MSI Announces The Aegis Gaming Desktop

MSI is one of the leading hardware companies around and manufactures an enormous range of products including graphics cards, motherboards, mouse mats, gaming laptops and much more. Their latest creation entitled, the Aegis, is a gaming desktop opting for a usual yet compact design. Furthermore, there’s a carrying handle to easily take the system to another person’s house or compete in a LAN event. The system supports a number of high-end graphics cards up to the GTX 980 Ti.

Ready for Excellent Graphics
Play the latest games in all their glory with MSI Aegis. It can be equipped with the latest high-end graphics cards. The compact case is future proof, as it has enough space for a full-size graphics card to bring all the power that real gamers need.

Silent Storm Cooling 2
To get outstanding performance Aegis is equipped with a powerful cooling system, Silent Storm Cooling 2. Embracing three separate air flow streams that individually take care of the cooling of different components within Aegis. The unique Silent Storm Cooling 2 design makes sure the system’s temperature stays perfectly under control, ensuring a cool and silent operation.

Easy Access to Upgradable Components
For gamers who always want to get the best out of their system, the components of the Aegis are easily accessible and ready to be upgraded at any time. Whether the user wants to expand storage, switch to another CPU or upgrade the graphics card, he can always keep the MSI Aegis gaming rig up to date with the latest hardware.

Mystic Light
Make your build look like it’s on fire or as cold as ice. Choose a style with Mystic Light RGB LED built into the front of the case and select any of the colors from the palette to match and give Aegis its own gaming look. Or use breathe, gradient or Gaming & music modes.

Hear Beyond the Limits
Delivering the crispest sound signal to gamers’ ears with special hard- and software amplifiers built in. Audio Boost 3 is integrated into the Aegis motherboard and produces the best sound, especially benefiting gamers using a gaming headset. Nahimic Sound Technology software is used to boost the audio performance to the next level. Get immersed with high definition virtual 7.1 sound using advanced sound enhancement effects and unique features for gamers.

MSI Socket LGA2011v3 Motherboards Now Support Broadwell-E

Intel has resigned the higher core count processors for the professional X99 platform and doesn’t look like changing this business strategy in the near future. As a result, users with hefty requirements might need a 6-core or even an 8-core CPU for complex rendering work, or perhaps huge video editing workloads. The current flagship is the Intel Core i7-5960X which utilizes 8-cores and 16-threads. Apparently this behemoth will be replaced sometime this year with a 10-core, 20-thread 6950X processor. The new range codenamed Broadwell-E is going to be an alluring prospect for extreme users wanting the absolute best performance. Theoretically, these CPUs should work on 2011v3 motherboards providing the manufacturer offers a suitable BIOS

Today, MSI revealed that they have already taken this into consideration and released BIOS updates for their entire X99 range. Here you can see the list of supported models:

  • X99S MPOWER (E7885IMS.M80)
  • X99A SLI Krait Edition (E7885IMS.N50)
  • X99S SLI Krait Edition (E7885IMS.N50)
  • X99A RAIDER (E7885IMS.P20)
  • X99A RAIDER (E7885IMS.P20)
  • X99A GAMING 7 (E7885IMS.HC0)
  • X99S GAMING 7 (E7885IMS.HC0)
  • X99A SLI PLUS (E7885IMS.1A0)
  • X99S SLI PLUS (E7885IMS.1A0)
  • X99A MPOWER (E7885IMS.M80)
  • X99A GODLIKE GAMING (E7883IMS.130)
  • X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON (E7883IMS.210)
  • X99A GAMING 9 ACK (E7882IMS.320)
  • X99S GAMING 9 ACK (E7882IMS.260)
  • X99S GAMING 9 AC (E7882IMS.190)
  • X99A XPOWER AC (E7881IMS.A30)
  • X99S XPOWER AC (E7881IMS.190)

This is great news for existing owners of X99 MSI motherboards who intend to upgrade to a Broadwell-E CPU upon release. I have to commend MSI for updating the BIOS way in advance (perhaps), to ensure everything is fully operational when you purchase a Broadwell-E processor. If you have any intentions of upgrading, simply navigate to the specific model number’s support page and download the latest BIOS version. Other manufacturers should follow suit very soon but it’s great to see MSI taking such a proactive approach.

Are you looking forward to Broadwell-E’s release?

MSI Z170A GAMING M5 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction

Since the release of Intel’s Z170 chipset, MSI has unveiled a fantastic, feature-rich motherboard range which caters to contrasting user demands. For example, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON is an excellent choice for consumers wanting a stylish black colour scheme and great reliability at an affordable price point. In contrast to this, the MSI Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Edition‘s gorgeous aesthetic design makes it one of the most innovative LGA1151 motherboards on the market. Of course, the iconic dragon styling on many MSI products have become a popular choice among the core gaming demographic. This red and black theme compliments mainstream hardware and retails at very competitive prices across various performance tiers.

The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is a mid-range motherboard sporting an attractive design and impressive specification. More specifically, the product is capable of housing two PCI-E M.2 storage devices and has support for USB 3.1 Gen2 connectivity. Not only that, the motherboard includes a one year premium XSplit license and Nahimic audio enhancements. As you might expect, many of MSI’s leading technologies are incorporated such as DDR4 Boost, Game Boost and much more. Given this particular model’s astonishing software suite and military class components, I expect to see it rival higher priced offerings rather well. Could this be the best value Z170 motherboard thus far for high-end users? Let’s find out!

