Gaming series is probably one of the most famous sub-brand related to MSI graphics card division, together with the Twin Frozor cooler design, which is now in its seventh generation (oh my, it’s been so long? Man, I’m old). That same series comes in few different variants, I usually get to check out Gaming or Gaming X version of it, but today I have with me the most equipped and highest factory overclocked version for this series – MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z.
Since I already reviewed few of their latest generation cards based on this exact cooler design, I’ll put a link to one them in the right top corner of this video if you want to check it out, I can again confirm that I’m still very much linking this dark gray and black design of the outer shroud. It airs decent build quality although it’s completely made out of plastic, and it’s rounded up with a few RGB LED’s lines on the edges of the gray part of the shroud, which makes the graphics card pop every so subtly and before all, in my opinion, tastefully.
As soon as I’ve taken the card in my hands, I’ve noticed how it’s really heavy compared to other models based on the same Twin Frozr VII design, especially considering its size. We have a massive, and before all tall and wide cooling solution, which is dominated by a big aluminum heat-sink separated into two fin stacks which carry a total of four nickel-plated copper heat-pipes and those run through a big, also nickel-plated copper GPU contact plate. The cooling for the VRM’s and 6 GB’s of GDDR6 video memory is done using two separate aluminum heat-sink plates, which dissipate the heat from the components using thermal pads and with the help of the two 85 mm 3.0 Torx fans blowing over them.
MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z – Z is for speed
Once you put that plastic shroud from the RTX 2060 Gaming Z and everything else on the card it turns into a triple slot monster that weighs in at around 970 grams, which is a lot, especially for a visually short card like this one. A part of the blame falls onto this very minimalistic and cool looking, what seems to be an aluminum back-plate with a brushed finish. Being a card that comes with a Twin Frozr cooler design, those same fans of course feature 0 RPM, we’re not working when the card is not under load fan mode, or to be precise, when the GPU temperature is under 60°C, so, as you can see it here, the idle temperature is a bit higher compared to a card that has permanently active fans, but this can vary depending your chassis fans setup.
Last but not the least, on the connector side of things we have pretty usual array od video outputs, with three DisplayPorts and one HDMI, while for powering this card up you’ll need to use one 8-pin PCI-express power connector, which makes it a bit practical and clean looking, as that extra 2-pins don’t dangle around.
You know what, when I think about it, although this card requires 8-pin because it needs that extra power, maybe vendors could just always use 8-pin connector headers, even if the card only requires a 6-pin, the other two can just be blanks, not connected to anything, just so we don’t have to deal with this.
RTX 2060 Gaming Z ideal for 1440p
Anyway, let’s check out the performance of this card if you’re planning to buy it, and you have some question or concerns, feel free to ask me in the comment section down below! Also, If you’re stuck between deciding to buy an RTX 2060 series card or investing some extra money toward an RTX 2060 Super series, check out my side by side comparison of these two series, I’ll put a link in the right top corner of this video!
Being a mid-range card in Nvidia’s current ongoing generation, the RTX 2060 with its performance output brings in more than reasonable FPS figures considering its price bracket. I will not comment that too much since we’re all pretty familiar with its general performance, I can say that It’s mostly aimed towards 1440p gamers, but it will serve an even better purpose for those users who are planning to use it with their 1080p high-refresh-rate monitor setup, as it can easily reach over 100 FPS in latest titles, especially if you fiddle around with the graphical settings a bit.
For some reason MSI decided not to make a Gaming X version for the RTX 2060 series, but rather just RTX 2060 Gaming Z and the regular Gaming model, which GPU boost clock is 1680 MHz, while the Gaming Z has a much higher figure of 1830 MHz, which is why it’s has a higher price tag than it and compared to other series in their line-up besides the Gaming one, next to also having a more beefier cooler than them.
This or the Super?
This, in the end, resulted in a pretty steady 1935 MHz in games and benchmarks for the RTX 2060 Gaming Z, but of course, you can go even further than that with some manual overclocking, and in my case, using these settings shown here, +110 MHz on the GPU which then turn to be just a bit over 2 GHz under load, and 1100 MHz on the video memory, resulted in between 5 to 10% of performance gain
As for the GPU load temperatures, I was seeing mostly around 60°C across all of my testings, with the fan speed usually around 1100 RPM, that’s for the first fan, and 1600 RPM for the second, which was at the end barely audible on an open testbed. Here’s a short sound clip of the card under load, while also showing the sound meter for measurement comparison. Although you probably saw this in my comparison of it and the RTX 2060 Super model, between the idle, which was around 50W for this system, and the full load of only the GPU, I saw it pulling roughly around 220W.
There’s no doubt that MSI made a really tricked out model, but the question that presents itself is if it’s really worth that extra money, or should you maybe go with something like their Armor series, or even the regular Gaming model, since you know you’re going to get a decent cooling solution either way, while you can bump up the GPU frequencies by doing some manual overclocking and save some money along the way.
That’s it for this time, I hope this MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z Review will let you decided which card to buy, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!