NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Graphics Card Review FT. MSI Armor X & ASUS ROG STRIX

It’s been months since NVIDIA released their Turing based GeForce RTX 20 series graphics cards. Taking a complete departure from traditional GPU design and creating a hybrid architecture that includes a range of new technologies to power the next-generation immersive gaming experiences.

The key highlight of the GeForce RTX 20 series was the enablement of real-time raytracing which is the holy grail of graphics and something NVIDIA spent 10 years to perfect. In addition to raytracing, NVIDIA also aims to place bets on AI which will play a key role in powering features such as DLSS or Deep Learning Super Sampling, a unique way of offering the same quality as the more taxing MSAA AA techniques at twice the performance.

I’ve looked and compared the performance of several GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and GeForce RTX 2080 custom variants and consider them to be a good gain over their predecessors, the GTX 1080 Ti and GTX 1080. When it comes to pricing, the GeForce RTX 20 series are some of the most costly cards NVIDIA has offered to consumers. Today, I will be taking a look at the GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card which is the $500 US solution and the less expensive of the initial Turing RTX 20 series family which was announced last year.

Featuring the same Turing GPU architecture, the RTX 2070 can be seen as the high-performance mainstream option which is meant to replace the GTX 1070 Ti for just about the same price point which is illustrated in the table below.

NVIDIA GeForce GPU Segment/Tier Prices

Graphics Segment 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
Titan Tier Titan X (Maxwell) Titan X (Pascal) Titan Xp (Pascal) Titan V (Volta) Titan RTX (Turing)
Price $999 US $1199 US $1199 US $2999 US $2499 US
Ultra Enthusiast Tier GeForce GTX 980 Ti GeForce GTX 980 Ti GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
Price $649 US $649 US $699 US $999 US $999 US
Enthusiast Tier GeForce GTX 980 GeForce GTX 1080 GeForce GTX 1080 GeForce RTX 2080 GeForce RTX 2080
Price $549 US $549 US $549 US $699 US $699 US
High-End Tier GeForce GTX 970 GeForce GTX 1070 GeForce GTX 1070 GeForce RTX 2070 GeForce RTX 2070
Price $329 US $379 US $379 US $499 US $499 US
Mainstream Tier GeForce GTX 960 GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce RTX 2060
Price $199 US $249 US $249 US $249 US $349 US

In this review, I will be tested two fully custom GeForce RTX 2070 designs. The reference variants are great with their new cooling design and good looking shrouds but AIBs have some really great custom solutions out there, several of which I have already compared next to each other and with the reference variants.

With just a few bucks of asking price over the reference models, the custom variants offer a range of features such as triple fan coolers, bulky heatsinks, and custom PCBs allowing for better heat dissipation, higher air flow and more overclocking performance and clock stability at their respective boost clocks which will be higher compared to the reference variants. The main barrier with overclocking on Turing GPUs is by far the power limit and those that offer the highest power limits out of the box are generally the ones with the best overclocking potential and performance output.

The models I will be testing today are the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR OC and the ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2070 OC Edition. The MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor retails for $570 US while ASUS’s ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX retails for $600 US. I will be comparing both cards next to each other to find out which offers a better value proposition based on performance, overclock capabilities and cooling performance.

In case you want to read our full NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture deep dive, head over to this link.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series Graphics Cards Official Specifications

Graphics Card Name NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
GPU Architecture Turing GPU (TU106) Turing GPU (TU106) Turing GPU (TU104) Turing GPU (TU102)
Process 12nm NFF 12nm NFF 12nm NFF 12nm NFF
Die Size 445mm2 445mm2 545mm2 754mm2
Transistors 10.6 Billion 10.6 Billion 13.6 Billion 18.6 Billion
CUDA Cores 1920 Cores 2304 Cores 2944 Cores 4352 Cores
TMUs/ROPs 120/48 144/64 192/64 288/96
GigaRays 5 Giga Rays/s 6 Giga Rays/s 8 Giga Rays/s 10 Giga Rays/s
Cache 4 MB L2 Cache 4 MB L2 Cache 4 MB L2 Cache 6 MB L2 Cache
Base Clock 1365 MHz 1410 MHz 1515 MHz 1350 MHz
Boost Clock 1680 MHz 1620 MHz
1710 MHz OC
1710 MHz
1800 MHz OC
1545 MHz
1635 MHz OC
Compute 6.5 TFLOPs 7.5 TFLOPs 10.1 TFLOPs 13.4 TFLOPs
Memory Up To 6 GB GDDR6 Up To 8 GB GDDR6 Up To 8 GB GDDR6 Up To 11 GB GDDR6
Memory Speed 14.00 Gbps 14.00 Gbps 14.00 Gbps 14.00 Gbps
Memory Interface 192-bit 256-bit 256-bit 352-bit
Memory Bandwidth 336 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 616 GB/s
Power Connectors 8 Pin 8 Pin 8+8 Pin 8+8 Pin
TDP 160W 185W (Founders)
175W (Reference)
225W (Founders)
215W (Reference)
260W (Founders)
250W (Reference)
Starting Price $349 US $499 US $699 US $999 US
Price (Founders Edition) $349 US $599 US $799 US $1,199 US
Launch January 2019 September 2018 September 2018 September 2018

[nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC Overview”]

The MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR OC variant is above the Ventus which falls close to the MSRP. The price difference between the ARMOR OC and reference models may be slightly higher since it retails at $570 US (Newegg) or $70 US above the reference price while giving you a custom cooler, custom PCB and a factory overclock out of the box.

In terms of specifications, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 features 2304 CUDA cores, 144 TMUs, and 64 ROPs. The Turing TU106 die used on the graphics card is based around a 12nm process and has a die size of 445mm2. The core clocks for the card are maintained at 1410 MHz for base and 1610 MHz for boost. The MSI Armor OC model is clocked up to 1740 MHz (boost) which will be providing better gaming performance than the reference model. The chip additionally comes with 6 Gigarays of ray tracing performance and a total of 7.5 TFLOPs of FP32 compute output. The cards feature an 8 GB GDDR6 memory interface running along a 256-bit wide bus interface. The reference model is powered by a single 8 pin connector and has a TDP of 175W.

  • msi-geforce-rtx-2070-armor-oc_2
  • msi-geforce-rtx-2070-armor-oc_4
  • msi-geforce-rtx-2070-armor-oc_3
  • msi-geforce-rtx-2070-armor-oc_5

The ARMOR OC design is built upon the foundations of the previous Armor layout with dual Torx 2.0 fans that come with Zero Frozr technology and the dispersion fan blade design, allowing higher airflow to reach the heatsink underneath the shroud. The card features a custom 8 phase PCB (6 + 2) and is powered by an 8 and 6 pin connector configuration. The custom PCB is fitted with an anti-bending bracket which offers better durability.

Following are some of the features of the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR OC before we go into detail:

Features

Core/Memory

  • Boost Clock / Memory Speed
    1740 MHz / 14Gbps
  • 8GB GDDR6
  • DisplayPort x 3 / HDMI x 1 / USB Type-C x 1

Armor Thermal Design

  • TORX Fan 2.0 with Double Ball Bearings
    – Dispersion fan blade: Steeply curved blade accelerating the airflow.
    – Traditional fan blade: Provides steady airflow to massive heat sink below.
  • Mastery of Aerodynamics: The heatsink is optimized for efficient heat dissipation, keeping your temperatures low and performance high.
  • Zero Frozr technology: Stopping the fan in low-load situations, keeping a noise-free environment.

RGB Mystic Light

  • Customize colors and LED effects with exclusive MSI software and synchronize the look & feel with other components.

[nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC Package”]

The MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR OC graphics card comes within a standard cardboard based package. The front of both packages has a large “GeForce RTX” brand logo along with the “MSI” logo on the top left corner. We can see a nice rugged Armor theme on the front which puts the emphasis on the design of the card within.

The packaging has put a large emphasis on the RTX side of things as the first feature enlisted by AIBs will be Ray Tracing, followed by GDDR6, DirectX 12 and Ansel support. NVIDIA has bet the future of their gaming GPUs on Ray Tracing support as these are the first cards to offer support for the new feature.

The back of the box is very typical, highlighting the main features and specifications of the cards. The three key aspects of MSI’s top tier custom cards are its Torx 2.0 fan design, the upgraded & much efficient heatsink design and the Mystic Light RGB support on the side skirt of the card that I’ll be detailing in the next section.

There’s also a focus towards GeForce.com on each AIB card through which users can download the latest drivers and GeForce Experience application which are a must for gamers to access all feature set of the new cards.