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

MSI always does a phenomenal job when it comes to packaging design and the Z170 GAMING M5 is no different. The bold colours and stunning product snapshot contrasts extremely well. This is one of the most eye-catching motherboard boxes I’ve seen and showcases the motherboard’s beautiful appearance.

On the opposite side, there’s a brief synopsis of the motherboard’s key selling points such as support for 3-way crossfire, 2-way SLI and Audio Boost 3.0. This is presented in a slick manner and doesn’t alienate the end-user with technical jargon.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard comes with a user’s guide, driver’s disk, metal case badge, I/O shield, SLI bridge, registration details, basic installation guide and four SATA cables. Please note, the press sample I received was previously used by another media so there’s only 3 SATA cables displayed in the photograph. Rest assured, the retail version will include four and be packaged without the need for an elastic band.

MSI is Now Offering Cashback on Selected Motherboards

Consumers have a staggering array of options when considering a new motherboard and it can be quite tricky to narrow down the choices. MSI produces a stunning range which targets various price points and user demands. Whether you’re looking for a flagship X99 server-grade product, or affordable H170 gaming motherboard, there’s something to suit everyone’s budget. The company has recently launched a promotion which allows you to receive cashback on the following motherboards:

X99A GODLIKE GAMING – £40.00
X99A GAMING 9 ACK – £40.00
X99A GAMING 7 – £30.00
C236A WORKSTATION – £30.00
Z170A GAMING M9 ACK – £30.00
Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM EDITION – £30.00
B150A GAMING PRO – £22.00
H170A GAMING PRO – £22.00
C236M WORKSTATION – £22.00
Z170A GAMING M7 – £22.00
Z170A GAMING M5 – £22.00
Z170A-G45 GAMING – £22.00
Z170A GAMING PRO – £22.00
Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON – £22.00
Z170A KRAIT GAMING 3X – £22.00
Z170I GAMING PRO AC – £22.00
Z170A TOMAHAWK AC – £15.00
Z170A TOMAHAWK – £15.00
Z170A SLI PLUS – £15.00
Z170M MORTAR – £15.00
H170M-A PRO – £15.00
H170I PRO AC – £15.00
B150M NIGHT ELF – £15.00
B150M MORTAR – £15.00
B150I GAMING PRO AC – £15.00
B150I GAMING PRO – £15.00

Please note the cashback offer is only available residents of the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Spain and Turkey. Furthermore, you need to have a valid proof of purchase from participating retailers. If you’re eligible, the claim process is really simple and shouldn’t take too long to complete. The promotion ends on the 18th April 2016, and all claims must be filled 30 days after the purchase date. Although, you can’t leave it longer than 60 days to complete.

To register your product and instigate a claim please visit this page. Cashback offers are always a great incentive and reduces the price of a product you’re considering by a decent amount. Perhaps, this is enough of a saving and an encouragement to upgrade to a higher-end model. Please remember the promotion is for a limited time so it’s important to register your claim as soon as possible. Personally, I feel the Z170A Pro Carbon is a bargain even without the cashback offer.

MSI Releases 75W GTX 950 GPUs OCV2 and OCV3

For graphics cards, 75W is a golden number as it dispenses with the need to have a separate power. This allows users to avoid a PSU upgrade and broadens the market for the card. Originally launched at 90W, it looks like Nvidia has managed to trim an additional 15W savings to produce 75W GTX 950s. First started off by ASUS, MSI is getting into the 75W GTX 950 as well with 2 new additions to their lineup.

Dubbed the GTX 950 2GD5 OCV2 and GTX 950 2GD5T OCV3, they will replace/supplement the 90W GTX 950 2GD5 OCV1 and GTX 950 2GD5T OCV2 respectively. Both cards are based on NVIDIA’s GM206-251 GPUs, with the 251 indicating either a special bin or a new process that Nvidia is using. Of course, the chips are still the same GTX 950 with 768 CUDA cores, 48 TMUs, and 32 ROPs with 128-bit GDDR5 memory interface fed by 6.6Gbps of 2GB GDDR5. Both cards are factory overclocked to 1076Mhz stock and 1253Mhz Boost.

Between the OCV2 and OCV3, the only difference is in the cooler and form factor. The OCV2 uses a single fan and is geared towards mITX of other small form factors. The OCV3 sports a larger dual-fan cooler and is longer to boot. Both cards feature hardware-accelerated decoding and encoding, making them good choices for HTPC or to upgrade an existing desktop system for some moderate gaming. No word yet has been revealed about pricing but expect it to fall near MSI’s current offerings.

MSI Teasing Aegis – Product Countdown Appears

What are MSI cooking up this time? That’s the question that is on our lips today as we see the launch of a brand new teaser from one of the world’s most popular gaming hardware manufacturers. So far, the only thing we’ve got to go on is the image above, showing some casing and LED lighting. To my eyes, it looks like the front of a PC chassis with an LED fan behind it, but it could just as easily be the back of a gaming notebook, a close up of a headset, of even an obscure view of a fancy looking graphics card, we really don’t know!

The countdown isn’t going to bring you much joy either, as it’s teasing a rather punishing 50 days and 12 hours wait for the big reveal, although we would expect more clues and teasers from MSI as the timer ticks down over the next few weeks. With everything from gaming systems, motherboards, peripherals, graphics cards and so much more being produced by MSI, as well as new graphics cards on the way from both Nvidia and AMD, and the fact that the timer ends just a couple of weeks short of Computex 2016, we’re certainly expecting this to be something big; otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the big teaser.

