MSI RTX 2070 Armor Review
Summarising the RTX 2070 Armor is as simple as you'd expect on a basic level, yet also as complicated as possible on other levels.
Whenever we are reviewing hardware we try and look at it in a vacuum, how it would appear to people who don't have anything at all and are looking for their first model. Yet we also have to see things through the lens of current products on the market of a similar price. Furthermore you, dear reader, have to apply your own wants and needs and budgetary restraints to further colour the overall perception. Hence it being quite complicated.
Which graphics card you already own places a clear line in the sand. If you've got the GTX 970 or GTX 1070, and anything lower or older than that, then the RTX 2070 is a good buy. There is enough extra oomph built in that it can handle the modern games with aplomb in 1080 or 1440, and then the performance is title specific in 4K with some games demanding more than it can deliver in almost any scenario, others comfortably working with maximum detail, and others still requiring a teensy bit of fettling to maximise performance at this most demanding resolution. Sitting upon that metaphorical 'to buy or not to buy' line in the sand are the GTX 1080 and Vega RX64. Both of which give performance very similar, although the GTX 1080 tends to be happier in older or less demanding titles, whilst the RX64 is very similar in every game but with a much higher heat and power draw price to be paid. Lastly the GTX 1080Ti is generally better in nearly all titles, but then that is recent enough that if you own one you're probably not seeking an upgrade just yet.
Where the waters get muddied are, as they were with the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080Ti, in the potential future benefits of the RTX architecture. With Tensor cores handling lots of AI based fun and games and the RT cores improving the lighting then there are oodles of things the RTX can do which the GTX cards cannot match. Of the list of current titles with their preliminary support only Final Fantasy XV is in our benchmark suite but the benefits of the Tensor Cores and DLSS are spectacular there. Whilst the GTX 1080Ti usually out-performed the RTX 2070 Armor in our benchmarks, FFXV showed that the future is unquestionably bright as the MSI card brought super-sampling to the party with its glorious eye-candy and lack of jaggies, yet at a performance level the Pascal card couldn't match even if we disabled AA entirely. So clearly in the future the RTX 2070 will be the card to own.
Of the two MSI RTX 2070 cards we're reviewing today the Armor is the more mainstream with it's older TORX 2.0 fans and simple RGB logo lighting. The performance is incredibly consistent across all of our titles and if you plan on gaming at 1080 or 1440 and haven't already got a card capable of doing so it will please you immeasurably whilst also giving an element of future-proofing for when the RT and DLSS titles hit the market in great numbers, and for those reasons it wins our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.
The MSI RTX 2070 Armor hits the streets with a MSRP of £459.99.