MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review

MSI's new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z features the highest out of the box GPU boost clocks of any RTX 2060 on the market.

@anthony256
Published Fri, Feb 1 2019 10:00 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction, Pricing & Availability

NVIDIA's latest Turing GPU release was an interesting one, with the new GeForce RTX 2060 surprising reviewers and gamers alike with a not-so-bad price, impressive performance, and plenty of custom cards available on day one. One of those is MSI's new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z which we have here to review today.

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VIEW GALLERY - 60 IMAGES

This means we're talking about the TU106 GPU, a 12nm chip based on NVIDIA's new Turing GPU architecture that features 1920 CUDA cores, 48 ROPs, and is joined by 6GB of super-fast GDDR6 memory that helps the RTX 2060 punch well above its weight thanks to the increased memory bandwidth.

MSI's new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z can be found for around $380-$390, a $30-$40 or so premium over NVIDIA's own GeForce RTX 2060. MSI is overclocking the RTX 2060 GAMING Z out of the box by 30MHz on the base GPU clock, while boost GPU clocks rise by a larger 150MHz at a total of 1830MHz. The boost GPU clock of 1830MHz is the highest of the custom GeForce RTX 2060 cards so far, I'll be squeezing more out of the card overclocking it, don't you worry about that.

The gaming performance at 1080p and 1440p offers a huge opportunity for monitor owners at those resolutions with high refresh rates, especially in games like Overwatch and PUBG.

Detailed Specs: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z

Detailed Specs

This is the detailed specifications of the GeForce RTX MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z.

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Detailed Look: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z

Detailed Look

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MSI has opted for its kick ass TWIN FROZR 7 cooling technology to keep the TU106 and 6GB of GDDR6 cool, with a chunkier triple-slot cooler. The card is quite short though, so there's that - but so was the RTX 2060 Founders Edition card.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 1020 | TweakTown.com

We have the dual-fan TWIN FROZR 7 cooler up front.

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While the backplate of the card is looking slick as well.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 1035 | TweakTown.com

There's 3 x DP, and 1 x HDMI on the RTX 2060 GAMING Z, lacking the VirtualLink USB-C connector.

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A single 8-pin PCIe power connector is needed.

Cooling Tech: TWIN FROZR 7

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If there's something I'll never get sick of, it is MSI's attention to detail with its cooling technology. The new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z features their latest TWIN FROZR 7 cooling technology which rolls out with a wave-curved heat sink for the ultimate in heat dissipation and noise reduction.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 14 | TweakTown.com

MSI is using 6mm copped-squared shape heat pipes, which transfer heat more efficiently than previous designs. We have the same MOSFET cooling as other GAMING Z and TWIN FROZR cards, which is important given the power components needing to stay cool.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 12 | TweakTown.com

We have the same ZERO FROZR technology as the higher-end GeForce RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z (my review here) where the fans won't spin unless the card reaches 60C.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 13 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Speaking of the fans, MSI has once again used TORX Fan 3.0 fans on the RTX 2060 GAMING Z with the two blade types on the card generating more concentrated airflow for improved cooling.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 16 | TweakTown.com

MSI has used a 5+2 phase PCB design and a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, which handles all of its stock and heavily overclocked performance.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 17 | TweakTown.com

There's also the great use of MSI's own RGB Mystic Light technology, something that really pops on the card and isn't overly used. You can customize until your hearts content through the RGB Mystic Light 3 beta.

Test System Specs

Our New GPU Test Rig

Welcome to the latest revision of our GPU test bed, with our system being upgraded from the Intel Core i7-7700K to the Core i7-8700K. The CPU is cooled by the Corsair H115i PRO cooler, with the 8700K overclocked to 5GHz. We've stayed with GIGABYTE for our motherboard with their awesome Z370 AORUS Gaming 7.

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We approached our friends at HyperX for a kit of their kick ass HyperX Predator DDR4-2933MHz RAM (HX429C15PB3AK4/32), with 2 x 8GB sticks for a total of 16GB DDR4-2933. The RAM stands out through every minute of our testing as it has beautiful RGB lights giving the system a slick look while benchmarking our lives away, while the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard joins in with its own array of RGB lighting.