What do you think it could be? Even better, what are you hoping it will be? Let us know in the comments section below!

Can’t wait for the timer to tick to zero? Head on over to the official page and fill in your details to get updates as soon as they happen.

MSI Launches B150M Gaming Pro Motherboard With Free Mouse

The majority of consumer motherboards supporting Intel’s latest architecture utilizes the Z170 chipset. This makes business sense due to the large number of enthusiasts purchasing DDR4 memory speeds in excess of 2133MHz and engaging in overclocking. For the more budget-conscience user, the H170 and B150 chipsets provide great performance with some limitations. As previously mentioned, the main drawbacks revolve around the lack of overclocking and maximum memory support for DDR4-2133. In recent months, there has been some furore surrounding BCLK overclocking which allowed the end-user to overclock on a H170 or B150 motherboard. Unfortunately, Intel has quashed this idea on new products and tried to force consumers to use a new BIOS to disable this functionality.

Intel’s B150 chipset is primarily designed for business customers so it seems a little strange to see gaming features on B150 motherboards. Honestly, I mostly see these products being purchased by consumers with a limited budget opting for a locked multiplier CPU and cheap memory. The latest B150 motherboard to be announced is the MSI B150M Gaming Pro. As its name suggests, the motherboard adopts the mATX format and suitable for a compact build. The B150M Gaming Pro features two DIMM slots, and supports a maximum capacity of 32GB. This should be more than enough to power an affordable gaming rig, or business PC. As you can see from the header image, the motherboard contains a single PCI-E x16 slot, and 6 SATA 3 ports. There’s also 6 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports on the rear and 2 on the front via an internal header.

On another note, the motherboard supports MSI’s DDR4 Boost technology, LAN Protect, Game Boost and utilizes their Military Class 4 components. The Click BIOS 5 makes navigation remarkably simple, and there’s overvoltage protection to maintain maximum stability. In terms of audio, the product has a Realtek ALC887 codec and Audio Boost. The package is bundled with MSI’s DS B1 Interceptor gaming mouse sporting a 1600 DPI, gold connector, LED illumination and removable weights!

MSI Announces Cubi 2 Plus Mini-PC

MSI announced a new addition to their lineup of mini-PCs with the release of the new MSI Cubi 2 Plus. The new Cubi 2 Plus is built on the same principle as other mini-PCs where modern technology meets a space-saving design. This is also a system that will speak equally to normal consumers like you and me as well as businesses that want the benefits from a powerful system without the size restraints.

This new generation Cubi comes with the new mini-STX motherboard form factor that is about 29% smaller than a mini-ITX motherboard and making it the smallest motherboard with a socket design available. This is a new thing for miniPCs and it will allow you to easily upgrade the CPU should it be needed. You are still limited to the Skylake-S processors, but that in return makes the Cubi 2 Plus a very energy-efficient device that and uses less power.

The Intel H110 chipset used will allow you to install up to 32GB DDR4 memory to run at speeds up to 2133MHz. Internally you can attach one M.2 SSD and one 2.5-inch SATA drive which should be plenty local storage. Externally the Cubi 2 Plus offers both USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1, and USB 2.0 with super charger function. It has normal Gigabit Ethernet LAN powered by an Intel i219LM controller and dual-band wireless support via an M.2 adapter.

Overall, this is a system that seems to have it all and the only weak point, if you could call it that, is the use of Intel HD graphics. You still get support for dual-monitor setup through the HDMI and DisplayPort connectors.

The new MSI Cubi 2 Plus is scheduled to be globally available by the beginning of March 2016. Next to the normal Cubi 2 Plus there also will be a vPro edition with support for Intel’s® vPro technology. With all the security benefits it now also features Intel Unite. Intel Unite lets you easily set up meetings with colleagues that are all around the world and supports sharing up to 4 screens at the same time.

Feature Highlights

  • Windows 10 Home
  • DDR4 2133HMz up to 32GB
  • 6th Intel® Skylake-S power saving processor
  • Equipped with USB3.1 Gen1 type C
  • Maximum to 1 x M.2 SSD and 1 x 2.5” SATA HDD or SSD
  • Supports 4K ultra-high definition resolution
  • Supports Dual monitors
  • Special USB2.0 port on the top of the case with supercharger
  • Supports Microsoft DirectX 12
  • Support 802.11ac Combo Card
  • Support standard VESA-mount

EK Releases MSI R9 390X GAMING 8G Full-Cover Water Block

EK WB has expanded their full-cover water blocks a lot lately and that goes for both motherboards and graphics card. The newest cooler is for the last, a graphics card, or more specifically a full-cover water block solution for MSI’s Radeon R9 390X GAMING 8G graphics card and it’s called the EK-FC R9-390X TF5.

 

The new full-cover water block replaces the original TwinFrozr V cooler that comes with the graphics card out-of-the-box, and while it is an amazing GPU cooler, you can’t integrate it into your full custom loop. The new EK-FC R9-390X TF5 actively cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over all these critical areas. In return, it will allow you to run the card at much lower temperatures and higher overclocks.

The base is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of either quality POM Acetal or acrylic depending on the variant. As usual, both versions are available which allows you to match the design you prefer. The cooler also features EK WB’s pre-installed screw-in brass standoffs that allow for a safe installation procedure.

The EK-FC R9-390X TF5 water block also features EK’s unique central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance. The system also works flawlessly with the reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance and it will also work well in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.

