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At SmartHouse we go through a lot of PC related gear. So when Intel recently introduced their new i3, i5, and i7 processors, I was intrigued as to how effective this technology would be on a simple desktop PC.

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What we went looking for was big improvements in PC grunt especially in a traditionally configured workstation that can be used in a business or home office environment.

We took into account cost, performance, and above all, the quality of graphics delivered to a screen.

The workstation we chose was the new Medion Akoya E4360 that comes with the Intel i3 processor. Sold in Aldi stores next Thursday (18 March 2010), this workstation has a recommended retail price of $799.

The E4360 comes with an Intel Core i3-530 processor (running at 2.93Ghz), an Nvidia GeForce GT330 graphics card (768MB dedicated), 1TB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. Like its predecessors, this PC comes with a multitude of ports: eight USB ports (six at the back, two up front), a FireWire, audio line out (front, back, centre, side) jacks, microphone and headphone jacks (up front), an Ethernet port, an e-SATA port, and three memory card reader ports. Medion has also included an ‘extendable’ mini USB port found on top of the tower that can be used to connect MP3 players, digital cameras, and external hard drives in an instant.

 
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The E4360 has the following programs pre-installed: Windows 7 (32-bit), Microsoft Works 9.0, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 (Trial), Windows Live Essentials, Corel Draw Essentials 3, Corel Media One, Cyberlink Power2Go 6, and Bullguard Internet Security Pack.

To really test this machine’s performance, we decided to throw some memory intensive applications at it. After starting Windows 7 for the first time, we immediately installed Adobe Creative Suite 4, which is a massive package consisting of applications like PDF, Photoshop, InDesign and Dreamweaver.

Besides being quiet all throughout out test, it was able to load applications quickly, multitask without slowing down, and even install big updates in an instant. Users can also run games on it, with the E4360 obtaining a score of 10654 in our 3DMark 06 test.

We hooked up the PC to a monitor that has both HDMI and DVI ports. The video card was struggling to deliver a quality image via HDMI, with us seeing text bitmapping and a bit of blurring. Even adjustments within the operating system and the Nvidia control panel failed to eliminate the problem. However, when we connected the PC via DVI, graphics were crisp and excellent.

With the latest Intel i3 processor on board, the Medion E4360 is a fast desktop PC that can multitask without slowing you down. For $799, this is serious bang for your buck.

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