So is this the system for you? As already mentioned, it's pretty darn powerful in every regard except graphics. The 2.4GHz Intel Quad Core Q6600 with 8MB cache is an especially competent performer at this price point, and 3GB of RAM is as much as the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium will ever need. In fact, this would make a pretty great gaming system, were it not for the aforementioned 9300GS. Though it handles HD video decoding with ease, keeping CPU usage under 30 per cent when playing a Blu-ray, this graphics card is rather underpowered when it comes to more demanding forms of entertainment.
To give you an indication, we ran our TrackMania Nations Forever benchmark, something we usually reserve for notebook graphics. Resolution was set to 1,920 x 1,200, since for a Blu-ray equipped PC you'll want nothing less for your monitor. At high detail, the GeForce 9300GS managed a paltry 8.26FPS. And if this is how it does with something like TMNF, just imagine Call of Duty 4, because that's about all this PC will be able to do.
So serious gamers will most likely want to upgrade the video card and possibly power supply, but for other home users the Medion Akoya P36888 will power through anything you choose to throw at it. And then there's that stunning price tag: quite frankly, getting this kind of specification for under £500 is amazing. Just buy a £5 adapter to make the DVI HDMI, a £20 sound card to give you digital audio out, and you have your fully-fledged home theatre PC right there. Everything else is already present: a small, quiet, powerful and attractive system with Blu-ray, TV-tuner and remote.
In terms of software, we get the usual Google Desktop to waste resources on, a full version of Microsoft Works 9 and a 60-day trial version of Office 2007. Nero Express takes care of multimedia including such tasks as burning photos to DVD, while PowerDVD is on hand to play back those Blu-rays.
Overall, though, and despite the limitations imposed by the small case and a few omissions like digital audio out or decent peripherals, Medion has put together a very attractive package for an excellent price.
With the Akoya P36888, Medion delivers a PC with Blu-ray drive, Quad core Intel processor and a terabyte of hard drive space wrapped up in an attractive small tower case for just under £500, making its flaws easy to forgive.