Every time I cover something Mini-ITX I talk about how great it is that we can build these monster PCs in such a small form factor. Even so, considering how sensitive they are to heat and bad wire management it’s not for everyone. If you don’t know about every single part on the market it can be a little harder to pick out your components for a LAN rig as well. You don’t know what will fit with what, larger builds are a lot more forgiving on all of these things. Well MSI might just have the answer to all of those issues. They have put together a Mini ITX barebones for gamers who know they want a small easy to carry rig. Their Nightblade comes with a variation on their Z97i Gaming AC motherboard that I recently reviewed, a case, slim DVD drive, and 600 watt power supply. You just need to bring your SSD/Hard drive, CPU, heatsink, and video card. The question is, does the Nightblade make things easier and also how well does it perform. Today I’m going to take a closer look and put it through a few tests to see what it’s all about.

Product Name: MSI Nightblade Z97

Review Sample Provided by: MSI

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes




Support Intel 4th & 5th Gen CPU


Intel® Z97 Chipset


MSI Z97I Gaming Nightblade

CPU Cooler

Not included


Support up to a two-slot design of graphics card, max 290mm length

Memory (GB)

DDR3 DIMM x2 Slots, Support up to DDR3 3000MHz, 16GB max.


(RJ45) E2205 Killer Gigabit LAN


WiFi 802.11 ac/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and WiDi (controlled by Intel Dual Band Wireless - AC 7260)


7.1 Channel HD Audio - Realtek ALC1150 Codec


Rear: 2 x e-SATA, 2 x HDMI, 1 x Display Port, 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x PS/2, 1 x Clear, CMOS Button, 2 x Antenna Connectors


Rear: 2 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0 / Front: 2 x USB3.0, 2x USB2.0


Support 1 x 3.5” / 2 x 2.5” (2 x mSATA in one 2.5”)


Slim 9.5mm Slot-in DVD SuperMulti included

System Fan

Rear: 92mm 3600RPM, Side: 120mm 4000RPM (option for R9)

Power Supply


Power Efficiency Level


Chassis Size



13.61 x 10.92 x 6.92 in.


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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35710 24 Sep 2014 16:16
Want a LAN rig but don't know where to even start? MSI has made building a LAN rig much easier with their Nightblade barebones

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