|MSI Wind-Top AE2220 1080p All-In-One PC|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 03 January 2010|
Page 12 of 13
Wind Top Final Thoughts
There's a lot of potential packed into the MSI Wind Top series that might not meet the eye. I'm currently using the AE2220 as my primary desktop workstation, using the stylus to drag and sort the hundreds of email I receive every day across the LCD touch screen before I get started in the morning. I've also found a few remarkable improvements to the 'Ink Input" Tablet PC functionality built into the writing pad of Windows 7, which allow me to handwrite my message and have Windows recognize it to text. This works incredibly well on a 21.5" 1920x1080 high-resolution touch screen.
I'm not sure if I like the idea of wall-mounting the Wind Top, primarily because it would require a swivel mount in order for me to access the rear ports, but if I change my mind MSI has included a VESA stand-off that replaces the support leg. At roughly 26 pounds a standard 24-46" monitor VESA stand or wall mount could be used with no problems, so that's a plus. Native digital-audio TosLink output enables the AE2220 to connect into a compatible audio/video receiver for 5.1 surround sound, while the HDMI port allows any source (such as PlayStation 3 or XBox 360) to connect into the Wind-Top.
Compared against the cost of purchasing a comparable desktop computer system with BD drive and touch-screen LCD monitor, for $899 you're getting a lot more for your money out of the MSI AE2220. Purchasing a 21.5-inch LCD touch screen panel alone cost close to the price of an entire Wind Top system, never mind having money left over for the rest of the components. Calculate the cost of a 21.5" LCD monitor, Blu-ray Disc player/DVD-burner, 500GB hard drive, wireless multimedia keyboard and optical mouse, digital HDTV tuner, Wi-Fi-N adapter, HD webcam, AND Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, and at the value-packed MSI Wind Top transforms into more of a steal.
Gaming performance was actually very good with the Wind Top's GeForce 9300M (see the previous Gaming Performance section for more detail) . The AE2220 doesn't attempt to compete against game-focused desktop computers with high-power discrete graphics, especially at thsi price point. Demanding high-end games like Batman: Arkham Asylum or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 aren't a consideration on the Wind Top system, but mid-level video games such as World of Warcraft, The Sims, Spore, and Empire: Total War are within reasonable reach.
MSI utilized the powerful Intel T6600 CPU and sufficient GeForce 9300M GPU for the system components inside the Wind-Top AE2220, but there were some tough decisions to be made during the design phase of this all-in-one PC. On one hand, they could have re-used the AMD RS780G/SB710 mainboard from the Wind Top AE2010 and offered powerful graphics from ATI's Radeon HD 3200 GPU, but this decision would have required that they also use a less-powerful AMD processor with higher heat output and power consumption. Instead, MSI decided to leverage NVIDIA's ION mainboard and combine a very powerful Intel Core 2 Duo processor along side NVIDIA's GeForce 9300M GPU for suitable graphics. Until a mobile graphics solution presents itself as a desktop challenger, the Wind-Top AE2220 uses the best combination of hardware for real-world tasks.
For casual computer users, which is the vast majority of the modern Internet-connected world, life with a PC doesn't revolve around video games... at least not those requiring anymore graphics than what we have available here in the AE2220. I really liked the power of my desktop, but enjoyed the power savings my laptop offered for all-day computing. Energy Star 5.0 approval has given the MSI Wind Top AE2220-25SUS 1080p all-in-one PC the ability to merge the best of the two platforms into one compact unit. At idle, the MSI Wind Top AE2220-25SUS consumed only 46W of power. Driven to 100% load on both cores of the Intel T6600 CPU, the power consumption grew to 71W. When the NVIDIA GeForce 9300M was pushed to maximum load the total power draw was 61W. Under full usage, with CPU and GPU both operating at maximum load, the total power consumption was 83W.