A powerful and well-specified PC, but you can do better for the price
3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
When you first get Medion’s Akoya P5704 D out of the box, it’s not immediately apparent where your £849 has gone. The angular front end is fairly smart, but the shiny plastic, flexible metal sides and compact mini tower chassis make it feel more like a mid-priced PC World special than a premium PC, especially when compared with the similarly-priced Chillblast Fusion Whisper with its posh Fractal Design R3 chassis.
The PC is, however, full of powerful components. The processor is a Core i7-2600, which has four cores and hyper-threading, which gives it four extra ‘virtual’ cores to help in multi-threaded applications. The processor also has Turbo Boost, which lets it run faster than its stock speed temporarily to speed up intensive tasks. There’s 8GB of RAM, which you’ll struggle to use in everyday tasks but will help with hugely taxing applications such as editing high-definition video.
Unlike the Fusion Whisper’s overclocked 4GHz Core i5-2500K processor, the Akoya’s chip runs at its standard 3.4GHz clock speed. This means it was five points overall behind the Fusion Whisper in our benchmarks, but 110 is still an impressive score. We were less impressed with the graphics card. The 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6750 is almost identical to the previous-generation HD 5750 (there’s now the latest version of AMD’s Unified Video Decoder on the chip, but everything else is the same) and is showing its age. It only managed 12.5fps in our DirectX 11 Crysis 2 test, compared to 22.9fps from the Fusion Whisper’s Nvidia GeForce 560 Ti graphics card. 28.2fps in Dirt 3 shows you can still play the latest games, but you’ll need to lower the detail levels. There’s plenty of room in the case to fit a more powerful card such as AMD’s Radeon HD 6950, though, and the 450W FSP power supply should handle the upgrade.
The rest of the PC’s specification is more impressive. There’s a Blu-ray writer, so you can archive huge amounts of information, two USB3 ports on the front and eight USB2 on the rear and a memory card reader for SD, Memory Stick and xD cards. You get DVI, VGA and HDMI video outputs, 7.1 surround sound and built-in 802.11n wireless. Along with a 1TB hard disk for storage, there is a fast 64GB SSD for the system disk, so the PC only takes a minute to boot. There’s a caddy under the Blu-ray drive for a further hot-swappable SATA hard disk – useful for taking backups with you to another location. It’s good the standard specification is comprehensive, as there’s little room for upgrades – you get a couple of free PCI Express x1 slots, but no room for any more optical drives or hard disks (apart from in the caddy). There are two free memory slots, which you can use to increase the RAM to 16GB.
The PC is mercifully free of crapware, and has some useful software installed: Microsoft Office Starter has ad-supported versions of Word and Excel and is powerful enough for home use, and CyberLink’s Media Suite 8 provides handy video-editing and disc-burning capabilities. The preinstalled one-month Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 trial is slightly nagging, but compared to many big-name PCs the Akoya is pretty clean.
Medion’s Akoya P5704 D is a powerful yet quiet PC which boots quickly and has some useful extra features. It’s reasonably well priced, but its graphics card is disappointing and there’s not as much room for expansion as we’d like. The Chillblast Fusion Whisper doesn’t have the SSD and can only read and not write Blu-ray discs, but is quicker in both games and 2D applications, so is the better choice.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2600|
|Processor external bus||100MHz|
|Processor clock speed||3.4GHz|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel H67|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||2/8|
|Firewire ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PCI slots (free)||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||2 (2)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||1 (0)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||2|
|Free memory slots||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|Hard disk model(s)||Micron C300-CTFDDAC064MAG SSD, Seagate ST3100528AS|
|Total storage capacity||1,064GB|
|Graphics card(s)||1GB AMD Radeon HD 6750|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, DVI, HDMI|
|Sound||Realtek High Definition Audio|
|Sound outputs||7.1 line out|
|Supported memory cards||SD, Memory Stick Pro, MMC, xD|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL, BD-R/RE|
|Software included||Microsoft Office Starter 2010, CyberLink Media Suite 8|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Warranty||one year RTB|