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MSI's Atom-powered WindTop hits e-tail tomorrow

Cheap 18.5-inch touch-screen all-in-one will join the Asus Eee Top and Averatec All-in-One in the niche-but-growing Nettop category.

The MSI WindTop hits online stores Tuesday. MSI

According to our inbox, MSI's WindTop AE1900 touch-screen all-in-one PC is scheduled to hit online retailers Tuesday. It will join the already available Asus Eee Top and Averatec All-in-One in the niche-but-growing Nettop category. On paper, anyway, the Wind Top may stand out due to its many features.

The $525 WindTop essentially marries the key features of the Eee Top and the Averatec system with no price premium. Like the Asus system, MSI's WindTop will feature touch-screen capability, only with a larger, 18.5-inch screen that MSI says conforms to the familiar 16:9 screen ratio common to HDTVs. And as with the Averatec All-in-One, the WindTop also includes a DVD burner. The Eee Top is optical drive free.

Like these other Nettops, the WindTop is powered by a slow, low-power Intel Atom CPU. With Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and the Windows XP Home Premium operating system, the WindTop is only a serviceable computer (serious digital media work and 3D gaming are both out), but marketers and fans of the Netbook/Nettop movement will tell you that computing power isn't the point.

As long as Nettop prices stay low and real all-in-one prices stay high, we agree. The only problem is full-power systems like Dell's $699 Studio One 19 starting to emerge in the same price ballpark. If that trend continues, the "performance doesn't matter" argument won't hold up for long.