multiconnect panel MSI launches MultiConnect panel and Voice Genie

A couple of new motherboard peripherals have been launched by MSI, one of which we’d say is far more useful than the other. First up we have the MultiConnect panel which is a 5.25-inch drive bay unit that sports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth among its features, with the second one being MSI’s Voice Genie card which allows you to control your PC by yelling at it.

A couple of new motherboard peripherals have been launched by MSI, one of which we’d say is far more useful than the other. First up we have the MultiConnect panel which is a 5.25-inch drive bay unit that sports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth among its features, with the second one being MSI’s Voice Genie card which allows you to control your PC by yelling at it.

The MultiConnect panel is an interesting spin on things as although it’s a chunky piece of plastic that slots into a spare 5.25-inch drive bay in your case, it not only adds 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, but also Bluetooth 3.0+HS, a pair of USB 2.0 ports and if you have the right motherboard, an OC Genie II button. For one we’re not quite sure why MSI had to make it so big, as it seems to waste a lot of space.

multiconnect panel MSI launches MultiConnect panel and Voice Genie

Secondly MSI missed a major trick here, the USB ports are only 2.0, not 3.0 and considering that many chassis out there shipped pre-USB 3.0 this would’ve been a much more useful addition. The Wi-Fi is also limited to 150Mbps and is a simple USB dongle hidden behind the plastic fascia. Admittedly it’s neater to have two dongles inside a drive bay than having a pair of dongles sticking out the back of your PC, but we’re not sold on MSI’s overall implementation.

As for the Voice Genie, well, this is a small PCB that slots into a PCI Express x1 slot (or any other PCI Express slot at that), but it doesn’t actually interface with the slots electrical connectors. Instead the Voice Genie card connects to a special pin-header available on a selected few MSI motherboards which include most of MSI’s Z68A models, the Big Bang Marshal and all of MSI’s X79 motherboards.

voice genie 1 MSI launches MultiConnect panel and Voice Genie

At the rear of the card there’s a microphone connector, a pass-through to the mic connector of the onboard audio or sound card and a small, sliding on/off switch. Once installed the Voice Genie allows you to issue voice commands to your PC in either English or “traditional” Chinese, although we’re not quite sure what the latter is in terms of a spoken language. It supports commands even if the system is powered down, so in other words you can now make your PC start without having to touch it. MSI also claims that you can overclock the system, make it start applications and do a wide range of other things by simply issuing voice commands.

voice genie 2 MSI launches MultiConnect panel and Voice Genie

Luckily MSI has added an option to make your own custom voice commands, but this is limited to a mere eight commands in total. In as much as we think this is an amusing piece of kit and potentially something very useful for handicapped people, we can’t see it being a huge seller for MSI. We’d also hope that MSI comes to its senses and bundles a better microphone than the one in the pictures of the card, as it looks like a terrible piece of kit.

Source: MSI