To complete the setup, EK also offers a retention backplate made of black anodized aluminum. The backplate offers additional cooling to the backside of the circuit board, especially around the VRM area, besides giving the card a sleeker look.

The new EK WB EK-FC R9-390X TF5 is available now for an MSRP of €122.95 and the backplate will set you back an additional €29.95

MSI Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


MSI has rapidly established itself as one of the most reputable motherboard manufacturers and constantly strives to enhance the user experience through an intuitive BIOS interface and marvellous reliability. Additionally, the company offers a huge range of products to suit various colour schemes and often creates extremely-unique designs as demonstrated by the gorgeous, Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM motherboard. Some time ago, MSI released the Z170A GAMING PRO which adopted a fantastic red and black theme to please the core gaming demographic. Although, it’s difficult to stand out when using this colour scheme because manufacturers tend to fixate on a safe, popular design. That’s not to say there’s anything particular wrong with utilizing these colours, but I’d prefer to see more vendors breaking the mould through truly unusual aesthetic choices.

Since the Z170A GAMING PRO’s release, MSI has listened intently to user feedback and decided to construct a brand new model entitled, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON. At first glance, the only difference appears to be the new carbon fibre skin. However, this isn’t the case because MSI has made a raft of changes to enhance the motherboard’s connectivity. More specifically, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON features two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, one being type-A while the other is type-C. Furthermore, the redundant PCI slot has been dropped in favour of a fourth PCI-E x1 slot. Thankfully, the 180-degree angle SATA ports have been removed and replaced with a more suitable arrangement using right-angled connectors. Finally, the USB 3.1 Gen 1 layout features two on the rear and four via an internal header while USB 2.0 options now contain a total of 8 ports through a front four rear four setup.

With a recommended retail price of £119.99, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON is destined to compete alongside the ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING. As a result, it will be fascinating to see how the different products compare and I expect the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON to remain very competitive in synthetic testing.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The motherboard comes is a visually appealing box which outlines the RGB functionality, and gaming focus. I particularly like the neon design from the background vehicle which corresponds with the sort of lighting embedded onto the motherboard’s PCB.

The rear portion is packed full of information regarding the motherboard’s layout, impressive software package and premium-grade hardware. This is presented in a really clean, and concise manner with statistics to help quantify the importance of each unique feature.

In terms of accessories, there’s a detailed user’s guide, product registration card, cable labels, CPU installation guide and driver disk. It’s great to see the inclusion of cable labels because they help with diagnostics if you have multiple drives in a RAID configuration and struggle to determine which is the boot device.

Here we can see the bundled I/O shield, SLI bridge and SATA cables. The I/O shield’s red lettering and MSI dragon logo evokes a luxury feel and emphasizes the motherboard’s target audience.

MSI Introduces the Interceptor DS300 Gaming Mouse

MSI have long reached out into other areas than just motherboards and graphics cards, although they are the categories they are known best for. They cover most aspects of what the gamer wants and the latest product in this range is a new gaming mouse called the Interceptor DS300. The new laser gaming mouse has been designed to ensure the most comfortable right-handed fit for gamers, but that naturally depends on your palm size.

There is no arguing that the Interceptor DS300 is built on some solid hardware. The sensor is an ADNS-9800 8200 DPI laser sensor that can be adjusted on the fly in 50 DPI steps for just the right movements speed. The buttons are also made with quality switches as they come from OMRON and are some of the best mouse switches that you can get.

The 1.8m long cable has been braided to give it the best durability and it has a gold-plated USB connector at the end to make sure that the connector also has the best reception. All six buttons on the mouse can be programmed to various commands including macros.

The shell of the mouse has a few more nifty features such as anti-slip grips on the sides. These rubber side grips should ensure that you have full control at all times. The MSI dragon logo features LED backlighting, which is adjustable to 16.8 million RGB colours.

The bottom of the mouse hides the last feature, the adjustable weight system. The mouse comes with three 4.5 gram removable metal weights for weight and balance customizing. You could remove all three to make for a very light mouse, add them all for a heavy one, or simply just add one or two to shift the weight to one side of the mouse.

 

We already had a look at the Interceptor DS300 gaming mouse during our visit to CES in Las Vegas earlier this month and it looked just as great in real life as it does on the product photos. MSI hasn’t revealed a price or availability date yet, but I’m sure that will follow shortly.

MSI Announce 970A-G43 Plus Socket AM3+ Motherboard

AMD’s upcoming Zen CPU architecture requires a brand new socket, and predicted to feature a 40% IPC improvement compared to Excavator. As a result, it’s probably the most anticipated release in the processor market for some time and could potentially make AMD competitive again. This is so important to start a pricing war, as Intel has an oligopoly on the enthusiast CPU sector across various pricing tiers. Unbelievably, AMD first launched AM3+ CPUs way back in October 2010 which illustrates how old the current AM3+ socket is. Despite this, motherboard manufacturers have recently launched a few gaming themed AM3+ models to maximize sales before the arrival of Zen. Although, unless your AM3+ motherboard has suddenly died, it’s a frugal tactic to wait for Zen’s official release.

The latest addition by MSI is entitled, the 970A-G43 Plus and based on AMD’s 970 + SB950 chipset. Furthermore, the motherboard supports AM3+ processors with a TDP up to 125W, and draws power via the traditional 24-pin and 8-pin EPS connectors. The CPU is powered by a 4+1 phase VRM, which might come as a surprise given the use of 8+2 on certain AM3+ motherboards. On the other hand, this shouldn’t be a major issue given the budget $100 price point. As you might expect, the 970A-G43 Plus is capable of housing up to 32GB DDR3 2133MHz memory.

