Skip to main content

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.