MSI Wind Top AE2210 review

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

Mike Jennings
26 Apr 2011
4
Price when reviewed 
700

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 The twitchy, carousel-style interface of its older touchscreen PCs has been replaced by a more traditional front end, with a large calendar augmented by picture-viewing and music screens, plus a dock with links to note-taking and paint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.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity1,000GB
RAM capacity2.00GB
Screen size21.5in

Processor

CPU familyIntel Core i3
CPU nominal frequency3.10GHz
Processor socketLGA 1155

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total0
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SATA connectors2
Internal SAS connectors0
Internal PATA connectors0
Internal floppy connectors0
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory typeDDR3

Graphics card

Graphics cardIntel HD Graphics 2000
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 2000
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskWestern Digital Caviar Green
Capacity1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity931GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Cache size32MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A

Drives

Optical driveLG GT40N
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A

Monitor

Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
DVI inputs0
HDMI inputs0
VGA inputs0
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

Speaker type2 x 3W
PeripheralsMedia Centre remote control

Case

Case formatAll-in-one
Dimensions558 x 175 x 406mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)4
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Modemno
3.5mm audio jacks2

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readeryes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardMSI wireless keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partiion

Noise and power

Idle power consumption49W
Peak power consumption95W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings21fps
3D performance settingLow

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