MSI Aegis RS 13th review: a champion gaming PC
MSI's new Aegis R3 is exactly how a prebuilt gaming PC should be done
The best gaming PCs, if you choose to buy a pre-built one, need to actually be well-built. The MSI Aegis R3 is a perfect example. This is a well-built gaming PC that could easily pass as a computer you’ve built yourself. The cable management, component selection and even the RGB lighting is all incredible for the space – especially if you’re not willing to drop top dollar on a boutique machine from a company like Maingear.
It is a bit on the pricey side, though, with the configuration I reviewed here costing a hefty $2,999. That comes with the Nvidia RTX 4080, an Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. However, when you look at the price of all of those parts combined, you’re not really paying a heck of a lot for MSI to put it all together for you.
If you’re not one to shove one of the best CPUs into a motherboard to build your own rig, and don’t want to carry around one of the best gaming laptops, the MSI Aegis RS 13th might just be the way to go.
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Where to buy the MSI Aegis RS 13th
Score: 4 out of 5
How I tested the MSI Aegis RS 13th
The first thing I did with the MSI Aegis RS 13th was run it through the same benchmark suite that I run my gaming laptops through. Then, I moved the gaming PC over into my room and made it my everyday gaming machine for about a week.
In that time, not only did I play a whole bunch of games, including the new Witcher 3 update, Cyberpunk 2077 and a modded install of Skyrim; But I also used it as my work machine. That includes a wide range of workloads, from web browsing to heavy-duty photo and video editing.
Why trust my MSI Aegis RS 13th review?
I’ve been reviewing gaming PCs and all of their associated parts for the better part of the last decade, and have been a PC enthusiast for most of my life. I’ve built PCs for everyone I know, and at this point I can spot a shoddy PC build in the blink of an eye.
My only goal with these reviews is to let you know whether a gaming PC is worth your time and money. I’m less interested in what a gaming PC does for the industry and more interested in whether it’s, well, a good gaming PC.
A great 1440p gaming machine
The MSI Aegis RS 13th is equipped with hardware that’s capable of 4K gaming – more on that in the performance section – but where it really shines is in 1440p gaming. That’s where I put it to the test once I moved the machine to my “everyday” desk, where I have a 1440p gaming monitor; rather than the lab, which is equipped with a 4K display.
I could talk all day about the virtues of 1440p gaming, but when you do it with a powerful gaming PC like this, you’re able to get amazing image quality along with super high frame rates. Pretty much every game I play on this display is capable of high refresh rates.
MSI Aegis RS 13th release date
The MSI Aegis RS 13th launched on November 25, 2023, with the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090. However, the PC will be updated with the recently-launched RTX 4070 Ti for a slightly lower price. At the time of writing, this model was listed as a preorder, with no solid release date. It will likely be launching within the next month or so.
If you want to grab the model I reviewed here, though, you should have no problem ordering it.
MSI Aegis RS 13th price
The MSI Aegis RS 13th that’s up for preorder with the RTX 4070 Ti is the most affordable version of the desktop right now. That model will set you back $2,499. If you want the gaming PC equipped with an Nvidia RTX 4080, one of the best GPUs, that will cost you $2,999.
You can further increase the spec to 32GB of RAM for $3,099, and I’d recommend doing so. Games and creative apps are using more RAM than ever these days, and the extra memory for just $100 more isn’t a bad deal. Especially when you consider that Apple charges $400 to upgrade from 16GB to 32GB on the Mac mini.
If you were to buy all the parts in the review config on your own, it would cost about $2,778, according to PCPartPicker. That’s not bad for a PC with a list price of $2,999. That means you’re paying MSI about $221 to build the PC for you, which is worth it if you aren’t comfortable building it yourself.
Luckily, all the parts are available on the store shelf, so you could actually build this exact PC if you wanted to.
MSI Aegis RS 13th software and features
It wouldn’t be a prebuilt PC if it didn’t come with any pre-installed software, and the MSI Aegis RS 13th comes with MSI Center. It’s an all-in-one app that has software monitoring, RGB customization and other goodies all baked in.
What makes MSI Center actually good is that it doesn’t install everything right away. The first time you open it, it’ll walk you through a setup process that asks what you’ll be using the computer for and suggests relevant software for you to install.
This is a good approach. It means that if you’re the type that wants a barebones Windows 11 installation you can pretty much get that. And, if you need MSI to hold your hand through updates and such, you can get that experience too. More choice is always good, and MSI has improved a lot here.
MSI Aegis RS 13th Design
The MSI Aegis RS 13th is built using all off-the-shelf PC components, which means that it looks exactly like a PC you’d build yourself. It’s using the MSI MPG Gungnir 120R case, which is absolutely gorgeous. It has plenty of space for airflow in the front, even though it uses a mostly solid front plate.
It’d be even better if it was a mesh front panel, but this allows for a sleeker aesthetic. The case is paired with RGB fans, three in the front, two on the radiator on the top of the case and one in the back. Coupled with RGB lighting on the water cooling block, and there’s no shortage of bling on this PC.
If you want to get inside the case, all you need to do is remove two thumb-screws in the back of the case and slide the tempered glass side panel off. From there, you’ll have access to everything in the PC except for the modular power supply, which is under another panel. That’s relatively easy to remove, though, and the computer comes with extra PSU cables should you need them.
The top of the case has plenty of ports, too, with two USB-A, one USB-C and separate audio input/output ports – it’s more than enough, considering all the ports on the back of the computer.
MSI Aegis RS 13th Performance
MSI Aegis RS 13th benchmarks:
Cinebench R23 multi-core: 25,171
Cinebench R23 single-core: 2,090
PCMark 10 Modern Office: 9,414
3DMark Night Raid: 91,243
3DMark Speed Way: 7,138
CrystalDiskMark sequential read: 3,000 MB/s
CrystalDiskMark random read: 723 MB/s
Cyberpunk 2077 (4K, RT Ultra DLSS Performance): 81 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, RT Ultra DLSS Performance): 113 fps
Dirt 5 (4K, max settings, RT shadows): 112 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, max settings, RT shadows): 213 fps
The MSI Aegis RS 13th I reviewed is equipped with an Nvidia RTX 4080 and an Intel Core i7-13700KF. Individually, these are incredibly powerful components and together they make for one of the best gaming experiences you could ask for. This gaming PC can run all the best PC games, maxed out, at any resolution you want.
For instance, it got a whopping 112 fps in Dirt 5 at 4K with max settings and ray tracing. Lower that resolution to 1080p, and that framerate goes all the way up to 213 fps. Not bad for a game with ray tracing.
In Cyberpunk 2077, I saw 81 fps at 4K and up to 113 fps at 1080p with DLSS enabled– though at the lower resolution you’re running into CPU bottleneck issues.
Those are two of the most visually impressive PC games around right now, and the MSI Aegis RS 13th just chews through them.
Plus, with a Cinebench score of 25,171 you know that this PC will have no problem with video editing or other creative use-cases.
Should I buy the MSI Aegis RS 13th?
✅ You want a great 4K gaming PC
✅ You don’t want to build a PC yourself
✅ You don’t want to buy a fancy boutique PC build
❌ You’re comfortable building your own PC
❌ You don’t want to pay RTX 4080 prices
❌ You’d rather have a gaming laptop