Articles

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Video Card Review

Author:Brent Justice

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2019

We’ve got a fast factory overclocked MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z video card to review today. We’ll take it through its paces in many games, and find out how it performs, including overclocking performance with the competition. Does the RTX 2060 deliver better performance at a lower price compared to the last generation?

Introduction

NVIDIA has officially launched the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 video card. This is the least expensive video card to carry support for NVIDIA Ray Tracing and DLSS technology with included RT and Tensor Cores on board this new Turing architecture GPU. The official MSRP from NVIDIA is $349.99 for this video card and has 6GB of VRAM.

This price shocked most of us as the "XX60" series of GPUs have never cost so much in the history of the "XX60" series. In light of this pricing it pushes the RTX 2060 well outside of the mainstream "sweet spot" $250 price category that previous video cards like the GeForce GTX 1060 lived within. The previous generation Pascal based GeForce GTX 1060 was launched with an MSRP of $249.99 back in 2016. While the GeForce RTX 2060 would normally be considered a successor to the GeForce GTX 1060, since they are at very different price points, the reality is that it is not the true successor at this price point.

The GeForce RTX 2060 is closer in pricing to the original GeForce GTX 1070 launch price of $379 back in 2016. Therefore, the positioning seems odd, until we look at performance. NVIDIA is comparing the performance of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 to be right up there, and perhaps even surpassing, the likes of the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti which debuted in 2017 at $449.99. If the GeForce RTX 2060 can pull off performance that equals or exceeds the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti at this lower price point, then it will be a real win for the RTX 2060 overall. After all, we all want more performance at a lower price point than what was offered in the previous generation.


Complete RTX 2060 Specifications

Before we dive into the video card we have for review today, let’s familiarize ourselves with the specifications of RTX 2060 and how it compares to the previous generation. GeForce RTX 2060 is based on the new Turing architecture at 12nm, the GPU is called TU106. It has 1920 CUDA Cores, 48 ROPs and 120 texture units. The core clock is 1365MHz and the boost clock is 1680MHz. It uses the new GDDR6 and it has 6GB of it at 14GHz on a 192-bit bus providing 336GB/sec of memory bandwidth. It has 30 RT Cores and 240 Tensor Cores. The TDP is 160W.

When you compare these specifications, you will see that it has some things in common with the GeForce GTX 1070 and other things in common with the GeForce GTX 1060. It has the same number of CUDA Cores as the GTX 1070 at 1920 each, and these are Turing CUDA Cores so they are optimized to be even faster in this new generation. It has the same number of texture units at 120 as the GTX 1070. However, it has the same ROPs as the GTX 1060 at 48. The GTX 1070 Ti has even higher specs with 2432 CUDA Cores and 252 texture units and 64 ROPs.

The RTX 2060 also has a narrow 192-bit bus like the GTX 1060, but then it utilizes the new GDDR6 to ramp up the clock speed and offer 336GB/sec of bandwidth. This actually outperforms the GTX 1070 and GTX 1070 Ti which only has 256GB/sec of memory bandwidth. But then the RTX 2060 only has the same 6GB VRAM capacity of GTX 1060, unlike GTX 1070 and 1070 Ti’s 8GB. Naturally RTX 2060 also has RTX features, which GTX 1070 and 1070 Ti do not have.

Once again, if RTX 2060 can beat GTX 1070 Ti performance with the GTX 1070 Ti having more CUDA Cores, texture units and ROPs, it will show that Turning architecture is most definitely superior in performance compared to Pascal.


MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z

The video card we have to evaluate today is a fully retail version of the MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z 6GB video card. This video card will retail for $389.99 according to MSI. That means it does have a price premium over the reference pricing, but it also comes with a custom PCB, cooling and high factory overclock. MSI does have a less expensive model available as well, and while it does have a factory overclock, it isn’t near as high as the GAMING Z is. The GAMING Z represents the best RTX 2060 from MSI.

The MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z has a GPU Boost clock of 1830MHz, well above the reference specification of 1680MHz. With the improved cooling on the MSI video card we expect to see very high clock speeds, maybe even near maximum performance potential. There is 6GB of VRAM on board and the memory runs at the default 14GHz.

The video card measures 9.7 inches in length, and most of that is due to the heatsink shroud. There is one 8-pin power connector required and because of the increased clock speed the TDP is 190W with a 500W PSU recommended. This video card also has three DisplayPort v1.4 and one HDMI 2.0b.

MSI is using its Twin FROZR 7 thermal design with TORX Fan 3.0. TORX Fan 3.0 uses special trims on the fan blades which create a focused airflow that is pushed down by the dispersion fan blades which increases static pressure. The heatsink uses wave-curved fins that allow airflow to pas more smoothly resulting gin less noise. The airflow is guided directly onto the heatpipes and there is more surface area for the air to absorb more heat before leaving the heatsink. The fans also do not operate below 60c. There are four copper heatpipes spreading heat and direct contact onto the GPU. This video card also has a backplate and RGB components.