A Stunning Swiss Army Knife Blu-ray PC For Under $1,200

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I’ve often wondered who would deliver the computer equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife. A computer that had Blu-ray, HDMI, an external storage bay, 2GB of RAM, 500GB drive, Nvidia graphics card, TV tuner, an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, as well as software that delivers both media centre capability and traditional computing. But the catch is that it has to be under $1,200. Well, the answer is good old Medion, a German computer Company who is selling a superbly engineered workstation via Aldi stores.

This workstation is ideal and can be easily turned into a monster workstation for gaming by upgrading the RAM to 4GB and buying a Nvidia 9800 graphics card.


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Despite looking like your run-of-the-mill PC, this sub-$1,200 computer comes with ‘the lot’ – a Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, an Nvidia 8600 GS video card, an HD DVD and Blu-ray dual drive, 500GB of storage space, a multitude of input and output ports, a DTV tuner, and even a card reader to boot. This configuration puts other PCs on the same price range to shame and do not even offer as much as what this powerhouse brings to the table.

Connectivity is certainly not an issue, with the MD8828 having just about every port created. The back of the PC hosts a Digital TV tuner, a D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI port, an S-Video port, a Composite Cinch, a Component out port, Scart, 5.1 speaker ports (Front, Back, Centre/Bass, Side), Digital Audio Out (Optical and Coaxial), Live-in recording port, six USB ports, FireWire, Serial port, and PS/2 ports for the mouse and keyboard.

 

It seems that this is not enough for Medion though, as the company have placed a few more ports in front of the PC. Pressing the front bezel unveils an eSATA port, three card reader slots (SD/MMC/CF/XD), two more USB ports, a headphone and microphone jack, a FireWire port, a 4 and 6-pole connector, a composite-in port (audio and video), and an S-Video in port.


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In addition, an HDD bay designed specifically for the HDDrive 2 Go Ultraspeed hard drive sits on top of the computer casing, although it could have been better if Medion just placed generic ports in order for a user to hook up their own portable hard drive.

The MD8828 is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 processor running at 2.66GHz, has 2GB of RAM, and uses an Nvidia 8600 GS (256MB) graphics card. The computer runs on Windows Vista Home Premium and comes with various programs to suit one’s need. The applications included are: Nero StartSmart Essentials, Nero Express Essentials, Google Desktop Preferences, Bullguard (trial version), Microsoft Office (60 day trial), Microsoft Works, Home Cinema (MediaShow, PowerDirector, PowerDVD, PowerProducer), Nero 7 Essentials, Ulead PhotoImpact12, and even AOL Australia.

 

The MD8828 is versatile enough to be hooked up to any LCD or plasma screen, with all of its output ports working without a hitch. The video card can output up to a resolution of 1920 x 1080i/p via HDMI, which is good for users who have a Full HD set at home.


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Medion uses LG’s dual format drive (GGC-H20L) and Cyberlink’s video software (which can be updated to the latest version using the Online Update function under Settings) to run HD discs. Both our Blu-ray copy of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and HD DVD copy of Mission Impossible III worked smoothly, with Windows running the disc automatically as soon as it was detected.

In addition, the built-in digital TV tuner means that you can watch and record your favourite TV shows on your computer, transforming the MD8828 into a PVR with a touch of a button. A remote is also included, making it easy for users to watch TV or movies. Users can also configure the PC to stream photos, videos, and music files using the Intel Viiv Settings manager. Wireless access also comes to play as the MD8828 also comes with Wi-Fi (802.11n) built-in.

Users who are looking for an affordable Entertainment PC should most definitely consider Medion’s MD8828. It can play HD discs, can connect to any TV set, and has an unbeatable price point. The only thing we recommend users to do is to purchase additional RAM sticks to improve performance and increase storage capacity to store more recorded shows.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 

 Medion Akoya MD8828 Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Viiv Processor Technology with Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6750
    (2.66 GHZ, 4 MB L2 Cache, 1333 MHZ FSB)
  • Operating System: Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (OEM Version)
  • Memory: 2048 MB DDR2 Dual Channel 
  • Hard drive capacity: 500 GB S-ATA hard drive, 8 MB Cache, 7200 rpm 
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8600 GS PCI-Express graphics cards incl. 256 MB DDR2 SDRAM. 
  • Optical Drive: LG GGC-H20L Dual Format Drive: Integrated Blu-ray, HD DVD & DVD Player as well as Dual Layer DVD / CD burner
  • Digital TV: Integrated TV Tuner for digital (DVB-T) or analogue television
  • Audio Output: 8-channel High Definition Audio Out for the digital home experience with optimum sound
  • Additional Ports: eSATA Connection, HDMI, Component, D-Sub, DVI, HDMI, S-Video, Composite Cinch, Scart, Digital Audio Out (Optical and Coaxial), Live-in recording port, 8 x USB ports, 2 x FireWire, Serial port, PS/2 port, card reader slots (SD/MMC/CF/XD), headphone jack, microphone jack, composite-in port (audio and video), S-Video in port, Ethernet, integrated WLAN (802.11n)
  • Warranty: 2 years

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Medion Akoya MD8828 Entertainment PC | $1,199 |  | www.medion.com/au

For: Noteworthy specifications; Abundance of connectivity ports; HD DVD and Blu-ray drive; Wireless remote, keyboard, and mouse included; Price
Against: Medion could have added more RAM so that programs could run smoother.
Conclusion: A cheap HD PC that delivers.

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