I’ve reviewed a lot of gaming PCs for KitGuru – to the point where I’ve lost count. I have never seen a PC like the MSI Aegis 3 8th, however, as it is truly unique. I am of course talking about the aggressive, angular design of the machine – you will either love it or hate it. It does have some decent internal hardware, though, including an i7-8700, GTX 1070 Ti and support for Intel’s Optane technology. Is it any good?
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- Operating System: Windows 10 Home
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-8700 Processor
- Chipset: Intel® B360
- Storage: 1x 2TB HDD, 1x 256GB NVMe SSD, 1x 16GB Optane module
- System Memory: 2 x SO-DIMMs DDR4 2400MHz 16GB
- Graphics: MSI GeForce® GTX 1070 Ti 8GB GDDR5
- Sound: 7.1 Channel HD Audio with Nahimic audio enhancer
- Optical Drive: Slim Type(9.5mm) Tray-Load Super Multi
- I/O (Front): 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Mic in / 1 x Headphone out
- I/O (Rear): 2 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A, 1 x HDMI out, 5 x OFC Audio jacks, 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x RJ45 LAN
- Wireless LAN: Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 9461 (M.2 2230), Bluetooth 5
- LAN: Intel® WGI219V Gigabit LAN
- AC Adapter / PSU: 450W 80 Plus Bronze (1U)
- Cooling System: Exclusive Silent Storm Cooling 2
- Volume: 19.6L/ 41.42pt
- Dimension (WxDxH): 433.18 x 376.11 x 169.92mm
- Weight (N.W./ G.W.): 9.69Kg/ 13.20Kg
If we put the appearance of the Aegis 3 to one side, it is actually an impressively diminutive chassis, measuring 37cm tall. Given the top of the case is sloped, too, most of the external chassis is actually shorter than that figure. 17cm wide is also pretty slender for a desktop PC.
Part of this is thanks to the fact that MSI has implemented what it calls Silent Storm Cooling, meaning the case is comprised of two main chambers – the CPU and GPU sit in the main body of the machine, while the PSU is actually tucked away in the large ‘foot’ of the case, so everything is not crammed into a single area within the case.
Opening the side panel reveals a GTX 1070 Ti that is not only mounted vertically, but is also upside-down, and at first you may think that’s as far as you can go. Several screws (and several minutes of jiggling) later, you will eventually manage to remove the graphics card. With that out of the way, we get a look at the small laptop-style fan that cools the CPU’s heatpipes, and that is actually part of the same plastic frame that houses a PCIe riser card for the GPU.
Removing that plastic frame is ‘only’ a case of taking out five more screws, and at last we can get a look at the ITX motherboard and the rather measly-looking cooling solution for the i7-8700. Underneath that, it is interesting to note a single 8GB DDR4 SODIMM module that runs at 2400MHz.
At the front and to the bottom we do find some rather untidy cabling, which would be almost unforgivable in a more traditional chassis with a window, but the Aegis 3 is very closed off to prying eyes, so it is less obvious. You will still know it is there, though. A solitary 3.5in 2TB HDD sits in a large drive cage at the front of the case.
Turning the Aegis round reveals the back of the motherboard. This houses another 8GB SODIMM memory module, as well as two M.2 drives – one is a 256GB Intel 760p SSD that is used as a boot drive, and the other is a 16GB Intel Optane module. We discuss Optane further later in the review.
Confirming what we already knew, CPU-Z tells us that the processor is the multiplier-locked Intel i7-8700, meaning we won’t be doing any overclocking today. This chip has a base frequency of 3.2GHz and can boost up to 4.6GHz. The two 8GB memory SODIMMs gives us a total of 16GB DDR4 2400MHz, with timings of 17-17-17-39. Lastly, the graphics card is the GTX 1070 Ti which launched towards the end of last year.
This MSI model, which appears to be the ARMOR 8G card, is clocked at the default 1607MHz base, and 1683MHz boost clock – though it will boost higher than that if the thermal solution allows.
We do have to state that our model appears to be some kind of prototype as the models on sale in the UK only come with GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 graphics, not GTX 1070 Ti, so bear this in mind.