Even though we already let in on a sneak preview during our Holiday Guides, today marks the official launch of MSI’s mini-ITX Gaming Platform.  The platform has two aspects: a Z87 Haswell mini-ITX motherboard with 802.11ac wifi built for gaming, and a mini-ITX form factor GTX 760 GPU using MSI’s Gaming brand features and design.

The motherboard marks the second MSI Z87 mini-ITX motherboard on the market (we reviewed the MSI Z87I), and makes some subtle improvements.  The Z87I Gaming comes with the aforementioned dual band 2T2R 802.11ac, as well as Killer E2205 ethernet, Audio Boost (MSI’s name for an upgraded Realtek ALC1150 audio package), a gaming device port, support for five SATA 6 Gbps ports (+ 1 eSATA), six USB 3.0 ports, and Intel WiDi support.  We also get MSI’s updated BIOS and Software for their Z87 gaming range.

The GTX 760 Gaming graphics card builds upon the niche model launched earlier in the year and sticks to the mini-ITX philosophy: no PCB longer than 17 cm.  The GPU even comes out of the box pre-overclocked, giving 1152 CUDA cores at 1033 MHz base clock, boost going up to 1098 MHz.  MSI want to promote their new Radax fan design, a hybrid radial/axial fan that is claimed to provide the benefit of both types.  With the card we also get software for specific modes: OC Mode for core clock boost, Gaming Mode for stable gaming and Silent Mode for low noise.

MSI obviously want these two products paired together for a mini-ITX gaming build.  I always liked the 17cm GPUs just because there is so much power in a small sized graphics card, so as long as the heat removal is good I am all for it.  I am also glad motherboard manufacturers are getting on board with 802.11ac: the days of 1T1R single band are gone.

The MSI Z87I Gaming motherboard is set to be released for $200 in the US, and the GTX 760 Gaming at £220 in the UK - at this point in time we could only source the UK pricing, but take away our 20% sales tax and convert to USD brings it up at $300 or so.  

Update: It looks like the GTX 760 Gaming will be $270 in the US.

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  • Lonyo - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    When I was trying to custom make an mITX case, finding a suitable length graphics card was quite difficult. The most affordable one was the GTX 650Ti, but even that needed modifying by cutting the (fully plastic) fan shroud to shorten it.

    Good that some people have started making mITX cards which aren't horribly expensive.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    My full size GTX460 fit inside my Fractal Design R4 just fine. With the Seasonic G550 PSU I used the modular PSU cabling doesn't even get in the way. Though it does come close, the cables come up below the GPU.
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    And what the heck does that have to do with small graphics cards in mITX systems?
  • JoanSpark - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    Fractal Design R4 is NOT a mITX case by any means.. it's uATX.. go home with that big ole stuff :p
  • jdon - Thursday, December 5, 2013 - link

    Actually, the R4 is a mid-tower. I'm actually running an EATX board in mine. The Define Mini is the µATX in that series, and I don't believe there's an mITX offered in that family. I'm not sure what the Hrel they were talking about.. (sorry, had to)
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    What would be the smallest case you could fit this in? I liked the idea of a mini-itx gaming system to go under the TV but because the graphics card is perpendicular to the motherboard it meant the case had to be quite large. The riser in the Alienware x51 for the graphics card seemed a good idea but stupidly expensive, even for the refurbished models.

  • psuedonymous - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    It seems like a missed opportunity to bundle a 90° PCI-E adapter with either of these. Lying both boards flat and using an external power brick would allow for a nice thin setup for a gaming HTPC. A more extreme option would be a 270° adapter (does such a thing exist?) to fold the GPU under the motherboard, which would helpfully thermally seperate the two.
  • Morawka - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    Super cramped cases are including this adapter such as the asrock M8
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    How well is the case able to cool a larger GPU?

    @Anandtech You need to get a review sample of the case to test.
  • jasonelmore - Monday, December 9, 2013 - link

    The GPU is in a completely sepereate compartment, so i'm guessing gpu cooling is good. But the CPU cooling options is limited on that case, and your gonna run into thermal throttling on the CPU before the GPU.

    The M8 supports full size cards, (TITAN, GTX 780 etc..) Cool air is pulled from the top of the case and ejected out the back, where-as in a normal pc, ambient case air is pulled through the blower then out the back.

    TLDR: GPU Cooling is good.

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