MSI's compact 21.5in touchscreen all-in-one PC features the low-power Core i5-3450S Ivy Bridge processor, and costs a lot less than comparable all-in-one PCs.

Part of this saving is undoubtedly due to the relatively small 21.5in screen which supports only two-point multi-touch - you won't get full value for Windows 8, when it comes. The MSI Wind Top AE2281G also cuts back on other components, providing only 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk – half that of many other all-in-one systems. It also comes with a DVD writer rather than a Blu-ray combo drive. An HDMI input is provided, so you could hook up an external BD player if you wish, while the HDMI output allows you to attach a second monitor. See also:Group test: what's the best all-in-one PC?

Although constructed mainly from plastic, the MSI Wind Top AE2281G looks considerably better than you might expect. It also comes with a matching wireless mouse and keyboard combo, and is available in black or white versions.

A row of control buttons down the left side of the MSI Wind Top AE2281G lets you configure the monitor via an on-screen menu, but the placement of the power button alongside makes it too easy to accidentally shut down the PC when you really just want to tweak brightness.

The Intel processor, combined with nVidia GeForce GT 630M graphics processor, enables the MSI Wind Top AE2281G to deliver good all-round performance and playable gaming frame rates. You also get a USB Freeview TV tuner and an HD webcam.

MSI has bundled a customised software package which includes system diagnostic and maintenance tools that you won't get from a barebones system.

MSI Wind Top AE2281G

MSI Wind Top AE2281G: Specs

  • 2.8 - 3.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5-3450S Custom Intel H61 4GB DDR3 1333MHz 500GB SATA 3 HDD 21.5" 1920 x 1080 LED backlit, TN panel, touchscreen (2 points) Nvidia GeForce GT 630M (2GB) THX Trustudio Pro DVD writer Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI in, HDMI out Wireless Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 555 x 405 x 66mm 9.1 kg Card reader, Freeview TV tuner, 1.3MP webcam 1 year collect and return
  • 2.8 - 3.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5-3450S Custom Intel H61 4GB DDR3 1333MHz 500GB SATA 3 HDD 21.5" 1920 x 1080 LED backlit, TN panel, touchscreen (2 points) Nvidia GeForce GT 630M (2GB) THX Trustudio Pro DVD writer Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI in, HDMI out Wireless Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 555 x 405 x 66mm 9.1 kg Card reader, Freeview TV tuner, 1.3MP webcam 1 year collect and return

OUR VERDICT

The MSI Wind Top AE2281G is a low-cost system that is good value for money and performs, for the most part, just as well as many more expensive PCs. It can't match their premium build quality and styling though. Memory and hard drive space have been pared back a little and there's no Blu-ray support.

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