The MSI Wind Top AE2010 is one of our favourite new budget all-in-one PCs.
It has a 20-inch single-touch display, Windows 7, and 4GB of memory; it ditches the Atom CPU for a 1.5GHz Athlon X2 Dual-Core 3250e processor; and the MSI Wind Top AE2010 is among the best-performing budget all-in-one PCs (20-inches or smaller) we've seen. But we've got a few concerns, too.
The display's glossy coating creates an annoying reflection of yourself whenever a scene goes dark, and it makes the darker contrasts of a movie or game less rich than you would otherwise see. You also lose detail in darker scenes, as the MSI Wind Top AE2010's screen itself has a kind of gray quality to it if you're setting up the system in a room with average lighting.
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The MSI Wind Top AE2010's saturation is good, but not great - scenes are colourful enough to appear fine; however, competing all-in-one systems offer more vibrant looks. The AE2010's built-in speakers are a bit worse than those found on your average laptop - not exactly a strong point when you're looking to bust out the movies and the popcorn.
But at least the display is touch-enabled, albeit single-touch. A number of recent budget all-in-one PCs have nixed the touchscreen, and we miss it given Windows 7's touch-control features. MSI's own touch software isn't all that great: The Webcam effects, note-taking applications, and a children's picture-matching game are, frankly, not the best demonstration of how useful touch control can be.
The MSI Wind Top AE2010's WorldBench 6 score of 60 is a reasonable result. As with most all-in-one PCs, the AE2010 comes ill-equipped for modern gaming. Its ATI Radeon 3200 graphics delivers a lacklustre 13.6 frames per second on a stripped-down version of our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark (1024-by-768 resolution, high quality).
The MSI Wind Top AE2010 packs 320GB of storage. That's pretty much the new standard at this price level. Like the Lenovo, the AE2010 uses a 32-bit operating system (Windows 7 Home Premium, in this case) that can't fully use all 4GB of installed memory. Crazy, right?
At least networking connectivity is top-notch: the MSI Wind Top AE2010 has both 802.11n Wi-Fi and gigabit networking. You'll be hitting the fastest connection speeds possible whether you prefer a wired or wireless setup at home.
Alongside the six USB ports and the multiformat card reader on the system's front and rear is one extra connection: an eSATA port. It's an odd, yet enjoyable inclusion - we would have expected to see some kind of new display connector instead of eSATA. The generic keyboard and mouse bundled with this all-in-one are both corded, so expect to lose two of these USB ports just to be able to work with your machine - unless, that is, you feel like pounding the screen with your finger a lot. As the system contains no help in the manual for upgrading, you're on your own should you wish to attempt any kind of operation on the insides.
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