It’s CES time again and, after hopping on planes and braving Southern California traffic, we safely arrived in Las Vegas. Our first stop this year was at the MSI suites, where we already wrote about a gaming laptop equipped with a mechanical keyboard. Associate Marketing Manager David Chang started our tour and was even kind enough to showcase the benchmarking of the USB 3.1 interface in one of our upcoming videos.

Case mods are easily some of the most exciting content at tradeshows. Although they're generally commissioned for suites and booths, case mods ultimately provide a content opportunity that's strictly centered around what got us all interested in system building: beautiful design and assembly. It feels more neutral to cover a case mod.

We opened CES 2015 with a tour of MSI’s gaming suite, home to the company’s new monstrosity of a gaming laptop: The GT80 Titan. Among new video cards, unique docking stations, and accessories, MSI’s most interesting product for 2015 is its unholy fusion between a mechanical keyboard and an 18” notebook. The GT80 SLI Titan is the world’s first gaming laptop with a mechanical keyboard, bolstered further by SLI GTX 980M GPUs.

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Since the creation of gaming laptops, their performance has generally been substantially lower than their desktop counterparts. Somewhat excitingly, this has been changing in recent years. The release of nVidia’s Maxwell-based mobile GPUs introduced laptops that are inching closer to the performance of their desktop brethren.

While gaming laptops generally provide worse performance-per-dollar and customization options when compared to self-built PCs, their advantages in mobility are unrivaled for traveling gamers.

Welcome to another addition of our Weekly Hardware Sales round-up. This weekend, we found some sales on a trio of video cards (GTX 770, 750 Ti, and R9 270), a hard drive, and a motherboard.

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NVidia’s GPUs bring all the manufacturers to the yard. The release of GM204 first saw our review of the reference GTX 980 – presently the objective best video card we’ve ever tested – followed-up shortly by coverage of ZOTAC’s new Amp! Overclocking GPU lineup. While at the Game24 unveil event, we managed to catch up with MSI to discuss its SKUs for the GTX 970 and GTX 980 series.

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MSI brought their GTX 970 4G “Gaming” video card along, equipped with an updated Twin Frozr cooler using dual 100mm push fans and a somewhat standard heatpipe / heatsink design. Let’s get into the specs.

The first of our more major X99 motherboard coverage comes bearing MSI’s dragon-engraved badge. Intel’s new platform and CPU officially launched on day one of PAX (where we got some video), bringing a new era of $1000 Extreme Series CPUs for professional development and enthusiast rigs. We saw ASUS’ X99 Deluxe board on day one, but didn’t get much of a chance to go in depth.

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MSI, EVGA, and Gigabyte also have a presence at PAX Prime 2014, making for a firm hardware showcase at a typically gaming-oriented event. MSI’s booth hosted the X99S XPower AC board, the X99S Gaming 7, and the X99S SLI Plus. We took an extended look at the company’s X99S XPower AC motherboard, home to 5xPCI-e slots, the X99 chipset, M.2 SATA, SATA-e, and one of the biggest VRMs we’ve seen recently.

MSI is a prominent member of the gaming laptop industry and recently launched their revamped version of the GT70 gaming laptop, the GT72. The GT72 is identical to the GT70 in terms of specs, with the main difference being the redesigned chassis and internal cooling system. Another minor change is the addition of 2xUSB 3.0 ports, bringing the total 6 on the new GT72. The GT72 comes in two variants -- the GT72 Dominator Pro-007 and GT72 Dominator Pro-010.

msi-gx70MSI's other model - the GX70.

 

In this weekend's hardware sales round-up, we picked out an unlocked i5-4670K for $210, a GTX 760 for $240, a high-end Z87 board for $150, and a price-slashed mechanical keyboard. As always, keep eyes on our twitter and facebook pages for deals throughout the week days.

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With our coverage from CES 2014 rolling out rapidly (we’ve already outpaced last year’s coverage), we move now to MSI’s brand new motherboards and video card. MSI has been building their red-and-black dragon-embellished “Gaming” boards for a while now, but thus far, they’ve all been for Intel’s Haswell platform; the primary boards in MSI’s Intel line-up include the Z87-G45 Gaming and Z87-GD65 Gaming, with some troubleshooting and overclocking features differentiating them.

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Until now, AMD has gotten a noticeably less amount of love from most major manufacturers – including MSI. Finally, though, AMD’s new A88X chipset (Kaveri) has arrived, heralding a new era of motherboards for the company’s microprocessors. In this CES 2014 hands-on preview, we look at the specs of MSI’s new A88XM Gaming and A88X-G45 Gaming motherboards, in addition to the 290X Lightning massive video card.

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