Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351) desktop PC

Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351) review: A cheap quad-core PC with USB 3.0, Wi-Fi and HDMI

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Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351)
  • Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351)
  • Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351)
  • Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351)

Pros

  • Good performance, 1TB hard drive, USB 3.0, cheap

Cons

  • Small case has limited expansion options, noisy hard drive, Wi-Fi a little unreliable

Bottom Line

The Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351) will be available from Aldi supermarkets on March 24 and it's well-worth considering if you want a decent and inexpensive desktop PC. It only costs $599, but you get plenty of processing power, a large hard drive and even USB 3.0! It's perfect for students, families, and even first-time PC users.

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Aldi supermarkets will be selling a brand new Medion PC on March 24: The Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351). This Medion PC is small, yet packed with useful features and it only costs $599. It represents good value and is suitable for first-time PC users, as well as students, and indeed anyone who just wants a zippy PC for well under $1000. Best of all, it also features modcons such as HDMI and USB 3.0.

Specifications and performance

Under the hood, the Medion Akoya P5315 D consists of a 3GHz AMD Athlon II X4 640 quad-core CPU, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, an AMD Radeon HD6450 graphics adapter (with 512MB of RAM) and a 1TB hard drive. It's a fast configuration that allows the Akoya to be used not only for basic office work, but also for more intensive tasks such as converting video files for playback on an iPhone or other portable media players.

This was shown in our tests, in which the Akoya put up decent numbers. In the Blender 3D rendering test, all four of the CPU's cores were used to complete the task in a fast 35sec; in the iTunes MP3 encoding test, a time of 1min 6sec was attained, while in the AutoGordianKnot DVD to Xvid conversion test, the Akoya took 54min to convert a DVD file to a 1.5GB Xvid file. Compared to other entry-level systems, which often use Intel Pentium CPUs instead (Dell's Inspiron 560, for example), the Medion is quite fast.

In 3DMark06, the Akoya recorded 4043 marks, which means it won't be a powerhouse when it comes to gaming, but it should be capable of running a few games smoothly at low detail and resolution settings.

The last Medion Akoya PC we tested was the E4360 D, almost one year ago. That PC cost $799 and featured an Intel Core i3-350 CPU at the helm; most importantly, it had an NVIDIA GeForce GT330 graphics adapter. That PC performed much better in 3DMark, and slightly better in the MP3 encoding test (56sec), but it was also slower in the Blender test (50sec). Basically, the latest Akoya P5315 D gives up a lot in the graphics department, but it retains a good dollop of speed in the CPU department, and it also adds a new feature to the mix — USB 3.0.

Build quality and features

The sole USB 3.0 port is located on the front port cluster of the PC's case, and it's very useful for those of you who already have or are planning to buy external drives that support this fast interface. In our tests, average transfer rates for large files from a portable USB 3.0 drive (we used a 500GB Iomega eGo portable drive) were 75 megabytes per second for reading and 66.43MBps for writing. Using USB 2.0, the transfer rate was 27MBps for both reading and writing.

The Medion Akoya P5315D has a mini-tower case that can accommodate two optical drives, two hard drives and a regular, ATX power supply. The motherboard has a small, micro-ATX form factor and it has been installed upside-down — that means you have to remove the right panel of the case to access it, and its rear port cluster is located at the bottom-rear of the PC rather than the top. It doesn't have much in the way of expansion; its two memory slots are occupied by two 2GB DDR3 modules, and it only has two PCI Express x1 slots available for add-in cards.

All the cables have been tied out of the way, just to make sure they are not impeding the airflow to the CPU and graphics adapter, and the CPU has a huge shroud attached to its fan, which accepts cool air through the side panel. It's not a noisy PC, but the hard drive is audible when it is seeking and writing data and it can get annoying.

Something that's missing from the case this time around is a built-in micro-USB cord. We loved this feature in previous Medion PC (as we tend to lose these cords often) and wish Medion continued to include it. One thing that has been continued is the connection for one of Medion's own external hard drives at the top of the case. A memory card reader is present at the front of the case, and three is also an integrated USB 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter.

We like the inclusion of Wi-Fi by default, but we found it to be a little unreliable when connecting to our wireless router. It's not as reliable as the integrated Wi-Fi in a notebook computer, for example, and you might have to install an external USB adapter with a (relatively) big antenna in order to get a better signal. There are six USB 2.0 ports available, with two at the front (and one of those is the USB 3.0 port) and the Akoya ships with a PS/2 keyboard rather than a USB 2.0 model, which means you save one USB port when you plug in the peripherals (the mouse is still USB). You also get Gigabit Ethernet, DVI, HDMI and VGA, two PS/2 ports, and optical and analog audio ports.

UPDATE: we previously stated that this PC doesn't have an eSATA port. It does have one; it's hidden in the media card bay and we just missed it.

When you first switch on the Medion PC, you have to go through the Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) setup process, and then the applications setup, which installs programs such as CorelDraw Essentials, Microsoft Office Starter (or the full version if you wish to pay for it), Bullguard anti-virus protection (you'll have to register it), Google Chrome, as well as essential utilities for playing DVDs and burning discs. From the moment you unpack and connecting the cables, to being able to actually use the PC, it takes around 10 minutes.

Conclusion

With decent performance, a useful range of features and a low price, the Medion Akoya P5315 D (MD 8351) represents excellent value for money. It's suitable for first-time PC buyers, students, families, and basically anyone who wants a PC for office, Web and multimedia tasks.

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