So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Medion MD8324 Desktop PC review
Solid value for an everyday use PC configuration.
- Integrated SSD
- Included keyboard is decent
- Only 4GB of included RAM
- Shaky WiFi connectivity
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
While Medion isn't a tech brand name that swings up there with the likes of Apple, Dell or Toshiba, it's a brand that's always delivered the same kind of value story over the years, especially when it comes to desktop PCs. You're not paying top dollar for an absolutely cutting-edge PC, but you're looking for value for your buying dollar. For those who are really curious, it's a sub-brand of Chinese IT giant Lenovo, albeit without a Lenovo product badge to speak of.
As with other Medion systems, the Medion MD8324 Desktop PC will be on sale in limited quantities exclusively through Aldi stores after the 29th of October for $599.
What's In The Box?
For a dollar under six hundred bucks, you get a fairly plain desktop case with a triangular power button at the front, as well as front mounted plastic drop-down slots that reveal two USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, audio in/out and 16x DVD Writer. At the back, you'll find HDMI and VGA out, four USB ports and ethernet sockets. Only three of the USB ports are available when you first unpack the Medion MD8324, because the system's integrated USB WiFi is handled by a tiny Realtek RTL8723B WiFi adaptor. If you weren't going to use Wi-Fi you could gain an extra port by removing it, but it's a decent inclusion for a desktop system if you don't have space for ethernet cables snaking from your home router.
It's important to note that this Medion Desktop PC is sold sans monitor, so if you were buying it as an absolutely new PC, you'd have to factor in buying a monitor as well. What you do get in the box is a bundled set of a keyboard and mouse, both of which are cabled. It's been some while since we've used a wired mouse as our go-to option, and we can't say that the Medion mouse is anything special, because it isn't. It clicks left, it clicks right, and there's a scroll wheel. The last time that was anything exceptional was roughly 2001.
The supplied keyboard has a surprising amount of travel to its individual keys. They're soft and mostly quiet if you prefer that style, but a moderate amount of force is required to register each key press, which means some touch typists may find it difficult to get on with if it's your only choice. It's slightly better than we'd expect for a bundled keyboard.
The Need For Speed (With Compromises)
Internal configuration of the Medion MD8324 Desktop PC comprises a 3.2GHz AMD A8-8650 CPU with integrated Radeon R7 GPU. That's not quite the top of the tier when it comes to AMD CPUs, but it's suitably recent in terms of processor history, and well within what you could expect to get at this kind of price point.
On the slightly more disappointing front is the fact that it comes with a paltry 4GB of RAM. It's not going to be too tough to upgrade it if you're willing to open up the case, but RAM is pretty cheap these days, and previous Medion systems we've reviewed have at least come with 8GB onboard.
Where Medion appears to have spent its RAM money is in storage. The Medion MD8324 Desktop PC comes with a 128GB Samsung MZ7LF128HCHP SSD as the primary drive, paired with a 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 7200RPM mechanical drive. It's very much a sign of the times that SSDs are starting to make their way into what are essentially entry level systems like this.
The use of an SSD does boost the Medion MD8324 Desktop PC's performance somewhat, although those used to more rapid modern SSDs will still have to live with some compromises. In CrystalMark's sequential read test, the primary SSD managed read/write times of 459.4/81MB/s. By way of comparison, we managed 199.3/196.9MB/s from the mechanical drive within the Medion MD8324 Desktop PC. Both figures are nothing special for either SSD or mechanical drives, which again is fitting of the Medion's general entry level status.
The integrated GPU fared about as well as you'd expect from a system offered at this kind of price point. In 3DMark's Cloud Gate, Sky Diver and Fire Strike tests it scored 5567, 4525 and 1180 respectively; pushing things into Fire Strike Extreme territory dropped performance to 561. In other words, don't expect to be doing Full HD gaming with this particular rig, but fans of slightly older games, or those happy enough to game at lower resolutions won't find themselves too badly served by the MD8324 Desktop PC
We did try to sidestep this particular limitation by using Windows 10's inbuilt Xbox One streaming, but this showed another small weakness in the MD8324 Desktop PC's configuration. Wi-Fi streaming was extremely prone to lag and outright dropouts from tiny USB receiver happened no matter where we placed it in relation to our Wi-Fi router or the Xbox One we were streaming from. Testing concurrently with other Windows 10 PCs on the same network showed no similar dropout or visual corruption issues. You may not care about this at all, but if a desktop with Wi-Fi appeals to you, it may be worthwhile investing in a more solid wireless adaptor.
On the software side, the Medion MD8324 Desktop PC comes with Windows 10 Home 64-bit preinstalled. Medion plays it very light in terms of preinstalled software, with Cyberlink Home Cinema, a 30 Day Microsoft Office 365 trial and 30 day McAfee LiveSafe trial installed. The default backdrop is a Medion image, and there are weblinks to both Medion and Aldi on the homepage when you first start up the PC. It's nice to see a light touch in terms of preinstalled apps, as it means there's more space available on all drives, and less that you might want to remove early on.
What's The Verdict?
The Medion MD8324 Desktop PC is almost exactly what you'd expect at this kind of price point. The allure of an included SSD does pay off in performance terms, and makes up in part for its relatively low bundled RAM, which is the very first thing we'd upgrade if we were buying the system. If you're after a replacement or new desktop and your own needs are on the moderate side it's a perfectly adequate performer at an attractive price point.
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