MSI being one of the top manufacturers of graphics cards has just launch their newest model for the RTX 2080Ti gpu. Called the MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z, this new rendition is packed with premium features for the demanding gamers.
Gamers aside, this new Lightning Z is also a great in looks, not just in performance.
[Quick update May 3, 2019] The latest drivers (NVIDIA Graphics Driver 430.39) for the Lightning Z can be downloaded at MSI.com or just by clicking here – https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/support/GeForce-RTX-2080-Ti-LIGHTNING-Z
The MSI RTX 2080 TI Lightning Z is available for $1,489.99 here MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z
So let’s take a quick look at the MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z.
MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z
The RTX 2080Ti is undoubtedly the fastest GPU around today. And with the added benefits of Ray Tracing, this GPU will be on the top for a long time.
The MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z will be powered by the RTX 2080Ti GPU with 4,352 cores with a boost clock of 1,770 Mhz.
And since this is the top-of-the-line of the RTX GPU series, this will use 11Gb of GDDR6 memory on a 352-bit bus. Which accomplishes the 14Gbps memory speed.
This will consume an enormous 350W and the recommended PSU of 650W and above.
Let’s take a closer look at how MSI cools the Lightning Z.
MSI Lightning Z Thermal Design
MSI is well-known for excellent cooling solutions to their graphics cards and the Lightning Z will feature the best of MSI has to offer.
The MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z will use the TRI-FROZR Thermal Design that uses a triple-fan cooling solution using the MSI TORX Fan 3.0.
The new TORX Fans will have 2 different types of fan blades, one is a dispersion fan blade and the other a traditional fan blade.
With the traditional fan blade pushing down a steady airflow, the specially designed dispersion blade accelerates the airflow further therefore increasing its cooling efficiency.
The TORX Fans also uses double ball bearings, giving it longer lifespan.
Aside from the fans, MSI also painstakingly designed a new heatsink for the Lightning Z.
The heatsink will have a rugged-edge fins, meaning the fins will have an alternating groove or edge for each fin. This allows the airflow to pass through the heatsink more smoothly and with less noise.
Airflow is managed to provide more cooling efficiency using MSI’s AirFlow Control Technology.
While we’re talking about the heatsink, the reason why it’s massive is because of the heatpipes. The Lightning Z will use 8mm and mm copper heatpipes that will run through the whole length of the aluminum heatsink array.
And these copper heatpipes are also squeeze in tightly at the point where the GPU copper base plate reside for maximum heat transfer.
Add to that, this GPU base plate is a solid nickel-plated copper base plate. This ensures that the transfer of heat from the GPU to the copper heat pipes for dissipation is highly efficient.
Memory and MOSFET Heatsink and Custom PCB
MSI also utilized a large die-cast metal sheet to act as a heatsink for the memory modules and MOSFET.
This metal heatsink nearly covers the whole area of the custom PCB and also acts as an Anti-Bending guard by connecting to the IO bracket.
The Lightning Z will use an MSI custom PCB design that uses a 12-layer PCB and a larger surface area as compared to the NVIDIA reference PCB.
MSI designed the Lightning Z PCB with overclocking in mind. With that in mind, stable power delivery at higher voltage is needed.
That is why the Lightning Z will use 19 DrMOS power phases and a pure digital PWM control to ensure stable power is always at hand.
Temperature Monitoring and LN2 Mode
With the custom designed Lightning PCB, you can monitor the temperature of the GPU, memory and VRM’s with the use of the MSI Afterburner.
Since the Lightning is made for overclocking, MSI installed a special LN2 BIOS and switching is just a flip of a switch.
What does it do? Well for starters, when turned to LN2, the BIOS switches to performance mode. Enabling users unclocked access to power, current, and thermal options, and you can overclocked to your hearts desires.
Aside from the mode switch, MSI introduces the V-Check points which allows for another way of monitoring the graphics card voltages without relying on any software.
Another key feature of the custom Lightning PCB is that you can now adjust the auxiliary voltage of the graphics card, not just GPU and memory.
With all of these features, the MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z is surely an overclocking piece.
Phantom of Lightning and Dynamic Dashboard
For the MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z RGB is in its blood and it is called the Phantom of Lightning.
Check out MSI’s video below for a quick view of the Phantom of Lightning.
To control the Phantom of Lightning you’ll need to install the MSI Dragon Center.
The other cool feature of the MSI Lightning is the Dynamic Dashboard.
The Dynamic Dashboard is a small OLED panel that sits on top of the graphics card. It lets you view fan speed, GPU temperature, GPU frequency, and memory usage. Aside from these, you can also use custom GIF’s.
All customizations of the Dynamic Dashboard can be done through the MSI Dragon Center.
Carbon Backplate with RGB
The MSI RTX 2080Ti has a backplate but not just any metal backplate, but a carbon backplate.
The Lightning’s backplate is a full carbon backplate that prevents bending and also helps in cooling the graphics card.
How does it helps in cooling? The carbon backplate has a thick heat pipe underneath it, and connecting the backplate to the pcb will be a set of thermal pads strategically placed.
So while it helps in cooling and prevents bending, it also has RGB’s on it. You can put on a colorful display or a custom lighting effects on the backplate using the MSI Mystic Light Utility.
What I like of the RGB lighting effects is the “Lightning Strike” effect.
Is the MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z for you?
You might wonder who would be buying the Lightning Z graphics card, but there are people who will buy this.
Not just overclockers but gamers who like to showcase their gaming rig would potentially buy the Lightning Z for its looks alone.
Apart from being overclockable, the overall design will bring awe and wonder to your friends and colleagues.
For the MSI product page, here’s the link: https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/GeForce-RTX-2080-Ti-LIGHTNING-Z/Overview
Based on MSI’s press release the Lightning Z will be available starting from the end of January 2019.
So wait for it and reserve your money for this.
[Update June 4, 2019] The MSI RTX 2080 TI Lightning Z is now available for just $1489.99.
Get it here MSI RTX 2080Ti Lightning Z
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All images by MSI.