MSI Wind Box DC110

MSI Wind Box DC110

The Wind Box DC110 is a more competitively priced mini PC with a home-user focus. Unusually, our sample came with Windows 8 pre-installed, although examples we've seen for sale have Windows 7. It’s ready to plug-and-go and is useful for desk use where space is at a premium. See also Group test: What's the best budget PC?

When held aloft by its optional stand, its white irregular parallelogram shape appears to stick out of the desk like a dagger thrown into a floorboard. Its upward tilt angles its ports towards you and improves air flow from below. See all budget PC reviews.

It’s an undeniably plastic creation, although certainly not unpleasant to look at. A squeeze of the corner-mounted power button brings the unit to life and you’re greeted by a Windows 8 desktop with a small bundle of pre-installed software, including Office 2010 Starter Edition.

Connectivity isn’t as good as we might have hoped. There are six USB 2.0 ports, but none of them USB 3.0 or eSATA. And Thunderbolt isn’t an option. There's 320GB of internal storage provided but all external drives will be limited to dawdling USB 2.0 speeds.

HDMI and VGA ports are provided, along with analogue and digital audio, while the top of the unit features a handy flash card reader.

For the low price of £275, you get a considerably less-powerful processor than you’d find in other PCs though. There’s no Core i7 or even Core i3 processing to be found here. Instead you get a really slow 1.1GHz Intel Celeron. Worse, this Intel chip comes with an inferior version of Intel’s HD graphics, which we found wasn't even able to run our Windows benchmark game Aliens vs Predator. It simply aborted with an error message.

So you can forget gaming, but the tasks of web surfing, office applications and viewing HD video should all be served quite adequately by the Wind Box DC110. Creating HD media is another matter entirely.

With low performance comes low power consumption, and this unit will use only around 10W at idle or 23W when pushed.

MSI Wind Box DC110: Specs

  • Processor: 1.1GHz Intel Celeron Processor 847 (2 cores / 2 threads)
  • CPU Cooler: custom heatsink and fan
  • Installed memory: 4GB DDR3, 1333MHz
  • Storage: 320GB 2.5in SATA HDD, 5400rpm
  • Power supply: 40W AC adaptor
  • Motherboard: Intel NM70 Chipset
  • External USB ports: 6x USB 2.0
  • Graphics processor: Intel HD Graphics, DVMT
  • Sound: on-board
  • Networking: Gigabit ethernet, 802.11n
  • Audio outputs: HDMI audio / headphone out/ S/PDIF out (optical)
  • Audio inputs: Mic-in / line-in
  • Video outputs: HDMI, VGA
  • Other ports: SD/MS card reader
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Case dimensions: 192 x 151 x 35 mm
  • Total weight: 830g
  • Case construction materials: Plastic
  • Operating system: Windows 8
  • Extra items (Software/hardware): Office 2010 (Starter), QuickSetting, Smart Media Link, MSI register (MSI House/MSI Remind Manager), Norton Internet Security 2013 (65-day Trial), Norton Online Backup
  • Processor: 1.1GHz Intel Celeron Processor 847 (2 cores / 2 threads)
  • CPU Cooler: custom heatsink and fan
  • Installed memory: 4GB DDR3, 1333MHz
  • Storage: 320GB 2.5in SATA HDD, 5400rpm
  • Power supply: 40W AC adaptor
  • Motherboard: Intel NM70 Chipset
  • External USB ports: 6x USB 2.0
  • Graphics processor: Intel HD Graphics, DVMT
  • Sound: on-board
  • Networking: Gigabit ethernet, 802.11n
  • Audio outputs: HDMI audio / headphone out/ S/PDIF out (optical)
  • Audio inputs: Mic-in / line-in
  • Video outputs: HDMI, VGA
  • Other ports: SD/MS card reader
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Case dimensions: 192 x 151 x 35 mm
  • Total weight: 830g
  • Case construction materials: Plastic
  • Operating system: Windows 8
  • Extra items (Software/hardware): Office 2010 (Starter), QuickSetting, Smart Media Link, MSI register (MSI House/MSI Remind Manager), Norton Internet Security 2013 (65-day Trial), Norton Online Backup

OUR VERDICT

A very competitively-priced mini PC with a good out-of-box experience for home users, the Wind Box DC110 is also rather slow and lacks USB 3.0 or any other high-speed interface. It also suffers from considerably weaker graphics performance than the competition.

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