With the huge rise in popularity of netbooks and notebooks, the poor old deskbound PC is increasingly being put into the shade, especially when many laptops now have the power and features of some desktops. Partly in response to that, there’s been a surge of interest in so-called All-in-One PCs that dispense with the traditional bulky towers and concentrate on putting most of their firepower and functions in and around the monitor.
MSI’s Wind Top AE2220 is the All-in-One successor to the AE2010 and, as you’d expect, offers several improvements over its older sister. The screen is larger at 21.5-inches, its Apple Mac style white bezel is set in an attractive clear plastic surround and included in the box are matching all-white cordless keyboard and mouse. Very cool, undoubtedly, although the screen is highly reflective which does become an issue when watching movies with darker backgrounds.
The screen is supported by a sturdy metal leg at the back which will allow you to tilt the screen but not raise the height, while the overall weight is a manageable 8.8kg. The OSD controls are tucked neatly behind the right side of the Plexiglass and the corresponding icons are etched (virtually invisibly) into the plastic.
On the left side of the display you’ll find a DVD player (some models have Blu-ray) and a 6-in-1 card reader, alongside two USB ports. Round the back you’ll discover four more USBs, an eSATA fast transfer port, VGA and HDMI input (shame there’s no outputs for these), plus Ethernet and the usual headphone and microphone jacks.
Another upgrade from the AE2010 is the display resolution which is now 1920 x 1080, supporting Full HD, and the single touch capability has now expanded to multi-touch, making full use of Windows 7 touch functions.
The AE2220 also sports the new NVIDIA ION graphics chipset, utilising the NVIDIA GeForce 9300 card, while the AMD Athlon CPU of the older model has been replaced by an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 with 4GB DDR2 memory and a 640GB hard drive.
In practice this means that most multi-tasking is handled without fuss but gamers will generally be struggling with most current generation games. We loaded up Bioshock 2 and we were stuttering all over the screen but older shooters like F.E.A.R. will still operate relatively smoothly.
Sound output was unexpectedly rich and loud, thanks to the two 5W 5.1 surround speakers integrated into the front of the display, although you might still prefer to engage your own hi-fi system if you’re watching a movie in any room outside the kitchen.
The touch system works seamlessly, whether using your fingers to pinch, rotate and move or the supplied stylus. Connecting to the Internet was also a snip thanks to the onboard Wi-Fi which took just minutes to set up, and the wireless keyboard and mouse were also registered in seconds thanks to the supplied dongle.
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