The Wind Top AE2400, in a field of AIOs, isn't all that much to get excited about, at least visually. The plain piano black of the review sample we looked at had a distinctive plastic sheen to it and like so many piano black products before it, just loved finger grease. This is a particular problem for the Wind Top, given that it's a touchscreen-capable computer and thus more prone to being jabbed at than other machines.
Like so many AIOs, the Wind Top's wireless keyboard and mouse are very ordinary indeed. When setting up the Wind Top, we couldn't get the keyboard to synchronise properly with the system, which meant we had to use the onscreen touch keyboard for all setup details. It was only once the system was fully operational that we could use the keyboard at all.
We've got to make special note of the Wind Top's power pack. Most AIOs tend to manage getting their adaptors internal, so that all you have to face is a power cord, but MSI's gone down the laptop route with an external and extremely heavy adaptor; we weighed it in at just over 900gm. Given you can get entire notebooks that weigh in at that level, this is a chunky system indeed.
The review model submitted to CNET Australia ran a Pentium Dual Core E5400 2.7GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 600GB hard disk drive and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 565v with 1GB of its own onboard memory. Not a terrible mix of parts, but not exactly cutting-edge either, which is quite typical of most AIO machines. Again, you’re paying for the compact nature and style of the device rather than a stunning machine.
The Wind Top runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition on a 23.6-in screen with a top resolution of 1920 x 1080. At the kind of distance you're likely to sit from the screen, full HD is a bit of a waste, but it's at least technically capable.
From a connectivity viewpoint, the Wind Top is Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n capable, with six USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port, multi-card reader, DVB-T antenna socket and VGA output. The optical drive on board is a side-mounted DVD-Multi burner in a somewhat awkward position, especially given the tilt on the Wind Top's screen.
When we first started up the Wind Top AE2400, we were taken aback by the thunderous sound of its internal fan kicking up. This is especially worrying given that the power pack is, as previously noted, external, but thankfully the fan calms down relatively quickly.
We've said it before, and we'll undoubtedly have to say it again, but while Windows 7 has touch functionality, that's a world away from being touch capable. As yet, there's precious little from an applications sense that either mandates touch or makes it more appealing than simply using a keyboard and a mouse. And the Wind Touch didn't change our opinion on that one jot. We'd love to see some Windows-specific touch applications that work better than their keyboard and mouse cousins, but (excluding uses in the case of differing ability levels) touchscreen on Windows 7 remains a curious oddity rather than a must-have feature.
With a 1080p capable screen, the Wind Top AE2400 could do serviceable duty as a home entertainment platform, were it not for the inbuilt speakers, which lack detail and clarity for both music and voices. The appropriate term to use here is "boomy".
From a benchmark perspective, the Wind Top AE2400 delivered decent but not knockout results, with a PCMark05 score of 6952 and 3DMark06 score of 6477, giving it the chops for most PC applications with little fuss.
The Wind Top AE2400 is a no-fuss system that doesn't really stand out either as exceptional or awful. You could certainly do better than this system, especially in a desktop, and there are more artfully designed AIO units available if you're after a compact PC experience.