MSI Infinite X
To infinity, and... actually, no, just to infinity.
Remember when buying a PC used to mean going to an actual store, walking around a long display of fascinating beige boxes adorned with functional jewelry, such as printers and desktop microphones, speaking to an overbearing man in a short-sleeved shirt, then waiting several days for a different man, this one less overbearing, to arrive, and put it together in your home? Modern system builders like MSI can’t hope to replace the handdrenching thrill of that 1990s experience, but they do bring a few bonuses of modernity to the table.
This Infinite X doesn’t have an ounce of bloat on its spec sheet. Our test unit came with a GTX 1080 Ti, Core i7-8700K, and 16GB of RAM — although in AU, the nearest equivalent has a GTX 1080 and 32GB of RAM. Both are fairly close to the sweet spot for high-end gaming right now, before the laws of diminishing returns really kick in and render any further performance gains pointless in the wake of escalating cost. And together, those parts riped through our 1080p benchmarks with predictable vigour, although for 4K gaming at a stable 60fps, you’ll need yet more firepower. MSI’s own Z370M Gaming Pro AC motherboard provides the beating heart of the whole operation, while storage options ranging from SSD plus HDD to two M.2 SSDs are also available. So far, so good.
This being a high-end system, there’s a fair amount of showboating going on with the case and componentry. The GPU is mounted vertically in line with side panel cutaways on the case, so you can see the 0dB fan technology in action and, like us, briefly panic that something’s come loose inside and is frying your silicon. The option of a tempered glass side panel is there for those who want it, revealing a little more RGB flair. We’d hardly say our test sample was restrained, however: There’s still an enormous backlit design on the front panel, and more sharp edges on the case as a whole than an Nvidia Founder’s Edition blower. Shout out to the front panel full of handy ports: an HDMI for VR headsets, a USB-C for newer devices, two USB 2.0s, and one 3.0. They could have been implemented more elegantly, but that’s perhaps in the eye of the beholder.
But there are a few case issues that go more than skin deep. The enormous power button is positioned in a hazardously easy-toaccidentally-nudge position, while the rear handle and DVD drive cover (yep, it actually has a physical media drive in 2018) feel worryingly flimsy.
Looking inside, it’s clear that minor problems have reached there, too. MSI’s system builders have obviously done the best job possible to create a neat and tidy, airflow-friendly rig, but there are a few cables dragged across the motherboard and remaining in plain sight as a result of the RGB LED fanciness going on at the front, and a slightly cramped interior.
But let’s be clear: all our gripes so far extend only as far as the case, and when you’re talking about a GTX 1080 system, that’s small fry. The important thing is that performance is where we’d expect it to be, and the price is bang on the mark. With the GTX 2080 almost here, the whole bang-forbuck paradigm is about to shift dramatically, so this isn’t the ideal time to invest in a new system. However, if you’re really into the Infinite X’s striking look, and want to blitz games at 1080p, this is an attractive prospect.
Our Labs test PC consists of an AMD Ryzen 5 1600, 16GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT @ 2666, an EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, and a 250GB Samsung 960 Evo M. 2 PCIe SSD. All tests performed at 1080p at highest graphical profile.