All-in-Ones – The AX24 and G24 GE

My view on all-in-ones as compute devices does not seem to align well with what all-in-one manufacturers tell me. Nominally the sole all-in-one that gets much attention online is Apple’s iMac due to the role it has played in Apple’s line-up over the last five or so years. Nonetheless, the all-in-one manufacturers tell me that the PC-behind-a-monitor concept is growing in sales and has sufficient margin and volume to dedicate research and development towards building something customers want. I’ve not seen many AIOs in the wild – most usually in stores as separate stock check/help desks rather than in the home, but Intel has also been pushing the AIO strategy, even to the point of portable all-in-ones (massive 28-inch devices with a battery) in recent keynote speeches in the past couple of years. We’ve covered bits of the AIO market here and there, most often in news or at events such as the first 4K60p AIO at Computex last year, but we have not yet put resources to covering this element of the industry. For companies like MSI, to whom gaming is a focus, it seems that gaming branded all-in-ones are a potential viable market model. As a result, there were a couple of new concepts on display.

The main problem with all-in-ones from a gaming perspective is typically performance and graphics performance – strapping a desktop to the back of a monitor is not always the most space-efficient implementation, especially if you consider heat removal or power delivery. As a result, gaming on integrated graphics, particularly at 1080p or 4K, leaves an element of wanting more (although both Intel and AMD would argue, and our testing suggests, that you can still have a good experience at 1080p with integrated graphics on popular titles). The solution to this starts with equipping the AIO with an MXM graphics card similar to a laptop, which is what the Gaming 24GE 2QE is.

As the name suggests, a 24” IPS panel is paired with a laptop like configuration. The i7 mobile CPU on the HM87 chipset joins forces with a GTX 960M and for the model in front of us, featuring a 1080p display, should provide sufficient horsepower for eSports titles at the highest settings or AAA games at mid-range. I quizzed MSI on a 4K display, and they said that they would react to customer requests in that regard. Other hardware inside includes 16GB of DDR3L-1600, Killer networking and the inclusion of the Nahimic audio software. Storage is provided by dual SSDs in RAID 0 (‘MSI Super RAID’), and the display is a supposed ‘anti-flicker’ screen with an anti-glare finish. MSI’s terminology for this revolves around ‘less blue light’, which is perhaps something similar to the films/transparent glasses designed for at-monitor work to reduce eye-strain. MSI is currently working on the design of their gaming AIOs beyond a simple red-and-black colored livery and an MSI gaming logo.

The GTX960M at the end of the day is still a mid-range mobile component – arguably you could put one or two GTX 980Ms in such a device, much like the GT80 Titan laptop, and it would push some proper pixels. Rather than go down this route, MSI has gone a little mad and actually designed an AIO that supports a full sized graphics card.

On the left hand side we see the extra parts to implement the external graphics:

What we have here is essentially an AIO that loops in a full PCIe 3.0 x16 slot via a riser cable to a GPU mounted on the back of the panel. MSI’s design is not yet final, but they expect to be able to fit almost all reference designs in this bay with a mesh at the front for air intake (supporting blowers and other fan orientations) and a perforated edge to help with air removal:

As you can see, the GPU is mounted a little away from the panel in order to facilitate this around at least three of the edges. The GPU section itself has its own power supply module, requiring a second power brick in order to provide that power. MSI makes power bricks up to 330W, so I would imagine that any single silicon solution (i.e. non-dual GPUs) would work here.

The AX24 is to be designed around Skylake, which given other motherboards we have seen so far we can get multiple M.2 SSDs in PCIe 3.0 mode as part of the package. MSI is also including Killer networking as per usual, and the new Nahimic audio processing software. They were coy about whether the system uses a soldered down CPU or a replaceable CPU though, and at what TDP we might expect it to be. Though they are looking at 4K panels, adaptive sync technology was not mentioned. One of the poignant parts here is that an AIO design is almost like a laptop design, so we might see separate buttons to enable the external GPU, or extra buttons for 100% fan usage when the design is finalized.

