MSI MEG Trident X2 13th Review – Over the top

If someone handed you $12,500, how would you choose to spend it? A used car, a luxurious cruise trip, or perhaps paying off credit card debt? All very valid options but have you considered splurging on a prebuilt gaming PC? Yes, that’s exactly what the new MSI MEG Trident X2 13th gaming PC costs.

Now before you rage quit and go scroll your socials in protest, hear me out. Yes, it’s an absurd amount of money to spend on a PC but this thing is crazy powerful for a consumer desktop. And what exactly do you get for the price of a small Japanese car?

This top end MSI MEG Trident X2 that I tested has a liquid-cooled, 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900K, an MSI GeForce RTX 4090, 64GB of DDR5-6400 memory, and two lightning-fast 1TB PCIe 5.0 NVMe M.2 SSD drives with room for three more 2.5-inch drives. Moreover, it all comes neatly packaged in a designer case featuring MSI’s second-generation HMI interface for convenient touch interaction.

As you’d imagine, performance is incredible with AAA games running in true 4K at 120 fps and that’s without the help of DLSS trickery. Frankly, the only drawback is the price but for certain use case scenarios like professional video production and animation, this makes sense. But should you spend this much if it’s just a gaming machine? Definitely not.

MSI MEG Trident X2 Review

As you unbox the Trident X2, the first thing that catches your eye is its distinctive floating design. It’s as if MSI took the already impressive Trident X and added an additional block to the side which gives it the floating appearance. This innovative design is part of the new Smart Cooling system, which utilizes separate chambers for the CPU, GPU, and power supply to ensure optimal cooling.

The entire PC boasts a sleek black appearance with gold accents highlighting the MSI branding. The left-hand block features a glossy finish so reflective that you can catch a glimpse of yourself instead of your expensive components. It’s also where you’ll find the fancy HMI Dashboard display, which illuminates the MSI Dragon logo when idle but provides quick access to useful controls with a simple tap. More on that later.

On top of the case, there are several I/O ports including USB-A and C ports for easy access. There’s even more ports at the back to accommodate all your peripherals. MSI has also thrown in Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5G and 1G Gigabit LAN ports for some uncompromising data speeds. Sadly, there’s no Thunderbolt 4 ports so you’ll have to make due with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C.

The right-hand block sports a brushed finish, housing a large mesh air intake in the middle, along with another sizable one on top. Connecting the two blocks is an LED strip capable of displaying a wide range of colors and movements.

To access the internals, you’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the glossy block cover. Frankly, I was hesitant to tamper with it myself. Who knows what could go wrong? I highly doubt my insurance would cover any mishaps.

But opening it reveals a generously aportioned system. You get the very best of MSI’s components all centered around a Z790 motherboard with four DDR5 memory slots, 2 x M.2 PCIe Gen 5 slots, 1 M.2 PCIe Gen 4 slot, two 2.5-inch and two 3.5-inch drive bays.

Cooling the i9 processor is a 280mm AIO liquid cooler and the case supports the massive girth of the RTX 4090. Powering it all is an ATX 3.0, 1000W 80 plus Gold certified PSU so the system is never thirsting for power. Expandability is certainly not an issue in this case.

Human Machine Interface 2.0

One of the standout features of the Trident X2 is the Human Machine Interface (HMI) Dashboard located on the front. This touch-enabled LCD panel allows you to swiftly change system profiles, adjust volume, monitor performance, or even launch apps and games with a single touch.

It’s quite a cool feature, and its usefulness depends on your specific needs. Setting it up requires using MSI Center, which, to be honest, is not my favorite software hub among the major brands.

Within MSI Center, you can customize the shortcuts that appear on the display and assign specific apps. While you can have numerous apps, navigating through them requires tapping through different screens, as scrolling gestures are not supported.

Physically, the touch display doesn’t offer the most satisfying tactile experience — I felt a bit of lag in switching between shortcut pages and the touch required more force than on a smartphone. However, it’s a pretty neat addition and my wife loved seeing the flashy dragon logo animation when the machine was idle.

