We recently got acquainted with the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor 8G video card, which can be attributed to the affordable and ordinary models of this series. But MSI also has more advanced versions of the GeForce RTX 2070 with improved cooling, higher operating frequencies, lighting, and other attributes of a high-end product. In particular, three GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming models are offered, which have an identical design, but differ in frequencies. In this review, we will consider the fastest version — Gaming Z. This is a video card with maximum initial acceleration and excellent overclocking potential.
MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming Z 8G
Supplied in a large box. The front side shows the cooling system with color illumination.
It is completed with numerous polygraphy. Includes instructions, a fun comic strip and a set of 2 cup coasters.
There is also a special support. This is not a vertical version in the form of a support, but is screwed to the back wall and stretches along the video card
The appearance of MSI Gaming video cards has been slightly updated, although a certain continuity with the previous generation of Gaming is clearly visible in the outlines. Cooling is covered with a gray casing, bright red inserts have disappeared. The fans are adorned with dragon logos.
The video card occupies three slots, and its length is less than 31 cm.
The reverse side is covered with a metal plate with several decorative slots and a large logo. In the corner there are two power connectors — six and eight pins.
On the side of the case, there is a window with the name of the company, the cooler series and the dragon logo. In working condition, the window is highlighted.
Backlighting is now an attribute of any gaming product. In addition to the window on the case, there are illuminated lines that emphasize the contours of the video card. The RGB Mystic Light system allows you to control the lighting and synchronize it with other MSI components. Through the MSI Mystic Light app, you can set lighting effects so that the backlight shimmers or flashes in different colors.
The standard set of connectors for the GeForce RTX 2070: three DisplayPort, one HDMI and one VirtualLink (USB Type-C).
The Twin Frozr 7 cooler is responsible for cooling. Its design differs little from the cooling in the top products of the previous series, but there are a number of changes. A powerful two-section radiator is hidden under the casing. From above it is covered with a frame to which the fans and the shroud itself are screwed.
MSI Gaming has a single heatsink for the GPU and power system components. At the base there are two plates — one is the core heat sink, on the other section of the radiator there is a plate for contact with transistors and other components.
The number of heat pipes has been increased to six, with one of a record diameter of 10 mm. The MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G used five heat pipes. The flat base ensures full contact with the surface of the GPU and heat transfer directly to the tubes. At the same time, the tubes themselves have a rectangular shape in the base area, which ensures maximum contact both with the base itself and with each other. All parts of the radiator are nickel-plated.
From the outside, the plates have wavy edges and the displacement of these waves relative to neighboring plates. This is combined with special slots and small curves on the inner surface of the plates. This aerodynamic shape improves radiator airflow and efficiency.
A pair of large 100mm TorX 3.0 fans are used.
The large bend of the blades and their special shape increase the power of the air flow. The use of ball bearings ensures durability.
Under the surface of the casing are LED panels. They are connected separately from the side window illumination unit.
Memory chips have a separate heatsink in the form of a flat plate, which turns into a stiffener. Also pay attention to the thermal pad on the chokes. Some video cards have a similar gasket that rests against the radiator fins. Here, the fins have a bend at the base, forming a special platform for contact with chokes, and the radiator fully cools these elements.
In addition to memory chips, the plate also removes heat from power elements located to the left of the GPU.
The plate on the back of the board is also involved in cooling. In the area above the processor and memory chips, there are thick thermal pads to remove heat from the board to the metal plate.
To better illustrate the complex structure of the cooling system, let’s use a slide from the MSI website.
The printed circuit board is larger than the standard one, which allows to increase the area of the conductive layers and increase the total heat dissipation area to reduce the heating of the textolite. An increased number of conductive layers is also claimed.
There are 10 power phases on the board.
The processor is powered by an 8-phase voltage converter.
The TU106-400A-A1 processor has 2304 CUDA cores and is made using a 12nm process technology. The crystal has a rectangular shape and does without a protective frame. On board there is 8 GB of GDDR6 memory, Micron 8OA77 D9WCW chips are soldered.
The video card operates at the standard base value of 1410 MHz, but with an increased Boost Clock of 1820 MHz (the minimum value for this series is 1620 MHz). The effective memory frequency is 14000 MHz.
Testing was carried out on an open bench at 22 °C indoors. In such conditions, the video adapter warmed up only up to 66 ° C. In the hard test of Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition at 4K resolution, the core frequencies were kept in the range of 1920-1935 MHz. This is quite a lot if you remember that the GeForce RTX 2070 Armor 8G at maximum overclock showed the same or even slightly lower GPU frequencies in heavy applications.
The fans were running at 1100 rpm. At these speeds, the issue of noise is absolutely not relevant. MSI Gaming also stops the fans at low temperatures when idle, providing a completely silent mode.
In some games, the core frequency did not drop below 1935 MHz, for example, in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at a resolution of 2560×1440. And the fan speed could be even lower. Peak Boost values reached 1965-1980 MHz.
In fact, we initially get a GeForce RTX 2070 with good GPU overclocking, but no memory acceleration. Subsequent overclocking through the EVGA Precision X1 managed to reach a base value of 1310 MHz with a Boost Clock of 1930 MHz.
Actual clocks in Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition tended to be in the 2055-2040 MHz range. The memory was overclocked to 7926 MHz (the resulting value is 15852 MHz).
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the core frequency did not drop below the 2055 MHz bar. Peak Boost values reached 2100 MHz.
To maintain stability, we raised the fan speed to 52%, which is below 1400 rpm. The noise remained at a comfortable level, and the core temperature dropped below 60 °C. Of course, this is true only for an open stand. But even inside the case, the video card can be overclocked without serious acceleration of the fans, while maintaining a comfortable acoustic mode.