MSI’s Nightblade barebones rig is a good fit for novice PC builders

Gaming PCs usually come in one of two flavors: either they’re completely built, configured and sold by a high-end manufacturer like Falcon Northwest, Digital Storm and others, or they’re completely self-built, consisting of parts chosen, purchased and put together by the owner or the owner’s friend. With MSI’s new Nightblade desktop though, there’s a third option on the table: a small form factor barebones gaming PC that comes with a motherboard but sans essential components, like a hard drive, CPU, RAM or a graphics card.

Wearing a black, brushed metal case topped with a coating of Zinc, the mini-ITX based MSI Nightblade packs an LGA 1150 MSI Z87I gaming motherboard, based on Intel’s Z87 chipset, which supports 4th generation Intel CPUs. You can also stuff the Nightblade with as much as 16GB of RAM, either one 3.5-inch hard drive, a pair of 2.5-inch hard drives, or a foursome of mSATA drives. It also has room for graphics cards as long as 11.4 inches. The Nightblade’s case measures 13.6 x 10.9 x 6.9 inches, so it should fit comfortable in most, if not all environments.

Here’s what the MSI Nightblade does come with though:  a 600 watt 80 PLUS power supply, a rear-mounted case fan, and a front/bottom mounted handle that props the case upward, which could help facilitate airflow and allows you to carry your Nightblade from one LAN event to another with relative ease. However, we’d prefer the handle to be mounted to the middle of the top panel.

Up front, the case’s  “OC Genie Button” allows for easy overclocking, while front-mounted ports include two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, along with audio and mic jacks. Around back, you’ll find HDMI, DVI, eSATA, and Gigabit Ethernet ports, along with  four more USB 3.0 connectors and a pair of additional USB 2.0 connections.

On top of the $599 asking price, Maximum PC says that MSI is throwing in a SteelSeries Siberia V2 Dragon headset to sweeten the deal. The Nightblade should be available sometime next week.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

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