True 4K 120Hz Gaming

Since the release of the next-gen consoles two years ago, the buzz has been about 4K gaming at 120Hz or frames per second, although it’s a feat that is rarely accomplished. Even the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X can’t achieve that and throw in ray tracing and you can forget about it.

So, you can imagine my astonishment when, for the first time, every game in my benchmark suite effortlessly achieved over 240 fps at 1080p and 120 fps at 4K. And things get even crazier when you throw in DLSS 3.0 and Frame Generation which boosts framerate by anywhere between 30-50% depending on the game.

In 3DMark 11 test suite which includes SpeedWay, TimeSpy and Port Royal for ray tracing performance, the Trident X2’s scores were literally twice as high as those of my RTX 3080-powered build. Take a look at the charts for yourself!

Like a mad titan drunk on my own power, I always started a game and glibly went into the settings to make sure everything and the kitchen sink was maxed out in 4K — including ultra ray tracing. Red Dead Redemption 2 at the highest fidelity is something that will never get old but also playing Destiny 2 in 4K ultra settings and still hitting 150fps in Crucible is just astounding.

And every time, games run beautifully without a hint of strain on the machine and even more impressively, barely a sound from the system fans. I kid you not, this thing is quieter under full load than my Meshlicious ITX machine is when idling on the Windows desktop!

As it is quiet, so is it cool with CPU and GPU temps barely topping 60C; even while running demanding 4K, ray-traced games. MSI’s design decisions regarding the chamber segmentation for the Silent Storm Cooling in the Trident X2 have undeniably paid off, leaving me utterly amazed at how effectively this closed system maintains cool temperatures while operating silently.

You won’t lack for ports on the Trident X2

Likewise, when I conducted some casual video editing using CapCut’s new(and fairly unoptimized) desktop app, I encountered no slowdowns or skipped frames when working with 4K video files. The Trident X2 performed flawlessly in real-time, even with multiple effects, color grading, and text captions applied. It didn’t skip a beat.

So, if you’re someone who engages in professional video and animation work, the Trident X2, in its current configuration, is undoubtedly worth its hefty price tag. Gamers, on the other hand, would be considered secondary customers for this immense power, unless, of course, you’re a professional streamer who earns a substantial living from that pursuit.


It’s safe to say that the MSI MEG Trident X2 in this top end configuration isn’t a recommendation for the average gamer. Yes, it possesses immense power, features clever design and execution, and hardly makes any mistakes. I absolutely love it. However, unless you have a professional use case that justifies the cost, you’d be better off exploring options with smaller builders and saving yourself $6,000.

The MSI spec sheet indicates that you can get lower spec’d models of the Trident X2 but it looks like you won’t have too much leeway to choose and I doubt it will be much less than $6000. That being said, if you have the means and a specific purpose for this machine, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go for it— it’s a truly unforgettable experience.

MSI MEG Trident X2
Exceptional gaming and productivity performance
Impressive thermals and quietness
HMI Dashboard
Beautiful design
Obscenely expensive
No alternative configurations
Kizito Katawonga
Kizito Katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

━ more like this

Diablo IV Review (PC) – Walk With Me in Hell

To pat a dog in Diablo IV, you have to stand near the pooch you'd like to give some love to, open the emote...

Sony releases new BRAVIA XR L-series TVs in Australia

Sony has launched its latest TVs for 2023 in Australia. They feature the new Game menu, Bravia Core streaming service and Google TV OS.

Asus TUF A16 Advantage Edition – Truly advantageous

Asus has managed to craft a gaming laptop that is actually affordable, performs great and lasts the whole day on battery. What's not to like?

Street Fighter 6 Review (PS5) – Fight, Fight, Fight 

Street Fighter 6 has it all. Graphics, new mechanics, the hub, characters and incredible fighting. While not as fast-paced as Street Fighter V, Street...

You can win a $10,000 Company of Heroes 3 diorama to celebrate its launch on console

Company of Heroes 3 is available today on PS5 and Xbox Series X. To celebrate the console launch of the RTS, Five Star Games...