Choosing your next PC can be a daunting process. Do you go with a pre-made one or do you build your own? Do you opt for a small form factor or a full size? With RAM and GPU prices fluctuating so often, it is difficult to make a choice. Today I'm going to take a look at MSI's Infinite X Gaming Desktop, which should be a strong competitor in the pre-built market. It is a full-size gaming powerhouse with impressive aesthetics.
As someone who is generally not a fan of most pre-built gaming computers, I like most of what the Infinite X does. It is pre-assembled and tested with all the parts a player would need, but still maintains the expected upgradeability.
The Infinite X is currently available in five configurations, ranging from a GTX 1070 to a GTX 1080 Ti. The three upper models are equipped with an Intel i7-8700K CPU and 16 GB RAM, while the two lower models have the non-K variant of the CPU. For storage options, the Infinite X can be configured with various combinations of M.2 SSDs, a 2.5-inch drive and a 3.5-inch drive. The Infinite X uses the MSI-owned Z370M Gaming Pro AC across the board for the motherboard.
The configuration that was sent to me for review is the VR8RE-006US with a GTX 1080 and an SSD with 512 GB. Apart from these differences in the components, the other systems should be similar. All variants are powered by a 550W 80 Plus bronze power supply. More on that later.
The GPU and motherboard are standard components instead of white label replacement components. This is nice to see and will allow for a full system upgrade in the future if you find that it is out of date. Since MSI makes both motherboards and GPUs, this is not surprising.
Now for a tour of the rig. The entire computer has sharp angles that connect different geometric shapes. This certainly gives the Infinite X a "gamer" look, but it's not too over the top. The standard sidewall and top are made of matte black metal, while the front panel has a glossy black plastic cover. The housing is supplied with a standard side wall, which is equipped with ventilation slots for the vertically mounted graphics card. This gives him direct access to fresh air to help with the thermals. A tempered glass side wall is also included.
At the bottom of the case there is a standard magnetic dust filter above the power supply and a large rubber foot. This tilts the housing backwards slightly and enables proper airflow even in carpet areas.
As mentioned earlier, MSI included a glass sheet in the packaging if you prefer a glass sheet. This gives you a complete overview of the internals through the tinted, tempered glass. It is attached with four weighted knurled screws, each screwed into a spacer on the side of the housing. This will move the plate slightly to provide the required airflow without other ventilation holes. Since it is offset, I have found that it can easily get stuck on things during transport. I would recommend removing it when moving the case as it is only attached with four small screws.
From the front we see this offset clearly in the side wall. The RGB lighting strip on the front of the housing is also visible. It consists of several elements that create a circuit board pattern and can each be set to a different color. This front panel lighting can also be synchronized with the rest of the case using MSI's Mystic Lighting software.
Regarding the front I / O, you'll get headphone and microphone ports, a USB-C port, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB 2.0 port. Next to it is a large illuminated power switch. I found it to be extremely thin and of very poor build quality. Every time you turn on the computer, you'll be reminded of how cheap it feels. Above all, this is surprisingly a slim CD drive. For what it is worth, I would have liked to have waived it and used the money saved for a real power switch. Finally, there is also a glossy MSI logo in the lower right corner.
There is a very stable handle on the back of the case. It felt very solid and I wasn't scared when I carried the suitcase with me. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for other cases with handles. Below is the rear I / O, and since the MSI Z370m is a mATX motherboard, it is somewhat limited. We have an HDMI and DisplayPort for the integrated graphics, 10 Gbit / s USB 3.1 Type A and Type C connections, four further USB 3.0 connections, a Gigabit Ethernet connection and the standard audio setup with six connections that all motherboards have. Some additional USB ports and a second Ethernet socket would have been nice, but this configuration should be fine for almost everyone. Since the graphics card is mounted vertically, you should make sure that the cable is long enough to reach your monitor.
Both the front and rear side walls are attached with tiny screws and are pushed into position with metal slats. These screws can easily be lost. Fortunately, MSI has included some extras in the accessory kit that came with the computer. These screws and the sliding ribs make the case feel dated and cheap. I would have preferred a hinge and thumbscrews like those used here instead by the glass side wall. The money saved by removing the CD drive could easily have allowed this because the implementation of MSI would only cost a few dollars.
Inside, most of the case is painted black, with the exception of an unfinished ring on the edge. This seems to be a corner that has been cut unnecessarily as painting would not require much additional work to match the rest of the case. In addition, the three separate zones in the housing are the main thing. There is a power supply compartment at the bottom, then the graphics card and the motherboard and CPU at the top. These three divided areas are intended to improve cooling. When the GPU is under load, it does not heat up the rest of the components. The same applies to the CPU and the power supply.
On closer inspection of the top, we find a few more corners that have been cut. The RAM has no visible branding and no heat distributors. While this doesn't affect performance, it certainly doesn't look that good. Cable management in this situation is also difficult. As we'll see later, there isn't much space on the other side, but I think MSI could have done better here. Granted, this may not be a big deal for the consumer who wants to buy a pre-made one instead of building a PC himself. The last criticism I had in this area was the CPU cooler. It only has a single 92mm cooler and fan to cool an overclocked i7-8700K. If I had designed the system, I would have installed at least a 2x120mm cooler.
