Coming from the established Trident line, the MSI MEG Trident X 12th that we recently got our hands on is the latest generation of small form factor PCs from MSI and is easily one of the best gaming PCs you can buy. The 12th is a nod to the latest generation of Intel Core processors powering Trident X.
Retails for $2,499.99 and $3,699.99 for the top model with an RTX 3080 Ti, which is what I have here for review. That’s a lot of money, but the sheer amount of performance and utility you get out of this little machine means you can use it to render 3D animated movies and then move it to the living room for true 4K@120, ray-traced gaming on your big screen TV.
Design and features
Review 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 at 4800MHz
Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
Ports: 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 output
Behind: 2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 1 x HDMI output (2.1), 3 x DP output (1.4a)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 5.40″ x 15.61″ x 16.16″
Weight: 14.77 pounds
Warranty: 1 year
The Trident X is impressively slim, measuring 16.6 inches tall, 15.61 inches deep, and just 5.4 inches wide. To put that into context, the PS5 is 15.4 x 10 x 3.6-inches, so it’s pretty close, but the Trident X has a lot more power than that console and has the advantage of easily changing parts.
The Trident X is a rectangular plate with some edgy flourishes and sits on a wider base for stability – meaning you can’t lay it on its side without killing critical airflow. But that’s okay, as it doesn’t really take up much space on your desk or TV cabinet. The case has two side panels that easily pop off to give you access to the innards, and also comes with a tempered glass panel in the box in case you like to look at your hardware.
The front of the Trident X has a good selection of ports: USB Type-C, USB 3.2 and dual audio connectors. There’s a distinctive thunderbolt-shaped RGB light strip as well as RGB on the internal case and cooler lighting that can be customized in the MSI Center. On the back, you’re also well served with a total of six more USB 3.2 as well as three DisplayPort and one HDMI 2.1 – perfect for playing games at 4K 120Hz on one of the best gaming TVs (or the best gaming monitors, of course). In addition, there is Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet for networking.
Driving the Trident X is an air-cooled Intel Core i7-12700KF (one of the very latest and greatest CPUs for gaming), sitting on a Z690 MSI motherboard with 16GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. An 850W PSU ensures that the RTX 3080 Ti has plenty of power to run 4K games.
How does the MEG Trident X perform in some industry tests? We’ve included these below to give you a sense of how it works. All games were tested on Ultra or their highest setting.
3DMark Firestrike: 33711
3DMark Firestrike Extreme: 22074
Port Royal: 12550
PC Mark 10: 8673
Geekbench CPU: 1840 points (single core), 11642 points (multi-core)
Cinebench R5: 18782 points
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 4K: 135 frames per second; 1440p: 168 frames per second; 1080p: 174 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (RTX on): 4K: 100 fps; 1440p: 133 frames per second; 1080p: 150 frames per second
Red Dead Redemption 2: 4K: 95 fps; 1440p: 106 fps; 1080p: 121 fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced: 4K: 95 fps; 1440p: 121 fps; 1080p: 123 frames per second
Metro Exodus Enhanced (RTX on): 4K: 62 fps; 1440p: 109 frames per second; 1080p: 122 fps
Division 2: 4K: 77 fps; 1440p: 144 fps; 1080p: 192 fps
Total War: Three Kingdoms: 4K: 50 fps; 1440p: 101 fps; 1080p: 150 frames per second
It goes without saying that the Trident X is a performance beast. I wasn’t kidding when I said you can play big screen games at 4K 120Hz, which I managed in Destiny 2 with the Trident X paired with the excellent Sony A80J OLED. The new 12th Gen Intels are serious performers in both productivity and gaming, especially when paired with DDR5 memory and a fast SSD for gaming.
In our regular benchmarks, the Trident X scored top marks, falling only slightly behind the much larger Alienware Aurora R13 we recently reviewed. The system drive measured 6893MB/s and 5283MB/s read/write, making Windows tasks and game loading snappy and fast.
Creative tasks like 3D animation and video editing will fly, but I spent most of my time using the Trident X for comfortable gaming. The MSI Ventus RTX 3080 Ti ran every game I had with ridiculous ease, and I was often way past the limits of my 165Hz monitor in quite a few titles. Wolfenstein Youngblood and Doom Eternal even at ultra settings and ray-tracing often ran so fast it was almost nauseating.
More impressively, the Trident X does this while staying cool and relatively quiet; temps usually settle around the high 70s on the GPU and high 60s on the CPU during my extended gaming sessions, which is great. The fan noise is noticeable when under load, but certainly far from unpleasant like the Alienware Aurora.
You can adjust the performance settings in MSI Center, although it comes with some performance presets that you can switch between at any time, but I was happy to leave it in balanced mode, which was perfect for performance and quietness.
All in all – should you buy it?
The MSI MEG Trident X 12th is a fantastic RTX 3080 Ti PC that works just as well in the living room as on the desk. It outperforms most pre-built PCs in this form factor and easily wipes the floor with current generation consoles. The update to 12th generation Intel processors and PCIe 5.0 plus the inclusion of DDR5 memory future-proofs this machine for years to come.
However, the Trident X costs as much as four next-gen consoles and is also $200 more than the larger Alienware R13. That’s a lot of money, and the argument can be made for a DIY build now that GPU prices are returning to normal. That said, MSI is a well-established brand with good hardware quality control and support. So for what it is, this kind of power is well worth the money.
How we tested the MSI MEG Trident X
During my month-long stint with the MSI MEG Trident X 12th, I stress-tested the gaming PC with our industry-standard benching software, such as Firestrike, Time Spy, PC Mark 10, and CDM, while also using it as my primary gaming. machine.
I don’t have a personal gaming PC, so the MSI MEG Trident X 12th was my main rig connected to an ultrawide 34-inch QHD MSI monitor. I used it exclusively and judiciously to make progress on my understandably huge backlog of Steam, Xbox PC, Ubisoft Connect, GOG Galaxy and the Epic Games Store to get a comprehensive view of what this machine can do.
I also tested this PC when connected to a 4K OLED Sony TV over HDMI 2.1, where I benefited from VRR, HDR and experienced living room PC gaming.
You can read more about how we test gaming PCs in our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policyas well as how we make judgments on our reviews as well.
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