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MSI Crafts Its First Compact Gaming PC: The Vortex (Update: Now Available)

Update, 3/16/16, 9:17am PT: The Vortex is now available, starting at $2,199.99.

MSI revealed a new gaming system called the Vortex, a cylindrical and modular SFF PC that supports dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 SLI graphics and features a new “Silent Storm” cooling system.

The Vortex is designed to fit high-end hardware into a small space while providing adequate airflow to every compartment of the chassis. MSI calls this “360-degree” airflow technology Silent Storm Cooling, and it seems to be an innovative way to keep component temperatures low in the Vortex’s small package (it also conveniently matches the naming scheme of the product).

MSI’s Vortex, along with the company’s other recent product reveals, reflects a seemingly-growing trend of “small-yet-powerful” enthusiast-level gaming products (see the Gaming 27XT and GT72 Dominator EyeX). The Vortex sets itself apart as the company’s first compact gaming PC.

“We wanted a system that is small enough to be carried anywhere, powerful enough to run anything and can be placed almost anywhere in the household,” stated an MSI representative. “We've achieved that with the Vortex.”

The Vortex supports the latest 6th generation (Skylake) Intel processors; dual PCI-e 3.0 x4 M.2 SSD slots (with optional “Super RAID 4,” MSI’s name for a RAID 0 configuration); support for up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory; and dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 980s in SLI.

Before you get too excited (or start pondering how they crammed two desktop GPUs into that tiny chassis), these graphics cards are mobile versions of the desktop-class GTX 980, which seem to offer just as much horsepower as their desktop counterparts, but they are also significantly smaller. There may not be much of a performance gap between the two versions, but it should be stated for the record that these are not full-blown desktop GPUs.

However, the Vortex’s hardware seems to be able to compete with most similarly-equipped PCs in performance (at least on paper) while significantly reducing the space required for high-end gaming desktop.

Like most everything else being revealed at CES this week, pricing and availability for MSI’s Vortex remains a mystery.

Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. Follow Derek Forrest on Twitter. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • zhunt99
    All I see is a tornado of expense here
    Reply
  • boytitan2
    MSI like apples trash can so much they made their own ^_^.
    Reply
  • nadavp3
    Can't wait to see a teardown (iFixit style) of this, looks awesome so far :) !!
    Reply
  • hst101rox
    The mobile GPUs are more efficient without much of any performance loss? would be nice to have this chipset in a desktop card for 'eco' minded users.
    I have a feeling it'll all the be the same soon. Desktop GPUs with lower in voltage down close to mobile leves because it's possible now, somehow.
    Reply
  • skit75
    "at least on paper"
    Reply
  • ErikVinoya
    I have this feeling that you can build your own ITX system with the same performance with replaceable/upgradeable components for half the price
    Reply
  • nadavp3
    17272860 said:
    I have this feeling that you can build your own ITX system with the same performance with replaceable/upgradeable components for half the price

    Yep, but then it wont look like a trash can.

    + tbh it might be harder to do then you think since normally 980 is kinda big and their version might be even smaller than MXM mobile card.
    This is btw the first (to my knowledge) product to feature 980 "mobile" in SLI configuration, all laptops that supports this card, to date, had option of either 980m sli or single 980 "mobile", never 980 "mobile" in sli.

    Also, dont forget that while the 980 "mobile" is almost as fast as the desktop 980, the 980ti is way faster, maybe all they did was to slow down(thus cool) a 980ti, put it in mobile format and call it progress....
    Reply
  • ErikVinoya
    An excellent bin of an overclocked 970 is almost as fast as a 980. IIRC, a 980m performs slightly below a 970, so 2 in SLI should at least be around a single 980Ti performance
    Reply
  • nadavp3
    17275469 said:
    An excellent bin of an overclocked 970 is almost as fast as a 980. IIRC, a 980m performs slightly below a 970, so 2 in SLI should at least be around a single 980Ti performance

    There is a review up for 980 "desktop" flavor of mobile chip in SLI configuration (tested in the new MSI GT80 laptop):
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-GT80S-6QF-Titan-SLI-Notebook-Review.157615.0.html

    3dmark firestrike standard score is around 17k, inline (within 1%) of the normal GTX 980 in SLI, still behind a single 980ti that normally gets anywhere from 19k to 22k
    Reply
  • alidan
    MSI like apples trash can so much they made their own ^_^.

    lets be honest, if someone made a trash can form factor, than put all the heatsinks in the middle, with a fan intake and outtake on that, it would be amazing at least as far as cooling the components goes.
    Reply