Even though we already let in on a sneak preview during our Holiday Guides, today marks the official launch of MSI’s mini-ITX Gaming Platform.  The platform has two aspects: a Z87 Haswell mini-ITX motherboard with 802.11ac wifi built for gaming, and a mini-ITX form factor GTX 760 GPU using MSI’s Gaming brand features and design.

The motherboard marks the second MSI Z87 mini-ITX motherboard on the market (we reviewed the MSI Z87I), and makes some subtle improvements.  The Z87I Gaming comes with the aforementioned dual band 2T2R 802.11ac, as well as Killer E2205 ethernet, Audio Boost (MSI’s name for an upgraded Realtek ALC1150 audio package), a gaming device port, support for five SATA 6 Gbps ports (+ 1 eSATA), six USB 3.0 ports, and Intel WiDi support.  We also get MSI’s updated BIOS and Software for their Z87 gaming range.

The GTX 760 Gaming graphics card builds upon the niche model launched earlier in the year and sticks to the mini-ITX philosophy: no PCB longer than 17 cm.  The GPU even comes out of the box pre-overclocked, giving 1152 CUDA cores at 1033 MHz base clock, boost going up to 1098 MHz.  MSI want to promote their new Radax fan design, a hybrid radial/axial fan that is claimed to provide the benefit of both types.  With the card we also get software for specific modes: OC Mode for core clock boost, Gaming Mode for stable gaming and Silent Mode for low noise.

MSI obviously want these two products paired together for a mini-ITX gaming build.  I always liked the 17cm GPUs just because there is so much power in a small sized graphics card, so as long as the heat removal is good I am all for it.  I am also glad motherboard manufacturers are getting on board with 802.11ac: the days of 1T1R single band are gone.

The MSI Z87I Gaming motherboard is set to be released for $200 in the US, and the GTX 760 Gaming at £220 in the UK - at this point in time we could only source the UK pricing, but take away our 20% sales tax and convert to USD brings it up at $300 or so.  

Update: It looks like the GTX 760 Gaming will be $270 in the US.

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  • meacupla - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    Shame it's only a GTX 760, but I guess that's the best that can be crammed into that space. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    Stubby is neat, but what about low-profile? Maybe after AMD and NVIDIA get closer to 20nm? 14nm? The 7750 in my HP 6200 plays most games 1080p with med-low settings, powered completely by the PCIe slot. The PSU isn't even close to max output and it's very cool inside. It could handle something more powerful with a 6-pin or two... Reply
  • kashwashwa - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    Ditto - I'm kinda wondering why these short video cards are being released. It doesn't seem like a small computer should equal a box. Low profile case looks so much nicer and fits in with the home theater so much better. I'm still using a 6670 waiting for something not ridiculously expensive to come along. Reply
  • dj_aris - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    I think your best bet is a 7750 low profile. It's both low and short and doesn't require external power. Considering all these restrictions it seems a very reasonable choice for the money. I've also heard of a 7850 low profile but never actually seen one around... Other than that, I'm afraid we indeed have to wait, actually it's already quite a bit since the 7750s low profile were introduced. Reply
  • JoanSpark - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    Check out steambox like case designs.. the use riser cards/ribon cables to turn the full height GPUs 90 degree and thus make them fit into low profile cases that fit into your AV rack..
    Some dudes at hardforum in the SFF section are currently throwing concepts around, you might want to get involved?
    Reply
  • pierrot - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    i think thats going to require cases/mobos with riser cards so u can mount parallel, and those arent really available yet Reply
  • JoanSpark - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    repeat:
    They'd just need to cut off the VRM part at the back of the GTX 780 cards and remount this piece via some vertical means to get it out of the way of the airflow.. (think the subboards for Asus boards).
    The card can be triple slot afterwards, no big deal, but length should come in at 180mm and price a bit above the standard GTX 780.
    That would rock!
    Reply
  • cwolf78 - Thursday, December 05, 2013 - link

    "only" lol... why would you need anything more than that? I have a factory OC GTX 760 and you can push 1080p60+ max details on most everything. One of these boxes would most likely be connected to a TV as a Steambox or something similar anyway and the vast majority of people don't have a UHD TV. Reply
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    Not quite a straight dollar-to-pounds conversion, but I'd expect no less in the UK ;) Both rather nice prospects though. I wonder if they could ever manage to squeeze a GTX 770 into that form factor..? Reply
  • JoanSpark - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - link

    They'd just need to cut off the VRM part at the back of the GTX 780 cards and remount this piece via some vertical means to get it out of the way of the airflow.. (think the subboards for Asus boards).
    The card can be triple slot afterwards, no big deal, but length should come in at 180mm and price a bit above the standard GTX 780.
    That would rock!
    Reply

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