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Detailed Tech Specs

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K @ 5GHz
  • Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO
  • MB: Z370 AORUS Gaming 7
  • RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Predator DDR4-2933
  • SSD: 1TB OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2
  • SSD: 512GB OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2
  • PSU: InWin 1065W PSU
  • Chassis: In Win X-Frame
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro x64

Additional Images

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Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike - 1080p

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4000 | TweakTown.com

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 01 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike - 1440p

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 02 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike - 4K

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 03 | TweakTown.com

3DMark TimeSpy

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4001 | TweakTown.com
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3DMark TimeSpy Extreme

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 05 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Port Royale

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3DMark NVIDIA DLSS feature test

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 10 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1080p

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1440p

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 4K

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 09 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1080p

1080p Benchmarks

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4009 | TweakTown.com

EA and DICE put everything they had into Battlefield V which runs the latest version of the Frostbite engine, and really stretches its legs in terms of graphics quality and squeezing the most from our cards. It's one of the best looking engines and best looking games on the market, until the new slew of games launches over the coming months, that is.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 26 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4010 | TweakTown.com

Overwatch is one of the most popular games on the market, from legendary game developer Blizzard. It's a game that looks great but doesn't require a huge amount of GPU grunt, but it's tested for another reason: high-FPS for enthusiast/professional gamers. Overwatch in our testing is to provide a two-fold result: first, it's a popular esports title and second it gives us a look at what we need to run it at 1440p for 144/165Hz displays and at 4K on those new 144Hz HDR G-Sync displays.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 20 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 21 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4004 | TweakTown.com

Rainbow Six: Siege has been a strong entry into the franchise, popular for its realistic feel and great graphics. Stable as a rock for benchmarking, right up to 3440x1440 and 4K.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 22 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4007 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light Redux comes from developer 4A Games, making the Redux version of Metro: Last Light the 'definitive' version of the game. Redux had a fresh coat of paint on the already impressive 4A Engine, and it really pushes our GPUs to their limits.

You can buy Metro: Last Light Redux at Amazon.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 23 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4008 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry 5 was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 24 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 25 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1440p

1440p Benchmarks

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4009 | TweakTown.com

EA and DICE put everything they had into Battlefield V which runs the latest version of the Frostbite engine, and really stretches its legs in terms of graphics quality and squeezing the most from our cards. It's one of the best looking engines and best looking games on the market, until the new slew of games launches over the coming months, that is.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 56 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4010 | TweakTown.com

Overwatch is one of the most popular games on the market, from legendary game developer Blizzard. It's a game that looks great but doesn't require a huge amount of GPU grunt, but it's tested for another reason: high-FPS for enthusiast/professional gamers. Overwatch in our testing is to provide a two-fold result: first, it's a popular esports title and second it gives us a look at what we need to run it at 1440p for 144/165Hz displays and at 4K on those new 144Hz HDR G-Sync displays.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 50 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 51 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4004 | TweakTown.com

Rainbow Six: Siege has been a strong entry into the franchise, popular for its realistic feel and great graphics. Stable as a rock for benchmarking, right up to 3440x1440 and 4K.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 52 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4007 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light Redux comes from developer 4A Games, making the Redux version of Metro: Last Light the 'definitive' version of the game. Redux had a fresh coat of paint on the already impressive 4A Engine, and it really pushes our GPUs to their limits.

You can buy Metro: Last Light Redux at Amazon.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 53 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4008 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry 5 was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 54 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 55 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 4K

4K Benchmarks

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4009 | TweakTown.com

EA and DICE put everything they had into Battlefield V which runs the latest version of the Frostbite engine, and really stretches its legs in terms of graphics quality and squeezing the most from our cards. It's one of the best looking engines and best looking games on the market, until the new slew of games launches over the coming months, that is.

