac uses for its RTX 2070 Mini and RTX 2070 OC Mini cards, meaning it’s built to handle the powerful iteration of the TU106 GPU.
The RTX 2060 Amp uses what Zotac calls Icestorm 2.0 cooling. In this instance, a copper baseplate deals with the GPU, feeding three 6mm copper heat pipes that disperse their heat through the aluminium fin stack. We do think Zotac could have filled the volume of the card a little more, especially as it’s already a very small cooler, but we’ll see how it holds up thermally later. One bonus is that the copper heat pipes are nickel-plated, so there’s no risk of copper ruining the looks. The heatsink also has integrated contact plates for the six GDDR6 packages and the eight MOSFETs, making contact via thermal pads. There is an extra thermal pad for the two empty memory module positions, clearly an overhang from the RTX 2070 design.
Zotac offers its extended warranty program with this card, meaning you can get it all the way to five years just by registering it – a nice touch for sure.
March 25 2020 | 14:00