MSI's Vortex PC is the equivalent of a Mac Pro for gamers

By Shawn Knight
Mar 16, 2016
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  1. MSI on Wednesday said it is now shipping its VR-ready Vortex PC, described by the company as the world's smallest gaming cylinder.

    The MSI Vortex measures just 10.5 inches tall but it certainly isn't short on performance. The high-end configuration packs an Intel Core i7-6700K processor with a base clock of 4GHz (Turbo up to 4.2GHz) running on a Z170 board alongside 32GB of RAM (upgradable to 64GB by the end-user). You also get two Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 cards in SLI, 256GB of solid state drive storage, a 1TB hard drive, Dual Killer E2400 gigabit Ethernet controllers, Nahimic audio technology and more.

    It ships with Windows 10 and is powered by a 450W 80+ Gold PSU. MSI says it weighs as little as 8.8 pounds (without the dual 980s, I'm sure) meaning it shouldn't be a major drag to haul it to a LAN party (assuming people still do that). What's more, the system has been "engineered" for upgradability and expandability so you should be able to replace at least some of the hardware down the road as it ages.

    Andy Tung, president of MSI Pan America, said the revolutionary Vortex gaming tower shatters the misconception that bigger systems deliver more power and performance, adding that the system maximizes space and heat dissipation to unlock the power of its components for truly astronomical performance in a subwoofer size.

    As you may have guessed, this sleek gaming machine doesn't come cheap. The high-end model detailed above will set you back a whopping $3,999 while the entry-level variant with 16GB of RAM and dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 cards in SLI can be had for $2,199.

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  2. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Guru Posts: 735   +259

    At least it doesn't look like a trash can
    Reehahs and TekGun like this.
  3. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,525   +828 is that enough wattage? are GPUS actually that efficient now? O.o
  4. Panda218

    Panda218 TS Addict Posts: 267   +97

    Yeah they have gotten pretty damn efficient, but don't expect to do much overclocking with that PSU.
  5. DKRON

    DKRON TS Guru Posts: 567   +25

    That's actually interesting because it could run a single gtx980 on that power but not 2, would be fine for SLI GTX960's
  6. Jon Tseng

    Jon Tseng TS Rookie

    Yeah 450W sounds too low for SLI 980s and an i7 6700... Are theres 980Ms perhaps?
  7. Captain828

    Captain828 TS Guru Posts: 287   +10

    The max usage of a standard 980 is 165W, so that 2x165 = 330W.
    The TDP for a 6700K is 91W at the base clock, so let's say 100W when turbo kicks in.
    These alone are 430W... all the other stuff in the PC would probably add up to 10W-15W extra so it's really cutting it close.
    Definitely very little room for any kind of OC.

    Perhaps it is 450W for the 2x 960 build and something else for the 2x 980 build?
  8. MHMPr

    MHMPr TS Member Posts: 35   +19

    FYI, TDP is not the same as power consumption. TDP is how much thermal energy the cooler needs to be able to dissipate. While it is correlated with power consumption, TDP also depends on the leakage of the chip, which varies from design to design. For example, you can have a card with high power consumption and low TDP by designing the chip with lower leakage, or low power consumption and high TDP by designing a high leakage chip.
    So no, the maximum usage of the GTX 980 is not 165W, it can easily go higher than that. Not only because consumption and TDP are not the same thing, but also because Nvidia defines their TDPs based on "typical" GPU loads, rather than by maximum load like AMD does.
    And no, the TDP of the i7-6700K isn't 91W at the base clock. The "91W" specification exists exactly because, if left as stock settings, the TDP of this chip will NEVER go above 91W (and that counts the integrated graphics as well). Turbo Boost does not rise the TDP, quite the opposite. Turbo Boost is only activated if the 91W TDP limit allows, otherwise the chip stays at the base frequency. And again, this has nothing to do with how much power is being consumed, since TDP is a measure of heat dissipation and not power consumption.
  9. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,617   +494

    It's a Mac Pro with Gaming GPUs, and most importantly Windows! I'm seriously doubting that 450 watt PSU powering the top of the line model, the mid-range variant perhaps, but not two 980s. If Guru3D's review is anything to go by, their PSU recommendations are 500 watts for a single 980 and an 800 watt unit for SLI, granted these recommendation are probably a little bit higher than what you need, but conveniently they used MSI branded cards. Also they used a more power hungry CPU, but they calculate that out of the equation as best they can, and honestly I'd think ~200 watts is closer to what this card can pull rather than the 165 watt TDP provided from Nvidia.

    As for the claim that it's user up-gradable, that will be something to see in a couple years when it's EOL, those GPUs are custom, so unlikely to be up-gradable, unless MSI has plans to keep this chassis around for a while.
  10. Captain828

    Captain828 TS Guru Posts: 287   +10

    Yes, I agree with the whole TDP remark for the CPU, real max number is somewhere near 133W draw, which makes matter even worse.
    But the 980 numbers are not TDP, they are actual power draw numbers at load taken from nvidia's site.
    See,9.html from third-party for proof.

    It should be pretty obvious now that there is no way this thing will run stable in a 100% stress scenario with that PSU...
  11. MHMPr

    MHMPr TS Member Posts: 35   +19

    Yes, they are TDP. Nvidia (just like AMD and Intel) does not provide power draw specs for their chips, only TDP.
    And if they did state that number is power draw (which they didn't), they would be lying. You can see a more through test here,review-33038-13.html and under typical gaming usage (which is what users will usually be at) the GTX 980 consumes between 10W to 35W more than the advertised TDP depending on configuration, and on extreme usage cases the power consumption can go all the way up to about 280W. So saying that the maximum consumption of a GTX 980 is 165W is substantially wrong.
    But yeah, the PSU stated in the article is definitely not an ideal choice.

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