MSI Trident 010 Review: VR, FPS, Thermals, Power, & Noise

By Published December 06, 2016 at 2:50 pm

MSI Trident Temperature Benchmarks

Thermals are the most interesting starting point. Using our thermal testing methodology with calibrated K-type thermocouples for ambient (and built-in diodes for the silicon), we can determine temperature as a delta T over ambient value. Just add in your ambient temperature for a rough approximation.

Our thermal testing for systems is a little load-intensive, but the idea is to generate maximum heat and see how the enclosure copes with that worst-case scenario. With P95 LFFTs and FurMark blasting the components simultaneously, the CPU is hitting a delta T of about 66.5C, or about 90C if you add ambient back in. The idle temperature is 12.6C. Our GPU, meanwhile, operates at a completely reasonable 49.4C delta T, or about 70-73C. The HDD is getting a little warm at 32.5C delta T, but remains acceptable overall.

msi-trident-temperatures

As this scenario is taxing both primary components at 100% load, we’re dumping heat into the case that will then be recirculated by the CPU. That’s creating this higher CPU temperature. Under normal gaming workloads, the CPU remains closer to about 84C – still warm, but not as bad – but intense workloads push it close to the limit. Granted, 90C isn’t anywhere near as bad as what we saw on Origin’s SFF PC a few months back, which was throttling before hitting TjMax.

Considering the tightness of the enclosure and limited airflow, it’s not the world’s worst SFF performer. MSI could certainly improve on thermals by opting for a more aggressive fan speed profile or by modifying the ventilation. Unfortunately, that wide GPU intake is really where most of the air is being intercepted. Without a dust filter for long-term use, the system’s minimal headroom on CPU thermals will be eaten into by diminished cooling efficiency. Keep this thing clean, if you buy one. Temperatures go from “acceptable, sort of” to “overheating” very fast if under the wrong conditions.

Gaming workloads are more reasonable for thermal performance, but still sort of borderline.

MSI Trident Power Draw Benchmark

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Thermal discussion is always best accompanied by power discussion. Measuring total system power draw from the wall, connected via the Trident’s AC adapter, we’re seeing a power under load of approximately 235W. Given PFC and efficiency, this number corresponds with the 230W rating of the AC drop.

Idle sits in the range of 47W to 51W. That’s not bad. Leaving this thing sitting on without sleep states, it wouldn’t draw much more power than a laptop. Load power consumption and heat generation shouldn’t generally be enough to heat up a living room, leaving noise to be the next obvious question.

MSI Trident Noise Levels

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From desktop and with no software running, the Trident’s fans generate a noise output of approximately 31.2dBA, after calculating out the noise level of the room. That’s about the noise of most laptops when idle, assuming fan uptime. With the CPU and GPU fans pushing to higher RPMs when both are under 100% load, our noise increases to 38.6dBA. That’s borderline acceptable for most living room gaming setups, in my opinion, but if you’ve got this next to the TV and the couch is 10 feet away, then it’s fine. Overall, the noise levels really aren’t that bad – 38.6dBA for a completely maxed system is pretty damn good for a small box, considering most gaming workloads will generate a dBA output between our idle and load metrics.

MSI Trident Gaming Benchmarks (FPS) at 1080p

Time to talk about gaming performance. This section is a little less interesting, since the performance will largely be identical to what you’d already expect a GTX 1060 and i7-6700 to produce.

msi-trident-fps-1080p

Starting with 1080p benchmarks and Ultra settings across the board, our lowest FPS throughput is with Battlefield 1 at Ultra and with a 96-degree horizontal FOV. The game averages 59FPS, with lows around 37 and 30 FPS. That’s reasonable, but does begin to choke in some of the more intense battles. A slight settings reduction one step down would compensate for this.

GTA V is next on the chart, outputting an average of 79 with lows around 42 for 1% and 35 for 0.1% metrics.

DOOM performs adequately as well, despite struggling at times with the 0.1% low values. Our average here is 67, and 1% lows are at 39FPS. DiRT Rally, which we figure to be a couch-friendly game, averages a framerate of 82FPS with its options nearly maxed, and sustains high low values through the benchmark course.

DOTA2, unsurprisingly, has no problems here – though does exhibit the usual DOTA issue of highly disparate 0.1% low values.

msi-trident-fps-1440p

Moving on to 1440p, Battlefield 1 starts to struggle a bit, but GTA V remains relatively playable, aside from a few hiccups. DOOM sits at 50FPS now, and DiRT Rally drops to 61FPS AVG. Just for a 4K test, since some folks will likely connect these to 4K TVs, we did see DiRT Rally on Ultra at around 33FPS AVG for 4K. This isn’t really a box you’d want for 4K gaming, high settings or otherwise.

As far as VR gaming, running a 3GB GTX 1060 is sort of pushing the limits of what an HTC Vive demands. Raw Data exhibits few app and warp misses with low settings, but anything higher than that is starting to venture into unpleasant territory. “Medium” is starting to become difficult for the system to handle, and stutters enough that you’d want a mix of medium-low settings.

Continue to Page 3 for the conclusion.


Last modified on December 06, 2016 at 2:50 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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