MSI Aegis Ti3 review

An intimidating gaming desktop

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Our Verdict

The MSI Aegis Ti3 is an amazingly powerful gaming desktop PC with some of the latest and greatest components installed, and boasts an eye-catching design which includes some nice features. It’s also very, very expensive.

For

  • Unique design
  • Powerful hardware
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Superb 1080p performance
  • Very good 4K performance

Against

  • Very expensive
  • Configurations vary depending on region
  • May be overkill for some gamers

The MSI Aegis Ti3 certainly stands out from the crowd, with an eye-catching design that looks like the decapitated head of a giant robot. There’s no doubt that this is a gaming desktop PC, and its design means it's unlikely that you’d want to use it in an office just for whipping up spreadsheets.

The design is matched by some pretty impressive hardware inside, which means the MSI Aegis Ti3 should be able to play modern games at the highest settings and consistent frame rates.

In the end, when buying a gaming desktop PC, that’s the most important thing: how well it plays. So, does the MSI Aegis Ti3 perform as impressively as its looks suggest? Let’s find out.

Spec Sheet

Here is the Aegis Ti3 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 3.7GHz Intel Core i7-8700K (hexa-core, 12MB cache, up to 4.7GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB GDDR5X)
RAM: 32GB DDR4 (2,400MHz)
Storage: 1TB SSD, 3 TB HDD
Ports: USB Type-C, 8 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort, DVI, 7 x 3.5mm jacks, S/PDIF, Ethernet
Connectivity: Killer dual-band AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Weight: 31.5 pounds (14.3kg)
Size: 20 x 7.72 x 19.92 inches (510 x 196 x 506mm; W x H x D)

Price and availability

The Aegis Ti3 is MSI’s flagship gaming desktop, and with its unique design and cutting-edge components it was never going to be a cheap way to get into gaming. However, even by the standards of top-of-the-range gaming desktops, the Aegis Ti3 is pricey.

In the UK, the Aegis Ti3 is sold by Currys PC World. It comes with an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8700K processor, 64GB RAM, 3TB HDD, 1TB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and costs £4,199.99.

There are slightly cheaper configurations out there, with half the RAM and a 7th-generation Core processor, but these still go for around £3,499.

That makes the Aegis Ti3 around four times the price of the MSI Aegis 3. So this is a very, very expensive desktop PC that will only be of interest to enthusiasts.

In the US there are a number of configurations available for a range of prices (though again none are cheap – sorry). An MSI Aegis Ti3 with an i7 8700K processor, 64GB RAM, 2TB NVMe SSD, 2TB SATA SSD and two Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards in SLI will set you back $5,449.

In Australia you can get a specification similar to that US one, with two GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards but 32GB of RAM, for AU$5,999.

The review unit we were sent has a single GTX 1080 Ti and 32GB of RAM, but at the time of writing this configuration doesn’t appear to be available to buy. We’re working with MSI to track down a price, and we'll update this section when we hear back.

Design

The most striking aspect of the MSI Aegis Ti3, apart from the price, is its design. It comes in a custom case that not only fully embraces the gamer aesthetic of severe angles and glowing RGB lights, but also has some canny design elements that suggest MSI has thought long and hard about what matters to gamers.

While the upper half of the case looks unremarkable when compared to other gaming desktop PCs with 'extreme' designs, it’s mounted on a base that angles it forward, giving it an aggressive, even intimidating, look, especially when it's turned on and the RGB lighting glows from within.

As we mentioned at the start of this review, the MSI Aegis Ti3 wouldn’t look out of place on the shoulders of a giant robot, and this is a look that you’re either going to love or hate. It’ll certainly get comments from people who see it on your desk (we’re speaking from experience here).

There are some nice touches in the design of the MSI Aegis Ti3. Two plastic extremities fold out at the front of the chassis on either side, and while these further make the MSI Aegis Ti3 look like some kind of demonic android, they're not just for show – they're used for hanging your headphones or other peripherals from.

At the back of the case is a sturdy handle that you can use to pick up and carry the MSI Aegis Ti3, while on the front is a dedicated HDMI port labelled 'VR', which makes it easy to attach a VR headset. This port is joined by a USB-C and two USB 3.1 ports, as well as headphone and mic ports.

The case has also been designed to allow easy access to the components, making it simple to swap out hardware when you want to upgrade. This is a nice touch, and it means the MSI Aegis Ti3 can easily be kept up to date as PC games become more demanding – although given the high specs the PC ships with you're unlikely to feel the need to upgrade any time soon.

It’s these little touches that show MSI has a good understanding of what gamers want, and it’s not all about packing high-end components and flashy visuals. Of course, the MSI Aegis Ti3 has that as well, and regarding the latter the lighting is customizable using MSI’s Mystic Light software, while a window on the left-hand side gives you a glimpse of the GPU, which is again lit by atmospheric RGB lighting.

Overall the MSI Aegis Ti3 has a design that's guaranteed to provoke comment, and you’ll either love its in-your-face look or hate it. However, there are enough clever decisions here to reassure us that MSI has put the needs of gamers at the forefront of the Aegis Ti3’s design.