There’s a letter case within the box which is etched with the MSI logo. This box contains the card accessories and the graphics card itself is hidden behind it.

The card is nicely wrapped within an anti-static cover which is useful to prevent any unwanted static discharges on various surfaces that might harm the graphics card. The card accessories include a Molex power connector which isn’t of much use in high-end systems since the PSUs already have the required cables.

Useful manuals and installation guides are packed within an MSI labeled letter case. There is an MSI Quick Users Guide, a Support bracket installation guide, a sticker letter, the MSI DIY comic, and a single drivers disk. It’s best to ignore the driver disk and install the latest software and graphics drivers directly from the NVIDIA and MSI official web pages as the ones shipped in the disks could be older versions and not deliver optimal performance for your graphics cards.

Out of the package, the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC comes in a stylish black and white color scheme and looks quite decent. The card resembles the previous Armor series but I can tell that the shroud design has clearly received some big updates so let’s find out if the new RTX 2070 can hold up with the compeition.

[nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC Closer Look + Teardown”]

MSI’s GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC is a relatively big graphics card which is due to its larger width. It is built with the dual slot specifications and would have no problem fitting inside PC cases which is great for a card that is aimed towards the higher-end mainstream users. The card weighs in at 1177 G and dimensions of 295 x 140 x 51.

You would have to keep in mind the height when going for a dual slot graphics card as your case or motherboard PCIe slot combination may not allow such setup. The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation and access to proper airflow.

The back of the card features a solid backplate which looks stunning and offers a premium look. The MSI and Dragon logo look great along with the silver accent stripes on the rear end. Overall, the backplate for this Armor series is impressive and a good upgrade from the previous backplate design on 1070/1070 Ti Armor series.

In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Armor heatsink for MSI RTX 20 series cards. The Armor series launched back with the GeForce 900 series cards and have since been running in parallel with the Twin Frozr and Tri Frozr lineups. The lineup is good considering you save some money but still get a great dual fan cooling system and a custom PCB design.

The Armor Thermal Design features some advanced cooling mechanics with its Torx 2.0 fans, Zero Frozr technology and higher density fin stacks with smooth heatpipes to ensure good thermals on the graphics card.

Coming to the fans, the card actually features two different fan designs based on the Torx 2.0 system. All three fans combine traditional and dispersion fan blade technology to offer better cooling performance.

The dispersion fan blade technology has a steeper curved blade that accelerates airflow and as such increases effectiveness in keeping the GPU cool. All fans deploy double ball bearing design and can last a long time while operating silently.

MSI also features their Zero Frozr technology on the Tri Frozr heatsink. This feature won’t spin the fans on the card unless they reach a certain threshold. In the case of the Tri Frozr heatsink, that limit is set to 60C. If the card is operating under 60C, the fans won’t spin which means no extra noise would be generated.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics cards don’t feature any NVLINK connector as they don’t support Multi-GPU functionality. This has been done for many reasons as two RTX 2070s have a potential to outperform the RTX 2080 Ti in optimized titles which may end up cannibalizing high-end GPU sales. The other is the optimization factor and we know that multi-GPU support isn’t the best around these days so NVIDIA has only kept it for users who are willing to pay a premium on their higher end cards.

With the outsides of the card done, I will now start taking a glance at what’s under the hood of the GeForce RTX 2070 Amor OC.

  • dsc_0106-custom-3
  • dsc_0107-custom-3

The heatsink has been designed to be denser by using a straight forward fin-based design. This allows more air to pass through the fins smoothly, without causing any turbulence that would result in unwanted noise.

Instead of using a cold plate to cover the GPU, MSI is using smooth heat pipes that make direct contact with the GPU to dissipate heat. There are a total of 5 copper heat pipes with a smooth square shape that helps maximize heat transfer to the main heatsink. There are also thermal pads placed over the VRAM and power delivery components to enhance heat dissipation. To top it all off, MSI uses their exclusive Thermal Compound X which is said to offer higher thermal interface and heat transfer compared to traditional TIM applications.

The MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC being a fully custom model makes use of a 8 and 6 pin power connector configuration. This allows the board to recieve more power to operate at higher clock speeds and deliver better stability with manual overclocks. Do note that the reference model only requires a single 8 pin power connector to boot.

I/O on the graphics card sticks with the reference scheme which includes three Display Port 1.4a, a single HDMI 2.0b and a single USB Type-C port for VirtualLink connectivity to high-end HMD (Head Mounted Displays).

MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR OC PCB Teardown

MSI has featured a custom 8 phase PCB (6 + 2) on their RTX 2070 Armor OC graphics card which is powered by an 8 and 6 pin connector configuration. The custom PCB is fitted with an anti-bending bracket which offers better durability.

  • dsc_0109-custom-4
  • dsc_0110-custom-3

Following are a few close-up shots of the reference PCB which is being offered under the hood of the Armor OC series graphics cards.

  • dsc_0111-custom-4
  • dsc_0114-custom-2
  • dsc_0113-custom-4
  • dsc_0115-custom-5

MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR OC Mystic Light RGB

MSI RTX 20 series cards utilize their Mystic Light RGB technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. There are a total of 17 different RGB effects which you can choose from and the cards have five RGB accent points, three on the front one on the back and one light bar surrounding the side of the card which looks really good. There’s also the ability to set the speed and brightness at which the RGB LEDs operate.

You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the MSI Mystic Light application from MSI’s web page.

Following is what the graphics card looks like when lit up.

[nextpage title=”ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Overview”]

The ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC variant is top RTX 2070 variant in ASUS’s lineup. This is also reflected in the price which is $100 US more than the reference price of the GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card. The $600 US (Newegg) price would make buyers think twice as the RTX 2080 can be obtained for $100 more. Then again, ASUS is providing some key features which are not available on the reference cards such as an advanced cooling through their ROG STRIX cooler, a fully custom PCB and a good factory overclock.

In terms of specifications, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 features 2304 CUDA cores, 144 TMUs, and 64 ROPs. The Turing TU106 die used on the graphics card is based around a 12nm process and has a die size of 445mm2. The core clocks for the card are maintained at 1410 MHz for base and 1610 MHz for boost. The ROG STRIX OC model is clocked up to 1815 MHz (boost) which will be providing better gaming performance than the reference model. The chip additionally comes with 6 Gigarays of ray tracing performance and a total of 7.5 TFLOPs of FP32 compute output. The cards feature an 8 GB GDDR6 memory interface running along a 256-bit wide bus interface. The reference model is powered by a single 8 pin connector and has a TDP of 175W.

  • asus-rog-geforce-rtx-2070-strix-oc_2
  • asus-rog-geforce-rtx-2070-strix-oc_3
  • asus-rog-geforce-rtx-2070-strix-oc_5
  • asus-rog-geforce-rtx-2070-strix-oc_4
  • asus-rog-geforce-rtx-2070-strix-oc_6

The ASUS ROG STRIX graphics cards are defined by their design and are the most renowned in the industry. The card features a triple fan design but unlike the axial tech fan used on the RTX 2080 cards and above, the ROG STRIX 2070 OC still uses the wing-blade fans. These fans had no issue to begin with but it would’ve been nice to see the updated axial tech fans on more mainstream cards too. Other than that, ASUS also offers their MaxContact technology based heatsink which offers 2 times more contact to the GPU than traditional nickel plated copper surfaces, allowing for better thermal dissipation.

The card comes with a fully custom PCB design and has a 10 Phase SAP II design that utilizes premium components to deliver better overclocking and core stability when running graphics intensive applications.

Following are some of the features of the ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC before we go into detail:

Features

  • NVIDIA TURING: ROG GeForce RTX graphics cards are powered by the Turing GPU architecture and the all-new RTX platform. This gives you up to 6X the performance of previous-generation graphics cards and brings the power of real-time ray tracing and AI to games.
  • DirectX 12: Power new visual effects and rendering techniques for more lifelike gaming.
  • NVIDIA Shadowplay Record and share high-quality gameplay videos, screenshots, and live streams with your friends.
  • Patented Wing-blade Fans deliver high air pressure, reduced noise levels, IP5X certified dust resistance and 0dB mode for silent gaming.
  • MaxContact Technology allows 2X more contact with the GPU chip for improved thermal transfer.
  • Auto-Extreme Technology uses automation to enhance reliability.
  • Super Alloy Power II includes premium alloy chokes, solid polymer capacitors, and an array of high-current power stages to fuel Turing’s cores.
  • ASUS FanConnect II equips 2 hybrid-controlled fan headers for optimal system cooling.
  • GPU Tweak II provides intuitive performance tweaking and thermal controls.

