Hardware, design and build: could do better
The Akoya Extreme X7811 looks sober and imposing. Medion is obviously not counting on design to attract potential buyers. The hood and the wrist rest are in aluminium, the rest in black plastic. The good news is that this plastic is only glossy above the keyboard - the rest is matte. This reduces the areas prone to finger marks.
The keyboard offers comfortable and quiet keying. Most keys are well proportioned and in their usual places. Two of them did however pose a problem. The Enter key is a little small, which can cause confusion with Shift. The Fn key is to the left of the Ctrl key, which causes quite a few keying errors when carrying out copy and paste (Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V).
The multi-touch touchpad is precise and offers a nice glide. It is however very small when you look at the available area on the wrist rest. It's a shame Medion didn't think a bit bigger here.
The webcam is pretty average. Movements lack fluidity and the image lacks sharpness. While we've seen plenty better however, the X7811 webcam can still serve as a fallback solution. For daily usage, though, better to go for an external one.
Connectivity covers all the bases. On the left are the RJ45 and two USB 2.0 ports. On the right are the SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port, an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, a mini FireWire 400 port, a headphones out, an S/P-DIF out, an audio in and mic socket. Above the card reader is an ExpressCard port. This allows you to add peripherals like a wi-fi card, USB ports, a card reader and so on. Like the power in, the video outs (VGA and HDMI) are at the back rather than the sides.
Using an SSD in place of a standard hard drive gives better responsiveness. You particularly notice it during installation of software and start-up of the OS. This type of storage is however much more expensive than a standard hard drive. As a result there is only 128 GB of storage space, which is sufficient for Windows and from 3 to 5 heavy pieces of software.
The fan is effective. In spite of quite a large graphics card, the X7811 doesn't get any hotter than 42°C. On the other hand, it is quite noisy when the fan comes on.
Underneath, a panel gives access to the RAM and the SSD. They can therefore be replaced without too much difficulty.
RJ45 port, USB 2.0 port (x2), DVD rewriter
Processor power: excellent performance
With a four-core Intel Core i7-720QM, the X7811 offers excellent performance. It scores 138 on our index! This can be compared to 100 for our reference machine, the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi3650 (equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400). This computer is therefore as much at ease in multimedia (photo, video and gaming) as with office documents and Internet.
You can play HD 1080p (Blu-ray equivalent) no problem on this machine. We do nevertheless advise you to use the video decoding capacities of the ATI graphics card. For that, you'll just need software that supports the graphics card hardware decoding. This is the case with Power DVD 9 or Media Player Classic HC for example. The processor is then totally freed up, which reduces energy consumption and makes it available for other tasks.
Windows 7 Family Pro 64-bit takes 45 seconds to boot. It turns off in seven seconds.
Gaming with no concessionsThe ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics card offers excellent performance. Recent video games are perfectly playable at high graphics settings. A resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels (see inset) allows it to run very demanding 3D games such as Crysis at high settings without compromising on decent fluidity.
Audio: no complaintsMedion had plenty of room to integrate the loud speakers at the top of the computer but didn't do so. They nevertheless work very well, without too much saturation or deformation of the sound. The headphones out is also relatively clean.
Don't get too far from a power sourceWith just 1h30 of video playback (Wi-Fi deactivated, headphones plugged in and brightness at 100 cd/m²), the X7811 certainly doesn't qualify as a mobile device. In any case however, it weighs 3.1 Kg and has a 17-inch screen, so you'll need solid shoulders and a big back to carry it around. It has been designed rather for home use, targeting those who don't want a tower, or gamers who can't stop gaming, even when they're traveling.
- Good CPU performance
- Allows gaming across all titles
- Good heat management
- SSD included
- Keyboard could be improved
- Small touchpad
- Noisy fan
- Poor quality panel and low resolution (1440 x 900 pixels)
The Akoya Extreme X7811 (MD 97589) gives performance of the first order. This will delight gamers and those requiring video encoding capacities or photo retouching.