MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z Performance Review

We have an exclusive first look at performance of the new MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z video cards sporting the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU. We will be comparing performance to a MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X and ASUS ROG STRIX Vega 64 OC video cards in eight games at 1440p and 4K.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was released on September 14th. This game has received a few patches since its launch. Our testing takes place on version v1.0 build 234.2_64. This version was released on October 5th. This game does support DX12, however on our test system we tested between DX11 and DX12 and found DX11 to offer better performance. Therefore, all testing today is on DX11 which provided the best performance for us.

Note that we also have Exclusive Fullscreen enabled. It is very important to enable this. It can improve performance to do so. If you think are not getting the performance you should, enable Exclusive Fullscreen.

Our run-through takes place over the course of the entire "Head Above Water" map in the game including the complete cut-scenes which are fully rendered. This tested about 10% slower than the introduction run-through we used previously, which means it is more graphically intense and a better overall test of performance for the game.

This game supports several AA modes including: TAA, SMAA, SMAA T2X, and SMAA 4X. When you select SMAA 4X a warning message pops up letting you know that this setting is very demanding. Below you will see what we found playable, and we also included a more demanding setting to really put the cards to the test and see how they compare.


1440p Highest Playable Settings

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Please note that for all game testing we are basing what is playable on the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X video card. We first found what graphics settings are playable at 1440p and 4K and then we matched the other two video cards to it in apples-to-apples fashion for comparison.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is playable with the highest possible in-game settings enabled. Keep in mind that the global graphics preset option of "Highest" is not this game’s actual highest settings. In fact, you can select multiple graphics settings and manually turn these up one notch higher to a more graphically intense setting. This is what we’ve done. The performance being shown is with the game’s literal "Maximum" graphics settings.

The key to performing well was down to the AA setting. We found that SMAA and SMAA T2X performed great and the game was playable. When we tried SMAA 4X however, we had a big performance drop and the game was unplayable on MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X. Therefore, we had to settle on SMAA T2X as the highest playable AA setting. We will show you below SMAA 4X performance just for comparison's sake.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was playable at 1440p with maximum game settings and SMAA T2X on MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X. The performance was averaging around 68 FPS with minimums in the lower 50’s. The next step was to match the other video cards to this setting and see how performance compared.

The new MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z performed brilliantly. It actually beat the performance of the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X. It turned out to be 16% faster than the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X video card! We simply did not expect this, but there it is, even at 1440p RTX 2070 is 16% faster than GTX 1080. That’s a nice start for the new RTX 2070!

The ASUS ROG STRIX RX Vega 64 OC Edition video card performed just under the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X video card. The MSI GTX 1080 GAMING X was 8% faster than the factory overclocked Vega 64 video card. The new MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z was a whopping 26% faster than the ASUS ROG STRIX RX Vega 64 OC Edition video card.


1440p SMAA 4X Performance

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As we mentioned above, Shadow of the Tomb Raider performs great at SMAA T2X as shown. We mentioned that moving one level up to SMAA 4X kills performance, so we wanted to show that above in this graph. The only change we have made is to enable the game’s SMAA 4X option. You can see how this drastically affects performance on every video card.

We also see a very clear linear scaling of the three video cards performance at this more demanding setting as well. The new MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z is still the faster video card and is still 16% faster than MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X. However, its distance from the ASUS ROG STRIX RX Vega 64 OC Edition video card widens drastically. The MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z video card is now 35% faster than the ASUS ROG STRIX RX Vega 64 OC video card! That’s a huge difference.

The only card to be playable with SMAA 4X enabled is in fact the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z. It offers smooth performance, 56 FPS on average, and minimums in the lower 40’s with SMAA 4X enabled with max game settings at 1440p. As this is newest game in our testing today, this game puts the RTX 2070 in good light. Let’s see what the other games do.