How will you make a small type issue (SFF) PC distinctive sufficient to seize customers’ consideration? There are three key elements that outline a SFF PC: inside , dimension, and thermal/acoustic efficiency.
It’s been an ongoing problem for producers to stability these three and keep aggressive. It’s simple to select two of them and do this very nicely, however that also leaves the completed product missing within the different class. For instance, you possibly can put prime of the road in a pc and provides it nice cooling, however it’s exhausting to scale that right down to a dimension that is sensible for a SFF PC.
You may get nice cooling and acoustic efficiency in a tiny case, however that limits how a lot you possibly can put, and no one needs an underpowered rig. Lastly, you possibly can squeeze high-end in a small case however that leaves no room for ample cooling and also you’ll most likely simply find yourself thermal throttling anyway.
The Trident 3 Arctic is MSI’s try at placing that excellent stability. It’s not the quickest or the smallest, however that’s okay. It does every little thing it must do, and does it nicely. Might this be your subsequent gaming or residence theater PC? Let’s have a look and discover out.
MSI has had the Trident 3 out for some time, however the Arctic model is a limited-edition improve with some larger finish parts inside. Out of the field you’ll discover the PC itself, a moderately massive energy brick, a brief HDMI cable for VR pass-through, a keyboard, and a mouse.
At simply four.72 liters, the Trident 3 is just a hair bigger than a PS4 (four.45 liters) or concerning the dimension of two laptops stacked on prime of one another. That’s not loads of room to work with relating to gaming parts so every little thing has a goal and place. Across the again we discover the usual GTX 1070 DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI outputs, the “VR Hyperlink” pass-through, proprietary energy connector, onboard HDMI, four USB 2.zero ports, an Ethernet jack, a USB 3.zero port, Kensington lock, line-in, line-out, and a microphone jack.
In contrast to most different SFF PCs, there aren’t any configuration choices for the Trident 3. Customary specs embody a Seventh-gen Core i7-7700 (3.6 GHz) working on the H110 chipset, a modified GTX 1070 8GB GPU, 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 RAM with as much as 32GB supported, a 256GB M.2 SSD, and a 1TB HDD. The unit retails for $1,500.
The listing is spectacular given the system’s footprint, however it doesn’t go away a lot room for development. The CPU just isn’t a “Ok” SKU, which means you possibly can’t overclock it. The ITX motherboard is a non-standard format, so that you gained’t have the ability to improve to future chipsets. The GTX 1070 is an actual desktop card although, which is good. Sadly, it’s positioned lengthwise alongside the brief aspect of the case so that you’ll have to search out one other extremely compact card when you select to improve sooner or later.
Some SFF PCs have the PSU built-in within the chassis, whereas others depend on an exterior unit. Since a lot of the Trident 3’s inside is non-standard, I feel the choice to incorporate an influence brick was the only option. It’s an enormous and ponderous adapter, and it will get sizzling, however protecting it exterior of the case offers extra room for inside parts.
The Trident 3 Arctic is a high-powered gaming PC, however that additionally means it wants a major quantity of energy to feed all of the parts inside. At idle the Trident 3 pulls a mere 54 Watts, however underneath load I noticed the system pulling as a lot as 450 Watts. The ability provide is rated at solely 330 Watts so this can be a 120 Watt overhead. MSI’s engineers advised me this was nicely throughout the working specs of the unit, however that also places the facility provide at lower than 75% environment friendly. It’s not an enormous situation, however it does run sizzling to the contact. I feel an influence provide with a barely larger energy ranking wouldn’t have damage right here.
The Trident 3 Arctic’s industrial design is most just like the Ps four with a flat prime and backside and angled edges. An included plastic base can be utilized if you wish to function the unit vertically.
Within the higher left nook is the facility button and a software program controllable RGB LED accent. Shifting throughout the entrance we discover the I/O ports. There’s a headphone jack, microphone jack, a USB Sort-C port, two USB 3.zero ports, and an HDMI pass-through for VR.
The USB Sort-C port is good to see on the entrance however I’m probably not certain what the purpose is for the HDMI connection. On a normal desktop it is sensible to have one so that you don’t should crawl underneath your desk to achieve the again I/O. On the Trident 3 Arctic although, this isn’t a problem because the total machine is just a few inches deep.
