MSI’s latest Z87 motherboard, GeForce GTX 760 graphics card have Mini-ITX dimensions

MSI has introduced a pair of pint-sized products primed for small-form-factor gaming rigs. One is a Mini-ITX motherboard based on Intel’s top-of-the-line Haswell platform, while the other is a stubby graphics card built around Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 760 GPU. I’ve gotta admit, they look pretty good together.

The Z87I Gaming AC motherboard offers unrestricted overclocking support via Intel’s Z87 Express chipset. It has fancy electrical components, of course, along with a nice assortment of onboard extras. Networking duties are split between a Killer NIC and an Intel controller with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The integrated audio has a dedicated amplifier chip in addition to special capacitors, isolated PCB traces, and extra EMI shielding. On top of that, Creative’s Sound Blaster Cinema software kicks in surround virtualization for stereo playback.

There’s even something for folks with external DACs. The rear USB ports have extra circuitry to ensure precise, consistent 5V output.

Despite the Mini-ITX form factor’s limited dimensions, the Z87I still squeezes in plenty of ports. Four USB 3.0 ports dot the rear cluster, and two more are accessible via an internal header. SATA connectivity includes five internal ports and one eSATA at the back. You’re still limited to two full-sized DIMM slots and one PCI Express x16 expansion slot, though. Sacrifices have to be made to squeeze into a 6.7" x 6.7" Mini-ITX footprint.

Like the motherboard, the GTX760 Gaming ITX graphics card measures 6.7" long. The PCI Express connector really puts the size in perspective.

The stubby card uses a custom PCB lined with the requisite exotic electrical components. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 760 GPU is the centerpiece, and MSI has tuned the chip to run with 1033MHz base and 1098MHz boost clocks, up from the default 980/1033MHz frequencies. The GTX 760’s 6 GT/s memory transfer rate is unchanged, and there’s 2GB of RAM onboard.

To keep the GPU cool in smaller systems with limited airflow, MSI designed a new "RADAX" fan that combines axial blades with radial fins. It’s basically a fan and a blower rolled into one. The hybrid air mover sits in a dual-slot cooler that exhausts hot air out the back of the chassis. There are fewer full-sized display ports as a result, but you still get four outputs. You also get a reinforcing metal plate covering the back of the circuit board. MSI says the metal plate helps to lower GPU temperatures, and it adds that the cooling system is effective enough ward off throttling even when running Furmark demo—a notorious GPU killer.

According to MSI, the GTX760 Gaming ITX graphics will sell for $269, a $10 premium over full-sized alternatives based on the same GPU. The Z87I Gaming AC motherboard will be priced at $199, putting it at the high end of the Z87 Mini-ITX market. I have a weakness for mini gaming systems, so I really like the look of these two products. We may have to stuff them inside a tiny case to see how they hold up.

Comments closed
    • hasseb64
    • 6 years ago

    I support this TREND!
    Press tumb up if you support me in this!

      • hasseb64
      • 6 years ago

      Ohh, wait…. wrong forum, this is the place for all ATX, X58, fulltower WANKERS

        • tay
        • 6 years ago

        I don’t think it’s that, but the fact that the Press thumbs up, with a spelling error no less, reminds people of the cesspool that are the YouTube comments section. We don’t want that here.

    • Danmalore
    • 6 years ago

    This looks like the perfect hardware for a small-ish DIY STEAMBOX makes my Micro-ATX rig look huge!

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    I like these axial/radial hybrid fans, and that is a heatsink design I agree with from an engineering standpoint.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    I like how the 760 still has SLI teeth, like you can SLI in an mITX box.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 6 years ago

      Well, there’s nothing saying you have to use it exclusively in an mITX box.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 6 years ago

        I guess, but I don’t think people are going to spend more for a board this short when they don’t need it, and a rig running SLI is not going to need the shortness.

          • RainMotorsports
          • 6 years ago

          If they didn’t put it on there someone would be like “Oh its ridiculous I am paying more for a device that has had features removed”. The device is aimed at being a short card period which doesn’t fit too many other situations but I have built some odd ball rigs that were constrained on space.

          The increase in price isn’t what would put me off from using it. The fact that if I have the space a better cooler would be a higher priority. But when someone finds one of these used for cheap they have the option to pick it up for SLI. I wouldn’t SLI midrange cards this day in age anyways.

          • Deanjo
          • 6 years ago

          If I have a mATX board a shorter card is still going to be appreciated so that it doesn’t but up against drive cages, sata connectors, etc.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 6 years ago

    Sweet!

    It will be a long time coming, but my next gaming desktop will be mini-ITX or micro-ATX, and a small case. All my major storage is on a server now, and I’d rather save the space. It’s great to see so many good companies introducing new hardware for the small-form-factor enthusiast market.

    • DPete27
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]We may have to stuff them inside a tiny case to see how they hold up.[/quote<] Might I suggest stuffing them inside a [url=http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-q30/<]Lian Li PC-Q30[/url<].

      • tay
      • 6 years ago

      Yuck… that looks terrible. I’m looking to get a mini ITX gaming computer as well, but one that can take full size video cards if you sacrifice the drive bays for example.

