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.

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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 graphics cards NVIDIA has offered to consumers. 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.

MSI has been offering some great custom designs since the GeForce RTX 20 series launched but there's one card that the real enthusiasts were waiting for and that's the Lightning. Designed for LN2 overclockers and those who want the best, the Lightning series from MSI has been at the top of the spectrum, offering the best in class performance and overclocking capabilities that only a few other custom boards can match. Starting with the first Lightning cards back with GeForce GTX 200 series, the Lightning series has seen various iterations and we are getting the latest one with the GeForce RTX 20 series cards.

Today, I will be taking a look at the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z, the best variant of the MSI Lightning graphics card and also the most expensive graphics card in production by MSI, aimed at the enthusiast community. The RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z is a journey of 10 years of Lightning cards innovation which has been incorporated in a single enthusiast grade custom graphics card based on NVIDIA's latest GPU architecture.

In case you want to read our full NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture deep dive and GeForce RTX 2080 & GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition review, head over to this link.

10
Wccftech Rating

MSI has really hit the notes right with their flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z graphics card. A strong contender in the custom RTX 2080 Ti lineup and a card that features excellent cooling, excellent overclocking and an excellent design which even at its high price is totally worth it.

Pros
  • One of the fastest GeForce RTX 2080 Ti models available right now
  • Stellar gaming performance at the 4K resolution
  • Great upgrade from GTX 1080 Ti and GTX 1080
  • Factory Overclocked Out of Box (Up To 1770 MHz)
  • Excellent 19 Phase Power Design With Up To 380W TDP Limit
  • Stunning Tri-Frozr Design With Carbon Fiber Shroud and Backplate
  • OLED Dashboard for real-time GPU/VRAM Statistics (Includes Splash Screen)
  • Zero Frozr Fan Technology Included on TORX 3.0 Fans
  • Great overclocking potential, full tuning options
  • Memory modules on the Lightning Z can hit more than 750 GB/s bandwidth
  • Backplate includes heat pads for increased heat dissipation
  • MSI Mystic Light RGB support on the shroud and back look stunning
  • Support for real-time ray tracing and DLSS features in next-generation gaming titles
  • Good driver support for GeForce products, compatibility with DX11, DX12, Vulkan, OpenGL titles
  • Lot's of display connectivity, great for VR and multi-display PCs.
Cons
  • Ridiculously High Priced ($1599.99 US)
  • Very high power consumption when overclocked
  • Factory Overclock Not As Impressive As Other Custom RTX 2080 Ti cards
  • No Zero Frozr enabled on default BIOS
  • Very few DLSS and RTX titles available right now
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