So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Medion Akoya E4060 D (MD8369) PC
An inexpensive PC with decent features that will go on sale at Aldi on 25 August
- Good price
- USB 3.0
- 1TB hard drive
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Sluggish performance
- Limited upgrade options
Medion's latest PC offers a decent set of features for its low price tag and it would make a fine second PC for the home and a good first PC for anyone on a tight budget. It's performance was a little sluggish in our tests compared to the previous model we looked at, but still good enough for everyday tasks, and even for some gaming.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Medion's Akoya E4060 D (MD8369) PC will be going on sale at Aldi supermarkets on 25 August. It's a basic PC that runs one of AMD's latest Trinity-based A8-5500 APUs, and it has enough speed and RAM (4GB) to tackle Web browsing, office document creation, photo editing, and video and music playback -- it's even useful for some low-detail gaming. It's the first desktop we've seen to use one of AMD's new quad-core chips, but it's a chip that produced mixed results in our performance tests.
Specifications and performance
The overall performance of the MD8369 is slower than we expected. Compared to the previous AMD A8-3820-based Medion MD8365 PC that we reviewed in February, the A8-5500-based MD8369 recorded lower benchmark results almost across the board. This is despite having a processor speed of 3.2GHz, while the older model had speed of 2.5GHz. Its time of 44sec in our Blender 3D test is 3sec slower than the time the previous model achieved, while its time of 1hr 10min in our AutoGordianKnot DVD-to-Xvid test is 4min slower. The only area in which its processing was faster was in our iTunes MP3 encoding test, where a time of 1min 7sec was recorded, 17sec faster than the old model.
It was our graphics performance tests where the new APU (accelerated processing unit, which includes both the CPU and graphics), armed with an AMD Radeon HD 7560D graphics processor, produced its best work. A score of 6912 was recorded in 3DMark06, which is about 1500 more than the previous PC's score of 5540. You can play some games on this PC if you want to — as long as they are played with low detail and resolution settings. Bear in mind though that games such as Battlefield 3 will struggle to reach and sustain a rate over 30 frames per second, even when the resolution is set to 1024x768 (with auto quality).
A conventional 1TB, 7200rpm hard drive is installed in the PC and it performed admirably in our file duplication test, recording a transfer rate of 47 megabytes per second (MBps). In CrystalDiskMark, it recorded a read rate of 100.4MBps and a write rate of 96.61MBps. However, the hard drive affected the performance of the system initially, as it was constantly working in the background. We narrowed this down to the Windows System Restore feature and had to disable it for our tests.
The overall performance of the MD8369 is decent if all you want is a PC for doing non-taxing work — it will have no problems handling Web browsing tasks, office document creation, multimedia playback, image editing, some media encoding now and then, and even some gaming. We are disappointed that the performance isn't faster than Medion's previous AMD-based PC for the same $499 price, especially since it has a faster CPU speed, but we're pleased that the graphics performance is faster.
The system's power consumption (without counting a monitor) was about 43W when idle in high performance mode (34W in balanced mode, which is the same as the previous model) and peak power usage when the system was under a full load was just over 84W in high performance mode, which is 7W more efficient than the model.
Design and expansion options
Physically, the MD8369 looks the same as any other Medion PC that we've reviewed recently. Its case is a mini tower that houses a microATX-sized motherboard and it has limited potential when it comes to expansion. There is one free 3.5in hard drive bay and one free 5.25in drive bay in the case. On the motherboard, there are three free PCI Express slots (one graphics slot and two x1 slots), only one free SATA port (there are four all up, one of which goes to the externally accessible SATA port, the others go to the hard drive and DVD burner) and there are no free memory slots (two slots are populated with two 2GB RAM modules). The power supply is 350W and there is only one free SATA power connector.
A proprietary slide-in slot at the top of the case is reserved for an external USB 3.0 drive of Medion's design, but we've never actually seen one of these in person. The front has a spring-loaded door that conceals a media card reader with slots for SD and CF cards, and there is also a SATA port (your external SATA drive will need to have its own power supply). The front also features one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, and headphone and microphone ports. The rear features a mix of old and new ports, including HDMI, USB 3.0 (two of them), USB 2.0 (four of them), Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, two PS/2 ports, and analogue surround sound audio ports as well as optical audio.
Conveniently, Medion also supplies a single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi module, which is located inside the case. What's conspicuously absent is a DVI port. If you plan on using an older monitor that doesn't have an HDMI port, you'll have to use the analogue connection, which isn't ideal.
Medion supplies a keyboard and mouse with this computer, but they aren't great. The keyboard has a UK-style layout that employs a smaller-than-usual left Shift key in favour of a couple more slash keys. The F keys are also almost indistinguishable from the rest of the keys and we often hit the F12 key when attempting a Backspace operation. You'll definitely want to get yourself a decent set of peripherals to use with this computer (the mouse could be better, too, as it has shiny buttons that are a little too stiff).
Considering the Medion MD8369 will be one of the cheapest PCs on the Australian market when it goes on sale at Aldi on 25 August, it's hard to beat up on it too much. However, we wish the new AMD CPU supplied faster performance, rather than performing slower than the previous model did in many of our tests. In the overall scheme of things though, the slower performance won't be noticeable during everyday usage and it's a PC that will still work well for basic work and multitasking. Its graphics are good enough to let you run some games, too, but not at high detail levels. Expansion is limited, but there is a chance for you to install a more powerful graphics card or a second hard drive.
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