Normally, we buy desktop PCs to get the power we need and sometimes assemble one for the extra savings it gives to our pockets. But when you are in need of a special PC to accommodate your processing requirements and portability, then that’s when brands like MSI enters.
Until today, the finished PC product is a very small market worldwide. Even All-In-One PCs aren’t that significant as compared to desktop PCs or even laptops. But still, companies like MSI continues to push the boundaries of technology to offer the best of power and portability. As a result, meet the new MSI Vortex desktop-class mini-tower PC with dual-graphics, designed to offer the best power in the smallest possible form factor.
Our review unit is a customized MSI Vortex and it’s available for pre-order basis via MSI Concept stores, we will tell you later why.
MSI Vortex Specifications
- Quad-Core Intel Core i7-7700K – 4.4MHz
- MSI-Vortex G65 (MS-1T11 Motherboard)
- Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
- 32GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM
- Super RAID 4 Mode – 256GB RAID 0 Intel Dual NVMe M.2 SSDs
- 1TB 7200rpm HDD
- Killer Wireless n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
- Dual Killer E2500 Ethernet Controller
- RGB LED Lighting
- 450W 80 Plus Gold Certification PSU
- 4x USB 3.0, 2x HDMI Port, 2x Killer LAN Port, 3.5mm microphone and audio, SPDIF
- 2x Display Port with Thunderbolt Support + 2x USB Type-C port
- 6.5L Space | 10.5″ Height
The Vortex at one look can be mistaken as a bin, no jokes about that as it resembles the form factor of the Mac Pro. But MSI implemented a much gaming oriented look with the vortex, for starters is the angular circle dome shape. It’s not a perfect circle, as the upper portion curves to lean back slightly, giving it pristine look.
At the center is an emblem-like pattern to highlight the front similar to a shield, while LED strip lights can be seen as accent colors through the front, top, and back.
We guess the word Vortex was derived from the methodology of MSI’s cooling system, it features a tornado-like wind flow where cool ones go from below and shoot up. This method is proven to give better air-speed, flow, and cooling capabilities as compared to the regular fans blowing in one direction.
At the back are all the ports, much-needed ports like USB, audio, internet, and display are quickly accessible and has good placement. Once you are used to the device, it won’t be hard to plug-in any USB.
The display port, USB Type-C and power supply cable are placed in the lower portion, these are usually not that used and less accessed most of the time. So it was a wise decision for MSI to separate this for better aesthetics as well.
Our setup for the Vortex isn’t extravagant, we have a standard 28″ 60Hz monitor and gaming keyboard and mouse to pair with it. Other than that, it’s the Vortex that really stands out.
We primarily used the Vortex for video editing and gaming and our benchmark scores in Time Spy 1.0 and Fire Strike Ultra proved that the MSI Vortex is a 4K Ready PC. It slams other 4K gaming PCs, but we won’t be surprised here as the Vortex has a different implementation as compared to dual SLI notebook pcs.
Most of the game we played is the casual Overwatch and Dota 2, yes…we don’t play hardcore games as of the moment, unfortunately. But, the Vortex easily process both games in the highest setting possible which is expected.
Everything is fast with the Vortex thanks to the RAID 0 Dual NVMe M.2 SSDs using MSI’s own Super RAID 4 Mode. We were able to get 3,000 sequential read speeds, enough to load applications faster and even the OS in less than 5 seconds upon boot up.
The 1TB 7200rpm HDD, on the other hand, is just decent, enough to store large files for quick access. But, we highly suggest using the primary SSD for rendering purposes, especially for same-day edit videos. The different is just very dramatic, especially for loading large 1080p videos and scrolling through to get snippets.
Rendering an 8-minute 1080p video was only less than 6 minutes, uploading it was even longer. Something we appreciated when we used the vortex in our recent coverage of tech events that needed same-day video edit. Perhaps, that is also one strength of this PC and that is to be versatile in any desk it may be.
Other exclusive features of the Vortex like the Killer dual LAN wasn’t really necessary if you don’t have multiple LAN connections at home. The Wireless AC connection proved to be good with a stable connection and no encounters of downtime at all.
Aside from that, you can also do virtual reality gaming or setup a 4 multi-monitor display with the vortex. Sufficient enough for future generations of gaming and productivity.
MSI’s dragon center is where you can see most tweaking for the device, it provides a graphical based settings for the vortex. You can set up to 6 profiles when needed, should you need to change based on your job, game or even mood.
Of course, the 1st tab to tweak around is the RGB lighting. You can have settings of normal, breathing, rainbow and flashing. You can also change the colors of each LED independently through pressing a color in the RGB spectrum.
One problem we encountered is that you can’t really drag the selection tool for the color. Plus you can’t match one LED area to the other by pressing a command, you will really need to press the same location if you are lucky to do so. To be honest, it was frustrating to set two areas at the same color while changing the front to another color. We wish MSI can implement a better interface for the LED strip lighting.
Other enhancements like Nahimic 2, Killer Network and XSplit are also available. Nahimic is an audio specialist that enhances audio quality, recording and they even have their own version of a sonic radar called “Sound Tracker”.
The killer control center is also nice, it can let you prioritize your apps to gaming when necessary. It also gives you an overview of your signal quality, traffic of network and even overview of your whole network.
The MSI Vortex is a desirable machine worth drooling, especially for those who are in need of a PC that can handle everything and everywhere. At 6.5L of capacity or 10.5″ in height, it’s definitely the most powerful PC we have encountered in a very respectable form factor.
Gaming is not only its purpose but also video editors, AI programmers and even events organizers that simply need a reliable PC to work in crucial times. This form factor if often ignored by others due to the price, but it still serves its purpose of being a gaming, work, and video haven. But prepare to shell out a minimum of $4,000 or around Php230,000 for the Vortex and that is just the base configuration available.
Others will ask “Why not just buy a laptop with 4K?” or “Why not just build your own?”, the answer is that you buy this at a premium of size and performance. Gaming laptops at 150k sometimes can’t even game at 4K and you can easily set this up for quad-monitor setups when required. It’s not about practicality but more of advantages, that is the premium you pay here.
You can pre-order a MSI Vortex unit at any MSI Philippines store, you can also pre-set your configuration from graphics type to storage size. If not, you can just dismantle the vortex as most RAM and storage are upgradeable.
Overall the MSI Vortex is a revolution in mini tower desktop PCs, it’s just a bit bigger than the MAC Pro…but packs a lot more power for both productivity and gaming currently no other competitor can match.