MSI beefs up Wind Box nettops

While most diminutive PCs leave you waiting with weedy Atom processors and integrated graphics, MSI has decided to beef up the processing capabilities with its latest Wind Box PCs.

The new DE520 not only comes with a 2.7GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5400 CPU, but it's also equipped with a Mobility Radeon HD 5430 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory.

MSI rightly points out that the Pentium CPU "greatly improves the performance" over the Atom chips found in its previous Wind Box machines, and also claims that the built-in GPU ensures "outstanding performance for both high-definition video content viewing and 3D gaming."

Equipped with just 80 stream processors, the Mobility Radeon HD 5430 isn't going to be great for anything other than basic 3D gaming. However, it does come with a boatload of hardware video features, including 1080p H.264 video playback, which will make the machine ideal as an HD media centre PC.

This is clearly the primary intended purpose of the new Wind Box. The DE520 measures just 300 x 260.7 x 65mm (W x D x H), so it'll happily sit on a TV stand shelf with space to spare. MSI claims the machine consumes no more than 120W at full pelt, meaning it should be quiet as well as cool.

The machine also comes with both DVI and HDMI outputs, ready to hook up to either a monitor or an HDTV, as well as an S/PDIF digital audio output, and the usual 7.1-channel analogue audio connectors. Both machines come with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit as standard, giving you a functional media centre PC out of the box.

All the usual connections are provided too, including four USB ports, and an additional two on the back. There's also a Wi-Fi connection courtesy of an 802.11b/g/n/ mini-PCI-E card, plus a media card reader on the front. Meanwhile, two DDR3 SODIMM slots enable the machine to accept up to 4GB of RAM.

In addition to the DE520, a cheaper model called the DC520 is also being introduced. The DC520 sacrifices the Mobility Radeon HD 5430 for Intel's integrated GMA X4500 graphics system, but is otherwise identical.

There's no information on UK pricing and availability yet, but we've asked MSI for some more details and we'll update you when we have any more information.