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MSI Wind Top AE1900 review

Barry de la Rosa
7 Jul 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
502
inc VAT and delivery

An attractive all-in-one PC with Draft-N WiFi. It's expensive, though; unless you really want a touchscreen, better-value nettops are available.

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Specifications

1.6GHz Intel Atom 230, 1.000000 RAM, 19in 1,366x768 display, Windows XP Home Edition

MSI's Wind Top AE1900 is basically a 19in widescreen display with laptop components built into the rear.

It's one of the most attractive PCs here, with a clear plastic strip surrounding the white screen bezel and a clear plastic stand at the back. There's a webcam above the screen and all ports and controls are tucked away behind the screen edges.

On the left there's a laptop-style DVD writer that pops out vertically, and below that are two USB ports and a memory card reader. The headphone and microphone ports are inconveniently located on the rear, along with two extra USB ports and a network interface. On the right are the power button and volume and brightness controls. The widescreen display is great for watching DVDs thanks to its vibrant colours, but there's a noticeable graininess due to the touch-sensitive layer. The built-in speakers are slightly better than most laptop speakers, but aren't very loud and lack bass.

The benefits of a touchscreen with Windows XP are questionable, but MSI has gone to the trouble of installing a program launcher with large icons that runs on startup, and there's even a touch-aware photo viewer that lets you browse pictures by dragging them with your finger. There's no stylus, though, and no handwriting-recognition software.

Unlike the similar Shuttle X 5000TA, the AE1900 uses a single-core Atom processor, and its performance is poor compared with standard PCs. Its overall benchmark result of 17 may be adequate for using email, web and office applications, but processor-intensive tasks such as image and video editing may run slowly. You'll also have to be careful how many applications you run at once, since the measly 1GB of RAM will be quickly eaten up.

Although the AE1900 looks great and takes up less room than a conventional PC, £502 is a lot of money to spend on a computer with similar performance to a netbook. Draft-N wireless is useful, but there are few expansion ports and only 160GB of hard disk space. Unless you really need the touchscreen and have software to take advantage of it, we can't recommend the AE1900.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Atom 230
Processor external bus133MHz (533MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplierx12
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Processor socketSocket 437
Level 1 cache56
Level 2 cache512KB
Memory1.000000
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory2GB
MotherboardMS-7438
Motherboard chipsetIntel 945GC + ICH7
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle36W
Power consumption active46W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/2
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Internal Expansion

Casemini-ITX
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar WD1600BEVT-22ZCT0
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity160GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel GMA 950
Graphics/video portsN/A

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out
Speakersintegrated

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST GT10N
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Display

Viewable size19 in
Screen modelintegrated
Native resolution1,366x768
Response timeN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardMSI StarType ES300MU(White)
MouseMSI StarMouse ES130(White)

Software

Software includedCyberlink DVD Suite
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionrestore partition

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£502
Supplierhttp://www.ballicom.co.uk
Detailswww.msi.com

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