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MSI RTX 2070 Armor 8G Review

Rating: 8.0.

For our launch day coverage of the RTX 2070, we assessed the factory overclocked Gaming Z model from MSI. It proved to be a very competent card, but priced at over £600 it faces stiff competition from the GTX 1080 Ti. The MSI RTX 2070 Armor 8G we are looking at today, however, costs £459 – making it MSI's entry level RTX 2070 card. That means it doesn't have much in the way of features, but if you are just interested in bang-for-buck, could this be the card to get?

In the weeks that followed the launch of Nvidia's RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti cards, a lot was made about the pricing of the cards – to this day, there are very few aftermarket models available that cost less than the Founders Edition cards. With the 2070, it seems Nvidia has directed its partners to have more entry-level models available at the 2070's base MSRP (£459), and the MSI RTX 2070 Armor 8G is one such card.

That means it does not come factory overclocked, while its cooler is also quite basic. As we will see later in the review, MSI is also re-using the PCB design from its RTX 2070 Gaming Z with the Armor 8G to try and keep costs as low as possible. So while it's certainly not a card to go for if you want plenty of extra features, can the raw performance of the RTX 2070 make this card worth buying?

 GPU RTX 2080 Ti (FE)  GTX 1080 Ti RTX 2080 (FE)  GTX 1080 RTX 2070 (FE)  GTX 1070 
 SMs  68 28  46  20 36 15
CUDA Cores   4352  3584 2944 2560 2304 1920
Tensor Cores   544  N/A 368 N/A 288 N/A
 Tensor FLOPS  114  N/A  85 N/A 63 N/A
 RT Cores  68  N/A 46 N/A 36 N/A
 Texture Units 272  224 184 N/A 144 120
 ROPs  88  88 64 64 64 64
Rays Cast   10 Giga Rays/sec  1.1 Giga Rays/sec 8 Giga Rays/sec 0.877 Giga Rays/sec 6 Giga Rays/sec 0.65 Giga Rays/sec
RTX Performance   87 Trillion RTX-OPS  11.3 Trillion RTX-OPS 60 Trillion RTX-OPS  8.9 Trillion RTX-OPS 45 Trillion RTX-OPS 6.5 Trillion RTX-OPS
GPU Boost Clock   1635 MHz  1582 MHz 1800 MHz  1733 MHz 1710 MHz 1683 MHz
 Memory Clock  14 Gbps  11 Gbps 14 Gbps 10 Gbps 14 Gbps 8 Gbps
 Total Video Memory  11GB GDDR6  11GB GDDR5X  8GB GDDR6  8GB GDDR5X 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR5
Memory Interface   352-bit  352-bit  256-bit  256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
 Memory Bandwidth  616 GB/sec  484 GB/sec  448 GB/sec  320 GB/sec  448 GB/sec 256 GB/sec
 TDP  260W  250W  225W  180W 185W 150W

Unlike the Founders Edition RTX 2070, and MSI's own Gaming Z model, the Armor 8G does not ship with a factory overclock. Instead, it is clocked at reference speeds, meaning a rated 1620MHz boost clock – although we can still expect it to exceed this frequency in operation thanks to GPU Boost.

Other than that, the Armor 8G has identical specs to the RTX 2070 Gaming Z, with the same GDDR6 memory clock and thus 448 GB/s memory bandwidth. It will be interesting to look at overclocking later in the review to see how much ground the Armor 8G can regain when manually tuned to its limit.

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