In terms of the overall layout, there is a single PCI-Express 2.0 featuring a reinforcement brace. This is designed to reduce GPU sag when using heavy graphics cards with a mammoth custom cooler. There’s also one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), two PCI-Express x1, and two traditional PCI slots. When it comes to storage, the motherboard includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, two USB 3.1 ports and two USB 3.0 ports (front panel). The audio solution utilizes the Realtek ALC892 chipset outputting 8-channels. MSI decided to opt for a Realtek gigabit Ethernet controller and UEFI firmware.

Do you think there is a need for new AM3+ motherboards in 2016?

MSI Releases Fix For Skylake Bug Causing Instability

Intel’s Skylake architecture has received a barrage of negative publicity after reports suggested the CPUs could bend under the weight of high pressure coolers and now, a bug was discovered during intensive workloads which causes the system to freeze. The root cause of this is hyperthreading and the use of CPUsupportsFMA3. Intel responded to the claims with an official statement which reads:

“Intel has identified an issue that potentially affects the 6th Gen Intel® Core family of products.  This issue only occurs under certain complex workload conditions, like those that may be encountered when running applications like Prime95.  In those cases, the processor may hang or cause unpredictable system behavior.  Intel has identified and released a fix and is working with external business partners to get the fix deployed through BIOS.”

Thankfully, MSI has released a very swift BIOS update to eradicate the issue although this only covers the Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM and Z170A GAMING M7 so far. However, the rest of MSI’s Skylake line-up will receive a fix pretty soon and be avaliable via MSI’s website. Please note, if you desperately need to apply the latest BIOS now for either the Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM and Z170A GAMING M7, navigate to this page.

Clearly, Intel’s latest release hasn’t gone as smoothly as the company expected, and issues have arisen which could deter consumers from upgrading. Despite this, it’s great to see such a fast response to any technical problems and helps to reassure users that Skylake is a worthwhile investment. Customer service is key in the technology industry, and once again MSI is displaying their commitment to providing the best communication possible. It will be interesting to see if any other technical problems arise from Skylake, but it’s important to remember that the freezing bug only really comes into play during extreme stress workloads.

MSI Launches X99 And Z170 Carbon Edition Motherboards @ CES 2016

CES 2016: MSI’s X99A GODLIKE GAMING motherboard is instantly recognizable with a feature list that almost defies belief. It’s certainly one of the best motherboards ever designed in terms of visual effects, build quality and overclocking prowess. While it’s an expensive proposition, there isn’t any other product like it on the market! However, not everyone enjoyed the lavish colour scheme, and wanted those amazing features in a more neutral package. Thankfully, MSI has delivered with the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON. This black finish works beautifully with white builds and looks so sophisticated. Additionally, MSI has improved on the Mystic Light to add a sense of visual flair to the carbon layer.

The Z170A PRO GAMING CARBON follows a similar pattern, and is a revised version of the Z170A PRO GAMING. As you can see, the motherboard looks astonishing and is a real show piece. Nothing has been altered in the core specification (which is a good thing), and I’m really pleased with how the accents on the heatsink contrast with the PCB’s colour.

Do you prefer the stealth black look or traditional red and black gaming theme?

“YAZI” Venator Class Star Destroyer Gaming Desktop Removed From eBay

Sander Van der Velden’s incredible reproduction of a Star destroyer is mind-blowing and one of the best case mods I’ve seen! The attention-to-detail throughout is hard to believe and constructed from aluminium pieces via 3D printing techniques. It’s certainly worth checking out the build log on here which provides a great insight into the techniques used to attain such a marvellous finish. After being showcased in the MSI suite, the creator listing the PC at a starting price of $2600.

However, the listing has now ended and is no longer available. This is because the item has been purchased by MSI as a showpiece for events.

In terms of its specifications, the device sports an MSI 780Ti lightning, MSI B150M motherboard, Intel Core i5-6600K, Avexir 16GB DDR4 memory, OCZ Vector 960Gb SSD, Thermaltake 1200 watt power supply and Thermaltake water cooling apparatus.

What would you pay to own this particular mod project?

MSI Unveils Company’s First Desktop PC @ CES 2016

CES 2016: MSI has gained a fairly prestigious reputation in the gaming laptop sector and produces an excellent array of stylish models to suit various price points. However, some users find laptops too limiting and prefer to upgrade their hardware when it eventually becomes outdated. The company’s latest creation is their first entry into gaming desktops which features a modular SFF design and innovative “360 airflow technology” to keep temperatures low in such a small chassis. The Vortex supports Intel’s latest 6th generation processors, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and dual PCIe x4 M.2 SSD support. This continues on from the superb ultra-fast storage options from the Dominator GT72 laptop.

Please note, the system is powered by a desktop grade, i7-6700K and even allows for overclocking. Although, I’m not entirely sure how plausible this is given the chassis’ enclosed design. Some concessions were made in the graphics card department due to space restrictions, as the SLI 980s are based on the mobile versions. Nevertheless, it should perform extremely well and the MXM modules can be upgraded in the future. Other additions include customizable RGB illumination and you even can change the dragon logo for a custom creation.

Pricing and availability hasn’t been revealed yet, but we will keep you updated when this information is released.

