It can be challenging to buy a new GPU from the most desired manufacturers. You may have seen that the only available GPU is from a brand called Zotac.
But what is Zotac? Are their GPUs reliable? How do they compare to other brands?
Well, let me say this first: This is one of those articles that is based on my own experience and on rounding up reviews from various sellers online. Can your experience differ entirely? Absolutely!
To make the answer quick: Zotac is as good a GPU brand as any of the other big players. Their GPUs get many good reviews and some bad reviews and it might come down to luck if you receive a GPU that’ll fail early or have issues.
My verdict is that especially in times of low stock and high GPU Prices, Zotac is as good a brand to buy GPUs from as is Asus, EVGA, MSI, or Gigabyte.
Although Zotac GPUs aren’t as popular as Graphic Cards from MSI, Gigabyte, or Asus, they still state almost identical specs on paper.
Zotac GPUs are generally cheaper than premium brands, which may make you wonder whether this is due to inferior quality.
Let’s discuss where Zotac came from and how they’ve started to make a name for themselves in the hyper-competitive GPU market and, of course, how their GPUs compare to the more well-known competition in terms of performance, warranty, reliability, and any other factors that might influence your buying decision.
Zotac was established in 2006 as a computer hardware manufacturer under the umbrella company of PC Partner.
As a company, Zotac focuses on manufacturing graphics cards, motherboards, gaming computers, and much more. GPUs are mostly sold internationally and this is why Zotac is mostly associated with being a GPU Brand.
Although Zotac’s international headquarters is located in Hong Kong, there are regional headquarters in the United States, Germany, Japan, and South Korea.
All of Zotac’s products are manufactured and produced in Dongguan, China.
As a company, Zotac focuses on creating budget-friendly graphics cards in a market dominated by high-end competition. This focus on the lowest possible pricing is how they’re able to compete with other popular GPU brands.
Zotac’s GPU Products
Zotac manufactures the same graphic card SKUs that other manufacturers offer.
From high-end to low-end GPUs, Zotac has them all. Their GPU and cooler designs are on point, and from a consumer’s perspective, there doesn’t seem to be a visible difference in how their products are marketed compared to more expensive brands.
Here’s a quick overview of their most popular line-ups right now:
GeForce RTX 30 Series
- GeForce RTX 3090
- GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
- GeForce RTX 3080
- GeForce RTX 3070 TI
- GeForce RTX 3070
- GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
- GeForce RTX 3060
- GeForce RTX 3050
GeForce RTX 20 Series
- GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER
- GeForce RTX 2080
- GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER
- GeForce RTX 2070
- GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER
- GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 16 Series
- GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
- GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER
- GeForce GTX 1660
- GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER
- GeForce GTX 1650
Zotac also still manufactures GeForce GTX 10 Series and GeForce GT Series graphics cards, though they’re slowly being phased out.
Why Are Zotac GPUs Less Expensive Than Competing GPU Brand’s GPUs?
This is the main question that PC builders have regarding Zotac GPUs. Why are they cheaper, and does the lower price mean the product is inferior, either in performance, longevity, warranty, or something else entirely? What’s this all about?
The primary reason why Zotac GPUs cost less than more well-known manufacturers is because of brand name value.
An example: Think about Apple and Samsung.
Because these two manufacturers dominate the smartphone market, they can charge extravagant markups for the brand and mindshare they’re selling alongside the physical product.
MSI and EVGA follow the same strategy.
If people are willing to pay for their products at a higher price point, there’s no reason why they would price them lower. And it works. We’re all questioning Zotac for inferior quality because they are so cheap, right? So expensive = good? Well, that’s what MSI, EVGA, and some other Brands make use of.
Zotac doesn’t have the same brand name recognition as major manufacturers. This means, to compete in the market, Zotac has to lower the prices of its products to get a foot in the door. Zotac can’t compete in the upper price ranges of premium brands, also because it’s a younger company with less experience that can’t warrant higher prices. The best decision for them is to try and compete with low prices, and it’s working.
But that’s just speculation on my part as to why they decided to position themselves where they did. Let’s look at what kind of features Zotac offers with their GPUs:
Zotac GPU Warranty Policies
If you’re based in the US or Canada, all of Zotac’s GPUs come with a standard warranty of two years.
You can get an extended warranty that adds an additional year by registering your GPU on Zotac’s website within 30 days of purchase.
This three-year warranty is similar to what MSI offers, which also grants a three-year warranty on their GPUs.
You can also receive a 3+2 year warranty if you purchase a Zotac GeForce RTX 30 Series GPU. However, this is only covered by Zotac EMEAI, and you need to be based in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or India.
Zotac GPU Software
Zotac has its own GPU companion software called Firestorm.
Firestorm allows you to see your clock speed, memory speed, fan speeds, and GPU temperatures in real-time.
You can also adjust the settings to your needs and set specific fan speeds or change the RGB lights and GPU monitoring functions in Firestorm.
Are Zotac GPUs Worth It?
Now let’s answer the main question at hand.
If you have a Zotac 3070 card, it will perform like any other 3070 card from a big-name brand – give or take a marginal performance difference in the range of 0 – 5%.
