MSI Wind Top AE2210 review

26 Apr 2011

A fine budget option, even if its low price does result in major weaknesses throughout

Price when reviewed: 
700(£700 inc VAT)
4

The new Wind Top AE2210 is one of the cheapest all-in-ones we’ve seen recently, but that hasn’t stopped MSI kitting out its latest model with one of Intel’s Sandy Bridge desktop processors.

The part in question is the Core i3-2100 and, while it’s a low-end chip, it runs at 3.1GHz and includes Intel’s revised Hyper-Threading technology. It’s a fine specification and, while a benchmark score of 0.6 isn’t able to match the 0.74 scored by the Sony VAIO L21’s Sandy Bridge-powered mobile chip, it should ensure that the MSI is able to handle most applications without breaking sweat.

That’s impressive for a relatively cheap machine, but it means inevitable compromises elsewhere. There’s no discrete graphics chip, for instance; instead, MSI is relying on the Intel graphics built into the processor. Our 1080p test videos and streaming HD content played without fuss, but it’s no match for the latest games, as a single-figure frame rate in our Low quality Crysis test illustrates.

The rest of the MSI’s specification is mediocre, with only 2GB of RAM and a DVD writer, but you do get a TV tuner and 1TB of storage to enhance its media credentials. Like most other all-in-ones, connectivity is provided by Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11bgn Wi-Fi, and the side of the machine serves up a pair of USB 3 ports.

MSI Wind Top AE2210

The machine’s looks and peripherals also reflect the MSI’s budget price. The glossy black surround is basic when compared to the sleek Sony, and the wireless keyboard and mouse set lacks media extras. At least the speakers, which provide decent sound quality at moderate volume, are good.

It’s the 22in, 1,920 x 1,080 screen where the tight budget is most obvious, however. It’s grainier than most, and quality is middling: high brightness can’t mask the rather flat colours, and clarity is also lacking. There’s also evidence of backlight bleed along both the top and bottom edges.

One highlight is MSI’s revamped touch-specific software. The twitchy, carousel-style interface of its older touchscreen PCs has been replaced by a more traditional front end, with a large calendar augmented by picture-viewing and music screens, plus a dock with links to note-taking and paint applications.

The software does nothing to differentiate the MSI from rival machines, but it’s a clear improvement from the last generation of Wind Top touchscreen machines. The accurate optical screen works well in conjunction with it.

That and the Sandy Bridge processor just about lift the MSI above other budget all-in-ones we’ve seen, although the below-average screen, peripherals and rather mean-looking core specification mean only one for the tightest of budgets.

Details

Price ex VAT £583
Price inc VAT £700
Overall rating 4
Performance 3
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,000GB
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Screen size 21.5in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i3
CPU nominal frequency 3.10GHz
Processor socket LGA 1155

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 0
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0
Internal SATA connectors 2
Internal SAS connectors 0
Internal PATA connectors 0
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3

Graphics card

Graphics card Intel HD Graphics 2000
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 2000
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
DVI-I outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Western Digital Caviar Green
Capacity 1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity 931GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Cache size 32MB
Hard disk 2 make and model N/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 2 cache size N/A
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical drive LG GT40N
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
DVI inputs 0
HDMI inputs 0
VGA inputs 0
DisplayPort inputs 0

Additional Peripherals

Speaker type 2 x 3W
Peripherals Media Centre remote control

Case

Case format All-in-one
Dimensions 558 x 175 x 406mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 4
PS/2 mouse port no
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 2

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader yes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard MSI wireless keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partiion

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 49W
Peak power consumption 95W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 21fps
3D performance setting Low