After a 20-minute continuous load test, the CPU temperatures were around 70 degrees, while the GPU temperatures were around 60 degrees. These are pretty good, although on a hot day the CPU gets a little roasted and doesn't run up to full speed. Each chip can work differently, but my chip was briefly raised to 4.8 GHz and maintained at 4.4 GHz. These numbers are pretty good for a 6-core CPU and shouldn't be a problem chewing through workloads. Surprisingly, my GPU was not overclocked at the factory, but a simple boost was very easy to achieve in MSI Afterburner.
When we move to the back of the case, we see the limited space for cable management. Surprisingly, there are no cutouts for the motherboard, CPU or other power cables. They all have to run from the beginning. If you consider that there is a holder for a 3.5-inch drive, there would certainly have been enough space here. This also has no impact on performance and not everyone will take care of cable management, but it seems to be such an easy solution.
Every PC needs peripherals and the Infinite X comes with some pretty ones in the box. The keyboard is not mechanical and the backlight cannot be changed. However, it looks better and feels better than most keyboards that come with it. The same applies to a mouse. Unless you are interested in competitive eSport games and need a very precise mouse, the included mouse works great for almost everyone else.
Because the Infinite X uses mainstream hardware, its performance is almost identical to other systems that we tested with the same hardware. For detailed performance figures, I refer you to our reviews of the GTX 1080 and 8700K. They should give you a good idea of how powerful this system is. Of the various storage options, my device had an Intel M.2 SSD with 512 GB, which achieved a reading speed of 1772 MB / s and a writing speed of 363 MB / s. For benchmarks for the entire system, my device achieved a 3DMark Fire Strike value of 19559 and a Time Spy value of 7578. If you want to select a configuration, you should have an idea of what level of performance you are looking for or at least a budget of how much they want to spend. If you know one of them, you can easily choose the right model for your use.
With so much power come some minor drawbacks. Since the CPU cooler is only 92 mm in size, the fans and the pump have to run at a higher speed to keep everything cool. As a result, the Infinite X has a quiet but audible hum even when idle. During a period of intense stress, the computer can get quite loud. Since the thermals are pretty good by default, there is some room to adjust the fan curves to keep the system a little quieter.
Another minor problem I saw was the power supply. The system pulled about 650 watts from the wall under full load, while the power supply is only designed for 550 watts. Taking into account the efficiency of 80 Plus Bronze, the power supply is almost fully loaded. Although this is not dangerous, power supplies with an efficiency of around 50% are most efficient. If you operate the power supply at full power, the service life can also be shortened. I would have expected a slightly more powerful unit given the load.
Once you're in Windows, MSI has built some pre-installed programs into Infinite X. There is a trial version of Norton Antivirus that I would honestly only recommend to uninstall. Next there are some MSI-specific programs to manage the system. These include the MSI Command Center, an MSI game program and the MSI Mystic Lighting software. With the Command Center you can monitor system temperatures, clock rates, fan curves and the like. The game program is designed to help optimize system performance for a better gaming experience. However, I have never felt the need to use such programs. Finally, the Mystic Lighting software controls all aspects of RGB lighting in the case. This includes the GPU, internal case lighting and the front panel pattern. The lights can be set to spot colors, patterns, or one of many included effects.
For someone who may not be familiar with the MSI ecosystem, all of these programs can become confusing. I would appreciate it if you could put everything together in one software, as this makes it easier to find the setting you want.
The last important issue is pricing. As previously mentioned, our test device costs $ 1900. If you built such a system yourself with the same components, it would cost you between $ 1600 and $ 1700 depending on the market price. As a result, the Infinite X has a premium of around $ 250 over a standard build. This may be a little high for some, but it gives you the good-looking case, a one-year warranty, full system integration and validation, and it eliminates the hassle of getting components and ensuring compatibility.
Obviously, experienced PC manufacturers shy away from such a system, but for those who are just entering the PC game scene, it offers a compelling offer. MSI has many competitors in this market, including but not limited to companies such as HP, Alienware, Origin and Lenovo. Because everyone uses similar components, performance is the same at all levels. As always, you should look around to find the best deal. However, if MSI's Infinite X is at your disposal, you can hardly go wrong. It makes a few sacrifices along the way, but overall it has where it counts. This would result in a very powerful and elegant slot machine that you can easily buy, connect and get started with.
- MSI Infinite X (GTX 1070, 256 GB NVMe SSD + 2 TB hard drive) at Amazon, Newegg
- MSI Infinite X (GTX 1080, 512 GB NVMe SSD) on Amazon
- MSI Infinite X (GTX 1080 Ti, 512 GB NVMe SSD + 2 TB hard drive) at Amazon
Advantages: Built with real gaming hardware. The vertical GPU bracket looks good and helps with the thermals. Good RGB lighting options.
Disadvantage: Poor cable management, minor problems with the processing quality of the housing.