MSI's Mac Pro lookalike packs in two GTX 980s

MSI Vortex

Apple's Mac Pro (aka the Darth Vader trash can) is an incredibly powerful little computer with a unique cooling system, but a great gaming system it is not. For its showpiece tech at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, MSI took up the challenge of building its own version of the Mac Pro and sticking two beefy graphics cards into it, along with M.2 SSD storage and a Skylake 6700K CPU. Meet the Vortex.

The Vortex, amazingly, is running two GTX 980s and its Skylake CPU on a 450 watt power supply. Remember, each 980 wants 165 watts of power, and the i7-6700K has a 95W TDP. MSI didn't want to reveal the system's secrets (perhaps the laptop version of the 980 helped slightly curb power draw?), but they've got the graphics card and desktop processor in there ready to kick ass.

The Vortex uses a three chamber design to manage heat, and what MSI has named the Silent Storm cooling system. A large fan at the top of the case (only large in the context of the case, which is extremely compact for the included hardware) pulls the hot air up through the top vents. The bottom of the Vortex is elevated to allow cool air to be sucked in from the bottom.

Sadly, MSI wouldn't open up the Vortex for me to peek inside, but the promotional video below offers a cool exploded look at the guts of the thing.

Unlike some CES showpieces, the Vortex is a real PC MSI plans to sell later this year. They're also going to offer a dual GTX 960 config that will start at around $2000, while the dual GTX 980 system will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $4000. AN awesome PC is worth a second mortgage, right?

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).