Marginal performance differences do exist, though, mostly because of how each GPU Brand decides to overclock and cool its variant.
Because budget-oriented Zotac GPUs have to make do with cheaper materials (for the radiator etc.) and therefore cooling solutions (even though they look great), this also means many Zotac GPUs are often said to throttle earlier than competing GPUs even though, on paper, the overclocks might look comparable or quite high.
They can potentially underperform compared to other brands. Now, don’t worry, “underperform” is within a marginal range of 0-5%.
Because these numbers don’t necessarily hold true for the entire Zotac Brand, you’ll need to do your research on an SKU by SKU basis.
After you find the Zotac GPU you’re interested in, I recommend conducting further research to confirm that the specific GPU you want is reliable. This involves looking for reviews on YouTube or noteworthy PC-Hardware Sites like Anandtech or Gamersnexus.
You can also check reviews on Amazon but remember only to take reviews into consideration that are labeled with a ‘Verified Purchase’ badge.
Overall, Zotac is labeled as a ‘budget brand’ with potentially louder fans and higher temperatures, however, performance is still on par when compared to the same GPUs from other brands. (With occasional outliers)
Common Complains About Zotac GPUs
In terms of customer sentiment, the majority of Zotac GPU buyers are satisfied with their purchases. Nevertheless, some people have had issues with Zotac products.
Every PC builder has a different setup, so it’s not easy to determine the actual cause of some of the issues we’ve rounded up below. Is the issue present on all Zotac SKUs or is this an isolated case where individual factors (e.g. environmental or how the product was handled, etc.) are pivotal?
Some buyers complain about loud and distracting GPU fans when the computer is under heavy load.
This issue might be solved by upgrading your case and installing more intake and exhaust fans to reduce the case’s inside temperature.
This way, your GPU fans won’t need to spin as fast to cool the keep the GPU at adequate temperature levels.
Similar to the issue above, Zotac GPUs potentially have higher temperatures than other GPUs.
Usually, the increased temperature doesn’t reach a dangerous level, and you won’t have much to worry about.
However, you can install more fans and create better airflow with a new PC case to lower your Zotac GPU’s temperatures.
Poor Build Quality
The number one complaint that builders have about Zotac GPUs is that they’ve been manufactured poorly / low build quality.
Buyers claim Zotac uses cheaper parts in order to offer a lower price point – which makes sense really.
Although the parts Zotac uses in their GPUs are of lower quality than parts from other brands, this doesn’t noticeably affect performance unless you’re really pushing your GPU to its limits in sustained workloads or have it installed in a badly ventilated case. This can also become an issue if you live in a region with high ambient temperatures in general.
Several Zotac GPU owners complain about buggy RGB lights. This means that the RGB lights on the GPU weren’t working properly or even stopped working altogether.
This has been resolved for many with new firmware updates, and the issue isn’t very common anymore.
Zotac GPU Reviews
If you take a look at some of the Amazon Reviews that Zotac GPUs present, you’ll find that the majority are rated at over four stars. Buyers are mostly satisfied, but there are the occasional one-star reviews that bring some glaring issues to light.
Lower-rated reviews seem to be more pronounced on higher-tier GPUs, which might point to the fact that cooling and materials aren’t sufficient for the true high-end which is much more difficult to cool as power-draw is considerably higher. Then again, people might just be venting more on high-end GPUs as they paid a lot of money and are more vocal about issues much more easily than buyers who spent less on a low-end GPU.
Well, Zotac isn’t the only GPU Brand that has some bad reviews, but it does seem to be more pronounced. If you look at, e.g. EVGA, who manufactures some of the most expensive GPUs that you can buy, the difference in ratings is apparent. Then again, EVGA GPUs cost considerably more than Zotac GPUs (if prices weren’t so crazy right now), for just marginally higher performance.
Here’s a quick comparison of an RTX 3080 Ti from Zotac vs EVGA.
As mentioned above, unless you’re comparing entirely different types of cooling solutions (like an AIO or Custom water cooled vs an Air-cooled GPU) performance differences between GPUs of the same tier are marginal.
All GPU Brands can have issues, Zotac included, and on paper, there’re hardly any differences that would make Zotac a clearly inferior choice compared to the competition.
In the end, it’s about who you trust more to realize your RMA without issues or which brand you think is capable of manufacturing a GPU that lasts longer or has fewer factory defects or bad quality assurance before it’s shipped to you.
Then again, in times of inflated GPU Prices and low stock, the decision to buy a Zotac GPU that you really need at a reasonable Price near MSRP is a no-brainer to me.
What’s the Warranty Policy on Secondhand Zotac GPUs?
Unfortunately, the GPU’s warranty only applies to the original purchaser of the GPU.
This means that the warranty cannot be transferred.
If you’re purchasing a GPU on a secondhand market, make sure the seller is reputable and see if you can test the GPU before fully purchasing it.
What’s Better: Zotac vs. MSI?
When it comes to Zotac vs. MSI or any other brand, it’s important to look at the benchmarks of the specific video cards you’re considering.
If you’re looking for a gaming GPU, check how the game performs on each Brand’s GPU.
You should also check the temperatures, fan noise, overclocking capabilities, RMA and warranty before making a decision.