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Sunday | September 19, 2021
MSI Trident 3 Gaming PC

MSI Trident 3 Gaming PC

Although clearly happy to supply components, MSI possesses a clear sense of self-building identity. Laptops yes,  but also mini-desktop PCs. The MSI Trident 3 is the company’s latest attempt to turn heads. And with good specs, an assured design ethos and obvious space-saving benefits, we can see why.


The down sides of desktop mini PCs are a lack of cooling and upgrade options. However, the reality is not everybody cares for the space that full or mid-tower builds require. More importantly, what you no longer have to sacrifice is good performance. Trident 3 looks to prove that, and a solid roll of specs is a good start.

This system comes with a quad-core Kaby Lake i7-7700 at its core. It runs at 3.6GHz, boosted by the Turbo clock to 4.2GHz. It’s a good choice, offering high end performance without the option to overclock – understandable considering potential heat trapping inside a tightly fitted chassis.

For discrete graphics there’s a choice, as the Trident 3 is available with either an NVidia GTX 1060 6GB or GTX 1050Ti 4GB. Our test model features the former, the third fastest Pascal-powered solution. With 6GB of GDDR5 memory the GTX 1060 6GB has a core clock of 1,544MHz, boosted to 1,759MHz and 1,280 stream processors. It’s ample for 1080p gaming, and is VR capable too – a notable feature for a small system such as this

Elsewhere we see specifications representative of a mid-range gaming laptop. A 128GB SSD is backed by a 1TB HDD, meaning you’ll need to prioritise SSD space for titles you want to load with little fuss. The Trident 3’s memory is 16GB of DDR4 2,400Mhz. Again, it’s standard fare. 16GB is a boost, even if the specification is itself a little underwhelming.

A quick look around the system finds a good amount of connectivity. What you won’t see are any antennae, but that’s deceiving. Commendably, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi support is included, as well as a Gigabit LAN solution.

Full Specification

CPU: 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-7700
Memory: 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Sound: 5.1 Channel HD with Nahamic enhancer
Hard disk: 128GB Kingston SSDNow M.2, 1TB hard disk
Weight: 6.09kg
Ports: 4 x USB 3.1 ( 3 x Type A, 1 x Type C), 4 x USB 2.0, 2 x HDMI out (1 x VR Link) 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DVI-D, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 5 x audio, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 346.25 x 232.47 x 71.83 w/o stand / 353.73 x 97.56 x 251.35 with stand
Extras: Windows 10 Home 64-bit, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi


When designing desktop mini-PCs, an obvious place to get inspiration from is consoles. Not to say that MSI has, but rather that the Trident 3 would look almost as good under a TV. Not perhaps the ideal location, but the Trident 3 can lay, stand or slot just about anywhere.

Laying on a desk shelf, or stood up on its stand, the it’s easy to ignore. The footprint is deceptive given the power inside, yet the space-savings are very real. We’re impressed at just how compact this system is, and the ease with which it can go about its work. The aesthetic supports this understatement this with dark tones – charcoal, grey and black – used to delineate strength in the systems stylish lines and angles.

An odd bit of colour comes from the red of the MSI Gaming logo, port labels and connectors, and the semi-visible design of the caged GTX 1060. In all the Trident 3 is a pleasing vision of angular design, as happy to be on show as it is hidden away.

Cooling is the one concern many would have in such a compact system, but MSI has afforded the graphics card full exhaust space on the rear. Similarly, on the top a black mesh  allows the vast majority of the GPU cooler direct access to the outside world. Ventilation has clearly been taken seriously.

Generally, then, the Trident 3 appears an achievement. Hidden WiFi support, limited illumination – backed by MSI’s Mystic Light – leaves just one negative. At over 6Kg, the Trident 3 isn’t as portable as it looks. Having said that, mid-tower power being feather-light would be PC-fiction.


Given what’s inside the Trident 3 we had high hopes about what it could deliver. Those hope weren’t misplaced. While RAM bandwidth was expectedly modest (12.9GB/s single-thread, 13.8GB/s multi-threaded), the system still delivered the highest Cinebench GPU and CPU results we’ve seen below £2,000 (888cb and 121.8fps).

Without a sweat, it followed this up with the second highest single and third-highest multi scores on Geekbench 4 – that i7-7700 showing its worth. A PC Mark 8 result of 5227 was just as amazing, being that the only two systems we’ve seen better beaten it are the HP Omen X, and the subject of an upcoming review (priced at £2,799).

Given that the Trident 3 comes in at a mere £1,300, we were stunned at the productivity capabilities this system offers. Clearly, it’s not just for gaming…although it shined there too.

A 5,883 score in 3D Mark Extreme translated to 59fps in Fallout 4, 50fps in BF1 and 58fps in Witcher 3 . Simply smooth as a silk kitten.

In Ashes of the Singularity’s GPU-focused DX12 benchmark, the Trident 3 gained an equally strong 47fps – no issues there.

Turning to system vitals, that considered MSI design worked in favour of keeping temperatures at a decent level. The i7-7700 idled at 31c and peaked 82. A little higher due to less active cooling available, but not in the danger area of the 90s.The GPU idled at a cool 24c, peaking at an inconsequential 76c.

The final detail? Total system draw was clocked at 203.6W – a fair saving on most gaming-oriented desktop systems.

MSI Trident 3 – Conclusion

Clearly the Trident 3 won’t be for everyone. If you like to upgrade at your leisure, ensuring maximum cooling for high overclocks it won’t be for you. If you want to tease out those extra frames, or add the glamour of LEDs to matching internal components then no.

However, The Trident 3 obviously isn’t for such users. It’s for users wanting a discreet system that packs in great gaming and superb productivity. Users wanting a compact, stylish case you can point at and say, “That’s is all I need”.

The genius of the Trident 3, and how MSI has tuned it to work so effectively, is that it should be all most people need – and for the foreseeable future too. Less fuss, less space, less power, and from what we can see a stable and fully capable PC.

If you want something more visible, the white Arctic model can deliver it. But we wouldn’t want to draw attention to it too much. Because the Trident 3 doesn’t feel anywhere near as diminutive as it looks. It feels like a true accomplishment, and like very much like a Gold Award winning system.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
MSI Trident 3
Author Rating

About Author

Kevin Pocock

Kevin is a tech-lover with over a decade's experience testing, reviewing and writing about all kinds of kit.

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