MSI also exhibited the Pro 24 2M all-in-one, designed for a more enterprise look and feel. The specifications were pretty much as expected, taking the anti-flicker panel from the G24 but this time using Haswell based processors, integrated graphics, a 1080P 23.6-inch panel with SSD and HDD options.

That doesn’t sound anything great I admit, but there are a couple of non-standard features worth mentioning here. The first is technically an older feature I’ve seen in years gone by to do with webcams – placing a vanity filter via a physical sliding button:

Thus for anyone paranoid about peeping, rather than taping paper over the webcam, here is a physical switch. Alongside this, based on the ‘Pro’ nature of the Pro 24 2M, we get a COM port on the rear:

It’s a bad picture, but to the left of the network port we can see it. The device also comes with USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, a card reader and gigabit Ethernet.

The MSI Booth - Motherboards Notebooks
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  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    I should point out that if you go beyond page 1 (yes shock, there's more than one page) there's a selection of AIOs, laptops and others. Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - link

    "The site died when Anand left.."
    ------

    I've been coming to Anandtech since day one.. and it certainly hasn't died. No where close. Nor has it gone down hill. It's always retained that certain something that keeps many of us coming back.
    Reply
  • barleyguy - Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - link

    I've also been here since day one. I still think the site is top notch, but the advertising has been getting way more intrusive lately. The fake menu ad in the upper right and the popup on entry are examples.

    I really hate intrusive advertising, to the point where I use ComSkip to watch TV, and pay Pandora to have ad-free radio. I don't run adblock in my browser though, because I want sites to survive. But if the ads get so intrusive that I don't enjoy coming here, my visiting habits will change.

    </rant off>
    Reply
  • chizow - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    Oh geez it looks like MSI gave their interns free reign on the 3D printers and Papier-mâché kits this summer.

    Some of that stuff is really tacky though, "Godlike" and I guess we also see why dated SLI bridges are never going to go away. They've just become a new accessory for Nvidia and AIBs to cash in on.
    Reply
  • junky77 - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    GT72 with GSync is already here.. GT72 2QD with GSync is already selling Reply
  • Meaker10 - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    The original GS30 dock with a bios update in the notebook supports optimus through the internal display so without any wonky cables you get the full gaming experience, it works flawlessly with the Titan-x Reply
  • KateH - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    So, I'm a pretty big fan of this AiO with dGPU slot. I'll wait until there's a 24" 2160P panel option available before I seriously consider a purchase, but with the right panel and a mid-tier FirePro / Quadra GPU, this could be a seriously potent compact workstation for a lot less $$$ than the 5K iMac. With all my primary Adobe tools (Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and Première) now GPU-accelerated I don't think the mobile i7 would be a big bottleneck and the whole thing would sure put out a lot less heat than my current workstation (OC'd FX8350 & 290X) Reply
  • TheJian - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    5 days and still no Fury X review? How hard is it for an AMD portal site to get a card? Still no 300 series reviews at all and those are two weeks old. The benchmarks are already everywhere else so what gives? I guess I get it, since it seems pretty tough to get some benchmarks they win in. 5 days later only 4 reviews on amazon (on hates it, none of them VERIFIED purchases) and a single review at newegg (a 2nd admits he doesn't have it...ROFL) and not VERIFIED either. Maximum PC could only get one card for a very short time for 4 sister sites, tomshardware getting their own card since they didn't even have a whole day with it, among others saying very short time with one. But if you read enough sites you get enough games and points of view to see it wasn't worth the wait and HBM (as I suspected) had no bearing on things even at 4K. I mean at 8.9B transistors (a billion more than 980ti) and a LOT more bandwidth I expect a 4K sweep especially using more watts too. Heck with AMD's slide showing a dozen games with fury x beating 980ti I expected a sweep at all resolutions. Advertising a 500w water cooler when everyone has trouble hitting 10% (and techpowerup among others show you only get 5% for that 10% and most couldn't hit the 10% anyway, IE extremetech failed to hit 4.7% OC) is another problem. Using 66w playing a bluray at techpower vs. 14w for 980ti sounds like Nvidia shield tv vs. xbox1/ps4 for this task.

