NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Graphics Card Review FT. MSI Armor X & ASUS ROG STRIX
ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 2070 STRIX OC & MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor OCOctober, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.