MSI looks to add executive chic to a winning laptop formula
Medion Akoya E4075 D (MD 8320) desktop PC
Medion's re-designed PC houses an Intel Core i3 CPU and a 2TB hard drive
- 2TB hard drive
- Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet
- Limited expansion
With an all-new styling, Medion's latest Akoya desktop PC should get plenty of attention when it goes on sale at Aldi on Wednesday 27 March. It has a good configuration that's suitable for most common computing tasks, it runs almost silently, and there is a useful array of connectivity at the front and at the rear. It's well worth considering if you want a simple pre-built PC for a good price.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Medion's designers have come up with a fresh new look for the company's inexpensive desktop PCs, going for an angled front panel that supplies a hint of attitude. It's a look that's welcomed compared to the standard box shape of previous Medion machines. You can see the new look on the Akoya E4075 D (MD 8320) when it goes on sale at Aldi stores on Wednesday 27 March.
At a cost of only $499, the Medion Akoya E4075 D (MD 8320) should be popular with students who need a competent computer with which to complete their work on time, and it would also make for a lovely family PC in a small household. There is certainly enough grunt inside the flashy case to allow office productivity applications to run with ease, in addition to multimedia tasks and perhaps a tiny bit of gaming — simple games, not graphics-intensive first-person shooters.
An Intel Core i3-3220 supplies the processing power, and it's a third generation dual-core CPU with Hyper-Threading that runs at a frequency of 3.3GHz. It's cooled by a small fan that barely makes a peep, even when the work loads max it out, and there is a shroud that guides cool air into the fan from the case's vented side panel. Graphics are handled by the Intel HD 4000 chip that's part of the CPU, which means it's a very neat and efficient system overall; it won't consume too much electricity — consumption peaked at 49 Watts when the system load was maximised, and it idled at about 29 Watts. Rounding out the configuration is 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM and a hard drive that has 2TB of storage.
This configuration recorded a time of only 35sec in our Blender 3D rendering test, which is 9sec faster than the previous Medion desktop that we've tested (the AMD A8-3820-based Akoya E4060), and its time of 43sec in our iTunes MP3 encoding test is also swift, especially for a budget PC. You can use this PC to do some photo editing, basic video editing, and it will also do a fine job of media encoding. It took only 5min 38sec to turn a ripped DVD file into an MP4 file using Handbrake, while the same file was turned into an MKV file in 15min 7sec using Arcsoft MediaConverter 7. A top-flight Core i7-based machine such as the Dell XPS 8500 can perform the same media encoding tasks in about half the time, but it costs over twice as much as the Medion.
The graphics performance of this Medion isn't well suited to gaming, and this was shown in 3DMark06, in which it recorded a score of 3684. The previous Akoya, which had much stronger AMD Radeon-based graphics, recorded a score that was almost double. You'll be able to play only the simplest, non-graphics intensive games on this Akoya. You're best bet is to find games within the Windows Store that can be run from the Windows 8 Start screen. It's possible to upgrade the PC with a better graphics card in the future, thanks to the motherboard's empty PCI Express x16 slot. The power supply has a rating of 350W, but it doesn't have a 6-pin power connector for a graphics card and there is only one free 12V power connector present. This means that you'll have to upgrade to a graphics card that doesn't require extra power (such as a Radeon HD 7750, for example) or you'll also have to upgrade the power supply.
Storage is handled by a 2TB, 7200rpm Seagate hard drive that performed well in our file duplication tests, recording a rate of 81 megabytes per second (MBps). Its read rate of 212MBps in CrystalDiskMark is also impressive for a desktop drive, but its write rate of 208MBps is even more pleasing. The quickness has to do with the density of the drive. Over time, and as data is spread out further on the platters, the speed will drop. Nevertheless, it will be quick for a while. During general use, the PC felt responsive, with applications loading quickly and multitasking being a breeze. Boot up time was just under 20sec. This is the time it took to get to the Windows 8 login screen. There are a few programs installed by default (such as Kaspersky Internet Security), which will load in the background while the Windows Start Screen is shown.
You can add some storage to the Medion via its one free 3.5in hard drive bay, which sits on its side at the front of the machine. A SATA power cable for a second drive is tied up in a cluster at the top of the case, so you'll need to make a bit of a mess of the system to get it loose. There are two free SATA ports on the motherboard, with two of them taken up by the aforementioned 2TB hard drive and also a Samsung DVD burner (CyberLink DVD decoding software is installed so you can watch movies).
Conveniently, the Akoya MD 8320 has two USB ports on its front panel for easy access, and one of them is a USB 3.0 port. An SD card slot and headphone and microphone ports are also provided, just to the left of the USB ports. The rear has more USB ports (four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0), and you'll also find Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA and two PS/2 ports. Importantly, the PC also has an 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter installed, so you can set it up and get on the Internet without having to plug in too many cables. The performance you'll get out of this adapter will vary, but if the PC is situated relatively close to the router, it will be fine. Using the Akoya in the same room as our 300 megabits per second (Mbps) Linksys X3000 router, the adapter connected with a link speed of 72Mbps.
If you want to add an expansion card of some kind, the motherboard has two PCIe x1 slots free (in addition to the PCIe x16 slot we mentioned earlier), but if you want to add RAM, you'll have to remove the two 2GB sticks that are already installed in the board's only two memory slots and replace them with higher capacity modules. An interface for a Medion external drive sits at the top of the case, but we've never actually seen the drives that can use this interface.
Overall, this is a good desktop PC that's worth the $499 asking price. It performed well in our tests, it runs almost silently, and we like the new design of the case as well as the location of the front-facing ports. There are limited opportunities for upgrading it in the future, but its configuration as it stands now should be fine for most tasks. If you're a student or home user who wants an inexpensive machine for Internet activities, running office apps, playing simple games, and for encoding files to add to music and video collections, you should definitely check it out. It ships with a corded keyboard and mouse, but you might want to get your own if you find them uncomfortable (we did).
The Medion Akoya E4075 D (MD 8320) desktop PC goes on sale at Aldi supermarkets on Wednesday 27 March.
If you need help using the Windows 8 interface on a desktop such as this one, be sure to check out our Beginner's Guide to Windows 8. We show you how to use the Start screen and all of the other features that the new operating system offers.
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