    Hexus, techreport, hardocp, legitreviews (check here for OC FuryX vs. OC 980ti -WOW that's ugly), pcper, hardwarecanucks, hothardware, maximumpc, hardwareheaven, techpowerup etc, shows it's pretty tough to write a pro AMD article without looking kind of silly on this part. Good luck Ryan ;) People are claiming they have whining cards in the wild too (amazon), so is it really fixed for retail? Note no review yet is VERIFIED so not even sure they've shipped at amazon or newegg though the amazon xfx card is showing 1-3 months before shipping (and it's the only reviewed card, with 4, one hating it), so maybe they shipped a few in that brand. Sapphire the only maker having a $650 price and not in stock anywhere. AMD supposedly claimed to some sites it would sell for $509 in europe but I can't see how. Are they not aware at AMD that euro to dollar is far closer today? Is that british pound and not euro? That's about $800 usd. In euro it's $571 (Either way kind of weird but I think brits pay more for NV too so maybe not so strange). It looks like they can barely get enough out the door for a few hours of reviewing and many stores seem to be waiting for their first shipments for multiple brands. No DVI or HDMI 2.0. Multiple sites reporting pump whine and coil noise from the cooling system. I could go on but you can all read the benchmarks yourselves (and I advise you do before buying!). This card is not what was hyped IMHO.

    http://wccftech.com/amd-20nm-gpus-horizon-tsmc-ram...
    Heck I 1/2 thought this chip was 20nm with all the bragging they did.
    “20nm is an important node for us. We will be shipping products in 20nm next year and as we move forward […],” said Lisa Su"
    She goes on to say 20nm plays a part in all of their businesses (pro graphics too). Well when? 390 turned into a rebadge and fiji turned into not enough and 28nm.

    http://wccftech.com/amd-radeon-fury-x-reportedly-s...
    Is the whine gone or not? Will the nano come with a 2.0 HDMI port for living room TV's?

    There is only a few more sites I read (for major parts anyway that I am actually pondering purchasing) so you guys are almost last. Ouch. Not impressed with anandtech here, OR FuryX.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2015/06/...
    One more review. Yet another review showing 10% of less (8%) and netting far less than the OC in actual results. Most seem to get half of the OC, while NV will give you 20% basically straight up for 20% (see legitreviews for example or any 980ti card with Ocing included). From Bit-tech:
    "The overclocking results are rather disappointing; we only managed to squeeze between 2 and 5 percent more from the card. This is in comparison to our GTX 980 Ti, where we saw gains of around 20 percent"

    Wccftech says AMD has admitted it shipped production units with the whine and it should be fixed on future units (ok, so some unlucky users WILL hear this? Surely they RMA so how long before you play with your card?). Just noticed they updated the article saying early production units HAVE it. Normally wouldn't quote those guys but it explains the amazon guy I guess and AMD's own words from Su and the other AMD guy so not exactly rumors here. Again, good luck to Ryan explaining all of this stuff. I have ultimate faith he's whipping up his best spin ;) It's not a bad card, but the problem for AMD is the competition is NOT radeon 290x as most seem to end up comparing it to end the end after seeing their benchmarks (well, it's a massive leap over 290x...Whatever). You need to beat the OTHER guys stuff, not just your own.
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    Ryan has explained it multiple times already. They've run the benchmarks, you can see the numbers now in Bench. The article is missing because Ryan is ill. Reply
  • yefi - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    In the original UT, Godlike is the highest accolade, there is no "wicked sick". This also seems to assume the being wicked is more impressive than being a God, hmm... Reply

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