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 However, some users find laptops too limiting and prefer to upgrade their hardware when it eventually becomes outdated.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.

Icy Dock ‘Black Vortex’ MB074SP-B 3.5” 4-in-3 Cage Review

Introduction


Over the last couple of years I’ve reviewed a fair selection of products from the Icy Dock catalogue, ranging from external drive enclosures such as the Blizzard and the MB559U3S SuperSpeed to a variety of SATA backplanes and drive bay adaptors including the FatCage MB155SP-B, MB971SP-B and MB994SP-4SB-1 Quad 2.5″ Backplane. Overall it’s a fair statement to say that they have a wide variety of angles covered and the tastes of many users fulfilled with their products, whether it be through the design or the functional capability. With so many items on offer, we are a little amazed to see that Icy Dock have once again come up with a new product and this time round the product is in principle a cooled multi-bay drive adaptor. Taking up three optical drive bays, the Black Vortex MB074SP-B is able to house four 3.5″ hard drives in an open air frame design, offering a quick and simple access to one or more drives whilst offering the benefit of active cooling through a front mounted 120mm fan.

Aside from a traditional 3.5″ hard drive, the Black Vortex is also compatible with a number of Icy Dock’s own 2.5″ to 3.5″  EZ-Dock and EZ-Adapter product ranges, allowing more than just a hard drive to be installed into the chassis. With so many drive bay adaptors and mounting solutions now available on the market from a number of vendors, the question stands to ask if we have enough options already available to cater every persons need, or does this unit really offer up the functionality that some users are after to mount and keep their drives cool.

Like any other Icy Dock product, the packaging is very informative with plenty of information about the cage on hand; detailing the units specifications, features and design. Inside the box things are a little more concise with a simple user installation guide and two sets of screws for fitting the brackets to each of the four drives and securing the framework into your chassis.

 [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue1hnszk35E[/youtube]

PC Specialist Vortex IV X780 Gaming Notebook Review

Introduction


Gaming away from home is definitely becoming more and more popular, with eSPORTS rising up and consumers living in a mobile lifestyle, and this is a perfect place for a desktop replacement notebook that allows you to play some of the most extreme games on the planet, while on the move.

Generally speaking, if you want to play extreme games like Crysis 3 and Metro Last Light, then you’d be restricted to a fully fledged desktop system with enough power to deal with anything that you throw at it, but this has all changed over the past couple of years. More notebooks are being released that can rival these power hungry systems and still incorporating powerful processing power and extreme GPU performance.

The new notebooks that are hitting the market are making the divide between desktops and notebooks in terms of performance so fine that they are now overlapping by quite a margin with many of today’s laptops being produced having far more power than some of their desktop counterparts. Because of this overlap in performance and the number of users who want a compact system to take to gaming events such as iSeries (the UK biggest gaming festival) growing, its more and more common to see people attending these events with desktop replacements as their primary system.

PC Specialist are one of the UKs leading system integrators and since 2002 they have seen multiple awards across many publications for their systems, including the Vanquish X200 Gaming Rig that Peter had a look at a few months ago. The companies dedication towards selecting the best components for each build and the option to customise each and every system they have available with a whole hopst of options means that there are hundreds of ways in which a particular system can be configured. This means that there is with out a doubt a system for every persons needs out there.

After having a look at one of PC Specialists desktop systems, we want to see what their top end laptops have to offer to the table so let’s take a look at the specifications as this system arrived with us:

  • Name: Vortex IV X780
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4700MQ
  • RAM: 16GB Kingston HyperX Genesis 1600MHz (2x8GB)
  • SSD: 120GB Kingston SSDnow V300
  • HDD: 750GB Western Digital Scorpio Black SATA (7200RPM)
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 780M 4GB
  • ODD: 4x BluRay ROM/8x DVD-RW Combo Drive
  • Network:  Killer Wireless-N 1202 Dual Band/Gigabit LAN/Bluetooth 4.0
  • Warranty: 3 Year Silver (1 year collect & return, 1 year parts, 3 years labour)
  • Price: £1,449 inc VAT + Delivery

Click here to buy this laptop with the above spec for the offer price of £1449 inc VAT and delivery

The specifications listed above – even for a desktop system – is highly impressive so to see such a top level of performance packed into a 17.3″ laptop chassis with room to spare is even more impressive. The custom system features components from Western Digital, Kingston, NVIDIA, BigFoot Networks and Intel

Looking at the box that the laptop is shipped in, first impressions are that there is nothing over the top hiding inside, but this is far from the truth as inside is one mammoth laptop that – on paper- can pack one hell of a punch.

Inside the box alongside the laptop, PC Specialist include a driver CD, cleaning cloth, multi-lingual user manual and a PC Specialist welcome booklet. On top of this there is also an 8 cell, 5200mAh/76.96WHr battery and a whopping 230W AC adaptor.