|MSI WindBox 6667BB-004US Barebones-PC Kit|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Dan Ferguson - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 13 April 2010|
Page 13 of 15
When I sit on the couch for some entertainment I often want to do more than watch shows. Sometimes I want to game. Since I'm a PC buff I haven't kept current on gaming consoles, so there's no games to be played from my couch - until now. If you are considering the nettop platform for your next build, gaming will be an important consideration. Based on the benchmark results we've seen so far, it is unlikely that anyone will want to use the MSI Wind Box for intensive gaming. But many popular games are not graphics intensive and don't require a top end system. I have several web games that I like to play frequently including Quake Live, Battlefield Heroes, and OGame.
For feasibility I tested a few 2D and 3D games on the Wind Box to see what was possible, and what was comfortable. As with flash videos, flash games played with ease. When playing Battlefield Heroes the Wind Box managed to pull only 30FPS at 1024x768, high video and fullscreen. At 1280x1024 it managed 20FPS, and at 1600x1200 it haltingly drew 10FPS. Really the game was only enjoyable at 1024x768 with low settings. In comparison, the Dell Vostro managed 90FPS at 1024x768, 60FPS at 1280x1024 and 50FPS at 1600x1200, high video and full screen.
Quake Live is less graphics-intensive and designed for better playability. In this game the MSI Wind Box maintained 90FPS at 1024x768, 75FPS at 1280x1024, and 60FPS at 1600x1200, high video and full screen. The Dell Vostro easily pegged the frame rate at 125FPS for all modes.
Since the integrated ATI 4330 supports DirectX 10 I decided to test the 3D capabilities using Devil May Cry 4. At low settings frame-rates were in the low 30's and playable though not very enjoyable. Under the heaviest setting the performance crawled to under 10FPS. While perhaps not the most enjoyable, 3D gaming was proven to be feasible for even some newer games.
Sitting on the couch probably isn't the best option for competitive gaming, but it may be an option to move last year's game to the nettop for some casual, low resolution fun. One last comment from me. I've been keeping a Pentium II PC alive for several years because I am a retro junkie. But silicon and metal have a limited lifetime and the Pentium II is dying. I have not wanted to muck-up my Vostro with buggy compatibility software and old games so I've been suffering from abstinence. Now that I have tested the Wind Box I will probably load some hardware emulation software and dump all my old games for hours of 8 bit fun. This is the kind of solution I have unconsciously desired for years. I'll bet you have your own void to fill, and a nettop might be the perfect platform.