On the highest we discover a matte white end on one aspect and a silver GPU air flow accent on the opposite aspect. There are extra intakes and exhaust ports across the sides as nicely. Due to this, you possibly can place it just about any method you want with out having to fret about protecting something up.
General I just like the design and aesthetic of the Trident 3 Arctic. It’s in no way boring, and it’s not gaudy like another gaming PCs.
The Trident 3 Arctic additionally comes with the MSI DS4200 keyboard and DS B1 mouse. They aren’t almost as unhealthy as most traditional pre-included peripherals. The membrane keyboard is backlit however that lighting just isn’t adjustable aside from brightness adjustment. The mouse is on the smaller aspect and usually will get the job executed.
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Entering into the case took a couple of minutes to determine. The aspect panel pops off (requires a substantial quantity of pressure) and some screws have to be taken out, however then you definitely’re on. The is partitioned into two sections: the motherboard meeting on one aspect and the GPU on the opposite.
Regardless of the small dimension, MSI has managed to suit a desktop GTX 1070 in right here. Sadly, it’s positioned lengthwise alongside the brief aspect of the case so that you’ll have to search out one other extremely compact card when you select to improve sooner or later.
Shifting to the motherboard space, issues are slightly extra set in stone. Below the laptop-style blower fan is a inventory Core i7-7700. The proprietary motherboard makes use of 16GB of normal DDR4 SO-DIMM reminiscence. That is upgradeable to 32GB when you select. Aside from the CPU blower fan and GPU fan, there is no such thing as a different cooling within the laptop.
Utilizing the exterior vents, MSI has the airflow directed in such a method that extra cooling isn’t needed. Relatively than attempting to cram each last item inside, they’ve made certain to maintain acoustics as a key characteristic.
The Trident 3 Arctic runs very quiet even throughout mild gaming. The CPU and GPU fan curves are offset to favor silence over temperature within the regular working zones. It’s principally silent when idle, however thermals do run a bit excessive. The CPU ran heat at 55 levels with the GPU working at 44 levels underneath no load.
At full load, the GPU averaged out at 72 levels. This may usually go away plenty of room for overclocking, however I wasn’t capable of get a lot out of the Trident 3 Arctic. I’m unsure if it was the motherboard, graphics card, or restricted energy out there, however the system would crash after a couple of minutes at even modest overclocks. I simply stored the GPU at inventory clocks with a slight increase to the facility restrict and that labored nice.
When you begin turning issues up for the CPU although, issues get troublesome. I feel MSI ought to have positively included a beefier cooler as a result of underneath load, the one in there simply can’t sustain. Regardless that the chip isn’t overclocked, it simply hit its TJ Max of 100C. This was underneath a 100% artificial load, however it solely took a couple of minutes to achieve this boiling extreme temperature. The fan additionally abruptly ramps up from silent to jet engine ranges after which again down once more each few seconds.
A extra gradual fan curve and a bigger heatsink would definitely be worthwhile place for enchancment. I used to be unable to tweak this in any respect because the BIOS could be very locked down. The utmost fan velocity was set to solely 60% as nicely. One other small consumption fan might additionally assist with cooling right here. So long as your video games or workload aren’t closely CPU intensive, you’ll run extremely popular however must be largely fantastic underneath regular situations although.
General system efficiency is absolutely good although. The Intel 256GB M.2 SSD makes boot and recreation load occasions very brief. Take a look at our full evaluations of the i7-7700 and the GTX 1070 if you want an in depth take a look at the inside. In any other case, listed below are the benchmarks for all the Trident 3 Arctic system.
The MSI Trident 3 Arctic retails for $1,500 and you may spec it out for round $1,200-$1,300 individually. The couple hundred value premium will get you the compact and stylish case, a pre-assembled system with assured compatibility, and MSI’s assist. We lately reviewed the Origin Chronos, a small type issue PC with a really comparable format. A equally configured Chronos will price $500 extra, however is constructed with normal desktop parts versus proprietary MSI elements. It comes with a lot better cooling, however can be louder throughout regular use.
At $1,500, the MSI Trident 3 Arctic is not a nasty deal. The one main situation I see with it’s the CPU cooling. Aside from that, it is quiet, quick, and appears nice.
Professionals: Glossy and compact look. Quiet underneath regular operation. Desktop-grade GTX 1070, good peripherals.
Cons: CPU cooler is noisy and thermally insufficient underneath load.