Benchmarks

Here is how the MSI Aegis Ti3 fared in our suite of benchmark tests

3DMark: Sky Diver: 50,313; Fire Strike: 22,753; Time Spy: 9,397
Cinebench CPU: 1,420 points; Graphics: 143.80fps
GeekBench: 5,867 (single-core); 24,822 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 5,302 points
Total War: Warhammer II (1080p, Ultra): 95fps; (1080p, Low): 185.2fps
ME: Shadow of War (1080p, Ultra): 127fps; (1080p, Low): 195fps

Performance

The most important aspect of a gaming desktop is how well it performs – and when it comes with a price tag like the MSI Aegis Ti3's it's going to have to seriously impress us. 

The latest version of the MSI Aegis Ti3 comes with Intel’s recent 8th-generation i7-8700K processor, which is a formidable 6-core CPU with a base clock of 3.70GHz, and which is capable of 4.70GHz boost speeds.

The MSI Aegis Ti3 we were sent also comes with a single Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti. This is an excellent card, and a worthy entrant on our best graphics cards 2018 list. It’s a brilliant GPU that’s capable of 4K gaming, and as you might expect with an MSI machine, the GTX 1080 Ti in the Aegis Ti3 is MSI’s Twin Frozr version, which offers a few extra features over the stock GTX 1080 Ti GPU, including a specially-made cooler for keeping the card quiet and chilled while running.

While one of these GPUs will cope with the latest games at the highest settings at 1080p, or even 4K, as we've mentioned some configurations of the Aegis Ti3 come with two GTX 1080 Ti GPUs in SLI. This boosts the performance of the MSI Aegis Ti3 even more, but also the price.

Regardless, with our machine's specs we expected exceptional performance, and we weren’t disappointed. In the graphically-demanding Shadow of War benchmarks the MSI Aegis Ti3 scored 127fps (frames per second) in 1080p at Ultra settings. If you have a gaming monitor that’s capable of high refresh rates, games are going to look stunning on it.

Of course, all that power is going to go to waste on ‘just’ 1080p resolutions (unless you’re big into your competitive esports, where high frame rates are king), so we tested Shadow of War at ultra settings in 4K resolution, and the Aegis Ti3 still managed a very respectable 53fps. With a few tweaks to the settings here and there you’ll be able to play the latest games at 4K and 60 frames per second.

Results in our other tests were similarly impressive, with a huge Sky Diver benchmark score of 50,313, and a GeekBench 4 CPU multi-core score of 24,822; compare those two results to the MSI Infinite A, which scored 36,143 in Sky Diver and 17,338 in GeekBech 4’s multi-core test.

That’s quite a performance gap in the MSI Aegis Ti3’s favor, although the Infinite A is running older hardware, with an Intel Core i7 7700 quad-core processor and an Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card – and crucially, the Aegis Ti3 is around three times more expensive.

Benchmarks only tell part of the story though – we also spent some quality time playing a range of games on the MSI Aegis Ti3, and we’re pleased to report that it performed very well. Windows 10 also felt snappy and responsive, and being installed on an SSD certainly benefits the operating system, which booted quickly and launched apps in a flash.

Our review unit comes with 32GB of RAM, which helps with running multiple apps at the same time. As mentioned, other configurations go up to 64GB, and while that amount of RAM is overkill if all you’re doing is gaming, if you stream your gameplay, or want to use the PC for other intensive tasks, then it might be welcome; however, if all you want to do on your PC is game, then you’d be better off saving your money and getting a gaming PC that comes with 16GB of RAM.

The games we played on the MSI Aegis Ti3 performed brilliantly at 1080p, but considering the power on offer you’d be wasting the Ti3 if you stuck to that resolution. Even at 1440p games were able to hit steady – and high – frame rates at the highest graphical settings. 

We even saw very good results at 4K, which is a very demanding resolution. However, in games such as Shadow of War things felt a little sluggish, with maxed-out graphics at 3840 x 2160 resolution. Dropping a few graphical settings here and there worked wonders, and we were able to have an enjoyable gaming experience at 4K without too much compromise on the quality of the graphics.

The MSI Aegis Ti3 also comes with MSI's Gaming Center software for monitoring the hardware and applying overclocks. It’s an easy-to-use application, and offers a good range of tools to get your system running as well as possible.

Verdict

The MSI Aegis Ti3 is without doubt an excellent gaming PC, but it's also a very expensive one, and for many people the price tag alone will mean it's not for them. That's a shame, but for gamers on a budget there are more affordable PCs out there that aren’t as powerful as the MSI Aegis Ti3, but which still provide excellent gaming performance, especially at 1080p and 1440p resolutions.

However, if you have the budget then you’re getting a brilliant 4K performer in the MSI Aegis Ti3, and one that has some of the very latest components, so you won’t have to worry about upgrading for a long time – and when you do upgrade, the design of the chassis will make adding new components easy.

MSI has clearly thought long and hard about making the MSI Aegis Ti3 a machine that will appeal to gamers. There are some great touches here, and it’s just a shame that the high price tag will put so many people off. If you do have the cash, though, you won’t be disappointed.