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Only a few months ago Tesco announced Complete Office – its integrated office suite. This has all been installed here along with recording software, Internet security, photo editing, personal Finance and a photo management application. This is a much more complete software pack than is usually supplied with a PC in this price bracket, though despite the product’s name, it's a closer match to Microsoft Works than to Office.
Although you have to add your own monitor, Tesco is probably sensible in splitting the system this way as some customers will want to couple it to a widescreen monitor, while others might want to run it directly into a domestic plasma TV or home cinema projector.
With a fair amount of zip in its Vista implementation, this machine is a pleasure to use. The Tesco applications, while not having the muscle of Microsoft Office, are more than sufficient for everyday tasks in the home or home office.
On the multimedia side, of course, there's the Media Center software included in Vista and this integrates well with the TV tuner. However, it's a shame there's only a single digital tuner, so you can't record one channel, while viewing another. The remote is an unusual design, but works well and is all you need to control the system when using the Media Center interface.
As we expected, the 6486 did well on PCMark 05, recording an index of 6,486. While the GeForce 8500GT graphics adapter is a step down from what an avid gamer might choose, it's still a very serviceable card and up to playing modern 3D games, though perhaps with some sacrifice on resolution or frame-rate.
Despite its unusual brand, the Medion 6486 is built almost entirely of well-known components. There's a Microstar main board, an NVIDIA graphics card, drives from Western Digital and LG and memory from Samsung. This is exactly the same range of names you will often see in better-known systems.
There's no reason to reject the 6486 on its build quality and lots of reasons to consider it because of its high specification, strong performance and good selection of bundled software. Overall, a very well-integrated system, ideally suited to a family home or to an individual, perhaps a student, who wants to experiment with multimedia and have all their PC-based entertainment in one smart box.
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