MSI Nightblade Review
The popularity of iTX systems has exploded in recent times thanks to some truly excellent motherboards capable of underpinning even the most demanding rig. For many years the smaller form factor was largely only good as a media server, but recent advances in the compactness of chipsets, and thus motherboards, has meant that a tiny board is as good as a full size one.
One of the most impressive ones we’ve reviewed was the MSI Z87i, so it’s fitting that MSI are the first of the major manufacturers to release a iTX system that has a blend of pre-installed parts but enough room for you to customise it to your budget. Sounding like the end boss of an RPG, the MSI Nightblade could be the first in a range of products which give you all the benefits of the small form factor, with none of the headaches of finding parts that will fit.
Our review sample came fully loaded with plenty of high-end hardware so it makes a great demonstration on the type of thing that is possible with the Nightblade. So although to some degree we’re reviewing parts that it doesn’t come with as standard, there is nothing better than putting something through its paces in the manner that it’s most likely to be used.
MSI Nightblade ITX Case
MSI Z87i Motherboard
MSI R9 290 Gaming
Considering how tiny the Nightblade case is, and how blisteringly hot the Radeon cards run, it’s a great demonstration of the care and attention to detail with which the Nightblade is built that our maximum temperature was a mere 87°C. The CPU barely scraped 70°C, but we know that GPUs are always the hottest component. Small, but not too toasty at all.