Zotac Arrives!

nVidia's newest board partner shows its wares.

Following its launch at this year’s CeBIT, Zotac has been busy beavering away in its labs to create a top to bottom range of new nVidia based graphics cards. I went along to see the company at Computex to see what it will be bringing to this already crowded market. First, though, I feel a little background information is needed.

On the surface, Zotac’s arrival into the market is not that astounding – it’s just another graphics card company – but if you dig a little deeper, there’s some interesting history behind this company. Zotac is actually a subsidiary of PC Partner who are also the people behind Sapphire – one of ATI’s biggest board partners. So, to have such a staunch ally of ATI finally bend to market pressures and partner both firms is big industry news. Of course, none of this affects the consumer, you just want to hear about what products they have on offer. So, without further ado…

Zotac is launching two distinct lines of graphics cards – one focussed on silence and one focussed on performance. The former, dubbed the Zone series, will all feature passive coolers and run at reference clock speeds. At the moment the range runs from the 8600 GTS to the 8500 GT but eventually all cards below the 8600 GTS will be supported.

The performance line has been called AMP!, for obvious reasons, and will feature either stock coolers or Zotac designed ones – either way, they won’t be passive. Instead, they will be overclocked! There are some impressive core and memory hikes so expect these to be pretty competitive cards.

HDCP compliance will be enforced across the range – something all nVidia partners should be doing – and there is also talk of incorporating a SPDIF audio connector (allowing HDMI with sound via a DVI-to-HDMI converter) onto all its cards.

Zotac has hit the ground running with its first range of graphics cards so it’ll be interesting to see how things develop. Hopefully we will get some cards in for review very soon. In the mean time, though, you’ll have to make do with a few pictures.

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