I review gaming PCs for a living, and I wish they all came with this one thing

MSI Codex R2 gaming pc on a desk playing Cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: Future)

I review gaming PCs fairly regularly here at Tom's Guide, which means I'm lucky enough to get to test some of the latest and greatest gaming hardware.

As you might expect, it's fun to play around with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 for work or get to see how good games look on a 5K monitor like the Dell UltraSharp 40 during a review. I feel lucky to get to do this work for Tom's Guide readers, but I also have to confess something to you: This week I unboxed a rig for review that has one of the handiest features I've ever seen in a gaming PC, and I'm surprised more vendors don't offer it. 

I'm not talking about an AI assistant, a new watercooler or a fancy lighting setup—those can be neat features, but what I discovered inside the box of the MSI Codex R2 was so immediately and clearly helpful that I never want to pack or unbox a gaming PC without one ever again.

I'm talking, of course, about a bag. 

MSI Codex gaming PC bag and box

This black carrying bag the PC arrives in may seem like no big deal, but once you unbox a PC with one you'll never want to go back. (Image credit: Future)

But not just any bag. No, gentle reader, what I discovered upon cracking the Codex's box is a lovely black fabric bag sporting the MSI logo with a new gaming PC nestled inside. Not only does it look a little nicer than the clear plastic bag that many modern PCs come in, but this black fabric bag has a built-in handle that's helpfully sticking up when you open the box. Plus, it has a simple-to-open flap that uses two self-fastening closures (a.k.a Velcro strips) so you can easily re-use it if you want to carry your PC somewhere or return it to the vendor.

This might sound like a frivolous marketing tactic, a bit of extra branding that adds nothing to the core value of the expensive gaming PC you just purchased, but it's more than that. It's a thoughtful addition, a useful pack-in, a bit of clever marketing that also makes your life easier when you're trying to move your new PC around.

I know because I've been reviewing PCs for over a decade, and packing and unpacking them for even longer. I got my start in this business as an editorial assistant working in a testing lab for a major (and now out-of-print) PC hardware magazine, which seemed like a great way to get my foot in the door.

It also turned out to be a great way to get some workouts in, because my primary job in that role was to unbox, assemble, disassemble and pack up hardware we were testing. That included everything from 50-inch plasma TVs to beefy gaming PCs, which means I have years of experience unpacking and re-packing these expensive machines. I haven't broken one (yet) but I have lost a fair number of screws and a whole lot of patience over the years. I can't tell you how many times I've cursed the heavens while trying to lift a bulky gaming desktop into a shipping box and get it perfectly lined up on the polystyrene foam inserts, only to get it all packed up and find that some pieces are missing or the box doesn't close correctly. 

MSI Codex R2 gaming desktop: $1,199 @ Amazon

MSI Codex R2 gaming desktop: $1,199 @ Amazon

This is the model of MSI Codex I'm reviewing now, and which is pictured in this article. It ships from Amazon with an Intel 14th Gen Core i5 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. If that's not to your liking, you can visit the MSI Codex R2 website for links to additional models and options to customize them.

So when I opened the box for this MSI Codex and found the PC helpfully wrapped in a black bag with a handle on top, I was intrigued. When I reached in with one hand and easily pulled the PC out of the box with one swift yank, I was overjoyed. And when the time comes to send it home to MSI, I'm looking forward to simply wiping the PC, putting it in the bag, dropping the bag in the box and sending it off. 

I realize not everyone will be able to pull a 20-pound gaming PC out of a box with one hand, and that most people probably don't need to unbox or re-box PCs as often as I do. I can certainly understand you not sharing my frustrations with those cheap, plastic bags that most PCs come in when you're only buying a new computer every 3-10 years. If you rarely need to pack or move your PC, MSI's cheap branded black bag is more of a nice-to-have frill than a killer feature.

I wish this was a standard among PC vendors, rather than a minor frill that's so delightful I felt compelled to write a whole article about it."

But for me, it's an eye-opening addition that makes me wonder why more desktop PC makers aren't taking the time to make their products easier to access and carry—especially the best gaming PCs, which typically cost so much that the added expense of throwing in a cheap branded carrying bag seems almost trivial.

This MSI Codex I'm reviewing is on the cheaper side of gaming PCs, for example, but that still means it costs a little over $1,000. I can't imagine the bag it came in cost MSI more than $1. Yet that small additional expense makes me feel a lot better about the product when I unbox it, because it feels like MSI is looking out for me and delivering a premium PC with thoughtful additions.

Of course, the hardcore PC enthusiasts among you will likely tell me MSI didn't invent the idea of packing PCs in a bag. And in truth, I've been doing this so long that it's possible I may have unboxed a PC or two over the years that also came pre-packaged in reusable bags with built-in carrying handles.

But I can't for the life of me remember the last time I unboxed a PC with this feature, and I wish that wasn't true. I wish this was a standard among PC vendors, rather than a minor frill that's so delightful I felt compelled to write a whole article about it. I'm not alone, either; the head of our testing lab enthusiastically agreed with me when I mentioned how much I love the bag the Codex comes in.

So take it from folks who test PCs for a living: The black carrying bags MSI packs its PCs in may seem like a cheap gimmick, but it makes the process of unpacking and carrying your desktop an awful lot simpler. It might not be as cool as a 4090 or as flashy as a 4K gaming monitor, but it makes me feel like MSI is putting extra thought into the customer experience and trying to make things a little easier for folks who shell out serious cash for its premium gaming PCs.

More from Tom's Guide

Category
Arrow
Arrow
Back to Gaming Laptops
Brand
Arrow
Processor
Arrow
RAM
Arrow
Storage Size
Arrow
Screen Size
Arrow
Colour
Arrow
Condition
Arrow
Price
Arrow
Any Price
Showing 10 of 456 deals
Filters
Arrow
Low Stock
(Silver AMD Ryzen)
Our Review
2
NEW Dell Alienware m18 Laptop...
Walmart
(15.6-inch 512GB)
Our Review
6
MSI Cyborg 15 A13VE Laptop,...
antonline
(15.6-inch 512GB)
Our Review
7
MSI - Cyborg 15.6" 144hz...
Best Buy
Low Stock
(15.6-inch 1TB)
Our Review
9
MSI Cyborg 15 Premium Gaming...
Walmart
(1TB 64GB RAM)
Our Review
10
Restored Dell Alienware m18...
Walmart
Load more deals
Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.