Medion Akoya P4314 D Inverness

Medion Akoya P4314 D offers power and media features for a bargain price in Inverness. The following article has more details about the laptop.

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Medion Akoya P4314 D

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Every PC that enters the PC Pro Labs with a strict budget usually comes with at least a couple of caveats to match: a lack of processing power, gaming grunt or storage space normally puts paid to a machine's appeal to whole swathes of potential buyers, and a poorly-built chassis has a similar effect.

Medion's latest Akoya system starts off promisingly, with a list of specifications that suggest little has been left out. The Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 processor has a respectable 2.8GHz clock speed, while 4GB of RAM is the norm for machines costing twice as much. Together they resulted in a 2D benchmark result of 1.41, not the quickest we've seen, but it proves that the Medion is capable of handling office applications, while the plentiful RAM allows it to multi-task without a struggle.

The ATI Radeon HD 4650 graphics card may not play the latest titles, but at least it's a current generation part: our low-quality Crysis benchmark ran at a healthy 73fps, but a result of 27fps in the medium-quality, 1,280 x 1,024 test saw the Medion clinging to playable frame-rates. You'll only be playing the latest games on the Akoya if you tone down the quality settings, and recent budget systems such as Cyberpower's Gamer Infinity Yin are quicker: that PC's ATI Radeon HD 4830 managed 29fps in the 1,600 x 1,200 high-quality Crysis benchmark.

Elsewhere, Medion has crammed in a couple of components that wouldn't look out of place on a far more expensive system. The terabyte hard disk is large enough to store dozens of movies and thousands of songs with room to spare, and we rarely see such cheap PCs coming with a TV tuner installed. This single-tuner DVB-T model can't record and watch different channels simultaneously, but it's a generous addition in a machine at this price, nonetheless.

While the specification offers respectable power and generous components, the rest of the Medion is more reflective of its price. The chassis is both small and unattractive, with patchy build quality: the sides of the case feel surprisingly tough but are awkward to remove and attach, and the two USB ports and card reader on the front of the case are hidden behind a rickety, weak sliding door.

Open the chassis and there's little room for improvement. The hard disk is mounted vertically in the only available slot, and a pair of empty expansion bays - one 5.25in and one forward-facing 3.5in - leaves little scope for improvement. There's little point using the two empty DIMM slots, as the choice of 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium means further RAM won't be utilised.

The empty PCI-Express 1x and standard PCI slot could, theoretically, be used for expansion, but the smaller slot is blocked by the pair of cards already in the machine - the GPU and TV tuner - and the bottom slot is difficult to use because of an abundance of wires at the bottom of the chassis. Any potential upgrade is also made more difficult by the large funnel that's been fitted to the low-profile Intel CPU heatsink to channel air out of the side panel.

The lack of care regarding the chassis also means that the Medion is relatively loud, to the point that you'll certainly hear it purring away in the corner of your room - if you're trying to concentrate on work, for instance, it'll prove distracting.

Medion's included peripherals also lack polish. The mouse is a bog-standard two-button optical affair, and the keyboard offers a spongy, inconclusive typing action and a slight lack of travel. Neither can compare to the best - or even budget offerings - from Logitech or Microsoft.

While there's no doubt that the Medion Akoya, despite its shortcomings, offers an enticing package, Cyberpower's Gamer Infinity Yin offers more still: the Medion has no monitor and a poor chassis, whereas its rival offers more 2D and 3D power, a better case, superior peripherals and a monitor for only £61 extra. Unless you're on a rigid budget or really want that TV tuner, the Cyberpower offers the better deal.

System Specifications

2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7400, 4GB 800MHz DDR2, 1TB hard disk, DVD writer, ATI Radeon HD 4650 graphics, DVB-T TV tuner, FireWire, VGA, 2 x PS/2, 8 x USB, Gigabit Ethernet, 5-in-4 card reader, Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, 1yr RTB warranty, 177 x 401 x 362mm (WDH)

Verdict

A decent enough PC that's beaten into submission by classier and more versatile rivals

Author: Mike Jennings

Medion Akoya P4314 D