There's less than a week left until Computex opens in Taipei, and MSI gave us a sneak preview of what's to come next week. Just like at CES at the beginning of the year, the company will introduce new products in multiple areas. This includes all-in-ones, PCs, motherboards, and graphics cards. Whether you're looking for a few hardware upgrades or a completely new computer, the company seems to cover all of its bases.
Rise of the All-in-Ones
The big focus this time around is on large, all-in-one computers. The company has two gaming-focused all-in-one devices – the Gaming 24GE and the AG270 2QC 3K (whew, that's a mouthful). Aside from its 4K monitor, the former features the "latest" Intel Core i7 processor, although we're not sure if that means it's a Haswell or Broadwell CPU. For graphics, it uses Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960M GPU. Its little brother, the AG270 2QC 3K, also features an Intel Core i7 processor, but as its name suggests, it only has a 2560 x 1440 resolution.
However, it has a slightly more powerful GPU than the Gaming 24GE in the form of a GTX 970M. Both computers also feature a new audio technology called Nahimic Audio Technology, which promises to deliver virtual surround sound, bass boost, and the ability to change sound levels. When using headphones, the audio system also provides noise cancelling and a voice leveler.
MSI even went out of its way to make another all-in-one desktop, but instead of catering to gamers, the Pro 24 2M was made with business users in mind. In terms of specs, all we know is that it has an Intel Core i5 processor. Other known features include a webcam cover and a multi-touch panel.
A Desktop PC and HTPC
Aside from the all-in-one models, there's also a new desktop PC and mini-PC available. Keeping to its traditional black and red color scheme is the Nightblade MI desktop PC, although it appears to be in a smaller form factor than traditional gaming towers. Aside from sporting Intel's Core i7 CPU, it also has one of Nvidia's GTX 900 series GPUs. However, it's strange that MSI didn't reveal which exactly is under the hood.
On the other hand, the Cubi is the company's first entry into the mini-PC market. It features a Broadwell CPU, but it's not clear which exact processor is inside. It also has room for two 2.5-inch storage drives, four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and DisplayPort. MSI said that the Cubi has 4K support, so we can assume that the HDMI port is HDMI 2.0. Also, the dual video ports allow dual-screens.
More Flash (Not That Kind, Though) To The GPU
Unfortunately, MSI didn't have anything to show regarding new GPU models (yet), but it did take some time to boast about the new cosmetic features in its GPU variants.
The MSI Gaming GPU line, specifically the GTX 980 version, features an LED-lit dragon logo. Through the MSI Gaming app, users can now put one of five lighting animations on the logo. The new lighting also has Scenamax technology, which apparently reduces strain on the eyes.
The Armor 2X series also has a few changes, mainly in its color scheme. This particular roster still features Military Class 4 Components, which is supposed to increase the lifespan of the GPU and bolster its temperature resistance. However, it now sports a black and white finish if you're not a big fan of the company's main colors.
The New USB on the Motherboard Block
The constant theme among MSI's new motherboards is the addition of USB 3.1, which promises to have faster transfer rates than its predecessors. Obviously, the update will be added to new motherboards, but some older boards, such as the Z97A SLI Krait Edition and Z97A PC Mate, are also getting the USB 3.1 treatment.
Not only that, but MSI claims its Z97A Gaming 6 motherboard is the first board to receive Windows 10 WQHL Certificiation, so it's fully compatible with the new operating system. Other boards might have a few support issues when it comes out, but if you want to stay on the safe side, MSI has what you need.
As far as new motherboards go, the company has two models it will show off. The X99 Gaming 9 ACK features an onboard Audio Boost 2 sound system as well as support for Turbo M.2 at 32 Gbps, SATA Express ports, and USB 3.1.
There's also the X99A XPower AC, which seems to be made for those who want to push the overclocking limits of their Intel Core i7 processor. It has the same Military Class 4 components as the Armor 2X series, an enhanced thermal design and support for Turbo M.2 at 32 Gbps, SATA Express ports and (you guessed it) USB 3.1.
MSI's offerings come at a time when we're on the cusp of three big releases in the PC industry. While the socket isn't changing, Intel is releasing more variants of its Broadwell lineup, which might have a few enthusiasts thinking about a few hardware upgrades in their system, including the rise of USB 3.1. On top of that, Microsoft is hard at work putting the finishes on Windows 10, which we've covered extensively. The free upgrade plus some of its features are bound to attract users currently on Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.
With these three releases in mind, MSI seems to have products ready for what's to come in the next few months. It might be a little bit ahead of the curve compared to its competitors, but it will be interesting to see if it can keep the lead after what we see from everyone else at Computex.