One of the nicer benefits of being a PC user is that the spread of hardware never fails to give you options. You can move to ATX, XL-ATX footprints and even go to the smallest systems with ITX-class footprints. The latter is where a lot of companies are concentrating their developmental efforts and MSI has jumped on the bandwagon for gamers looking for an ITX system.
MSI recently teased its new Intel Z87I-Gaming AC ITX-class motherboard and the Nvidia GTX760OC Gaming ITX graphics card for small-sized systems. MSI did not announce plans for market availability of either of these products, but did say that they would be shipping “soon.”
The Z87I Gaming AC is a ITX motherboard that measures a diminutive 17cm by 17cm, and is based on the existing Z87I, also by MSI. It boasts the complete Intel Z87 chipset, complete with overclocking features, as well as a 4+2 VRM layout, MSI Gaming-branded heatsinks, two RAM slots holding up to 32GB of DDR3 memory at 3000MHz speeds, five SATA 3.0 ports, a single PCI-Express 3.0 slot, Wireless LAN with Bluetooth and Killer NIC Ethernet.
Despite the similarities with the standard Z87I, MSI created the Gaming version to match up with its equally diminutive companion, the GTX760 OC Gaming ITX. Its a reference design GTX760 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, slightly overclocked core speeds and a single 8-pin PEG power connector. Its smaller size helps it fit into chassis where space is limited and it also intentionally shares design language with the Z87I Gaming AC motherboard.
These two products, along with the ITX motherboards and diminutive GTX760 that ASUS produces, are signs of an incoming wave of components designed for smaller systems. As we integrate more logic into processors and reduce the need for on-board components, we can also begin to trim away the legacy fat that keeps the majority of computers in the mATX and ATX desktop space.
MSI currently has not announced plans for similar products for AMD’s hardware, but we’ll definitely see more ITX parts coming out of big Red’s stables in the near future. An ITX motherboard with a Kaveri APU and fast memory would be pure bliss.