Medion Akoya E2025 D (MD 8356) desktop PC
Medion Akoya E2025 D (MD 8356) review: A tiny tower PC with USB 3.0, HDMI, Wi-Fi and a large 1.5TB hard drive
- Good value
- Good features
- Small size
- No DVI port
- Limited expansion
Costing $599, and equipped with a 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 CPU and other meaningful stats, the Akoya E2025 D, like most Medion products we've seen, is very good value for money. It's a small and neat PC that should appeal to home users and students.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
Ports and slots
The tiny case has a microATX-sized motherboard installed, which doesn't provide a lot of room for expansion. Both memory slots are taken (2x 2GB modules), there is only one SATA port left for extra internal storage (as well as only one storage bay) and there are only three add-in slots on the motherboard. One of them is a full-sized PCI Express slot for a graphics card, while the other two are short, PCIe x1 slots that will allow you to install a digital TV tuner or anything else you fancy.
The front of the case has headphone and microphone ports, as well as two USB ports, one of which is a USB 3.0 port. There is also a USB 3.0 interface at the top of the machine, which allows one of Medion's external USB 3.0 hard drives to slot in neatly. Flip-down doors on the external drive bays conceal a DVD burner and a memory card reader, which includes slots for all popular cards, as well as an eSATA port for fast external storage.
On the rear, you get four more USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port (most PCs in the same price range only offer 10/100 networking), more audio ports (including line in), two PS/2 ports, and VGA and HDMI ports.
For convenience, the Akoya also comes with integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi, which is USB based and installed internally. It didn't give us fast speeds during our tests (it connected to our 802.11n router at 54Mbps), but it allowed us to get online and use the Internet without any issues. It won't be an ideal solution if your router is too far away from the PC, in which case you might need to find another wireless networking solution.
On the inside, the build quality of the Medion isn't what we would call meticulous, but it's neat enough. The unused cables from the power supply are tied out of the way, and used cables flow freely from the motherboard and power supply to their destinations. There isn't any airflow to speak of from the front to the back of the case; the vertically-mounted hard drive doesn't have a cooling fan.
The inside of the Akoya E2025 D (MD 8356).
The cooling focus is squarely on the CPU. A huge shroud sits atop the thin, active CPU cooler and funnels external air towards it from the punctured side panel. The cooler's fan spins at a leisurely pace and because this is the only fan in the system, it means that the system runs very quietly overall. The hard drive is audible — you can here it tick during seek operations now and then.
The shroud on the CPU.
Power consumption and upgrade potential
With only one hard drive and one optical drive installed, and with integrated instead of discrete graphics, the Medion's power consumption is tame. When idle, it consumed between 30 and 40 Watts; when it was used to process 3D graphics, its usage peaked at around 70 Watts. This was the most it used in its standard configuration during our tests. Even when the CPU was at maximum utilisation (using all four threads in Blender 3D), it consumed a maximum of 64W.
The power supply is of a standard ATX form factor with a 20-pin (rather than 24-pin) motherboard connector and it has a rating of 350W. It provides enough headroom for upgrading the storage space and graphics processing of the system. In our tests, we upgraded the Medion by installing an old ATI Radeon HD 4770 graphics card as well as adding a 1TB, 7200rpm hard drive.
The idle power consumption went up to around 71W. Under a full gaming load, it peaked at 138W while more than tripling the graphics performance (13084 in 3DMark06). You can't fit more than two hard drives in the case and you won't want to upgrade to anything more than a mid-range graphics card unless you also upgrade the power supply and get a new case. There won't be enough power to run a high-end graphics card, and there won't be sufficient space in the case to house a longer card and power supply.
The PCI Express slots.
The hard drive bay.
The Akoya E2025 D (MD 8356) is a slight upgrade over the previous $599 model that we reviewed back in March and just like that machine, we think this one is also a Best Buy. It comes with more hard drive space (1.5TB compared to 1TB) and a more advanced CPU (Intel Core i3 compared to AMD Athlon II). It is a tiny bit slower in the graphics department (not by much) and it doesn't have DVI, but you can upgrade to a mid-range graphics card if you need more grunt for gaming. We think it's a good PC for first-time PC buyers and users who are on a tight budget and want good bang for their buck.
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