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MSI AEGIS Portable Barebones Gaming Desktop PC Review (Page 1)

MSI AEGIS Portable Barebones Gaming Desktop PC Review

MSI's AEGIS is a portable barebones gaming desktop PC with impressive looks and solid cooling technology. Let's take a closer look at it.

Steven Bassiri | Jul 14, 2016 at 9:10 pm CDT - 2 mins, 12 secs time to read this page
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: MSI



The MSI AEGIS is a mobile gaming desktop barebones unit designed to meet the needs of those who want high performance in a small and somewhat portable enclosure. The AEGIS is more of a normal desktop rather than a mobile one, but it's designed to be lugged around to LAN parties or wherever with only a single hand. The unit carries a custom designed Mini-ITX motherboard and uses a flex ATX PSU and a special riser to make use of every cubic inch of space. The CPU cooling solution is also custom designed by MSI. The motherboard was custom designed so that it could interact with daughter boards and utilize smaller connectors to support many storage devices.

The AEGIS comes in two flavors. The first is the AEGIS, based on the Intel B150 chipset, and the second is the AEGIS-X, which is based on the Z170 chipset. The AEGIS-X costs 25% more than the AEGIS but offers support for 95W CPUs (instead of 65W), Dragon OC button at the front, an extra x4 M.2 slot, liquid cooling, Killer based networking, USB 3.1, and two extra USB 3.0 ports. These extra features aren't necessary for a high-end gaming machine, but if you want more than the unit you see here today, MSI does offer a more premium model.


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The AEGIS is a barebones PC, and you will need to install a CPU (65/90W for AEGIS/AEGIS-X), DDR4 SO-DIMMs, storage (M.2 and/or SATA), a GPU, and an OS. The AEGIS supports both Windows 10 and Windows 7, but I will be using Windows 10. Some of you might be confused with the difference between USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2, to clear things up, USB 3.1 Gen 1 is just USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 is real USB 3.1. The reason for the USB-IF naming change is because USB 3.1 is just a speed upgrade to USB 3.0. The AEGIS has multiple USB 3.0 type-A (normal) ports on the front and back, and even a type-C USB 3.0 ports at the front.

The unit is smaller than your average desktop at just under 20 liters. It weighs roughly 20 lbs, which isn't too much considering the PSU and most other hardware is already installed, a fully outfitted AEGIS wouldn't weight much more than 25lbs.

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We are using the i5-6400 CPU, MSI GTX 960, 8GB of Micron DDR4 SO-DIMMs, a 128GB Transcend M.2 drive, and a 1TB WD Blue HDD. The unit does come with a PSU, wired and wireless networking controllers, motherboard, and CPU cooler so you will not need to purchase those.


The AEGIS barebones unit costs $399, and the AEGIS-X (not reviewed today) costs $499.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:34 pm CDT

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Steven Bassiri

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Steven Bassiri

Steven went from a fledgling forum reader in 2003 to one of the internet's brightest tech stars by 2010. Armed with an information systems degree, a deep understanding of circuitry, and a passion for tech, Steven (handle Sin0822) enjoys sharing his deep knowledge with others. Steven details products down to the component level to highlight seldom explained, and often misunderstood architectures. Steven is also a highly decorated overclocker with several world records.

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