MSI Backpack PC: gaming PC for on your back

The Computex fair is teeming with VR glasses and although virtual reality can be very impressive. MSI has also started working with VR glasses. The biggest disadvantage according to the manufacturer: the cable between your PC and the VR glasses. Nothing is more annoying than being ripped wildly out of your virtual world because you trip over the cable. Because wireless connections don’t have enough bandwidth and especially too much latency, MSI was left with only one thing to do; the PC must come so close to the VR glasses that you can no longer trip over the wire, for example by putting all the hardware in a backpack.

MSI’s Backpack PC is a backpack with a housing made of metal and plastic and hung on your back with two straps. The backpack contains a system with a Core i7-6700K processor and a GTX 980 video card. Connections for USB, HDMI and your headphones are mounted on top of the backpack, so that you can connect your VR glasses with a few short cables.

Unfortunately, MSI wouldn’t open the backpack for us, so we can only guess what it looks like inside. Our guess is that an itx motherboard was used, where the video card is not perpendicular to the motherboard, but lies flat thanks to the use of a riser card.

Because the BackPack PC had to be completely free of external cables, the system is powered by a battery. The battery is integrated in the backpack and, according to an MSI employee, consists of 24 cells, although she could not say what capacity those cells have. It would at least be enough for five hours of light gaming. Because we cannot imagine that VR games fall under ‘light gaming’, we assume that the battery life for ‘heavy gaming’ is the most realistic and it is a lot shorter at one and a half hours. The battery, together with the other hardware, also produces a considerable weight. The BackPack PC as it was demonstrated at Computex weighs five kilograms, but efforts are still being made to reduce that weight.

This is much needed as MSI plans to actually start selling the Backpack PC in the second half of the year and although we were only able to try it for a few minutes, we can imagine that longer gaming sessions will make your back hurt, especially if you play games where you often have to bend down and get up again. We therefore suspect that by solving one problem, MSI creates the next problem: you may no longer be bothered by cables, but with five kilos of gaming PC on your back you cannot move completely freely either.