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Even in an age when gaming PCs with massive, alien-inspired chassis and tons of flashy lights are commonplace, the MSI Infinite (starting at $1,599; $1,799 as tested) manages to stand out. This gaming monster is loaded with smart design touches, from its stunning, customizable LED strip to a plethora of front-facing ports that make connecting VR headsets and USB Type-C gadgets easy.
It doesn't skimp on performance, either, with an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card that can handle VR and high-end games without breaking a sweat. While you can find more compact and easier-to-upgrade PCs for the price, the MSI Infinite is a great premium PC for folks who care about looks above all else.
A Glowing Artifact
It's been a long time since I've been genuinely excited over a gaming desktop's design, but the MSI Infinite changed all of that. With sharp, jarring angles and no shortage of glowing lights, the Infinite looks like an artifact you'd find in an enemy base in Destiny rather than something meant to sit in an office.
I was immediately captivated by the Infinite's front-facing LED strip, which features a slick sci-fi pattern that can glow in all kinds of cool ways. While most gaming PCs settle for static or breathing lighting effects, the Infinite can send light bouncing up and down, mimic a kaleidoscope or sync its lighting with your PC audio, just to name a few.
Couple that with the customizable lighting on the GPU and motherboard, and the MSI Infinite can quickly turn into a dizzying display of LED action that should please folks who like loud color combinations.
Speaking of loud designs, the Infinite measures 19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, so it will eat up a good chunk of your desk area. It's notably bigger than similar PCs such as the Alienware Aurora (18.6 x 14.1 x 8.3 inches), though not quite as towering as high-end monsters such as the Origin Millennium (21.4 x 24.8 x 9.75 inches) and the Maingear Rush (24 x 21.5 x 8.6 inches). While the Infinite weighs a hefty 28 pounds, it's fairly easy to lug around thanks to a convenient handle near the top of the machine.
|Intel Core i7-7700
|Intel Core i7-7700
|256GB SSD + 2TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive
|Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
|Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
|Size and Weight
|19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, 28 pounds
|19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, 28 pounds
Between its handy port selection and easy upgradability, the Infinite is a pretty future-proof gaming machine. The PC features the usual headphone/mic jacks and two USB ports (one 2.0, one 3.0) right up front, in addition to a USB Type-C port for newer gadgets as well as a very useful front-facing HDMI port for VR headsets.
The rear ports should cover the rest of your needs. In the back, there are two USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port and line-in, line-out and mic jacks for audio. There are even two PS/2 ports in the rear, in case you're clinging to an older mouse or keyboard. The Infinite's Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU sports three DisplayPorts, an HDMI port and a VGA port for easy multimonitor connectivity.
To get inside the Infinite, all I had to do was remove three screws and slide off the side panel. From there, you can easily swap in more RAM, though you'll have to keep your screwdriver handy if you want to replace any other components.
The MSI Infinite is a bonafide gaming beast, tearing through most of our benchmarks with ease, thanks to its Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card.
MSI's desktop ran the stylish stealth action of Hitman (1080p, max settings) at a supersmooth 123 frames per second, barely trailing the Corsair One (129 fps, GTX 1080) and topping our 86-fps desktop average. When we cranked things up to 4K, the Infinite turned in a very impressive 65.8 fps.
On the more graphically intense Rise of the Tomb Raider (1080p, max settings), the Infinite rendered Lara Croft and her snowy surroundings at 64.7 fps. Again, that trails the Corsair One (72 fps) by just a bit while topping our 29-fps average.
The MSI Infinite has more than enough muscle for virtual reality, maxing out the SteamVR Performance Test with a score of 11. That ties the Corsair One, and tops our 10.4 average.
On the 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra test, which gauges 4K performance, the Infinite racked up a score of 5,231. That tops both the Corsair (5,032) and the Alienware Aurora (4,903; GTX 1080), as well as our 5,008 gaming-PC average.
Featuring an Intel Core i7-7700 processor and 16GB of RAM, the Infinite is just as apt at multitasking as it is at playing games. The desktop never slowed down or got noticeably noisy no matter what combination of tasks I threw at it, even as I bounced among more than a dozen browser tabs, streamed six YouTube and Twitch videos at once, and downloaded a game from Steam.
The Infinite scored 16,237 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, coming up a bit short of the Corsair One (17,755; Core i7-7700K) and our 16,661 average.
Keyboard and Mouse
The Infinite ships with MSI's Interceptor DS4200 gaming keyboard, which is pretty basic but at least better than the generic office peripherals that accompany many gaming PCs.
The Interceptor's membrane keys do a decent job of mimicking the feel of a mechanical keyboard, and its rainbow backlighting, while not customizable, looks pretty nice. The keyboard made a fine companion to both work and play, allowing me to breeze through a typing test at my usual 100 words per minute at near perfect accuracy.
You also get MSI's Interceptor DS B1 gaming mouse, which features red LED lights, thumb buttons and a DPI switch. The design is ergonomic and even features removable weights so that you can customize the feel to your liking. Considering how many gaming PCs ship with bland accessories (or none at all), I really appreciate that MSI opted to include some actual gaming gadgets with its desktop.
Configurations and Warranty
The MSI Infinite starts at $1,599, which gets you an Intel Core i7-7700 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive with a 2TB hard drive and an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU. We reviewed the $1,799 configuration, which steps the GPU up to a GTX 1080 and features a 512GB SSD with no hard drive.
If you want the best possible version of the Infinite, you can splurge for the $1,999 config and get a GTX 1080Ti graphics card and a 512GB SSD with a 2TB hard drive.
All versions of the MSI Infinite include a one-year warranty.
The Infinite is absolutely stuffed with first-party apps, many of which seem like they could have been combined. There's the MSI Command Center, which lets you monitor CPU and RAM usage, as well as a somewhat similar MSI Gaming App that allows you to overclock the CPU, activate Gaming and Silent modes that prioritize performance and low noise, respectively, and navigate a few messy-looking menus.
Here's where things get confusing. The Gaming app lets you customize the LED lights on the GPU and motherboard. Want to tweak the front lights? You'll have to open up a separate Mystic Light application. There's also an MSI Dragon Eye app that lets you view a YouTube video or Twitch stream on top of your gameplay, which is a nice — but not totally essential — touch.
While the Infinite's software allows for some neat extra tricks, I really would love to see all of these disparate apps combined into one, particularly because it took me so long to discover the PC's awesome lighting effects.
If you want a gaming desktop that's as eye-catching as it is powerful, the MSI Infinite will satisfy your needs and then some. This machine has some of the best LED lighting I've seen on a desktop, housed in a design that's both practical and attractive. And with an Intel Core i7 and GTX 1080 under the hood, there's no game or VR experience that the Infinite can't handle with flying colors.
Still, it's worth considering some alternatives in the mainstream-PC arena. Alienware's Aurora is nearly as stylish and has the easiest upgradability you'll find on a desktop, while the Corsair One is a good pick if you need something more compact but with similar power. Still, if you have the space and budget for a slick premium PC that will certainly catch the eye of anyone who walks by it, the Infinite delivers.
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.