MSI is now shipping its unique, pint-sized, dual-GPU Vortex gaming desktop

Although for enthusiasts, building a pre-build system might seem like cheating, you’d be forgiven if you caved and splashed a few thousand dollars on MSI’s latest Vortex creation. This small-form-factor system packs dual GTX 980s, a Skylake Core i7 CPU and tonnes of memory, all in a case that’s barely 10 inches tall.

Better yet, it does it with air cooling that never gets louder than 37 decibels. Impressed? So were we, that’s why we’re rather excited it’s now shipping out to eager customers.

Designated by its creators as the “world’s smallest gaming cylinder,” MSI’s design uses a unique hardware layout to confine all of that powerful hardware inside the small casing. That is what also facilitates the powerful cooling system, that pulls air from underneath the chassis and blows it right over all the large internal heatsinks, before exhausting it out of the top.

MSI claims this gives it a “votex shaped wind path,” which improves cooling without affecting acoustics.

Looking to the aesthetics of the system, MSI has also made its Dragon Center software compatible with the Vortex, allowing you to customize its system lighting, as well as tune it, link it up with your smartphone and monitor performance through the back-end.

The two hardware configurations for the Vortex are as follows:

Vortex G65 SLI-011 Vortex G65 SLI-002
CPU Intel Core i7 6700K Intel Core i7 6700K
Graphics Dual Nvidia GTX 960 SLI 6GB GDDR5 Dual Nvidia GTX 980 SLI 16GB GDDR5
Memory 16GB DDR 2,133MHz 32GB DDR4 2,133MHz
Storage Super RAID 4 256GB SSD, 128 x 2 + 1TB HDD Super RAID 4 256GB SSD, 128 x 2 + 1TB HDD

These versions of the Vortex are priced at $2,200 and $4,000 respectively, so there is a big gulf of price between them, but then the difference between twin GTX 960s and GTX 980s is huge too, so there is a different audience for each. While the first will be a perfectly capable gaming system, the latter will be far more effective at 4K resolution, which seems to be the high-end configuration’s aim.

It is also worth bearing in mind that a system like the Vortex is not easily upgradeable. If you are considering one or the other, it may be better to spend more now and have a more future-proofed system – especially if you are a gamer who likes AAA titles and high-end experiences.

For those wanting a close look before putting down several thousand dollars on one of these, MSI is showing it off at the Games Developer Conference between March 16 and 18.

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