Thursday, May 23rd 2019

MSI Readies Commemorative RTX 2080 Ti Lighting Z 10th Anniversary Edition

Can you believe it's been 10 years since MSI launched its flagship Lighting brand of graphics cards? Turns out we reviewed our first MSI Lightning card more than a decade ago! An MSI Lightning card has always been the indicator that a flagship GPU by NVIDIA or AMD has succeeded in winning the hearts, minds, and wallets of gamers, lest MSI wouldn't bother with one. MSI already released the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lighting Z, and we reviewed it. Sources tell us that the MSI could be working on a second Lightning product based on the RTX 2080 Ti, which isn't a variation of the original, such as the RTX 2080 Ti Lighting Z with a water-block bolted on.

Named something along the lines of RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z 10th Anniversary Special Edition, the card will look significantly different than the RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z, and will ship with an on-card OLED display that puts out real-time monitoring data of the card's temperatures, clock-speeds, fan-speeds, voltages, memory utilization, or pretty much whatever you program it to. The card's cooler will also feature a more richly detailed RGB LED embellishment all around, and will be designed like a piece of jewelry. MSI may also touch up the card's electricals, BIOS, and overclocking-headroom to rival EVGA RTX 2080 Ti KINGPIN. MSI will unveil this card at the 2019 Computex exhibition.
Over the past decade, we didn't even realize that 14 MSI Lighting graphics cards struck our VGA review labs. Pictured above are just 5 of the above from every other year. You can read all of their reviews here. These cards earned their place among the best cards we ever got our hands on, almost never disappointing us with performance, overclocking headroom, fan-noise, power-draw, or just plain premium-ness.

Lightning's journey traces back to the success of MSI's Twin Frozr project way back in 2007. The company was embattled with perception problems, low confidence among DIY gamers and enthusiasts for product quality and aftersales support.

MSI embarked on a long and difficult journey reinventing itself with the "Gaming" brand. The first MSI Gaming products were, unsurprisingly, motherboards and graphics cards. The Twin Frozr cooling solution was among the best custom-design VGA cooling solutions at the time, featuring low load noise, and cooling performance rivaling serious aftermarket VGA air coolers of the time. These, coupled with product design philosophy built entirely around the DIY gamers, MSI's Gaming brand too flight with Lucky the dragon as its mascot.

The crimson red + black color scheme coupled with the MSI dragon emblem soon became a sought after brand among DIY shoppers. Other companies started copying MSI's branding scheme, especially its motherboard differentiation "Gaming 3," "Gaming 5," and "Gaming 7." 10 years down the line, MSI Gaming is among the most respected brands in the DIY crowd, appealing to almost every market-segment, across motherboards, graphics cards, notebooks, and gaming peripherals. Here's to the next 10 years.

Around 2009, MSI found itself with having to need a brand to signify the very best of the best, and differentiate within its lineup. For graphics cards, this meant the highest factory-overclocked speeds out of the box, the strongest VRM and choicest components to enable the highest manual overclocking headroom, and the best possible cooling solution to go, regardless of the fact that leaderboard-crawling professional overclockers swap out the factory cooler with their own extreme cooling. To enthusiasts this meant the best possible platform to work with. To gamers it simply meant a turnkey solution that's the fastest possible card based on a given GPU, so they don't need to key in any manual OC. The result was Lightning.

We're taking a lightning rod with us to Computex.
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11 Comments on MSI Readies Commemorative RTX 2080 Ti Lighting Z 10th Anniversary Edition

#1
metalfiber
That second pic of the AMD 6970 Twin Frozr 3. That same cooler was on my 6950 that i flashed to a 6970 Lightning. It opened up the shaders and everything else. Thanks to the bios switch i didn't worry as much about turning it into a brick...Ah, those were the days.
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#2
bonehead123
metalfiber said:

That second pic of the AMD 6970 Twin Frozr 3. That same cooler was on my 6950 that i flashed to a 6970 Lightning. It opened up the shaders and everything else. Thanks to the bios switch i didn't worry as much about turning it into a brick...Ah, those were the days.
^^what he said^^

been there, done that, same thing. Excellent products back in the day, Twin Frozr worked really well, but I'm not entirely certain about current products though, since I haven't had any MSI cards for quite some time :)
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#3
dj-electric
Dual BIOS
multiple voltage read points
Better-than-STRIX cooling
friendly vMOD PCB

Check those boxes, then we're talking.
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#4
RH92
So MSI is basicaly preparing a true Lightning 2080Ti this time ......
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#5
cucker tarlson
I liked Lightinig cards more when they didn't look like they were sold from the trunk of a Lada Samara during a church fair

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#6
Chloe Price
IMO Lightning is a far more better series than ROG these days. These babies are meant for overclocking, and ROG has became a mainstream brand these days.
bonehead123 said:

been there, done that, same thing. Excellent products back in the day, Twin Frozr worked really well, but I'm not entirely certain about current products though, since I haven't had any MSI cards for quite some time :)
I boycotted MSI for years since when my P6N SLI Platinum just died, that left the taste of shit in my mouth. I bought an used 780 Ti (the Gaming model, there's a review here in TPU) some years ago and it was great! Now kicking with Ryzen and a MSI X470 board, and this isn't bad. The bios is a mess when comparing to Asus or Asrock, but it does it job. MSI is fine. :)
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#7
biffzinker
Chloe Price said:

I boycotted MSI for years
My ban goes back to a MSI P4 socket 478 with Intel 865PE chipset.
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#8
Chloe Price
biffzinker said:

My ban goes back to a MSI P4 socket 478 with Intel 865PE chipset.
I almost exploded, just got GTA IV for PC and then my MSI mobo broke.

Then I got a cheap Asus board which didn't do shit, the MSI board ran fine with E6400 @ 3.4GHz, that cheapo Asus could only go for 344fsb. :/


But like I said, this X470 board is fine, the bios is just pretty different that I've used to. But when thinking that I paid 120 euros for this as new, I'm not whining. :D
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#11
John Naylor
As for brand bias, it's a simple matter to check RMA rates.

I find it weird that tech saavy folks hold bias from year to year w/o any logical support .... as if things don't change. What kind of dominant streaks have we soon over the years in sports ... consecutive Word Series wins, consecutive Stanley Cups, Alabama / SEC Football, UCLA basketball .... it's rare.... and so is teck. How many GFX companies have disappeared in the last 20 years ? Muskin dominated the performance memory market for 20 years and practically fell out of it with DDR4.

Asus dominated for 10 years and then corporate big wigs decided winning performance and reliability crowns was less important than stockholder returns. After Z87 and GTX 7xx series they lost the performance and innnovation crowns .... came back with Z170 but only to match everybody else. MSI has taken performance crowns in the GFX card arena (based upon TPU testing) in recent generations. The only crown I can give Asus these days is their BIOS and MoBo utilities.

Users are best served as "hardware whores", whomever has the best numbers, that's who Im going home with. RMA rates are available tho getting scarcer. User ratings are comiled and available. The only real subjective thing left is tech support which is universaly terrible tho no one seems to reach the depths Asus has.

Brand loyalty and Brand bans has no place in a field that changes more rapidly than just about any other,
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