[nextpage title=”ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Package”]

The ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC graphics card comes within a standard cardboard based package. The front of both packages has a large “GeForce RTX” brand logo along with the “ROG” logo on the top left corner. ASUS is known to use their ROG STRIX logo along with a small picture of their graphics card on the package and this one is no exception.

The packaging has put a large emphasis on the RTX side of things as the first feature enlisted by AIBs will be Ray Tracing, followed by GDDR6, DirectX 12 and Ansel support. NVIDIA has bet the future of their gaming GPUs on Ray Tracing support as these are the first cards to offer support for the new feature. You can also note the particular variant of this graphics card on the front, OC in my case. The ROG STRIX 2070 is available in standard, OC and Advanced variants and the box is labeled clearly as to which variant you are getting.

The back of the box is very typical, highlighting the main features and specifications of the cards. The key aspects of the ASUS ROG STRIX card is the Auto-Extreme Technology and the Maxcontact technology which have been used in the manufacturing of this graphics card. The card is also AURA Sync compatible and utilizes Wing-Blade fans to deliver higher airflow to the interiors.

There’s also a focus towards GeForce.com on each AIB card through which users can download the latest drivers and GeForce Experience application which are a must for gamers to access all feature set of the new cards.

There’s a second box within the main packaging that has a nice texture to it and white “STRIX” branding embedded in the middle.

Useful manuals and installation guides are packed within along with a Quick Users Guide, a sticker letter and a single drivers disk. It’s best to ignore the driver disk and install the latest software and graphics drivers directly from the NVIDIA and MSI official web pages as the ones shipped in the disks could be older versions and not deliver optimal performance for your graphics cards. The card accessories include a Molex power connector which isn’t of much use in high-end systems since the PSUs already have the required cables.

Out of the box, I am greeted with a familiar looking design which ASUS has been using on their cards for some time now. Actually, the higher up RTX 20 series cards come with Axial-Tech fans which make them slightly distinct compared to the previous GTX 10 series cards but the STRIX RTX 2070 still adopts the same cooling design as its predecessors and to be honest, the cooler is one of the better-looking ones in the market right now.

[nextpage title=”ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Closer Look + Teardown”]

ASUS’s ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC is a standard sized graphics card. It is built with the dual slot specifications and would have no problem fitting inside PC cases which is great for a card that is aimed towards the higher-end mainstream users. The card has dimensions of 30.5 x 13.06 x 4.89 cm.

You would have to keep in mind the height when going for a dual slot card solution as your case or motherboard PCIe slot combination may not allow such setup. The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation.

On the back of the card, we spot an extremely good looking ROG STRIX backplate that comes integrated with ASUS Aura Sync lighting. We will get to the Aura Sync part in a bit but just looking at this gorgeous backplate shows that the card is going to offer a serious punch. There are cutouts in screw placements and we can spot a unique texturing across the backplate in the silver lining.

In terms of design, we are looking at a gorgeous, all matte black shroud which comes with a unique and very industrial build design. The card has three fans on the front, all of which are 90mm and come with ASUS’s patented Wing Blade design that offers 105% higher air pressure and operates 3x quieter than the reference cards.

The shroud comes with cutouts the implement ASUS’s AURA Sync lighting. Each of the six cutouts comes with LEDs that light up and can be modified through the AURA RGB Lighting software. The software allows for several different lighting modes and full RGB colors (up to 16.8 million).

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics cards don’t feature any NVLINK connector as they don’t support Multi-GPU functionality. This has been done for many reasons as two RTX 2070s have a potential to outperform the RTX 2080 Ti in optimized titles which may end up cannibalizing high-end GPU sales. The other is the optimization factor and we know that multi-GPU support isn’t the best around these days so NVIDIA has only kept it for users who are willing to pay a premium on their higher end cards.

There’s more to the fans than just being silent and offering more airflow. The Wing-Blade design is also IP5X-Certified, offering resistance to dust and small particles that can enter the GPU assembly. The dust resistance improves reliability and offers a longer lifespan.

The fans also feature 0dB technology which means that the fans will not spin unless the hit a certain temperature threshold. In the case of the ROG STRIX 2070 OC, that’s 55C (Degrees).

With the outsides of the card done, I will now start taking a glance at what’s beneath the hood of this graphics card. The first thing to catch my eye is the huge fin stack that’s part of the beefy heatsink which the cards utilize.

