Gone are the days of those pre-built PCs that are tough to upgrade since parts were proprietary or so strange that you'd find it difficult to locate replacement parts unless going through the manufacturer. Times have changed, and MSI's Aegis R is an excellent example of this. The company made a solid PC with a gorgeous case and powerful hardware.
But how does the entire package hold up?
$1,400 (opens in new tab)Bottom line: Powerful, good-looking and upgradable. What more do you want?
- Built with upgrades in mind
- Attractive PC design
- Solid 1080 and 1440p gaming
- Good cable management
- Efficient cooling
- Side panel awkward to install
- Odd RGB lighting controls
- Slow Intel NVMe storage
- B-series Intel motherboard
- No VRM cooling
MSI Aegis R specifications
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9700|
|RAM||16GB (2x 8GB) DDR4 3000MHz|
|Storage||1TB Intel 660P NVMe SSD|
|Graphics||MSI RTX 2070|
3x Audio jack
|Front ports||2x USB-A|
2x Audio jack
|Mouse||MSI Clutch GM11|
|Dimensions||20.7 x 20.1 x 8.9 inches|
(525.7 x 510.5 x 226 mm)
MSI Aegis R design and features
The MSI Aegis R is a full-tower pre-built desktop PC. Our review sample came equipped with an Intel Core i7-9700, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and RTX 2070 GPU. For a mid-tier gaming PC (I'm talking butter-smooth 1080p and 1440p gaming), this specification is all you need to enjoy the latest PC games. On paper, MSI is already onto a winner, especially at this price.
It's how well the rest of the PC is built that'll determine whether the Aegis R is worth your money. MSI markets these machines as the perfect esports platform, and I'd have to agree to the extent that enough performance is available for most modern games with a considerable professional scene.
The case itself is high-quality, with a full black ionized chassis, plastic front, bottom, and top panels, as well as a tempered glass panel to boot. You could mistake this case for an aftermarket pick from a case maker, and that's a win for MSI here. Thankfully, the company also held back on proprietary equipment since most of the kit here is standard.
MSI also had cooling in mind with this case. There are plenty of vents to pull in cold air and throw out heat. The front panel can take a 420mm radiator or three fans, while the roof of the case can support a 280mm radiator or two fans. Two 2.5-inch SSD trays are present atop the PSU shroud, in case you have a few RGB-touting drives around.
While the inside of the case is also black, it would be nice to see some sort of shield in front of the panel with protruding screws next to the motherboard. Especially when the CPU fan, GPU, and two RGB fans are firing out light throughout the case, but that's really the only complaint I'd have for the case as a whole. There's plenty of expansion, including PCI slots, the motherboard could take an additional 16GB of RAM if we were to upgrade, and you could even move to an AIO cooler.
At the heart of this PC is the B365M-PRO motherboard, one of MSI's more budget-friendly options. This isn't a terrible motherboard, but we're not getting advanced Intel features here. If you're looking for a platform to build an enthusiast system, this board may become quite the bottleneck, but for a pre-built rig that may see a CPU, RAM, or GPU upgrade in the future, it's more than adequate.
Booting up the PC was a quick and painless experience for the first time, and it was good to see no bloatware pre-loaded on the system. MSI's suite for handling updates to drivers and BIOS, as well as providing some handy tools, is also a nice touch.
MSI Aegis R gaming performance
It's easy to talk about performance here since the Intel Core i7-9700 is a tried and tested CPU, so too is the RTX 2070. Both components are considered the sweet spots for gamers looking at using a 1080p or 1440p monitor. You could even push 4K here, if you don't mind turning down a setting or few.
Firing up GTA V, The Witcher 3, PUBG, Ark: Survival Evolved, Path of Exile, Cities: Skylines, Total War, Tomb Raider, and Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, I saw some impressive results. Using an AOC Agon 1440p monitor at 150Hz, I was able to enjoy butter-smooth gaming in each and every title with high to very high settings.
Time Spy (Higher is better)
|MSI Aegis R||RTX 2070||8,573|
|Acer Nitro 50||RX 580X||4,032|
|Lenovo Legion C530 Cube||GTX 1050 Ti||2,536|
|Lenovo Legion T730 Tower||GTX 1060 (6 GB)||4,081|
|Lenovo Legion C730 Cube||GTX 1060 (6 GB)||3,971|
|Lenovo Legion Y520 Tower||GTX 1060 (3 GB)||3,621|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 Tower||GTX 1070||5,520|
|Lenovo Legion Y920 Tower||GTX 1080||6,774|
|Lenovo Legion Y720||GTX 1060||3,469|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||GTX 1050 Ti||2,491|
The RTX 2070 GPU is an incredible piece of kit, working well with the 16GB of RAM and Intel Core i7 to utterly smash through even more demanding games at 1080p and 1440p.
Fire Strike (Higher is better)
|MSI Aegis R||RTX 2070||19,180|
|Acer Nitro 50||RX 580X||11,583|
|Lenovo Legion C530 Cube||GTX 1050 Ti||6,773|
|Lenovo Legion T730 Tower||GTX 1060 (6 GB)||10,694|
|Lenovo Legion C730 Cube||GTX 1060 (6 GB)||10,564|
|Razer Blade 15||GTX 1070||13,560|
|Lenovo Legion Y520 Tower||GTX 1060 (3 GB)||9,078|
|Lenovo Legion Y720 Tower||GTX 1070||13,172|
|Lenovo Legion Y920 Tower||GTX 1080||16,996|
|Lenovo Legion Y720||GTX 1060||9,017|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||GTX 1050 Ti||6,623|
Likewise, with the Time Spy synthetic benchmark, there are no complaints here if you plan to do 1080p or 1440p gaming.
For gaming and general PC use, the Aegis R that we received is more than up for the task. To be fair to MSI, it would be interesting if the company managed to offer sub-par gaming experiences with such capable hardware. On paper, this PC scores high, and test results match expectations.
Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)
|Device||CPU||Single core||Multi core|
|MSI Aegis R||Intel Core i7-9700||5,442||26,310|
|Acer Nitro 50||Ryzen R5 2500X||4,246||14,777|
|Lenovo Legion C530 Cube||i5-8400||4,758||17,409|
|Lenovo Legion T730 Tower||i7-8700K||5,396||21,918|
|Lenovo Legion C730 Cube||i7-8700K||5,381||22,015|
|Razer Blade 15||i7-8750H||4,872||17,910|
Intel's Core i7-9700 CPU has eight physical cores with no multi-thread capabilities. It has a maximum clock speed of 4.7GHz, and you see the Aegis R hit high figures even with the pre-installed cooler. Geekbench 5.0 results for the Aegis R were 1,256 for single-core and 7,018 for multi-core.
PCMark Home Conventional 3.0
|MSI Aegis R||6,573|
|Acer Nitro 50||4,138|
|Lenovo Legion C530 Cube||4,560|
|Lenovo Legion T730 Tower||5,000|
|Lenovo Legion C730 Cube||5,004|
The PCMark Home Conventional test takes a bunch of your hardware and determines how well it works together while performing several everyday tasks. The Intel Core i7, speedy RAM, and storage will prove no issue here.
CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)