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MSI, Continued

Computex 2013: Motherboards, Peripherals, And Mobility

Next, we have MSI's flagship overclocking tier. The company has an internal standard called OC Certified, which dictates that the boards in this category operate with a processor set to at least 4.6 GHz for 24 hours. A cooling test ensures that the voltage regulation circuitry runs stably without airflow in an ambient environment of 30 degrees Celsius. Platforms in the overclocking segment come equipped with the same features as MSI's gaming-level boards, with the addition of dual-antenna 802.11b/g/n wireless solutions, unofficial DDR3 data rates of up to 3000 MT/s, and more generally tuner-friendly options. 

MSI introduced three OC Certified boards at Computex: the Z87 MPower ($235), Z87 MPower Max ($260), and the Z87 XPower ($440). The MPower and MPower Max are very similar except that the Max includes four more power phases (20 instead of 16) and two more internal USB 3.0 ports (four instead of two). Both support up to three graphics cards in SLI/CrossFire configurations. The Z87 XPower is MSI’s ultra high-end flagship, with a PLX switch for four-way graphics arrays, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3, and a logo that illuminates within a layer of the board’s PCB.

The GeForce GTX 770 Lightning slots into the overclock brand featuring something that MSI calls Unlocked Digital Power. In essence, the card's voltage and clock rate limits can be increased beyond the point of practicality with a mouse click in Afterburner. MSI says the card should be available at the beginning of August, which seems like a long time to wait for a GeForce GTX 770 card. We're hoping this one is worth the anticipation. 

Aside from its component-level products, MSI showed off a handful of interesting all-in-one PCs and notebooks. The AG2712A is an Ivy Bridge-based gaming PC equipped with a mobile Core i7 and Radeon HD 8970M. It features a 10-point capacitive 27” touchscreen that can bypass the attached PC entirely if you'd like to hook up a console and game on the screen. Expect it to show up for somewhere in the $2000 range.

The Adora24 gets more of an entertainment PC focus. Equipped with an Ivy Bridge-based mobile Core i3 or i5 and GeForce GT 740M graphics, MSI claims that this slim (21 mm minimum width) all-in-one is the first with a flicker-free function to reduce eye strain. It should be available next month.

The new GS70 should arrive in the August time frame, priced between $1699 and $1899, depending on how it’s equipped. Basic specifications include a Haswell-based Core i7 CPU, a 17.3” display, RAID support, and a GeForce GTX 765M graphics module, all housed in a metallic chassis. It appears to be pretty thin for a gaming-oriented notebook, and MSI is particularly proud of its cooler design that exhausts air above the keyboard. We're curious to see how that works out. The GS70 can also use any combination of three screens simultaneously for productivity. We doubt the GK106-derived GPU is going to game well at 4800x900 or 5760x1080.

The GT60 gets an update with 3K Edition branding, adding support for four display outputs without an adapter. It’s also equipped with the MSI’s NOS feature, draining the battery and using AC power to prevent throttling under heavy loads. This feature is new on Haswell-equipped GT60s. The platform supports RAID 0 across three SSDs and up to GeForce GTX 780M graphics. Plan to pay between $1399 and $1899.

MSI also showed off a handful of prototype features under development.  We saw a GS70 with a touchpad housing a second screen. The company says it can be used as an actual display or to expose macro keys while gaming. Expect this capability to show up at the end of 2013 or beginning of next year.

We also saw the Mousebook prototype sporting a touchpad that can be removed and used as a wireless mouse.

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