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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  • dj_aris - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    Good thinking but I don't think there are any external PSUs that can deliver than 150 watts or so. Not to mention that those picoPSUs only provide the basics: Usually a 20+4-pin, a cpu 4-pin, a sata power and if you are lucky maybe an additional molex. But still, they are nowhere near the 400w you'd need for such a GPU. That's partly the reason why I had to go with a flexATX PSU in my recent mini-ITX rig I just built in an Xbox360 case.
  • dj_aris - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    *more than 150 watts
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    I like the idea of folding the video card under the motherboard for a nice compact system. The best way I see doing that would have the motherboard designed to mount the video card in that fashion and then simply use a 90 degree adapter from there.

    The 270 degree effect can still be achieved with this board it it'd require a ribbon extender cable. It'd be best with a short version of this example but I believe you'd get the idea: http://www.amazon.com/PCI-E-Express-Extender-Flexi...
  • dj_aris - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    And what if we want all "Apple" and (by using the flexible riser) actually reversed the GPU so that it faces the CPU? And then we had some custom cooling for both of them? Crazy talking but I had that thought cross my mind when I saw the new Mac Pro :-)
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    Hopefully you wouldn't go all Apple by put two such cards in a system along with a 130w a 12 core chip but only a 450W power supply. I have a feeling that the new Mac Pro is going to have some issues when placed under full load.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    That would be amazing with a tiny purpose designed case. Yes. They need to do this. Now.
  • dnt94civic - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    I'll take anything that's free
  • overcome - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    I'd love to win this! My computer needs an upgrade!
  • tristanbob - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    Do you think this hardware will be used as a Steam Machine?
  • KaChow - Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - link

    Does anyone else think this may make a good foundation for a tiny Photoshop/Premiere editing machine?

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