MSI Designs Innovative SLI Bridge @ CES 2016

CES 2016: The SLI bridges bundled with motherboards are usually for two way configurations and adopt a flexible construction. While these are perfectly functional, they don’t really evoke a premium feel or accentuate the visual exuberance of a high-end custom build. Currently, there are some premium SLI bridges on the market directly from NVIDIA and EVGA which look absolutely fantastic! However, the latest product from MSI is the first I’ve encountered which incorporates a cooling fan.

This is an ingenious idea because multi-GPU configurations suffer from increased temperatures which can limit their overclocking ability. Additionally, it’s always recommended to use reference models in SLI due to the rear exhaust and blower design. On the other hand, this particular SLI bridge should help alleviate any marked temperature increases with custom coolers especially in 3 and 4 way setups.

MSI Gaming Peripherals Revealed @ CES 2016

MSI may be known for their graphics cards, motherboards and gaming systems, to name but a few of their products, but they’re certainly starting to branch out. At CES 2016, they showed off their latest gaming peripherals, and we’re certainly impressed. Equipped with RGB lighting, it’s certainly attractive, sporting all the basics you would expect of a modern gaming keyboard, plunger switches, anti-ghosting, as well as extra touches such as a built-in wrist rest, and the funky MSI Gaming logo at the top.

The new mouse is well equipped, and comes with a stylish MSI dragon at the back, and matching red highlights on the left wing/thumb rest and scroll wheel mounting.

The DS300 comes equipped with a weight tuning system, braided cable, and certainly looks great. We had a little go with it and the performance seems perfect, but we’ll be getting on it the office soon enough to give it a more thorough testing.

The new headset looks great too, although the design does seem to blend Steelseries and TteSports design points, it still makes enough of its own unique statements to stand out. It’s pretty durable and lightweight too, so it should be great for those who love to travel or attend LAN gaming events.

MSI Bundles Limited Edition Heroes of the Storm with Select Systems

Blizzard had a very long and impressive success with World of Warcraft and while that is declining, they haven’t really found the next big thing to capture the users on the same level. Heroes of Storm has been off to a relatively good start, but nothing compared to World of Warcraft. That means that the marketing has to change and we see a lot of promotions lately with Heroes of the Storm packages bundled. The latest in this series is MSI that now bundles limited edition versions of Heroes of the Storm with select gaming systems.

While the game in itself is free, there are many items to get and these bundles include downloadable limited edition items for Heroes of the Storm. MSI’s bundle comes with their desktops and All-in-One PCs that are officially authorized and recommended by Blizzard Entertainment. While we have seen other bundles in the past, this is the first time that Blizzard teamed up for full systems.

Most people should know Heroes of the Storm by now, even if they haven’t played it themselves. It is a multiplayer online battle arena game that features heroes from Blizzard’s other games such as Diablo, Warcraft, and StarCraft. The game uses both free-to-play and freemium models and is supported by micropayments, which can be used to obtain heroes, visual alterations for the heroes in the game and mounts.

The limited edition MSI GAMING 24 and GAMING 27 all-in-one PCs have been engraved with Blizzard’s Heroes to make it remarkable. Users will find an exclusive voucher with the Hero character named Valla inside. The Nighblade MI2 system comes with an exclusive voucher with Hero character, Diablo with a Kaijo Skin while the MSI Nightblade X2B comes with a voucher for the Hero character Gazlowe and a Big Top skin.

These MSI systems might be compact and small, but they still pack great power that is backed by Intel i7’s and Nvidia 900 series graphics cards, among other things. If you just want something simple that works right out of the box, then solutions like these could be perfect. If you also play Heroes of the Storm or want to start it, then they might be perfect.

MSI GE62 and Limited Edition GT Omega Gaming Chair Competition Winner!

Another amazing competition has come to and end, and the good people at MSI have fired up their random bean machine to pick one lucky winner. While we would love to give away more prizes here, it’s not every day we give away such an amazing prize bundle, and there can be only one.

One lucky winner is going to get the amazing GT Omega racing chair, in a super rare MSI theme, as well as the fantastic GE62 gaming notebook!

“Thanks to everyone who entered into our Christmas giveaway for the MSI GE62 Apache & a custom GT Omega Racing/MSI chair in cooperation with eTeknix.com!” said MSI

MSI revealed the winner in their latest FB post, which you can read here.

“The winner is… Brett! Check your email for the best prize EVER!! The MSI UK Notebook Team”

Congratulations to the winner and thank you everyone else who entered, if you’re name is Brett, get checking your emails and reply ASAP so we can get your prizes dispatched!

MSI Reveals Z170 and X99 Carbon Edition Motherboards

MSI has recently revealed two brand new gaming motherboards as part of its CARBON special edition lineup. The motherboards in question are the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON and the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON, both of which feature black color schemes complemented by Mystic Light systems that are bound to appeal to those of you who like to show off your rigs. The X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition motherboard impresses with an improved Mystic Light RGB LED feature that offers 16.8Million colors and 16 LED effects. Other highlights comprise Killer DoubleShot-X3 Pro, Turbo M.2 connectivity, Audio Boost 3 Pro and USB 3.1 Type-A & Type-C connectors. This product was also designed with overclocking in mind, which is why it comes with a patented Turbo Socket with 2036 pins.

As for the Z170A GAMING PRO Carbon Edition motherboard, it also features the latest version of Mystic Light as well as an Intel-powered MSI GAMING LAN feature that will certainly come in handy during online gaming sessions. Audio Boost 3 is also a part of the package, as is the Steel Armor that was designed to support the heaviest graphics cards available on the market presently.

