From the well-established Trident line, the MSI MEG Trident X 12th is MSI’s latest generation of small PCs and is easily one of the best gaming PCs you can buy. The 12th is a tribute to the latest generation Intel Core processors that power Trident X.
The high-end models with the RTX 3080 Ti retail for $2,499.99 and $3,699.99 respectively, and that’s what I’m going to review. That’s a lot of money, but the sheer amount of performance and utility you get from this small machine means you can use it to render 3D animated movies, then move it to your living room for true 4K@120 light Track the game on your big screen TV.
View Model Specifications
Here are the PC specs sent to GamesRadar for review:
processor: Intel Core i7-12700KF
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
memory: 16GB DDR5 4800MHz
Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
port: front: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen1, Type-A, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x Mic In, 1 x Headphone Out
rear: 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 1 x HDMI-out (2.1), 3 x DP-out (1.4a)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 5.40” x 15.61” x 16.16”
weight: 14.77 lbs
Warranty: 1 year
The Trident X is very slim at 16.6 inches tall, 15.61 inches deep and just 5.4 inches wide. To put this in context, the PS5 is 15.4 x 10 x 3.6 inches, so it’s pretty close, but the Trident X packs a bit more punch than that console and has the advantage of easily swapping out parts.
The Trident X is a rectangular board with some edgy trim and sits on a wider base for stability – meaning you can’t put it on its side without killing critical airflow. This is nice because it really doesn’t take up much space on a desk or TV stand. The case has two side panels that easily pop out to give you access to the internals, and there’s a tempered glass panel in the box in case you like to look at your hardware.
There are plenty of ports to choose from on the front of the Trident X: USB Type-C, USB 3.2, and dual audio jacks. The inner case features a unique thunderbolt-shaped RGB strip and RGB lights, as well as cooler lighting that can be customized in MSI Center. At the back, you’re also well-served, with a total of six USB 3.2 as well as three DisplayPort and one HDMI 2.1 – ideal for use in one of the best gaming TVs (or the best gaming monitor, of course the best) 4K 120Hz games on a gaming monitor). In addition, there is Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet for networking.
Powering the Trident X is an air-cooled Intel Core i7-12700KF (one of the latest and greatest gaming CPUs), mounted on a Z690 MSI motherboard with 16GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. The 850W PSU ensures that the RTX 3080 Ti has enough power to run 4K games.
How does the MEG Trident X perform in some industry tests? We’ve included those below to give you an idea of how it performs. All games were tested at Ultra or highest settings.
3DMark Firestrike: 33711
3DMark Firestrike Extreme: 22074
Port Royal: 12550
PC Mark 10: 8673
Geekbench CPU: 1840 pts (single core), 11642 pts (multi core)
Cinebench R5: 18782 points
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 4K: 135 frames per second; 1440p: 168 frames per second; 1080p: 174fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (RTX ON): 4K: 100 frames per second; 1440p: 133 frames per second; 1080p: 150fps
Red Dead Redemption 2: 4K: 95 frames per second; 1440p: 106 frames per second; 1080p: 121fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition: 4K: 95 frames per second; 1440p: 121 frames per second; 1080p: 123fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced (RTX On): 4K: 62 frames; 1440p: 109 frames per second; 1080p: 122fps
Partition 2: 4K: 77 frames per second; 1440p: 144 frames per second; 1080p: 192fps
Total War: Three Kingdoms: 4K: 50 frames; 1440p: 101 frames per second; 1080p: 150fps
Needless to say, the Trident X is a performance beast. I’m not kidding when I say you can play big screen games at 4K 120Hz, which is what I was able to do in Destiny 2 with the Trident X paired with the excellent Sony A80J OLED. The new 12th Gen Intel excels in productivity and gaming, especially when paired with DDR5 memory and a fast SSD for gaming.
In our usual benchmarks, the Trident X scored the highest, trailing only the larger Alienware Aurora R13 we reviewed recently. The system drive measured 6893MB/s and 5283MB/s read/write, making Windows tasks and games load quickly and quickly.
Creative tasks like 3D animation and video editing fly, but I spend most of my time using the Trident X for enjoyable gaming. The MSI Ventus RTX 3080 Ti can easily run every game I’ve ever played, and I regularly go well beyond the limits of my 165Hz monitor in many games. Wolfenstein Youngblood and Doom Eternal ray tracing often runs so fast, even at ultra-high settings, it’s almost sickening.
Even more impressively, the Trident X does this while staying cool and relatively quiet. During my long gaming sessions, the temperature usually stabilized around 70 degrees on the GPU and 60 degrees on the CPU, which is great. Fan noise under load is noticeable, but certainly not as unpleasant as the Alienware Aurora.
You can adjust performance settings in MSI Center, and while it does come with some performance presets that you can toggle at any time, I’m happy to put it in Balanced mode, which is perfect for performance and quietness.
Overall – should you buy it?
The MSI MEG Trident X 12th is an excellent RTX 3080 Ti PC that works just as well in your living room as it does on your desk. In this form factor, it outperforms most pre-installed PCs and can easily wipe the floor with a current-generation console. Updates to 12th Gen Intel processors and PCIe 5.0 coupled with the addition of DDR5 memory are sure to future-proof this machine for years to come.
However, the Trident X costs as much as 4 next-gen consoles and is also $200 more expensive than the larger Alienware R13. That’s a lot of money, and now that GPU prices are back to normal, an argument can be made for DIY builds. That said, MSI is an established brand with excellent hardware quality control and support. So as far as it goes, the power is worth the money.
How we tested the MSI MEG Trident X
During my month-long experience with the MSI MEG Trident X 12th, I stress-tested a gaming PC using our industry standard testing software such as Firestrike, Time Spy, PC Mark 10, and CDM, while also using as my main gaming machine.
I don’t have a personal gaming PC, so the MSI MEG Trident X 12th is my main rig connected to an ultrawide 34″ QHD MSI monitor. I’ve used it exclusively and judiciously to progress through what I can understand is the massive backlog of Steam, Xbox PC, Ubisoft Connect, GOG Galaxy, and the Epic Games Store to get a full picture of what this machine is capable of.
I also tested this PC while connected to a 4K OLED Sony TV via HDMI 2.1, and I benefited from VRR, HDR, and experienced living room PC gaming.
You can read more about How We Test Gaming PCs in our complete GamesRadar+ Hardware Policyand how we decide verdicts on our reviews.
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