It wasn’t exactly a the smartest move for MSI to take a stripped-down Intel Atom CPU, drop it into an all-in-one desktop with a 19-inch touchscreen, and try to pass it off as a computer with any sort of workable experience for the user. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that the old Wind Top AE1900, released this summer, looked good and was priced to move, but performance was downright dismal.
So MSI went back to the drawing board and gave the Wind Top a little more power. Most visibly, an AMD Athlon X2 3250e steps in for the underpowered Atom, and the 2 GB of RAM is now upgraded to 4 GB. Another key enhancement: real graphics in the form of an ATI Radeon HD 3200 — not state of the art, but far better than the integrated graphics on the old AE1900. The screen’s also an inch bigger, a 20-inch touchscreen instead of the old 19-incher, and with a better resolution (1600 x 900 pixels).
All of that adds up to a substantially better user experience. The system is reasonably snappy and responsive, and if you’re not overly demanding you can even use the AE2010 as a gaming rig. The screen is crisp, especially for a touchscreen, and the speakers are plenty loud.
Sure, no one is going to mistake the obviously hacker-designed Wind Top for the spartan iMac, but the best news is that MSI has managed to keep the price down (way down) despite the upgrades it’s installed on the system. The price of just $650 feels like a mistake; just five months ago the barely capable AE1900 was around $60 less.
The AE2010 is still a budget system and it isn’t likely to impress the clogs off of you, but at a price this affordable, it’s hard not to be at least a little bit enchanted by it.