At CES today, gaming PC specialist MSI unveiled an impressive stack of high-performance devices, four of which are new or revised laptop entry while the remaining four are pre-built desktop PCs.
MSI GS40 Phantom
One thing we hear a lot in gaming laptop marketing is the promise of portability without compromise to performance. In most cases, this is far from the truth, but MSI’s GS40 Phantom could be an exception.
The “ultraportable” 14-inch laptop bears a modest 0.87-inch thickness while managing a healthy weight of 3.75 lbs. And, as expected it does bring with it some hardy internals, including a set of Intel Sklyake processors and an Nvidia GTX 970M graphics card.
The MSI GS40 Phantom is available for purchase now for $1,600.
MSI GT72S with Tobii camera
Last month, if you remember, Microsoft started integrating Swedish eye tracking tech, Tobii, into Windows 10. MSI is taking this technology a leap further, by designing an entire piece of hardware around it.
MSI says that it’s working with “thousands of forward-thinking developers” to create games where the “characters and environments react to your gaze, focus, and attention” specifically to the GT72S Tobii. We tested a demo of its use in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The camera let us target enemies or leap to ledges just by glancing at them.
The GT72S Tobii comes out later this month, complete with a free copy of The Division. On its website, Tobii lists a complete catalog of eye-tracking-supported titles that might leave you feeling underwhelmed. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting differentiator even if it does seem like a gimmick at first glance.
WS72 workstation laptop
If you’re not an avid gamer, and you’re more focused on the production side than the consumption side of things, the WS72 Workstation Notebook boasts support for Intel’s Xeon CPUs and — interestingly enough — is designed for CAD and 3D modeling professionals.
The laptop has been certified for AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Maya, and Revit, and it’s available for purchase now.
Vortex Gaming Tower
This next one might look like a fancy crimson Mac Pro, but it’s actually a different cylinder-shaped compact PC, this time geared towards gaming. The Vortex Gaming Tower packs a couple of Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 graphics cards, along with an easy-to-upgrade design. It’s easily one of the smallest, and most unique, gaming desktops we’ve seen.
MSI says the Vortex will be out at an unspecified date, later this year.
MSI X2 and MI2 desktops
Along with everything else previously mentioned, MSI is adding two new members to its Nightblade family of conventional gaming desktops, namely the X2 and MI2. Both rigs feature a Skylake architecture, but while the X2 is compatible with graphics cards up to the GTX 980 Ti, you can only expect to use a GTX 970 with the Nighblade MI2.
Cubi 2 Plus mini-PC
Next up comes the Cubi 2 Plus hardware, which isn’t a Steam Machine but could easily pass for one given the Linux makeover. It has a 6th-gen Skylake-S processor, so it could easily be used as a media server. Moreover, it has both M.2 and 2.5-inch SSD bays, meaning you aren’t stuck with a solid state drive predetermined by the company. The Cubi Plus 2 features four standard USB ports on the front, making it ideal for gamers still lugging onto a lot of cabled peripherals.
Gaming 27XT all-in-one
Last but not least, we have the Gaming 27XT, a lazy title for an advanced all-in-one gaming PC. It’s a 27-incher with everything you’d expect from a custom desktop — full-sized graphics cards, a 1080p display, a buttery smooth 144Hz refresh rate, and LAN connectivity made possible by a Killer Ethernet adapter.