ASUS has done a mighty impressive job with the heatsink which comes in two sections. The large triple-fan shroud pushes air down towards a large heatsink that offers 40% more heat dissipation area which allows for 30% better cooling performance. The MaxContact technology inside the fan is 10% flatter to the traditional heat spreader and comes with 2x more GPU contact area. A total of six copper heat pipes run through the dual heatsinks, pushing out heat from the GPU surface.

Talking about the heatsink, the massive block is comprised of 2x 8mm and 6x 6mm concentrated copper squared shaped heat pipes with a more concentrated design to transfer heat from the copper base to the heatsink more effectively. The base itself is a solid nickel-plated base plate, transferring heat to the heat pipes in a very effective manner. To top it all off, MSI uses their exclusive Thermal Compound X which is said to offer higher thermal interface and heat transfer compared to traditional TIM applications.

The ROG STRIX 2070 OC features a custom PCB which means the power circuitry is entirely non-reference. Power is provided through a 6+8-Pin connector configuration which means we are looking at a maximum power input of 250W. The card has an official TDP of 175W (reference models) but the premium components make sure that every bit of juice gets supplied to core, memory, and VRMs when overclocked.

If you are not a fan of the RGB LEDs, ASUS has a Stealth mode switch that lets you turn off or on, all of the LEDs on the card.

I/O on the graphics card sticks with the reference scheme which includes three Display Port 1.4a, a single HDMI 2.0b and a single USB Type-C port for VirtualLink connectivity to high-end HMD (Head Mounted Displays).

ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC PCB Teardown

The ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC features a powerful 10 phase Super Allow Power II design. This enhanced PCB design offers improved efficiency, reduced power loss and is able to achieve thermal load levels that are 50% cooler than previous designs.

The PCB is covered with a die-casting that offers increased heat dissipation for the memory and VRMs while also offering increased reinforcement. The circular vented heat pipes make sure that heat load is equally distributed among the heatsink blocks.

Following are a few close-up shots of the reference PCB which is being offered under the hood of the ROG STRIX OC series graphics cards.

  • dsc_0142-custom-2
  • dsc_0143-custom-3
  • dsc_0144-custom-3
  • dsc_0145-custom-3

ASUS has placed a voltage measuring points for the graphics card, right next to the power connectors. These are ideal for overclockers and enthusiasts who want real-time information on the voltage that is being fed to the card while putting the card under extreme overclocking loads.

On the back of the card, we can spot multiple 4-Pin connectors which are part of the ASUS Fan Connect II system. This system offers two 4-Pin, hybrid controlled fan headers that could be connected with PWM and DC type fans for better system cooling. ASUS has even added an AURA Sync RGB header on their graphics card which can be attached to an LED strip for PC lighting and customization.

ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC AURA SYNC RGB

ASUS ROG STRIX series cards utilize their AURA SYNC RGB technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. There are a total of 6 different RGB effects which you can choose from and the cards have eight RGB accent points, six on the front, one on the side and one on the back of the card which looks really good. You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the ASUSs’ ARUA Sync application from MSI’s web page.

Following is what the graphics card looks like when lit up.

Following is what the graphics card looks like when lit up.

[nextpage title=”Test Setup”]

We used the following test system for comparison between the different graphics cards. Latest drivers that were available at the time of testing were used from AMD and NVIDIA on an updated version of Windows 10. All games that were tested were patched to the latest version for better performance optimization for NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.

GPU Test Bench 2019

CPU Intel Core i9-9900K @ 4.70 GHz
Motherboard AORUS Z390 Master
Video Cards MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z
Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Vulcan X OC
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 TI OC
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 OC
AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 DUKE OC
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Titanium
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Armor X OC
MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning OC
Gigabyte Radeon RX Vega 64 (Reference Air)
XFX Radeon R9 Fury X Liquid Cooled
Memory G.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series 32GB (4 X 8GB) CL16 3600 MHz
Storage Samsung SSD 960 EVO M.2 (512 GB)
Power Supply ASUS ROG THOR 1200W PSU
OS Windows 10 64-bit
  • All games were tested on 2560×1440 (2K) and 3840×2160 (4K) resolutions.
  • Image Quality and graphics configurations have been provided in the screenshots below.
  • The “reference” cards are the stock configs while the “overclock” cards are factory overclocked configs provided to us by various AIB partners.

[nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC & ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Benchmarks (VULKAN)”]

DOOM

In 2016, Id finally released DOOM. My testing wouldn’t be complete without including this title. All cards were capable of delivering ample frame rates at the 1440p resolution using Nightmare settings, so my focus turned to 4K.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein is back in The New Colossus and features the most fast-paced, gory and brutal FPS action ever! The game once again puts us back in the Nazi-controlled world as BJ Blazkowicz. Set during an alternate future where Nazis won the World War, the game shows that it can be fun and can be brutal to the player and to the enemy too. Powering the new title is once again, id Tech 6 which is much acclaimed after the success that DOOM has become. In a way, ID has regained their glorious FPS roots and are slaying with every new title.

Ultra HQ-AF, Vulkan, Async Compute On *if available, Deferred Rendering and GPU culling off

We tested the game at Ultra settings under the Vulkan API which is standard. Async Compute was enabled for graphics cards that support it while deferred rendering and GPU culling were disabled.

You can read our detailed analysis of GPU Culling and Deferred Rendering graphical settings for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus here![nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC & ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Benchmarks (DirectX 12)”]

Ashes of The Singularity: Escalation

NVIDIA and AMD have been tweaking the performance of their cards for Ashes of the Singularity since the title released. It was the first to make use of the DirectX 12 API and the first to leverage from the new Async compute technology that makes use of the DX12 renderer to improve performance.

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 takes us back to the great war that was meant to end all wars aka World War 1. Using the latest Frostbite tech, the game does a good job at looking gorgeous in all ways possible. From the open world environments to the intense and gun-blazing action, this multiplayer and single player FPS title is one of the best Battlefields to date.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Humanity is at war with itself and divided into factions. On one end, we have the pure and on the other, we have the augmented. That is the world where Adam Jensen lives in and this is the world of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The game uses the next generation Dawn Engine that was made by IO interactive on the foundation of their Glacier 2 engine. The game features support of DirectX 12 API and is one of the most visually intensive titles that taxes the GPU really hard.

Hitman (2016)

With the latest drivers, NVIDIA has managed to up the performance of their Pascal and Maxwell parts in Hitman (2016). The game has been a major win for AMD graphics cards that still show a strong gain in performance when switching over from DX11 to DX12, but NVIDIA is slowly catching up with their drivers.

Shadow of The Tomb Raider

The Rise of The Tomb Raider

The rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the most beautiful games that I have played recently and was patched to the DX12 API. The game features a wide variety of settings and we chose Very High, HBAO+ without any AA.

[nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC & ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Benchmarks (DirectX 11)”]

Assassins Creed: Origins

Assassins Creed Origins is built by the same team that made Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. They are known for reinventing the design and game philosophy of the Assassins Creed saga and their latest title shows that. Based in Egypt, the open-world action RPG shows its graphics strength in all corners. It uses the AnvilNext 2.0 engine which boosts the draw distance range and delivers a very impressive graphics display.

We tested the game at maxed settings with TAA enabled and 16x AF. Do note that the game is one of the most demanding titles out in the market and as such tweaks and performance issues are being patched out.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 is a standalone successor to its predecessor and takes place in Hope County, a fictional region of Montana. The main story revolves around doomsday cult the Project at Eden’s Gate and its charismatic leader Joseph Seed. It uses a beefed up Dunia Engine which itself is a modified version of CryEngine from Crytek.

Final Fantasy XV

Grand Theft Auto V

GTA V is the most optimized gaming title that has been made for the PC. It’s so optimized, it even runs on my crap GT 840M based laptop with a smooth FPS on a mix of medium/low settings. I mean what???

Aside from being optimized, GTA V is a great game. It was the Game of The Year for 2013. At 1440p Ultra quality, the game gave us smooth frames on all cards tested.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Using the new Anvil Next engine that was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Ghost Recon: Wildlands goes wild and grand with an open-world setting entirely in Bolivia. This game is a tactical third-person shooter which does seem an awful lot similar to Tom Clancy’s: The Division. The game looks pretty and the wide-scale region of Bolivia looks lovely at all times (Day/Night Cycle).

