Move over, Mac Pro. Apple might have been the first out of the gate with a powerful PC disguised in a compact, modish cylindrical chassis, but now proper PCs are getting in on the action. Take MSIâ€™s diminutive Vortex gaming tower, which, to be fair, looks more like a glowing, badass knightâ€™s helmet than a dumb black trashcan.
MSIâ€™s striking new PC owes its name to a unique â€ś360-degree Silent Stormâ€ť cooling system, which sucks in air from the top and swirls it down, around, and through the case before exhausting it out of the bottom, ensuring that every part of the interior is cooled, according to MSI reps. That cooling is certainly needed: The Vortex gaming tower packs a desktop-class quad-core Intel Skylake Core i7 chip,Â DDR4 RAM, and not one, but twoof Nvidiaâ€™s powerful GeForce GTX 980 mobile processors, which offer true performance parity with the companyâ€™s GTX 980 desktop graphics cards.
Suddenly the Mac Proâ€™s dual Radeon D500 graphics donâ€™t look so hotâ€”though Appleâ€™s 6- and 8-core CPU options likely outpower the Vortexâ€™s Skylake chip. MSI created the Vortex in such a way that DIYers will be able to swap out at least some of the components, though reps wouldnâ€™t say whether a motherboard upgrade was possible, which would enable a more powerful Haswell-E or Xeon processor. Considering the tricky engineering it likely took to stuff a desktop chip and two graphics cards into a petite 6.5L enclosure, smart money says no motherboard upgrades.
Sadly, MSI wouldnâ€™t crack open the Vortex for a peek inside, nor would it commit to a firm price or release date beyond â€ś2016.â€ť But, hey, the Mac Proâ€™s design was nothing short of revolutionary, and with PCs seemingly in a race to grow smaller yet more powerful, itâ€™s gratifying to see Appleâ€™s workstation get some Windows-based competition.