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MSI's new gaming PC adds go-faster stripes to the Mac Pro

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MSI's latest gaming PC — the Vortex — is now shipping in the US from $2,199. It may look a little familiar, with the design taking obvious cues from Apple's "trashcan" Mac Pro, but adding the sort of aggressive stylings you'd expect from a gaming PC. This even includes strip lighting around the contours of the case, with colors that can be customized via a connected app. Something to fiddle with while you're waiting for your team to assemble in Dota, no doubt.

Ready for VR gaming on the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift

The internal design of the Vortex is also similar to Apple's: there's a triangular core containing a CPU and two GPUs, and a single fan keeping the whole thing cool. The Vortex comes with an Intel Core i7-6700K processor, and the choice between two or four sticks of 8GB DDR4 RAM — depending which of the two versions you go for. The more powerful of these has two Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 GPUs, while the cheaper goes for a pair of GeForce GTX 960s. For storage, both have two 128GB SSDs as well as a 1TB HDD. There are also all the ports and connections you could hope for, including a pair of Gigabit Ethernet controllers, two Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C ports, four USB 3.0 connections, two DisplayPort interfaces, and a pair of HDMIs. Phew!

Some close-up views of the MSI Vortex, including an exploded shot of the PC's innards. (Image credit: MSI)

The Vortex is impressively small for these specs, with a volume of 6.5 liters and a height of just 10.5 inches. It's interesting to see companies like MSI continue to experiment with form factor, and despite its affinity with Apple's Mac Pro, the Vortex's curved-but-angular design does feel fresh. MSI also promises that the Vortex is as upgradeable as any PC, and, with an eye to the future, say it's more than powerful enough to run VR games on the likes of the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. The cheaper version will set you back $2,199, while the more powerful Vortex costs $3,999 — one last point of similarity with the Mac Pro.