This is an all-in-one, or AIO, PC built for gamers. Hailed as the world's first gaming AIO by manufacturer MSI, it sounds interesting.
At least, in the beginning.
But here is a big caveat: Unlike with a typical gaming rig, you cannot upgrade this MSI machine.
Another downer: It uses mobile components that are far less capable than their desktop counterparts. MSI is constrained here by the limited space within the computer, which rules out desktop-class hardware.
In other words, think of this device as a gaming laptop grafted onto a 27-inch screen.
What you do get is a smaller footprint. Assuming you are set on getting a 27-inch display, this machine is not much larger than a 27-inch monitor.
An integrated soundbar below the screen means you do not need separate speakers. This keeps the desk free of cables.
The soundbar by Yamaha produces very good audio. In-game sound effects are crisp and clear. The bass is somewhat lacking as there is no subwoofer, but the audio is loud enough to fill the room.
You can mount this AIO on a wall. But that cuts off access to the rear ports and connectors, which include the HDMI, VGA, four USB ports and the Ethernet jack. But hang it on your bedroom wall, plug in a controller and you can play games while lounging on the bed. It is a pity MSI did not include a built-in television tuner, though there is a DVD writer for video playback.
Like many AIOs, this computer comes with an HDMI input port that will take video from another device, letting you use the MSI as a display. But the screen is mediocre. The viewing angles are good enough, but the screen resolution is a middling 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. This is somewhat understandable as the 2,560 x 1,440 pixels available on many 27-inch displays would be too taxing for the MSI's Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics chip.
It is a touchscreen, which is handy for Windows 8.1, but images do look slightly fuzzy, possibly because of the anti-glare coating. This is not helped by the significant gap between the actual LCD screen and the protective outer layer.
The AIO performs as well as a good gaming laptop. It runs Crysis 3 at around 32 frames per second (fps) at Very High setting. In comparison, a gaming PC with a desktop-class Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, such as the Aftershock Tremor that I had tested previously, scored 48 fps.
This AIO feels fast with a solid-state drive. A 1TB secondary hard drive offers ample storage.
A niche product for those who need a capable gaming rig with a reduced footprint.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4710HQ (2.5GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M 6GB GDDR5
Ram: 16GB DDR3
Screen: 27-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
Value for money 2/5
This article was first published on Apr 15, 2015.
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