MSI Trident A Desktop Packs Big Gaming Muscle in Slim Package

You don't need to have a giant tower case to get huge performance from your desktop. Available later this year for a starting price around $1,299, MSI's Trident A packs high-end specs such as a GTX 1080 Ti GPU, a Core i7-8700 CPU and up to four different storage drives into a super-slim chassis.

We had a chance to spend a few minutes with the Trident A at MSI's Computex 2018 booth and were impressed with its good looks and easy upgradeability. While precise measurements weren't immediately available -- MSI describes its size as 12 litres, a company rep estimated that the desktop is no larger than about 16 inches tall, 11 inches long and 3 inches wide. No matter what the final dimensions are, this is one svelte system.

The black chassis is accented by a red stripe and an RGB light on the front, a brilliant RGB fan on the CPU, which you can see through the tinted glass door on its right side. As with all MSI products, the lights are configurable via the company's Dragon Center software. There's also a convenient set of ports on the face, including two USB Type-A ports, one Type-C connector and two 3.5mm audio jacks.

The Trident A's glass door is held closed by magnets so opening it is as simple as pressing on it lightly, the same way you would open the glass front on the cabinet in your entertainment center. Inside, you have easy access both to the CPU and to two 2.5-inch drive bays which are mounted vertically above the processor area. There are also two M.2 storage slots that live on the left side of the system, which is covered by a black panel you need to unscrew to remove.

In order to fit high-performance components in such a narrow space, MSI makes sure that the the CPU, GPU and power supply are each in their own separate compartments so that the hot air from one can't reach any of the others. The company uses fan cooling for everything so air flow management is key.

We don't know exactly what configurations MSI will sell, but we do know that the top model will have GTX 1080 Ti graphics and a Core i7-8700 processor. The base model will likely have GTX 1060 graphics, an MSI rep said. Whatever it has on the inside, the Trident A is one sharp-looking system.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.