MSI today launched a new addition to its Trident gaming desktop PC range. This popular and well established range usually mixes an impossibly slim build with full-sized desktop class graphics. However, the newest entrant to the series, the MSI MAG Trident S 5M, is entirely AMD APU powered with no option or room inside for a discrete GPU add in card. MSI says this is still a great gaming PC choice, as it is targeting the "cloud gaming and mobile gaming markets."
The lack of discrete GPU option means MSI has been able to create probably the smallest Trident PC yet, at just 2.6 liters and measuring 13.17 x 7.3 x 3.66 inches (334.7 X 185.4 x 93 mm). Previous MSI Trident PCs with discrete GPUs are compact, but nearer to 5 liters in volume at best. The form factor busting size may be appealing, but the AMD APU-only formula could cause some head scratching regarding its gaming prowess. AMD APUs are widely regarded as the best for iGPUs but their 3D acceleration capabilities pale against some of the weediest GPU add-in-boards. It hasn't helped MSI's case that, as some systems have started to ship with AMD APUs including RDNA2 iGPUs, MSI is still using yesteryear's Ryzen 5000G APUs with integrated Vega 8 graphics at best.
In the olden days, a gaming desktop without even the option to add a graphics card would not be viewed as an entirely serious proposition. In 2022, with the GPU drought ongoing, and causing supply shortages and indecently high prices - plus the rise of cloud gaming - MSI thinks it has a chance to sell such a machine. It also highlights the expected growth of Android gaming on PCs with Windows 11.
AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, Ryzen 5 5600G, or Ryzen 3 5300G processor - all with integrated AMD Radeon Vega Graphics - on a B300 motherboard
|2 x DDR4 3200MHz SO-DIMMs, up to 64GB
|2 x M.2 2280 SSD (2xPCIe Gen 3 x4), 1x 2.5 inch drive bay
Realtek RTL8111H(1G) LAN, Intel Wi-Fi 5, BT 4.2
2 Channel HD Audio(ALC256)
|1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A, 1x Mic-in, 1x Audio Combo Jack
|1 x USB 2.0 Type A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A, 1x RJ45(1G), 1x VGA out, 1x HDMI 2.0, supports a maximum resolution of 4K 60Hz, 1x DisplayPort 1.4 port, supports a maximum resolution of 4K 120Hz, 1x Kensington Lock, 1x DC jack (120W adapter provided)
2.6 liter volume, 334.7 X 185.4 x 93 mm / 13.17 x 7.3 x 3.66 inches, 2.42kg weight
Windows 11, MSI Game Stadium, MSI Center,
MSI App Player, Game Pass(30 days trial), Norton (60 days trial)
Other hardware features worth noting are the slick looking "motherboard quick slot mechanism," which allows you to slide the innards out of the MSI MAG Trident S 5M for RAM or storage upgrades. For cooling MSI mentions just a "fan cooler," but we can see a pleasing array of copper heatpipes on show in the promo images.
To get your cloud gaming and mobile gaming started, MSI has included a 30-day free xBox Game Pass Ultimate through the Game Stadium software (which has an easy joypad controlled UI), as well as the MSI App Player - an Android system emulator. Yes, Windows 11 is introducing its own Android App service, but it isn't ready for prime time, at the time of writing.
For the best cloud gaming experience you will want speedy networking, and MSI promises its Lan Manager software is adept at "enhancing the network performance for mobile games, cloud games, and PC games."
If you still find the MSI MAG Trident S 5M desktop appealing, but don't want to bother with cloud or Android gaming, the Radeon Vega 8 iGPU should be expected to perform nearly as well as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 laptop GPU, depending on game/application.
Will MSI want to charge the gaming PC premium here? We don't have pricing as yet, and it of course depends on the region. MSI said that its MAG Trident S 5M desktop is shipping now.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.