Medion Akoya E4110 (MD 8239) desktop PC
Medion makes use of AMD's A8 APU to provide a well-rounded system for under $600
- Good overall performance
- Above-average graphics
- 2TB hard drive and 8GB of RAM
- Case design getting a little old
- No S/PDIF optical audio output
This is a desktop PC for the home that's well-worth considering if you want something inexpensive, yet well featured. It provides good speed for everyday tasks, can even be used for gaming, and it comes with plenty of storage capacity and RAM. It's an improvement over last year's AMD A8-based Akoya, both in terms of performance and capacity.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
While the looks and dimensions of the Medion Akoya E4110 (MD 8239) are the same as previous Akoya desktop PCs we've seen, this new model features a brand new AMD A8 APU (accelerated processing unit) that can supply speeds, especially for graphics, that are better than usual for the price point. It's a point of emphasis for the AMD APU, which has a more integrated and more powerful graphics capability than Intel's current CPUs.
As usual, it's a system that will be available to purchase at Aldi supermarkets, and this one goes on sale on 23 August in limited quantities for $599. Should you get it? If all you want is a simple machine for the home that can be used as a bit of all-rounder, then yes, go for it. It's not meant to be the quickest desktop PC on the block, but it can more than hold its own against other name-brand systems that can be found in its price bracket; usually, desktops for around the $600 mark feature Intel Core i3 processing at most, with Celeron and Pentium also being offered.
Good all-round specs and performance
The key to the Medion being competitively priced is not just the AMD APU, but also a solid supporting cast that offers more than what you can get with other sub-$600 machines. The motherboard's two memory slots are each filled with 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM for a total of 8GB, which is more than the usual 4GB offered by other vendors, while in one of the 3.5in hard drive bays you will find a hard drive with a capacity of 2TB, rather than the more common 1TB.
It's an enticing offering, especially for a household that wants to share the same system with the whole family, but, at the same time, it's overkill for someone who just wants a machine with which to access a few Web sites and send a few emails. This is a homework machine; this is a machine on which to run office software if you work from home; this is a machine you can use to edit and store photos and videos, and you can even play games on it.
Indeed, games such as Battlefield 3 can be played on this machine at an average rate of 31 frames per second, and that's with a moderate resolution of 1600x900 and with a 'medium' graphics quality. That makes for an enjoyable gaming experience, though it's not up to scratch for those of you who are serious about your gaming. If you find that you need more graphics power down the line, you can always plug in a graphics card in the system's PCI Express x16 slot.
That's one of the other positive aspects of the Akoya: it doesn't tie you in to one specific configuration. You can add in a graphics card, and you can drop in a new hard drive or a solid state drive in the case's free 3.5in drive bay, too. The FM2+ CPU socket on the motherboard can run faster AMD APUs, such as the A10-7800. The only thing you can't easily upgrade is the RAM capacity, but that's only because both slots are taken. You will have to replace them if you want to install up to 16GB of RAM.
However, for any upgrades that you plan on making, ensure that the power supply can handle them. The default unit is a 336W supply, so if you want to deck out the Medion with more fancy graphics and multiple drives (the power supply has two more SATA power connectors and the motherboard two free SATA ports), use a power supply calculator to see if you'll need more juice to run the system without straining it.
With its store-bought configuration, the Akoya is a potent little machine, and this was shown in our Blender 3D rendering test, in which the AMD A8-7600 got 34sec. It puts it on par with a mid-range Intel Core i5-based desktop system. In 3DMark, the AMD APU's integrated graphics achieved marks of 1232 in the Fire Strike test and 4479 in the Sky Diver test, and both are impressive results for a budget system like this one. The hard drive also performed well, with CrystalDiskMark reporting sequential read and write rates of 174.7 megabytes per second (MBps) and 165.8MBps, respectively.
Ports and other features
A simple collection of connectivity options is present on the rear of the machine, with HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, analogue audio, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. (There are a couple of PS/2 ports, too.) You need to make sure that you don't plug your keyboard and mouse into the USB 3.0 ports, and instead use the slower 2.0 ports for them. There is another USB 3.0 port on the front, as well as another USB 2.0 port, an SD card slot, and headphone and microphone ports. Unfortunately, it lacks an optical port, which was present on the AMD-based Akoya P4400 machine that we reviewed last year.
The extra cables from the front ports create a bit of a jungle inside the case, and especially at the top, above the DVD burner. That said, Medion's techs have done a decent job tying down loose cables and keeping things as neat as possible. They have also managed to install an internal 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter, which means you can get online immediately, even if you place the machine away from your router. A half-height heat sink cools the AMD APU, and its fan spins without making much of a sound.
While the usual physical design of the Medion is well liked by many (we hear it all the time from people in the office who see the Medion machines, telling us that they actually look nice), there is still a custom USB 3.0 hard drive slot at the top, which is meant to be for an external Medion drive. We've never seen one offered in Australia.
It might be time for Medion to do away with that slot and make the machine look a little more streamlined. We also think the location of the power button should be moved to somewhere further down the case, primarily because it's in a location where it's quite easy to press inadvertently, which puts the PC to sleep.
Overall, though, this is a desktop PC for the home that's well-worth considering if you want something inexpensive, yet well featured. It provides good speed for everyday tasks, can even be used for gaming, and it comes with plenty of storage capacity and RAM. It's an improvement over last year's AMD A8-based Akoya, both in terms of performance and capacity.
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