MSI Gaming Z GeForces are its fanciest Pascal cards yet

It seems MSI saved its best for last. After bringing out the Gaming- and Gaming X-series cards for the green team's finest, MSI is announcing the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 Gaming Z series. These cards come with the highest clock speeds in MSI's graphics card arsenal. The GTX 1080 Gaming Z has a 1911-MHz boost speed—nearly 200 MHz over the reference card's 1733-MHz figure. The GTX 1070 sees a similar bump, to 1860 MHz from the reference 1683 MHz. Just don't forget to enable "OC mode" if you want to see those numbers.

VR fans might be interested in what is apparently MSI's answer to Gigabyte's VR-Link, called the "VR Boost Kit." MSI doesn't provide a lot of specific details, but it seems to be a front panel device with HDMI and USB connections for VR headsets. Board photos of the Gaming Z cards don't make any internal HDMI connectors apparent, so this solution may not be as elegant as Gigabyte's.

The back of each Gaming Z card is emblazoned with an elaborate MSI logo featuring a dragon inside of a shield-shaped design that recalls medieval heraldic crests. This logo is, of course, lit up with configurable RGB LEDs. The cards have a sturdy metal backplate and a similar plate on the front of the card that MSI calls a "rugged anti-bending strip." That metal strip bolts directly to the rear bracket, and should indeed help prevent cards from bending under the weight of that hefty heatsink.

Both cards are equipped with the same 8GB of memory as the reference design, and both include the latest TwinFrozr VI cooler design just like the Gaming X series. The Gaming Z line also carries over the eight-pin and six-pin power plug arrangement and beefy PCB from MSI's middleweight cards. We have no doubt savvy users can push these cards even further beyond their already-high clock speeds. MSI didn't reveal pricing or availability for the new cards.

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