Supermarkets may have become the new go-to venue for buying a PC, but we haven't always been terribly impressed with the standard of fare served up by Tesco, Sainsbury's and the rest. The Medion 6486, however, is something of a coup for Tesco.
While it doesn't skirt the bottom of the budget barrel (in contrast to the majority of supermarket systems), neither is the Medion 6486 particularly expensive. It retails for £550 inc VAT and, while you'll need to find a screen for it, a nice 19in will set you back only an extra £150-£200 (get the latest flat-panel monitor reviews here). And should you already have a spare flat-panel or CRT monitor, you're quids in.
This means that Medion has a slightly higher budget to play with, which allows us to say hello to an Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 processor. Unless you go to the overpriced Extreme series, only the E6800 and E6850 processors are faster – and then not by an awful amount.
Given excellent backup by the 2GB of DDR RAM means that the Medion 6486 can cruise to an impressive WorldBench 6 score of 106 – actually one point faster than the totals chalked up by the E6750-powered PCs we've seen this month (and they were more expensive). Not that the Medion 6486 rests on its laurels there.
The Medion 6486's 500GB hard drive is extremely capacious – generally you have to shell out £1,000 to get a PC with more than 400GB – and will let you store a huge amount of audio and video clips. Two good-quality LG drives are built in, one of them a splendid 18-speed DVD-R/+R writer, and a flash memory drive is neatly tucked away behind a secret panel on the front of the case. Admittedly it's not the best looking case we've seen, but you can't have everything at this price.
You can, though, have a decent bundle of software, even if most of it is from Tesco's own cheap but distinctly cheerful range of software titles. From the Easy Record burning software, through to Photo Restyler and Complete Office, the programs are mostly functional, if lacking the bells and whistles that distinguish the top software suites and applications. For general use, though, they should be fine.
Onboard audio isn't perhaps what we'd like to see, but the quality is quite bearable, and the addition of a DVB-T Hybrid Tuner means you can turn the Medion 6486 into a very palatable media centre PC. The graphics card (an 8500 GT) isn't perhaps good enough to turn the Medion 6486 into a fantastic games machine, but it's more than good enough for pretty much any other pastime. Indeed, there's little that this family-oriented PC can't turn its attention to, given half the chance.