MSI Dresses GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z GPU in Carbon Fiber

MSI brought a lot of new toys to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this year. Based on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, the limited edition MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z was among one of the graphics card manufacturer's more lavish items on display at its booth.

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z rocks the Tri-Frozr cooler with a stunning carbon fiber design and gold accents. Marketing is kept to a minimum and only the Lightning monicker is imprinted on the shroud. There are three Torx 3.0 fans with double ball bearings to provide the graphics card with active cooling. Curiously, only the middle fan lacks RGB lighting while the other two fans come with tiny RGB LEDs implanted directly into the blades. 

MSI's RGB Mystic lighting is also present on the blackplate and on the side of the shroud. As usual, users can personalize the graphics card's addressable RGB lighting and effects through the MSI Dragon Center software. Speaking of the backplate, MSI outfitted the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z with a beautiful carbon fiber backplate. Although it's there to provide rigidity and prevent bending, the full-cover backplate definately gives the graphics card a premium feel.

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z is a beast that occupies up to three PCI slots and measures 32.8cm in length. MSI even includes a support bracket for it. The graphics card features a customized 12-layer PCB with a robust 19-phase power delivery subsystem and 60A power stages. The are 16 phases for the GPU and three phases for the memory. According to MSI, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z employs a massive heatsink, two 8mm heatpipe, and six 6mm heatpipes for optimal heat dissipation. The graphics card is even equipped with a customizable OLED panel on the side where users can monitor its vitals, such as the operating clocks, voltages, and temperatures. Additionally, the OLED panel also allows users to display personal animations to show off to their friends.

Because it is a graphics card that focuses on overclocking, three 8-pin PCIe power connectors provide the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z with ample power. Experienced overclockers will be happy to know that there are four special connectors on the back of the graphics card and voltage readpoints for meticulous tweaking. As for video outputs, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z comes equipped with three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs, one HDMI 2.0b port, and the typical USB Type-C port for Nvidia VirtualLink.

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z will come with dual BIOS support. The default BIOS applies a factory overclock of 1,770MHz while the LN2 BIOS drops the boost clock back down to Nvidia's reference speed but raises the power limit to 350W. We can expect the graphics card to employ cherry-picked GPUs with excellent overclocking potential. The 11GB of GDDR6 memory on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z remains untouched and runs at 1,750MHz (14,000MHz effective).

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z will be available in the first quarter of this year. However, MSI hasn't revealed its pricing yet.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • the_weyday
    what's the case in that picture?
  • passkabeh
    why none of the current flagship cards make bruised aluminium fan enclosure instead of carbon fiber?i think aluminium has better heat dissipation property while still get premium feeling?
  • larkspur
    21670340 said:
    why none of the current flagship cards make bruised aluminium fan enclosure instead of carbon fiber?i think aluminium has better heat dissipation property while still get premium feeling?
    Using CF on graphics cards is just a gimmick. Most carbon fiber (like the type used on this card) is actually an insulator - terrible at conducting heat. It provides zero cooling performance advantage - actually worse than metal. It's there for the look and bragging rights I guess. Some CF (very expensive stuff) can actually be a good heat conductor, but this probably isn't that stuff. The reason you don't see more aluminum fan shrouds is because it doesn't make a significant difference in cooling performance and costs a lot more than plastic. Backplates can help cooling (assuming components are in proper contact with them). But a lot of backplates are just there to add rigidity.
  • Sam Hain
    Whats the price? A grand twice.
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