Overall and Final Verdict
When I took a look at the RTX 2060 Founders Edition I was impressed with the performance of the 2060 and as usual, I loved the construction of the Founders Edition cooler. But it wasn’t until I tested MSIs RTX 2060 Gaming Z that I really got a good look at the performance that the RTX 2060 is capable of. MSI game the Gaming Z a significant overclock that set it ahead of the Founders Edition in just about every situation. This was even enough to edge out above the GTX 1070/GTX 1070 Ti/GTX 1080 depending on the test. Yeah, when it comes to DX12 situations the RTX 1060 is running with the GTX 1080 and in DX11 games it is right there with the GTX 1070 Ti. This translated to great 1080p performance and capable 1440p performance as well in nearly every game. 4k isn’t really an option and the RTX 2060 is still limited by its 6GB VRAM so if you are playing games that need more than that at the detail that you want then you do want to keep that in mind. But what I found was that only a few games that becomes an issue, ultra detail in Wildlands in our testing for example.
MSI set the Gaming Z apart in other ways as well. Cooling performance was especially impressive. But I also liked the styling. You don’t get the thick metal shroud of the Founders Edition, but this card is going to look better in a black build. I also liked that MSI didn’t go crazy with the lighting, but you do have a little RGB accent lighting around the fans and up on the top edge. All RGB unlike the Founders Edition as well. My only complaint was just how tired I am of lighting being used to feature company logos. I wouldn’t mind it lighting up something that shows that this is an RTX 2060, but I don’t need or want MSI or Nvidia branding being lit up in my PC. It isn’t an advertisement.
MSI did drop the DVI connection for this card when even the Founders Edition had it, I suspect that will cause some issues for people who aren’t running new monitors, I have older 1440p monitors with only DVI still, in fact I have one on my desk right now that can’t be used because I don’t have DL DVI on my 2070 Ti. The other big issue with this card is just how tall it is, especially with the power connection sitting up at the top edge, not recessed down to take advantage of space. So if you have a case that is sensitive to taller cards, this isn’t going to fit.
As far as pricing goes, MSI has the RTX 2060 Gaming Z listed at $389.99 which is more than the RTX 2060 Founders Edition I reviewed previously. So this card doesn’t really fall under the value that the FE did. But that extra money does get you better performance with the overclock and significantly better cooling performance and with that noise. Not to mention the blacked out look is going to match more builds. You also still can get a copy of Battlefield V or Anthem with the purchase which helps bring the card down to a decent value still. AMD doesn’t really have anything competing in this range and the older Nvidia cards that would compete like the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 Ti are limited in availability and priced much higher now. If you plan on gaming at 1080p or maybe even some 1440p this isn’t a bad way to go for a nice upgrade this tax time!
Live Pricing: HERE
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