The Witcher 3 Game of The Year Edition

Witcher 3 is the greatest fantasy RPG of our time. It has a great story, great gameplay mechanics and gorgeous graphics. This is the only game I actually wanted to get a stable FPS at 4K. With GameWorks disabled, I gave all high-end cards the ability to demonstrate their power.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Being a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, I was highly anticipating the arrival of Andromeda to store shelves. Now that it’s here, I put the fastest gaming card to the test. Using Frostbite, the latest Mass Effect title looks incredibly gorgeous and the open world settings on the different planets immerses you a lot.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

The successor of 2014’s epic, Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of War continues the previous game’s narrative continuing the story of the ranger Talion and the spirit of the elf lord Celebrimbor, who shares Talion’s body, as they forge a new Ring of Power to amass an army to fight against Sauron. The game uses the latest Firebird Engine developed by Monolith Productions and is very intensive even for modern graphics cards.

Watch Dogs 2

Finally, we have Watch Dogs 2. Gone is Aiden Pearce as the new game takes us away from Chicago and puts us in the shoes of Marcus, a seasoned hacker in San Francisco. Running off the Disrupt engine, the game is based on the DirectX 11 API and is a graphics hungry monster. You can see the results for yourself below:

[nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC & ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Thermal Tests”]

No graphics card review is complete without evaluating its temperatures and thermal load. Both graphics cards that I tested are using advanced custom cooling solutions which come with silent and performance profiles. The cards were tested with the performance profile to see their full potential The ASUS ROG STRIX OC variant comes with a triple fan cooling system while the MSI Armor OC comes with a dual fan cooling system. Both cards come with PWM cooling and an anti-bending plate that keeps the card sturdy and durable in the harshest environments inside your PC.

Note – We tested load with Kombuster which is known as a ‘power virus’ and can permanently damage hardware. Use such software at your own risk!
[nextpage title=”MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OC & ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Power Consumption”]

I compiled the power consumption results by testing each card under idle and full stress when the card was running games. Each graphics card manufacturer sets a default TDP for the card which can vary from vendor to vendor depending on the extra clocks or board features they plug in on their custom cards. The default TDP for the RTX 2070 is 185W (Founders Edition) while the cards I tested feature custom designs and higher power input than the standard FE variant.

Also, it’s worth noting that the 12nm FFN process from TSMC is a refinement of their 16nm FF node. NVIDIA is cramping even larger amount of transistors and more cores than their previous cards, making it one of the densest chip built to date. It’s likely to consume a lot of power and the results are reflective of that.

[nextpage title=”Conclusion”]

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card is an interesting solution around the $500 US price range. This price range was previously held exclusive to the **80 series cards but the price hike that we saw with Turing GPUs has seen the RTX 2070 rise up to this tier. But with that said, if the performance is there, then maybe it’s not a bad thing at all. Both cards that I tested were factory overclocked out of the box.

The MSI RTX 2070 Armor OC runs at 1740 MHz while the ASUS ROG STRIX 2070 OC runs at 1815 MHz. The ASUS variant while clocking in higher, also comes with a higher price of $600 US compared to $570 US of the MSI model. The pricing of the ASUS model is the same as the Founders Edition RTX 2070 while $100 US premium over the reference MSRP. The MSI model is $30 less than the Founders Edition and a $70 premium over the reference MSRP.

The performance of both graphics cards was very similar with the ASUS ROG STRIX OC coming out an FPS or two ahead of the MSI Armor OC, something which can be equalized with an OC as both cards have the same overclocking tendencies due to the bogged down power limits. Overclocking on both cards is similar despite the better PCB design on the ASUS ROG STRIX model. Here, the Armor OC holds up really well against the ASUS ROG STRIX OC. Both cards help up pretty well at 1440p resolution and you can definitely get more out of these cards at 4K by dropping some detail to get that extra edge in frame rates.

In terms of cooling performance, the ASUS model comes with a triple fan design and that really shines when it comes to temperatures. The model in both performance and silent model performs exceptionally well compared to the MSI’s dual fan Armor design. Compared to the other cards, a temperature of 57C is very acceptable on the MSI card too. My issue with the ASUS model is that the 0dB fan technology doesn’t run in performance mode while the Zero Frozr Technology on MSI card runs really well.

Overall, both cards are great but I think the MSI one has it better off compared to ASUS due to its pricing. The $600 US price sets it off really close to the $700 US RTX 2080 which excels the card in all possible ways. But then again, if you can’t stretch your wallet further, both cards are great buys.

MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR OC Final Conclusion

ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC Final Conclusion

The post NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Graphics Card Review FT. MSI Armor X & ASUS ROG STRIX  appeared first on Wccftech.