Coming from the well-established Trident range, the MSI MEG Trident X 12th we got our hands on recently 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 the Trident X.
Retails at $2,499.99 and $3,699.99 for the top-end model with an RTX 3080 Ti, which I have here for review. That’s a lot of money, but the sheer amount of power and utility you get out of this little machine means you’ll use it to render 3D animated movies and then bring it into your living room for true [email protected] ray-traced gaming can bring on your big screen TV.
Check the model specifications
Here are the specs for PC, sent to GamesRadar for review:
Processor: Intel Core i7-12700KF
Graphic: 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 microphone-in, 1 x headphone-out
Back: 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″x15.61″x16.16″
Weight: 14.77 pounds
Warranty: 1 year
The Trident X is impressively slim at 16.6 inches high, 15.61 inches deep and just 5.4 inches wide. To put that in context, the PS5 is 15.4 x 10 x 3.6 inches, so that’s pretty damn close, but the Trident X packs far more punch than this console and has the advantage of easily swapping out parts can become.
A rectangular slab with some angular flourishes, the Trident X sits on a wider base for stability – meaning you can’t lay it on its side without sacrificing critical airflow. That’s okay though, as it really doesn’t take up much space on a desk or TV cabinet. The case has two side panels that easily detach to give you access to the innards and also comes with a tempered glass panel in the box in case you like looking at your hardware.
The front of the Trident X offers a good selection of ports: USB Type-C, USB 3.2 and two audio jacks. There’s a distinctive lightning bolt-shaped RGB light strip, as well as RGB on the internal body and cooler lighting that’s customizable in the MSI Center. Also on the back you are 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 with 4K 120Hz on one of the best gaming TVs (or of course the best gaming monitors) . In addition, there is Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet for networking.
The Trident X is powered by an air-cooled Intel Core i7-12700KF (one of the very latest and greatest CPUs for gaming) running on a Z690 MSI motherboard with 16GB DDR5 RAM and a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD sits. An 850W power supply ensures that the RTX 3080 Ti has enough power for 4K gaming.
How does the MEG Trident X perform on some industry tests? We’ve included these below to give you a feel for how it works. All games have been tested on Ultra or the highest setting.
3DMark Fire Strike: 33711
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme: 22074
Port Royale: 12550
PC Mark 10: 8673
Geekbench CPU: 1840 points (single core), 11642 points (multi core)
Cinebench R5: 18782 pts
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 4K: 135 fps; 1440p: 168 fps; 1080p: 174fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (RTX on): 4K: 100 fps; 1440p: 133 fps; 1080p: 150fps
Red Dead Redemption 2: 4K: 95 fps; 1440p: 106 fps; 1080p: 121fps
Improved Metro Exodus: 4K: 95 fps; 1440p: 121 fps; 1080p: 123fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced (RTX on): 4K: 62 fps; 1440p: 109 fps; 1080p: 122fps
The department 2: 4K: 77fps; 1440p: 144 fps; 1080p: 192fps
Total War: Three Kingdoms: 4K: 50 fps; 1440p: 101 fps; 1080p: 150fps
It goes without saying that the Trident X is a performance beast. I wasn’t kidding when I said you can play games on big screens at 4K 120Hz, which I was able to do in Destiny 2 with the Trident X paired with the excellent Sony A80J OLED. The new 12th Gen Intels are serious productivity and gaming performers, especially when paired with DDR5 memory and a fast SSD for gaming.
In our usual benchmarks, the Trident X scored top marks, only marginally behind the much larger Alienware Aurora R13 that we recently reviewed. The system drive measured read/write speeds of 6893 MB/s and 5283 MB/s, making Windows tasks and game loading quick and snappy.
Creative tasks like 3D animation and video editing will fly, but I spent most of my time using the Trident X for enjoyable gaming. The MSI Ventus RTX 3080 Ti ran every game I had with ridiculous ease, and I was often way beyond the limits of my 165Hz monitor in some titles. Wolfenstein Youngblood and Doom Eternal often ran so fast it was almost nauseating, even on ultra settings and ray tracing.
Even more impressive is that the Trident X does this while remaining cool and relatively quiet; Temperatures generally level off in the high 70s on the GPU and high 60s on the CPU during my longer gaming sessions, which is great. The fan noise is audible under load, but by no means as unpleasant as in the Alienware Aurora.
You can tweak the performance settings in MSI Center, although it does have some performance presets you can switch between at any time, but I was happy to leave it in Balanced mode, which was perfect for performance and quiet.
Overall – should you buy it?
The MSI MEG Trident X 12th is an awesome RTX 3080 Ti PC that works just as well in your living room as it does on your desk. It outperforms most pre-built PCs in this form factor and easily wipes the floor with current-gen consoles. Updating to 12th Gen Intel processors and PCIe 5.0, along with 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 expensive than the larger Alienware R13. That’s a lot of money, and now that GPU prices are getting back to normal, a DIY build can be argued. However, MSI is an established brand with excellent hardware quality control and support. So for what it is, this sort of performance is well worth the money.
How we tested the MSI MEG Trident X
In my month-long stint with the MSI MEG Trident X 12th, I stress-tested the gaming PC using our industry-standard bench 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 unit, connected to an ultra-wide 34-inch QHD MSI monitor. I’ve used it solely and judiciously to push my understandably massive backlog on 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 Sony 4K OLED TV via HDMI 2.1, where I benefited from VRR, HDR and experienced PC gaming in the living room.
You can read more about it how we test gaming PCs in our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policyand how we judge our reviews.
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