Blending aggressive aesthetics with top-notch performance, these new MSI offerings will probably be able to meet and surpass even the most demanding gaming expectations. Would you purchase one of these CARBON motherboards?

Huge Star Destroyer Model Hides a PC Within It

Some of the most talented artists and craftsmen find their greatest inspiration in pop culture, with Star Wars having possibly the greatest influence on creative than any other property. While supreme modder Sander Van der Velden’s large and detailed home-built model of a Star Wars Star Destroyer is impressive on its own, it is made all the more eye-widening for hiding a PC within it.

The Venerator-Class Star Destroyer, as seen in the two Star Wars prequels Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, was constructed from aluminium cuts and 3D printed parts, and houses within it a top-end gaming PC. Van der Velden has documented the build process in great deal over on the MSI forums.

The PC case was built for entry into a modding competition run by MSI, the MSI Pro Mod, now in its third year.

During the building process, MSI was so impressed by the work that the company asked if it could “showcase the YAZI at the International CES 2016 in Las Vegas,” according to Van der Velden. Since CES 2016 is only a matter of weeks away, he had to work day and night to complete the project in time to ship it.

Nvidia Partners Increased Profits due to GeForce Supply Issues

The past year has not been particularly good for the PC industry as a whole. Despite the launch of Microsoft’s new Windows 10 OS and various hardware releases, PC shipments have continued to fall, facing heavy pressure from mobile devices and tablets. Some firms have been hit hard, with Micron for instance, reporting poor financials among others. There does appear to be a few bright spots though, with gaming related sales up, and for Nvidia AiB partners such as Asus, eVGA and Zotac in particular, this has meant increased profits.

Buoyed by the strong Maxwell 2.0 chip powering most of the 9xx series of graphics cards, Nvidia partners like MSI, ASUS, Galaxy, Colorful, Palit and Gigabyte have managed to increase their profits despite little change in shipments. This is apparently due to high demand in China, outstripping supply and raising prices by as much as 15% on average. With shipments not keeping up, this has meant that these partners have been raking it in over the 2015 year.

Colorful, ASUS and Palit for instance are seeing a 20% increase in revenue over 2014 despite shipments being the same. Gigabyte however, went the opposite route and kept profits the same despite a 10% drop in shipments. Since the profits are going to the OEMs instead of the retailers, the price increases are probably due to the OEMs. Instead of increasing production and shipments to meet demand, it looks like the OEMs have decided to keep supply constant and raises prices instead, which is bad news for the consumer as they will ultimately pay more for the product, but great for the manufacturer as they haven’t had to work any harder to meet the demand. It may also hint that a launch for Pascal is expected soon as Nvidia and their partners start clearing the channel to pave the way.

MSI Z170 Motherboards Receive BIOS Update to Support Non-K Overclocking

Intel’s business strategy for some time has been to only offer an unlocked multiplier on higher end CPUs. While this makes the overclocking process extremely simple, it encourages the enthusiast user to spend more money to access any manual frequency boosts. However, professional overclocker Dhenzjhen managed to attain 4.6GHz on a locked multiplier Intel Core i3 6320. Not only that, this was achieved on the Supermicro H170 motherboard. This is remarkable because Intel’s H170 chipset theoretically doesn’t allow for any overclocking headroom whatsoever even with an K-series CPU. So how does this work?

The motherboard in question features a BIOS which allows for BCLK adjustments. Unlike the previous generation, BCLK isn’t linked to the PCI-E bus and any changes only impacts on the CPU, graphics and memory. There’s also a greater degree of accuracy when changing the CPU strap, and you no longer have to rely on 100MHZ, 125MHz and 167MHz. Without giving too much away, our review of the motherboard in question will be published soon and let’s just say the results are fascinating.

Now that this has been replicated by some vendors, it’s possible to enable identical functionality on other motherboards. Today, MSI announced their entire Z170 range will now support non-K series BCLK overclocking with a BIOS update. Here is a complete list of supported MSI Z170 models as of 18th of December:

Please note, the process does have some limitations. For example, you cannot overclock via this method and use the CPU’s iGPU. However, this isn’t a major problem as overclocking aficionados usually have a dedicated graphics card. On another note, the CPU’s EIST, C-states and Turbo Boost will all be disabled. Clearly, this isn’t recommended by Intel and they might refuse any warranty if you cause damage to the CPU. Although the likelihood of this happening, or Intel finding out is almost zero. Nevertheless, MSI rightfully included a disclaimer which reads:

“Overclocking Intel non-K CPUs is not officially supported by Intel and the BIOS versions created by MSI unlocking this option are all beta versions. Intel may choose to disable this option at any time. At no point MSI can be taken responsible for disabling overclocking for non-K CPUs.”

No-one currently knows how Intel will react, and I’m fairly sure they aren’t best pleased with this discovery. Despite this it’s a great development for consumers wanting to maximize their money when purchasing a CPU.

Please visit this page to access your motherboards BIOS update.

MSI Announces Two C236 Based WORKSTATION Motherboards

MSI already has a line of mobile workstations and it looks like they would like a bigger piece of the workstation pie as they’ve just introduced two new workstation motherboards based on Intel’s latest Greenlow platform and C230 series chipsets. The two new motherboards are the MSI C236A WORKSTATION and the MSI C236M WORKSTATION where the difference in the two is the size and a PCI Express connector more or less.