[img]116[/img]
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4010 | TweakTown.com

Overwatch is one of the most popular games on the market, from legendary game developer Blizzard. It's a game that looks great but doesn't require a huge amount of GPU grunt, but it's tested for another reason: high-FPS for enthusiast/professional gamers. Overwatch in our testing is to provide a two-fold result: first, it's a popular esports title and second it gives us a look at what we need to run it at 1440p for 144/165Hz displays and at 4K on those new 144Hz HDR G-Sync displays.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 110 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 111 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4004 | TweakTown.com

Rainbow Six: Siege has been a strong entry into the franchise, popular for its realistic feel and great graphics. Stable as a rock for benchmarking, right up to 3440x1440 and 4K.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 112 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4007 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light Redux comes from developer 4A Games, making the Redux version of Metro: Last Light the 'definitive' version of the game. Redux had a fresh coat of paint on the already impressive 4A Engine, and it really pushes our GPUs to their limits.

You can buy Metro: Last Light Redux at Amazon.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 113 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4008 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry 5 was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 114 | TweakTown.com
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z Review 115 | TweakTown.com

Final Thoughts

NVIDIA had already made the GeForce RTX 2060 one of the better RTX releases with its great performance, a bunch of custom cards (just like the RTX 2060 GAMING Z) and others. Even in its Founders Edition form the GeForce RTX 2060 handles 2560 x 1440 gaming in its stride, with over 60% more performance over the previous-gen GeForce GTX 1060.

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MSI has refined the GeForce RTX 2060 experience with its tweaks on the RTX 2060 GAMING Z that rocks the highest out of the box GPU boost clocks of any of the custom RTX 2060s on the market. If you want the fastest out of the box experience with the GeForce RTX 2060 that is what MSI has in its RTX 2060 GAMING Z, a card you don't need to touch to enjoy even more performance out of the RTX 2060 gaming experience.

Another thing is that not every one likes the look of the GeForce RTX 2060 and its Founders Edition style, as the MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z does look so, so good in a gaming rig.

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MSI didn't go overboard with the TWIN FROZR 7. It has some nice RGB lighting on the front without lighting up your gaming rig like a Christmas tree. I'm really loving the style of the new GAMING Z cards.

At the end of the day MSI has the fastest out-of-the-box GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card with its new RTX 2060 GAMING Z, a card that impresses before you even take it out of the box with great-looking packaging. Inside is a super-fast card that takes swings at the GeForce RTX 2070 and even has a bit of a long stare with the GTX 1080 Ti. Not too bad considering its much cheaper than either of those higher-end offerings.

MSI's new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z handles a high octane match of Overwatch at 2560 x 1440 on Ultra settings (AA disabled) at 128FPS average, which is is huge considering the GTX 1060 is capable of just 75FPS average in comparison. We're talking GTX 1070 Ti/GTX 1080 levels of performance at 1440p in Overwatch, with some of the in-game visual settings turned down you could hit 144FPS average without a problem - perfect for those 1440p 144Hz gaming monitors.

Far Cry 5 rolls along with 84FPS average on MSI's new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z compared to only 50FPS on the GTX 1060, just 1FPS off of the 85FPS average on the higher-end GeForce GTX 1080. Battlefield V running at 1440p 91FPS average is a great result for the RTX 2060 GAMING Z, smashing the 57FPS average that the GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition pumps out.

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If you're in the market for one of the fastest, but also the fastest out-of-the-box GeForce RTX 2060 graphics cards, you can't go past the MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z. It is a gorgeous looking card with matched performance as well as a hell of a lot of room for some overclocking. The 6GB of super-fast GDDR6 can be made even faster with an easy overclock from its 14Gbps of bandwidth up to 16Gbps.

MSI's new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z is a must buy for high refresh rate monitor owners with 1080p and 1440p easily hitting 144FPS with a few tweaks to visual settings, while 4K gaming is also not out of the question with the RTX 2060 GAMING Z. Yet another great GAMING Z graphics card from MSI in a segment that'll be really interesting to watch over the much higher priced RTX 2070, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards.

TweakTown award
Performance (overclocking, power)95%
Quality (build, design, cooling)95%
General Features (display outputs, etc)90%
Bundle, Packaging & Software90%
Overall93%

The Bottom Line: MSI has the fastest GeForce RTX 2060 on the market with its new GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z. It has some wicked out-of-the-box performance, a bunch of overclocking headroom and a design that'll look great in any gaming PC.

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Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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