MSI Wind Top AE2400 review

Price when reviewed

The last MSI touchscreen PC we saw – the Wind Top AE2020, proved underwhelming thanks to its small stature, underpowered specification and weak software. The firm has obviously learned from its mistakes, though, and its new AE2400 makes a much better first impression.

Previous generations of Wind Top machines have relied on an awkward, twitchy carousel of icons for launching applications, but MSI’s new Wind Touch front-end is far easier to use. It’s modelled on the front ends used on the majority of large modern touchscreen systems, with large icons in the middle of the screen, with a dock above containing many more.

Unlike other machines, there’s no hint of sluggishness here; navigating MSI’s software, as well as the applications on offer in Windows 7 Home Premium, is about as fluid as anything we’ve seen, even matching the A-Listed Sony VAIO VPC-L11S1E, which costs over £400 exc VAT more than the MSI.

MSI has spent less time engineering its own applications, though. The “work” half of the dock is filled with links to Microsoft Office’s individual components alongside a host of Windows utilities, and the “play” portion of the software contains links to basic painting, note-taking and photo-management tools alongside the Windows 7 Touch Pack applications.

Nevertheless, the software offering is no worse than on systems from HP, Acer and Packard Bell, all of which prop up Microsoft’s applications with their own basic tools and low-rent games. Still ahead of the pack in this regard is Sony, which has its own range of media management tools based on the XrossMediaBar first introduced in the PlayStation 3.

The optical touchscreen used to operate all this is multitouch capable and proved responsive and accurate during our testing. When it comes to quality, it can’t scale the heights of the dual-backlit Sony, but it’s certainly the equal of the similarly-priced Acer Aspire Z5610: vibrant colours, sharp detail and a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 make movies and pictures look good as well as providing plenty of desktop real estate. It’s worth mentioning, though, that the glossy panel quickly collects fingerprints.

MSI Wind Top AE2400

The speakers are worth mentioning, too. They’re the loudest we’ve ever heard on an all-in-one PC and, at full volume, proved deafening. They’d capably fill a room with sound even at half strength. The excessive volume is backed up with good quality; the 10W subwoofer provides adequate bass, and the pair of 5W speakers sat on the front of the machine fill out the rest of the range well, even if treble is a little muddy. Still, we’d have no qualms about watching movies and TV on the MSI.

MSI has worked hard on the AE2400’s enclosure, too. While the machine doesn’t particularly stand out, especially when compared to the metallic-effect Acer, the glossy black exterior and brushed aluminium highlighting lends the machine an air of understated elegance.

Reinforcing this suave appearance is a row of touch-sensitive buttons that glow with a white light when activated before slowly fading. These turn it on and off, handle volume, and let you control the monitor’s OSD and a screen-dimming eco-friendly mode. The range of conventional ports and sockets is decent, with a pair of USB 2 ports and a card reader on the left-hand side of the machine, and more USB 2 ports alongside eSATA, S/PDIF and an HDMI input and D-SUB output.

The processor, while capable enough, doesn’t particularly stand out. Intel’s Core 2 Duo E5400 is a dual-core part that runs at 2.7GHz and, backed up by 4GB of DDR3 RAM, scored a reasonable 1.29 in our benchmarks – enough to power through most computing tasks, although it can’t compete with the 1.44 and 1.47 scored by the Acer and Sony machines.

Elsewhere there’s a Blu-ray drive and a hybrid DVB-T TV tuner – which allows you to watch analogue and record digital TV (or vice versa) – a capacious 1TB hard drive, and a DVD-writer.

The ATI Radeon HD 5730 graphics card is no match for high-end cards found in “proper” desktop PCs. Its lowly score of 17fps in our High quality Crysis benchmark means you won’t be playing modern games at native resolutions and high detail settings smoothly.

However, if you’re willing to drop the resolution down (and probably the settings) then the Wind Top becomes a surprisingly capable gaming system – it even managed 43fps in Crysis at 1,280 x 1,024 with Medium settings. It also played our range of 1080p test clips flawlessly, again underlining its potential as a media machine.

MSI’s previous machines haven’t impressed, but this new MSI marks an impressive return to form. The combination of quality screen, speakers, Blu-ray drive and TV tuner mark the AE2400 out as an affordable media machine, and the smooth software makes the latest Wind Top better than many of its mid-range rivals – and the deserved recipient of a Recommended award too.

NB: This review was corrected at 17:45 on 7/7/10.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity1,000
RAM capacity4.00GB
Screen size24.0in


CPU familyIntel Core 2 Duo
CPU nominal frequency2.70GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketLGA 775


MotherboardMSI proprietary
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
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardATI Radeon HD 5730
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD 5730
Graphics card RAM512MB
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard disk usable capacity931GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Cache size16MB
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


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


Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
DVI inputs0
HDMI inputs1
VGA inputs0
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

Speaker type5.1
PeripheralsMedia Center remote control, TV aerial


ChassisMSI proprietary
Case formatAll-in-one
Dimensions577 x 120 x 445mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)6
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3

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
Software suppliedMSI WindTouch software suite

Noise and power

Idle power consumption80W
Peak power consumption147W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score1.29
Office application benchmark score1.25
2D graphics application benchmark score1.54
Encoding application benchmark score1.20
Multitasking application benchmark score1.17
3D performance (crysis) low settings84fps
3D performance settingLow

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