Traditional PC component manufacturers are moving into other areas of interest. For MSI that means devices such as tablets and notebooks, as well as moving forward with their traditional motherboard and graphics cards lines. Similar to ASUS and ASRock, MSI is now moving into the full desktop space with their own barebones package. Like some other barebones we have reviewed, MSI will supply the chassis, the motherboard, the CPU cooler, the power supply and the optical drive, and the user (or system integrator) will have to choose a CPU, DRAM, a GPU and storage. MSI is today launching the MSI Nightblade, a gaming mini-ITX barebones designed to fit a full size GPU (such as the MSI R9 290X), be easy enough to carry around, and even a turbo button for a quick overclock. The barebones is based on the Z87 platform, using MSI's mini-ITX gaming motherboard.

Does anyone remember those old Turbo buttons PCs used to have? I remember having one that boosted a Windows 3.1 machine from 200 MHz to 233 MHz if I remember correctly. MSI is bringing it back in the Nightblade, with a special connector from the front panel to the motherboard. By using the MSI Z87I Gaming, there is a jumper that this button can connect on to.

MSI’s Gaming range is red and black, so the chassis is no different with black being the main color with red for the accents and lights. The carry handle is used to help prop up the case when on the floor, meaning that the case is held at right angles when carried.

Inside there is space for the 600W power supply as part of the barebones, two 2.5” SSD slots, the optical drive, the motherboard and the dual slot graphics card with a 290mm maximum length. The chassis itself is 16 liters, measuring 345.8 x 277.3 x 175.7mm. The optional CPU cooler with one of the SKU variants is a 3800 RPM Tower Cooler with support up to 113W, although users can apply their own. The chassis comes with two fans (92mm, 3600 RPM rear; 120mm, 4000 RPM side) with an optional third, and the PSU is rated 80PLUS Gold.

The motherboard comes with Realtek ALC1150 audio, a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 NIC and Intel Wireless-AC 7260 dual band 802.11ac WiFi. The front of the case comes with two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports, as well as the OC button, audio jacks and an on/off switch.

The weight of the barebones as shipped is 7.8kg (17.2 lbs), and will be available worldwide from the second week of March. Initial pricing starts at 399-499 EUR (depending on the SKU), or for many regions the MSRP is US$599 and will be bundled with a SteelSeries Siberia V2 Dragon Headset.

Source: MSI

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  • flemeister - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    A bit low for the official requirements (that have to take into account ticking timebomb PSU's), but plenty in reality:

    i5 4670K + GTX780 (both at stock clocks by the looks of it?) At worst, 350W in 3DMark *from the wall*, so about 300W actually being used by the PC. Oodles, even for pushing both CPU and GPU to their limits. =)
  • rhx123 - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    I run a 780 on a Bronze Silverstone SFF PSU and have no problems whatsoever, but I am not O/Cing my CPU. I also have to mechanical HDDs and one SSD in that rig and I can run Prime95+Furmark with no hint of anything arway.
  • bunnyfubbles - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    its a shame about the branding (the dragon watermark on the side, and the big badge on the front) because it otherwise looks amazing

    that being said, it looks like the badge might come off easily enough, but to find something big enough to cover that dragon on the side without making it look worse could be tricky
  • Because0789 - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    Pay that much of a premium for a case and they don't bother to paint the inside? Definitely makes me reconsider getting it.
  • minijedimaster - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Way to expensive. You can build an entire low to mid-range ITX gaming rig for $600. With this you only get the case and mobo. Guess I don't get it, its a nice setup but not $600 nice.
  • Hrel - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Looks like you could get fully functioning computer in there for about $1100 that should do everything anyone could possibly need. Hmm, SSD probably $1200+ depending on component choices. Still, I think it's pretty cool full power desktops are fitting in smaller cases.

    Would also like a review though. I'd be concerned about a 270x running in there for long, I'd like to know for certain that it isn't gonna fry itself. If you guys could stress test a GTX750ti, and just keep testing faster and faster GPU's from there that'd be great. Really let us know how high end you can go on the GPU for a case like this.
  • Dave Long - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Small shouldn't be expensive IMO. $599 for a barebones is pricey. We need elegant designs that favor function first and form second for low prices. The $500 mini-ITX all-in-one should be the goal as it makes consoles mostly obsolete overnight.
  • mcbowler - Sunday, April 20, 2014 - link

    The inspiration below, but they moved the bottom slot to the top for 2.5 inch drives.
  • JamesHoward - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    MSI nightblade sure is good for a gamers, I think it will be enough to play latest game in highest graphic quality for now
  • Fran_KD - Saturday, May 3, 2014 - link

    has anyone built one of these? I got one. I have just a little experience building systems and the cooler for this one seems like you have to remove the mobo put a spacer under the board (comes with but no reference in the instructions) and then screw the cooler in. Before I go to all the trouble of completely disassembling, I was wondering if anyone has experience with this case and the optional cooler (which came with my Canadian version). Just deducing from what I see, anybody know the actual instruction?

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