ZOTAC GT 720

ZT-71204-10L_image1-stdThe Zotac GT 720 (ZT-71204-10L) will not top the benchmark charts but it does have some interesting features. The Kepler GK208 processor is clocked at 797 MHz and has compute performance of around 366 GFLOPS (well below that of modern integrated graphics).

First off the card using a PCI Express x16 slot which means it can be installed in any available slot. Many machines have available PCI Express x16 slots which is the niche that Zotac is pursuing.

The card is actively cooled but the Zotac GT 720 is made at 28nm which has a few advantages. The GT 720 has only 1 Kepler 2.0 SMX unit which does limit the capability. Our EVGA GT 640 has 2 SMX units,

Outside games like Clicker Heroes, the Zotac GT 720 is not very suitable for gaming. Instead this card is aimed at integrated graphics users who may need to modernize. Zotac has HDMI which is now the most popular display connection and the card can support up to 3 displays.

  • PCI Express 3.0
  • GK208 (Kepler 2.0)
  • 797 MHz
  • 87mm² die size
  • x16 lanes
  • 1GB or 2GB
  • GDDR3 or GDDR5
  • VGA, HDMI 1.4, DVI-I
  • 192 CUDA

The Zotac GT 720 is equipped with 1GB of GDDR5 memory featuring roughly 19.8 GB/s bandwidth.NVIDIA Kepler block diagram

The card comes in half height half length (HHHL) form-factor and is shipped. The graphics board has minimal (25W) power consumption and does not require active cooling (which means, it is also whisper quiet). The idle power is very attractive as well.

We expect most will use this card for an extra display or for a media center rig. Unless you are hard up for a slot, there are better cards that can use the full x16 slot. Clearly this card is aimed at a very small niche. The mainstream version of the GT 710 is x16 half height.

HDMI is the option we tested the card with, which quickly demonstrated how bad the sound is with PC LCD panels. HDMI is a separate sound system so it can be disabled in favor of better sounding solutions. We use some low cost Altec Lansing speakers that are drastically better sounding than the PA238QR panel. Video cards with HDMI invariably have integrated audio which works fine with a suitable home theatre system. The Altec Lansing speakers have ports for audio in and out making them equally flexible.

 

GTX 260 GTX 470 GTX 570 ZOTAC GT 720
Shaders 192 448 480 192
Core Clock (MHz) 576 607 732 797
Shader Clock (MHz) 1242 1215 1644 N/A
Memory Clock (MHz) 999 1647 1900 667
VRAM Size 896 MB 1280 MB 1280 MB 1024 MB
VRAM Width 448-bit 320-bit 320-bit 64-bit
Feature Size 65 nm 40 nm 40 nm 28 nm

At idle you can expect a temperature of 28-35° C but once pushed to 100%, the temperatures will rise to ~70-80° C. The passive cooler eliminates noise complaints.

AS TESTED

CHASSIS RaidMax Mid Tower Chassis
MB Asus P8H61 LE/CSM
CPU Intel i3-2100
RAM 4096MB Kingston DDR3-1333
GPU Zotac GT 720
PSU Corsair CS450M
MON Acer AL1916
KB/M Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 & Wacom Bamboo Capture
HD WDC WD5000AAKX
OS Windows 10

PERFORMANCE

All of the benchmarks are available here.

VIDEO CONVERSION

We use video conversion tools as part of the creation of game video files. Using a CUDA enabled converter with H.264 can be as much as 2x faster. Using 2 threads is enough to raise the GPU usage to 90% as the encoder executes discrete cosine transforms in vast numbers. Most modern video tools now have options for both AMD and NVIDIA users.

DIRECTX 12

A a games developer conference in early 2014, Microsoft announced DirectX 12 which will ship with the next Windows release. DX12 is a refinement intended to take better advantage of the multithreaded capability of DX11 cards.

In general any gaming grade DX11 card will run DX12 fine. NVIDIA Kepler and Maxwell both very suitable. DX12 will be rapidly supported by games in 2015 following the next Windows release.

CONCLUSION

The Zotac GT 720 is a low cost solution for a media center PC if  all you want is to revive an old rig. Extra displays are another angle for the card. A restaurant could feed televisions easily with this card. Being single slot and using a DVI-HDMI adapter, 2 HDMI 60″ televisions can be driven with menus etc.