Medion Akoya E2005D review

£279
Price when reviewed

Nettop PCs are arriving thick and fast but, like their netbook cousins, they’re limited in ways to distinguish themselves from the crowd. The best we’d previously seen, the Novatech ION, used nettop parts but built a strong all-round budget desktop from them – a PC and 17in TFT at a current price of just £225 inc VAT takes some beating.

The latest to try is Medion with its Atom-based Akoya E2005D. The core specs show little difference from any of the other nettop pretenders, but with its sleek black body and larger dimensions the Akoya has its advantages. The chassis allows room for a DVD writer, which we felt held back the original Asus Eee Box when it arrived; omitting an optical drive from a netbook is one thing, to do so in a desktop PC is quite another.

The drive sits behind a door on the front, opened by a wobbly silver strip button. Beneath that there’s another flimsy flap to hide the front-mounted ports: two USB, 3.5mm audio in and out, and a card reader for SD, Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard and xD-Picture cards. It’s all very stylish from afar, but up close it’s less convincing.

At the back you’ll find a VGA port, as well as four USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet and enough 3.5mm sockets to hook up a surround-sound speaker set. The Akoya can be stood upright with the included stand, which does lend it some elegance, and also makes it possible to stand discreetly on a shelf or bookcase. The one impediment to this is the power input – the Akoya uses an external laptop brick to provide its juice.

That juice is pretty flat, as you’d expect from the same 1.6GHz Atom that’s populated most of the netbooks and nettops we’ve seen. In our 2D benchmarks it managed an overall score of 0.38, making it a little slower than the portable Samsung NC10. The 1GB of included RAM is enough to handle Windows XP smoothly, but becomes sorely noticeable when you try to multitask. There’s no scope for upgrading unless you discard the single 1GB stick in favour of something bigger, and the miniATX motherboard offers no expansion slots at all.

The integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics wouldn’t even run our lowest Crysis benchmark, so don’t expect to be playing any recent games on the Medion. In fact, add in the 160GB hard disk and an aerial adapter on the back betrays the presence of 802.11bg Wi-Fi, and the Akoya is little different in specification from most nettops.

The real problem with the Medion Akoya isn’t in its specification, but in the way it’s been implemented. Slide it open using the two screws on the rear and you’ll see exactly what we mean. Including the DVD writer is a sensible move for a PC system, but the choice of a full-sized desktop drive in a supposed to be a compact system makes little sense, and pairing it with a desktop hard disk only compounds this error.

These sit side-by-side in a case that’s therefore over tall, but also so thin that there’s only width at the back only for a tiny 60mm fan that whines like a wounded 747 engine when you attempt anything more strenuous than reading a web page. Medion claims an output of just 26dBA under “normal operation”, but we can only assume its definition of normal differs from ours.

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Housing the two drives on top of one another would have resulted in a shorter, squat chassis that may not have looked as good, but would have left room for a proper fan, and with laptop drives it wouldn’t have been much wider.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 160
RAM capacity 1.00GB
Screen size N/A

Processor

CPU family Intel Atom
CPU nominal frequency 1.60GHz
CPU overclocked frequency N/A

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 0
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR2
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 1

Graphics card

Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting N/A
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 950
DVI-I outputs 0
HDMI outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards N/A

Hard disk

Capacity 640GB
Internal disk interface SATA
Hard disk 2 make and model N/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 2 cache size N/A
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Monitor make and model N/A
Resolution screen horizontal N/A
Resolution screen vertical N/A
Resolution N/A x N/A
Pixel response time N/A
Contrast ratio N/A
Screen brightness N/A
DVI inputs N/A
HDMI inputs N/A
VGA inputs N/A
DisplayPort inputs N/A

Additional Peripherals

Speakers N/A
Speaker type N/A
Peripherals N/A

Case

Case format Mini ITX
Dimensions 65 x 240 x 300mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 6
PS/2 mouse port no
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Modem no

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader yes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Wired keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS family Windows XP

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 30W
Peak power consumption 51W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 0.38
Office application benchmark score 0.45
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.33
Encoding application benchmark score 0.37
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.38
3D performance (crysis) low settings Fail
3D performance setting N/A

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