If you've been eyeballing MSI's Nightblade systems, but wanted something with the new Skylake processors and accompanying chipsets, worry no more, for MSI just announced the Nightblade X2 and the Nightblade MI2. These are compact gaming-oriented systems, built in 16-liter and 10-liter enclosures, respectively.
The Nightblade X2
The new updated Nightblade system comes with Core i5 and Core i7 Skylake CPU options and can be filled with up to 16 GB of full-size DDR4 memory. It is based on the Intel Z170 chipset and comes with a handful of interesting features. For starters, you'll be able to equip it with up to a GTX 980 Ti graphics card, giving you an absolutely killer performance level from such a small chassis.
On the storage and connectivity side of things, the Nightblade X2 has room for one 3.5" hard drive, two 2.5" SSDs, and two M.2 SSDs. Wireless connectivity is handled by Killer Wireless AC and a Killer NIC, and on top of the usual rear I/O connectivity, we also find one USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gb/s, SuperSpeed+) Type-C port on the rear, and one USB 3.1 Gen1 (5 Gb/s, SuperSpeed) Type-C port up front.
All this hardware fits inside an enclosure that measures 346 x 277 x 176 mm and is powered by a 500 W 80-Plus Silver power supply.
The Nightblade MI2 Is Smaller; Is It Also Better?
Not quite. Sacrifices did have to be made in order to achieve the tiny 10-liter capacity for the Nightblade MI2, but they all make sense. It comes with the same CPU and memory support, but sits on a B150 chipset, and "only" has support for up to a GTX 970 graphics card. Why? Well, because MSI wasn't able to fit a proper SFX power supply in the system and instead had to resort to a 350 W 80-plus Bronze custom unit. Obviously, you'd be a bit bonkers to try and power a GTX 980 Ti off of that, even though it should fit inside the case.
Aside from those differences, the Nightblade MI2 also has one 3.5" drive, but only one M.2 slot. It also comes with just one USB Type-C Gen1 (5 Gb/s, SuperSpeed) port on the front I/O.
Its exact measurements are 128 x 235 x 341 mm.
MSI did not announce pricing or availability just yet. Presumably, the units will be available pre-configured, and as barebone options, just like the original Nightblade systems, so prices will vary per configuration.
Niels Broekhuijsen has been with Tom's Hardware since 2012, and works as a Contributing Editor on the news team. He covers mostly hardware, components, and anything else that strikes his fancy. Outside of work, he likes to travel, cook, and fix things that are broken.