After having used the MSI AG2712 for a couple of weeks now, its time to see what my views and opinions are on this all in one system. With this being my first experience with an All in One system, using laptop components, I was a little apprehensive about how to score this system. On one hand it should be more powerful than a laptop, even though it uses laptop components due to an external power supply and better cooling options. However, on the other hand, these components are going to limit the systems performance compared to a full size system because of their low power usage design and size ultimately limits the real estate available to components. In theory then, this system should be a happy medium between the two systems, but lets see what the benchmarks say.
As per normal, I am going to start with the performance side of things. The All in One really is a mixed bag in this category. Whilst this is consistently sitting around the middle to bottom areas of the graphs in the benchmarks, whether that be in the aesthetic or gaming benchmarks. Whilst this doesn’t look good for the All in One, more so given its £2000 price tag, in real world gaming performance I was pleasantly surprised. During a few gaming sessions on games such as Battlefield 4, the system was capable of handling the game on full settings with frame hovering just about 60fps. However, this then made the system overheat after about 15 minutes of game play, so whilst the hardware has the punch for most of the games on the market today, it would seem that the real limitation is the cooling, that is not to say that the noise at full tilt is also very loud too.
Moving on to something that is increasingly important in today’s market, aesthetics. Of course, this is totally personal, but I really like the look of this system. Relatively minimalist looks lend themselves to any living room or bedroom and the Anti-Glare feature helps this further by reducing any shine or reflection off of the screen itself. The thin design is also attractive and whilst it is not as slim as an iMac, it still saves a lot of space over a traditional setup.
Now, with the design and specification of the system. On paper, it seems jam packed full of goodies, this led me to believe that this should have stomped any title that could be thrown at it. To some degree it does. With most titles able to perform at a high standard with some fluctuation in frame rates and overall performance. On the other hand, the benchmarks scores where not great. Onto the design, you get a lot of options when it comes to the IO, with the ability to use this as a standalone monitor with a console or another PC a brilliant option. There are also a brilliant amount of USB options for a small system and the inclusion of a digital TV tuner, antenna and remote control make this an exceptional home entertainment system to be used in the home.
There are two main areas which really disappointed me with this system. First off we have the heat issue. Considering that this is not an ultra-slim setup, the overheating is unacceptable. As we recently reviewed the Thermolab ITX30 CPU cooler, which in its tiny format is a monster in terms of cooling. I am sure that MSI could have come up with a cooler of a similar performance to fit into this system to keep both the CPU and GPU’s cool and quiet. As MSI have been on the forefront of innovation recently, it would have been nice to see a more robust cooling solution implemented, or even a totally innovative, tiny water cooling system. That then brings me onto the second issue, the noise. As the loads start to increase, this becomes an extremely noisy piece of kit. Normally, I wear a headset so this would not generally bother me, however, when it does not stop the system from overheating, you know that something needs to be done.
Overall, I liked this system as it was nice and easy to use as well as being a complete package. Being able to have a competent gaming PC, a brilliant multimedia system and the ability to use it as a monitor for a console is brilliantly innovative. However, this does not take away from the extreme price around the £2000 mark, which for that money you could have an exceptionally powerful system capable of burning through any game that you choose to throw at it. Then there is the noise and heat issue. I cannot begin to understand how you can have a system that is a brilliant performer and is not able to handle the heat and noise that those components generate. The heat really is the main issue here, if the heat sinks were much more efficient, then the system would not need to work as hard to dissipate the heat. With regards to the performance I am willing to overlook some of the benchmarks, as at the time of the review, the drivers had not been optimised for the 8970m graphics card that was in the system. Even though this system performed well and was an almost perfect entertainment package, the short comings in the heat and noise issues teamed with the massive price tag meas that I cannot give the system anything more than the Silver Award, even though I really want to give it more.
I would like to thank MSI for providing us with this sample today and look forward to seeing more from them in the future.
Overall, this is a brilliant multimedia system and gaming PC, only let down by its large price tag and the issues with heat and noise. If MSI could address the last of the issues then this really would be a brilliant piece of kit for any user.
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