|MSI Wind-Top AE2220 1080p All-In-One PC|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 03 January 2010|
Page 11 of 13
AE2220 Gaming Performance
This may seem like an unnecessary statement, but all-in-one computer systems like the MSI Wind-Top should not be purchased on the merit of gaming performance. This section details my own experience playing various games on the MSI Wind Top AE2220-25SUS 1080p all-in-one PC, but it was done for the purpose of this article. Benchmark Reviews offers an entire section of desktop video card articles for the avid gamer who plays highly-demanding 3D video games. Without fail, someone will see the 21.5" LCD monitor featured on the MSI Wind Top and expect to make it into their next gaming system. Allow me to explain what you can expect.
Most readers understand that comparing integrated video performance to a discrete add-in NVIDIA GeForce or ATI Radeon graphics solution would be unfair, and at the same time it's also unfair to demonstrate the integrated GeForce 9300M to other integrated systems with different architecture because the results would not be apples-to-apples (several sections of this article have demonstrated how system memory and processor power will affect overall graphics performance). While discrete graphics have the advantage of large memory buffers and powerful dedicated graphics processors, they can never fit inside the micro-size package All-In-One (AIO) system can. On that same token, NVIDIA's ION platform is more than capable of rendering digital graphics at 1920x1080 resolution on the AE2220, while compact devices like the ASUS Eee PC has a miniature 10" LCD screen intended for WSVGA 1024x600 resolution. Compact computers built with the Mobile Radeon, NVIDIA ION, or Intel GMA platform are the bridge between impotent Netbook graphics and overactive desktop performance.
Benchmark Reviews has spent most of 2008-2009 proving that almost any product on the desktop graphics market will play the most popular video games with acceptable settings and frame rate performance, but we can't rightfully say the same for compact computer platforms. While I'm sure someone has found some level of satisfaction in playing video games on their ASUS Eee PC or MSI Wind at 1024x600, it's simply unrealistic to expect a user-experience equal to that of a desktop PC or even a gaming console. The MSI AE2220 features a GeForce 9300 mobile GPU, which does well enough with multimedia tasks but lacks enough power to convincingly handle demanding 3D video games.
For reference, Benchmark Reviews tested graphics frame rate performance of the MSI AE2220 using several video games displayed at 720p (0.92 MP @ 1080x720) and 1080p (2.07 MP @ 1920x1080) resolutions, and the Wind Top platform devoured every 2D application and multimedia video file we threw at it (including Adobe Flash movies in HD). When playing 3D games, such as Devil May Cry 4 or Call of Duty 4, the results were noticeably different. At 1080p these games were unplayable; but at 720p (1080x720) the performance perked up and frame rates were above FPS 30 when the quality was configured with the lowest settings available, and post-processing effects all turned off. Devil May Cry 4 managed frame rates in the low 30's with low-quality settings, while Street Fighter IV played well with medium quality. Batman: Arkham Asylum did not play well.
Since most first-person shooter and intense-action games are best experienced on high-precision high-resolutions monitors, I decided to change my format and play some of the more entertaining titles that depend less on graphical power. The first was Battlefield Heroes, an online-only first-person shooter that requires very little graphic processing but still offers outstanding game play and hours of fun. Comparing the desktop experience of playing Battlefield Heroes on high-resolution desktop monitors at 1920x1200 against the 1920x1080 resolution offered by the MSI Wind Top AE2220 actually rendered no perceivable difference, which is exactly what full-size desktop computers should begin to fear. When it came to games like World of Warcraft, Spore, The Sims, or any of the parlor-style games such as Mahjong, Solitaire, online Poker, or puzzles, the Wind-Top AE2220 really shined.
In reality, Wind Top AIO users shouldn't be loading games like Crysis or Far Cry 2 on their system in the first place (I hope not, at least). The AE2220 can push high frame rates in most low-demand games, but the higher-performance first person shooters are not possible on the Wind-Top and will be best experienced on a more dedicated platform such as a high-end PC with discrete graphics or gaming console. The day when mobile gaming performance competes with desktop graphics isn't far off, but we'll have to wait for the next Wind-Top innovation to see if MSI bridges the gap.