Hands on with MSI’s 3D display all-in-one PC

Will launch at Computex

EARLIER TODAY WE had the opportunity to visit MSI and got a sneak peek at its upcoming all-in-one PC system. We’re seeing more and more all-in-one type systems, although we’re still not convinced that these types of machines are set to replace the humble desktop PC. But it’s possible that MSI is heading in the right direction with its new system as an overall entertainment solution.

MSI did show off its 3D all-in-one PC earlier this month at CeBIT, but at the time the 3D glasses weren’t available for testing and we got a quick “eyes on”. Hopefully MSI will be able to improve upon both the design of the glasses and the quality, both in terms of build and flickering from the LCD shutters. The glasses were anything but comfortable to use and eye strain set in after less than a minute which isn’t exactly impressive. Of all the recent 3D displays with active shutter glasses we’ve tried, this is one of the worst implementations.

In all fairness to MSI, the system was developed by Chi Mei, one of Taiwan’s largest display panel manufactures, but it seems like this setup needs a lot of tweaking before it’s ready for retail. The 120Hz, 23.6-inch panel offers full HD 1080p resolution and it in itself wasn’t really the problem. The issue is the glasses as mentioned above. We’ll give MSI a big thumbs up for the fact that the transmitter is built into the system, unlike Nvidia’s 3D Vision which still requires an external box that plugs in to one of the USB ports.

The screen is powered by an AMD Radeon HD 5730 graphics card that isn’t exactly a 3D performance monster, but then again, it’s more than plenty for the average consumer and the idea in this case isn’t for you to play games in 3D but it’s rather intended for you to watch movies on it. Other features include either a Core i5 or Core i7 processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 1TB SATA2 hard drive and a front mounted webcam.

There’s also an optical drive, a memory card reader and a pair of USB 2.0 ports mounted on the side. Around the back you’ll find a further four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port and a D-sub connector for the ability to connect the system to a secondary display, an eSATA connector, an Ethernet port, a pair of audio jacks and an optical S/PDIF out. The unit we were shown wasn’t a final production model and the overall build quality should be improved upon until it launches at Computex in early June.

We can see this type of system being popular in a student dorm or even as a secondary entertainment setup, but considering that MSI is currently selling a much more basic model with a 21.5-inch screen and a Core 2 Duo T6600 processor for a massive $1,155 in Taiwan, we can’t see the new model being any cheaper. Pricing is what’s holding back the all-in-one PCs, not just from MSI, but from all manufacturers, since the “beige box” with a separate screen is still much more affordable and let’s not forget easier to upgrade.S|A

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