The C236A is a full-sized ATX motherboard while the C236M is an mATX version instead that naturally lacks one of the PCI Express slots due to the size limitations. Naturally the boards are designed for the use of Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro graphics cards in both single and multi-GPU scenarios. The PCI-E slots also got the Steel Armor treatment for better stability.

MSI also added some of their other well-known features such as DDR4 Boost, Military Class 4 components, Audio Boost, Intel Gigabit LAN and Click BIOS 5. There are plenty of storage options too including the newest Turbo M.2, Turbo U.2 and SATA Express connectors. You will also find the new reversible USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port on the IO area.

That is what we know of MSI’s new Workstation motherboards so far. The press release didn’t reveal much and the product pages don’t appear to be online yet. I am however sure that we will find out a lot more coming CES in Vegas January 2016.

Vibox Defcon 3 Red Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Selecting any pre-configured PC can be a daunting experience especially if the end-user feels overwhelmed by the huge array of options. Thankfully, Vibox is one of the leading system builders in the industry and adopts a basic scoring system to help novices gauge the suitability of each configuration. More specifically, the company even outlines typical gaming performance and quantifies the difference between each specification in a transparent manner. This is an essential tool to put people at ease and ensure they purchase the right system for their personal requirements.

Recently, we reviewed the Vibox Element X Green and couldn’t believe how well it performed in a number of demanding games for the price point. Out of all the systems so far, it’s probably the best value proposition I’ve seen and the perfect choice for a console gamer trying out PC gaming for the first time. However, the system’s CPU performance was inhibited somewhat by its AMD FX-6300 processor and wasn’t ideal for non-gaming workloads. The beauty of PC hardware means you can prioritize CPU performance, memory capacity, or graphical grunt. Although, it’s important to create a balanced system and eliminate any bottlenecks.

Vibox decided to send out for review purposes the Defcon 3, which features an Intel 6500 quad-core processor, 8GB DDR4 2800MHz memory and GTX 950 2GB. This basic setup is accompanied by an Aerocool 500 watt 80+ Bronze power supply, 120GB solid state drive, Thermaltake closed-looped liquid cooler, and 1TB data drive. The package is housed in the highly acclaimed, Corsair Carbide Spec-01 chassis and backed by a lifetime support service. As you can see, this particular build opts for a better CPU and lower-end graphics solution. As a result, it will be fascinating to see how it compares to the Element X, and I expect it to perform much better in synthetic benchmarking tasks.

Specifications

  • Name: Vibox Defcon 3
  • Case: Corsair Carbide Spec-01 Red LED
  • Motherboard: MSI Z170A PC Mate Motherboard
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 6500 Quad Core CPU @ 3.2GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer
  • System Memory:  8GB Patriot Viper Xtreme DDR4 2800MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Patriot Blast 120GB SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 1TB Seagate ST1000DM003 Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s 7200rpm 64MB Cache 8ms
  • Graphics card: MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2GB
  • Power Supply: Aerocool Integrator 500W 80+ Bronze
  • Peripherals: None
  • Monitor: None
  • Optical Drive24x DVD-RW Optical Drive
  • Wireless: None
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Warranty: Lifetime Evolution Warranty – Build Charge, Shock-Proof Packaging, Express Delivery, 2 Year Parts Cover, Lifetime Labour & Tech Support
  • Price: £699.92

Packing and Accessories

The system is packaged in a 15Kg box containing precautionary fragile labels and two handles to make the carrying process remarkably easy. Additionally, the cardboard is relatively thick and helps to reduce any impact during shipping.

Once opened, there is a UK power lead, Vibox leaflet and ample supply of padding. Underneath this section, is the main chassis box.

It’s always recommended to reinforce the main chassis with an external box as this holds it in position and stops the chassis’ edges from scraping against anything. As a result, this should reduce the probability of cosmetic damage occurring during transit.

In terms of accessories, the Defcon 3 comes with a user’s guide, hardware manuals, driver disks, DVI to VGA adapter, fan adapter, and standard UK power cable. The user’s guide is superb and walks you through the installation in simple English without using technical jargon. Additionally, it also includes all the contact details you need in case of any system faults.

CPU-Z


GPU-Z

MSI Develops CPU GUARD 1151 to Protect Your Skylake CPU

Intel’s Skylake CPU brought a lot of joys to users since it was released, but it also brought along some trouble. We first found out about the inferior TIM used which made people delid their CPUs and it even lead to the development of the Delid-Die-Mate hardware with the one purpose of delidding CPUs. Then we heard about the issues with CPUs that actually bent under high pressure from large and heavy heatsinks as well as some that just weren’t aligned properly towards the LGA1151 socket, a much more serious issue. Most manufacturers of CPU coolers have been out and reassured their users which of their coolers are guaranteed to not create trouble, but some users might still want something a little more than just an assurance, they want a more secure mounting mechanism.

And that is just what MSI developed and they called it the CPU GUARD 1151. The press-release is very limited on information, but the item on itself is pretty self-explanatory. It is a new socket guard for your motherboard instead of the default one normally surrounding the CPU socket. The new MSI CPU GUARD 1151 strengthens the corners of the CPU, allowing it to withstand more vertical pressure.

This new CPU GUARD 1151 would be equally useful for delidders as well as those worried about their new valuable Skylake CPU bending. Whether it will be automatically added to some of MSI’s boards, being sold separately, and what the costs will be, that’s something that MSI didn’t reveal at this time.