Blimey. It seems we can't get out of bed in the morning without smacking our heads on a great big touchscreen all-in-one PC. This great big beast is the MSI Wind Top AE2400, and it'll set you back approximately a grand. Does it do enough to compete with the similar, but much cheaper, Advent MT22?
Stylistically, this machine is pretty basic, without too many flashy bits and bobs. Essentially a huge black box, parts of the AE2400's body have a brushed aluminum effect, while the rest of it is condemned to the world of glossy black plastic. It looks alright, but just a little cheap.
The display, however, is pretty sweet. It's a 23.6-inch 1080p panel that supports multi-touch. We found it to be bright and vibrant enough to eliminate most of the screen reflections, and it's crisp and colourful, too.
The touch interface is smooth and accurate -- if you're unfamiliar with Windows 7 Touch (this system ships with Windows 7 Home Premium), it's pretty simple: tap once to click and hold your finger to the screen for a moment to right-click. A quick doodling session in Paint was enough to convince us of the touch panel's sensitivity, and the multi-touch worked well.
It's worth noting that multi-touch on this machine responds to a maximum of two fingers. We can't imagine wanting more -- two is all you need for scrolling up and down on Web pages, after all.
Connectivity is pretty comprehensive -- six USB ports, a multi-format card reader, a DVD drive, Ethernet, eSATA, SPDIF, VGA, HDMI in (so you could watch Blu-rays and play your games consoles through the display), and even a port to plug in an aerial for the built-in TV tuner.
We see this as one of the machine's main selling points. There's an aerial included, although we suspect you'll want to use a more heavy-duty aerial to guarantee clear signal. Once connected, you can watch Freeview TV using the Windows Media Center interface. We're familiar with this interface and generally find it simple and intuitive.
Television shows can be recorded to the PC for playback later. Considering this PC ships with a whopping 1TB of storage, we can't see you running out of disk space in a hurry.
But enough of this shallow poking around -- it's time to go beyond the machine's exterior, dig our fists into the AE2400's innards and bring its insides out into the cold light of day.
The processor in play here is a dual-core Pentium E5400, clocked at 2.70GHz. Backed up by a meaty 4GB of RAM, this system scored an impressive 6,532 when we ran our PCMark05 benchmark test. That should shelter the AE2400 from slowdown. We certainly found the whole system to be nippy, and 1080p video content played back very smoothly.
This system also has gaming potential, thanks to an ATI Radeon HD5730 graphics card nestled deep within. That GPU helped the AE2400 achieve a score of 6,437 when we ran our 3DMark06 benchmark test. This PC won't exactly blow dedicated gaming computers out of the water, but with scores like these, a spot of gaming shouldn't be out of the question.
We're really pleased with these performance scores. They're the first thing (other than the 1TB hard drive) that the AE2400 offers over the MT22, which was a little lacklustre when it came to chucking polygons around.
We can definitely see the appeal of an all-in-one touchscreen, particularly if you're a student who wants TV, gaming and computing in one place. We have no complaints about this machine per se, but we would advise that if higher-grade performance isn't a top priority for you, you might be better off with the Advent MT22, which offers an almost identical range of features without as much processing punch.
Edited by Emma Bayly