      • Sahrin
      • 6 years ago

      …what…why?

    • Goty
    • 6 years ago

    There’s a giveaway for (of? whatever the proper preposition is here) these two items over at Anandtech under the title “Small but free”: [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/7562/msi-mini-itx-giveaway-z87i-gaming-motherboard-gtx-760-gaming-itx-video-card[/url<] (I apologize in advance if this sort of post isn't kosher with TR)

      • hoboGeek
      • 6 years ago

      …only for US residents. But thanks for the link, and you got +1 from me anyway.

    • internetsandman
    • 6 years ago

    I’m not sure that this is worth it in this age of ITX cases designed to hold potent gaming rigs, the Silverstone SG08 and the FT03-Mini come to mind. It’s excellent to see products designed to complement each other in this fashion though, especially without making anything proprietary

      • vshade
      • 6 years ago

      Those cases are a bit bigger that what I would want, I built on a Cooler master elite 120 which is about the size of those, but I really want something the size of xbox-one/steammachine.

        • superjawes
        • 6 years ago

        XBOnes are built with soldered on componets, which is how they get everything packed into a tight space. You can never upgrade the hardware, but it will fit in a pretty small space (compared to PC cases).

        My issue with that solution is that Steam Machines get around the size issue by reorienting the PCIe slot so that you can install a video card so that it is parallel with the motherboard instead of perpendicular. It’s such an obvious solution to the oversized case problem…

        So what we really need is a variation on mATX with that angle built in (mATX90?). If we had more boards like that, cases would follow.

          • ToastyMozart
          • 6 years ago

          Hmm. If you wanted to go that route, you could always get a short PCIe x16 extender cable. Good luck finding a case to support it though. You might have to make/mod it yourself.

          Apparently StarTech makes a right angle card for this.

    • shaurz
    • 6 years ago

    How does this compare to ASUS’s mini-ITX version of GTX760?

    • flip-mode
    • 6 years ago

    Been beating my lonely drum for years now: I hate mini itx for being one cm shy of big enough for four memory slots.

      • Krogoth
      • 6 years ago

      Why do you need four DIMM slots on such a board?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 6 years ago

        In order to have something about which to beat his drum.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          I do agree that it’d be nice to have. If I need to go to 32GB in my desktop I can. If I was using an mITX system for heavy VM use, though, I wouldn’t be able to.

          mITX with loads of RAM can make a very potent oomph-per-cubic-inch (i just made up a new measurement!) virtualized server farm.

        • vshade
        • 6 years ago

        I’m running single channel on my mini itx build, since I don’t need more than 8gb now, but I think I will need next year, so I bought a single 8gb dimm. I don’t know how much it is starving my cpu, but since I’m with a discrete gpu I thought the impact wouldn’t be big enough.

          • internetsandman
          • 6 years ago

          I use an MATX system with 4x4GB of RAM and short of running video transcoding while I play Civilization V, I don’t think I’ve ever needed more than 12 gigs of this system. Most moderate to reasonably heavy usage shouldn’t stress 8 gigs too much but the extra headroom is always nice

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 6 years ago

        Why do you care if the board is one cm larger? Is that one cm really going to make all the difference in the world to you?

        Somehow, I don’t think so.

        • flip-mode
        • 6 years ago

        Derp, so I can use four sticks of RAM. Maybe I have two now and want to add two later. Maybe I use lots of RAM. Or m maybe I like have lots of unused RAM but I want unimpress you with my epeen. But my reasons are my reasons. I said lonely because not many others seem to share my desire to have four slots, but I’ve wanted this from mitx for years and haven’t wised up to change my mind in that time so maybe I never will, or maybe 16 GB dimms will become available and cheaply so in a matter of time.

      • GrimDanfango
      • 6 years ago

      I lament in the opposite direction. I wish Mini-DTX had caught on, as not only do two expansion slots allow for much more diversity of application, but most ITX cases already provide two expansion slots to cater for double-width graphics cards, so it’s not like they’d need their whole own ecosystem, they’d fit right in to the current one!

    • UberGerbil
    • 6 years ago

    A $10 premium for engineering a compact GPU is a fair trade, provided the cooling and acoustics are as advertised.

    Even without the GPU, there’s the makings for a nice HTPC right there.

    I’m sure lots of folks here would be interested in a review of both.

      • pedro
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]I'm sure lots of folks here would be interested in a review of both.[/quote<] Hear hear!

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      The main problem I see with the board is the Killer NIC. It pretty much limits you to Windows if you want a wired connection.

        • UberGerbil
        • 6 years ago

        Yeah, I almost mentioned that. Thought it was odd (honestly didn’t think Killer NIC was even a thing anymore).

        • willmore
        • 6 years ago

        Are they still as funky as they used to be? I was under the impression that they were just stock parts with some ‘magic’ in the driver that only supports special PCI ID versions of the chips.

    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    what an awesome combo. if i were in for an upgrade, i’d might consider this if there was a great deal on the combo, but unfortunately, its not priced that way.

      • internetsandman
      • 6 years ago

      I’d imagine NCIX or Newegg would have the sense to put these into a bundled offering for a discount even if MSI doesn’t explicitly say it’s to be sold that way

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This