A couple of days ago TechPowerUp discovered that MSI and ASUS deceived users by shipping video cards with a different BIOS to reviewers. The press samples have the so-called OC Mode turned on by default, whereas the retail cards require the installation of a bundled tool to enable the OC profile. While it doesn't cause a massive performance difference, it's enough to beat cards in comparison tests that do not use these tricks.
MSI just send out an official response to TechPowerUp, in which they claim they're doing this to ensure reviews demonstrate the same performance available through the MSI Gaming App. But even though MSI denies wrongdoing, the company did make alternative BIOS versions available for its graphics cards, which enable the OC Mode by default, just like on the press samples.
MSI Review samples and MSI retail cards are identical in terms of hardware and performance. Both have the exact same performance profiles available through the MSI Gaming App. All information about these performance profiles is clearly communicated and can be found on the respective product pages. (example: https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/GEFORCE-GTX-1070-GAMING-X-8G.html)
Retail cards are set to 'Gaming Mode' by default, which offers the best Performance per Watt, while still giving close to 'OC Mode' in-game performance. In order to enjoy the best performance and all features of MSI GAMING products, we highly recommend to use the MSI Gaming App which is available for free on MSI.com and the driver CD. The MSI Gaming App allows you to apply one of three performance profiles with a single click, instantly giving you the desired performance.
As several reviewers have stated, software like the MSI Gaming App is often not used in reviews. This is why review samples of the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 GAMING X graphics cards are set to 'OC Mode' to ensure that reviews demonstrate the same performance available through the MSI Gaming App. The award winning TWIN FROZR VI cooling is designed to handle each performance profile flawlessly, giving you the lowest noise in the industry and consistent performance so gamers can focus on their gameplay.
For those who prefer not to use the MSI Gaming App but still want to enjoy the same 'OC Mode' performance by default, we have released an alternative vBIOS with 'OC Mode' enabled by default.
Links to the BIOS updates presented before the statement
Learn more about the MSI Gaming app: https://gaming.msi.com/article/msi-gaming-app-article