English
Gamereactor
hardware

Medion MD62621 (AKOYA E15443)

Intel is attempting to "democratise" client-based AI usage and this Medion laptop is the first example of the medium range of the future.

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

* Required field
HQ

Now that AI starts to seep into every debate regardless of the knowledge level of the circle it is being discussed on, it is about time that we see many of its concepts in common use. Gamers have been getting involved with processes such as intelligent image upscaling, and the more creative people using the very same or cleaning routines. This year has been the boom of chat and AI generative models, but there is and will be many more uses both in work environments as well as in everyday life that haven't quite found much support when the process is made by the client and not the cloud.

This is why it has been really intriguing to try and review the new laptop Medion E15443 (MD62621). Essentially, this is a so-called "multimedia notebook", a medium range laptop for non-demanding usage that can be operated in office automation, multitasking, and even image, audio, and video editing. The most interesting thing is that it is presented as a device focused on AI processes thanks to its Intel chipset that, alongside its Intel Core Ultra 5 processor and Intel Arc graphics, includes a "neural" unit (NPU) dedicated precisely to AI.

Without spending too much time on the theory, this NPU is not only meant to take care of the client-based neural tasks, but also to support the CPU and GPU, lightening their load. At the same time, it must allow non high-end computers to run processes that would have required more powerful and expensive units before. In fact, Intel hopes for up to 100 million computers of all ranges to use AI accelerators by next year's end.

Medion MD62621 (AKOYA E15443)
This is an ad:

In other words, despite Medion MD62621 being created as a notebook, it must give a better performance in client AI than what would be expected of a medium range gadget. We have first tested the laptop based on what would be expected of it under a general use from a traditional perspective, and finally we also ran some more specific AI tests.

This laptop's price hovers around £650 and it carries a quite decent 15.6" 16:9 HD screen including Intel's set, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD. It's quite thin and compact without trying to rival the lightest books, at 20.6 mm and 1.8 Kg.

Regarding connectivity and other functions, I am quite thankful for the SD reader, which is becoming increasingly rare, but I miss the Ethernet port, though I understand it's not a priority on a device with Wi-Fi 6. The only real nit-pick regarding hardware is the power source cable length, which is surprisingly short.

For a little longer than a week we had the pleasure of using a modern and fast computer in all kinds of tasks. Its specs coordinate well and the answer time is quick even with a tab-filled search engine, many automated office suites, and some multimedia features occupying most of its RAM. Its keyboard is responsive and soft and thankfully includes a numeric keyboard. In the same vein, the build feels solid, even if it isn't luxurious in design nor cooling solutions.

This is an ad:

Broadly speaking, if you are on the hunt for a general multitasking laptop that is light for a 15" screen over the aforementioned price tag, this Medion is a real option to be considered.

Medion MD62621 (AKOYA E15443)

Moving on to AI, the results are really close to what I expected. While Intel Core Ultra 5 NPU can help in some processes by running them faster than other similar PCs without it, it is heavily reliant on software and compatibility, which I also expected. Some programs divert these tasks to CPU or GPU in a very specific manner and I don't feel like Intel's architecture can take part of this work load on its own if assigned literally. Likewise, when there were differences in graphic routines when comparing Nvidia and AMD already, I think the same thing applies here when relying on the graphics card, in this case integrated on Intel's SoC.

Since I loved the examples Medion used in their presentation event of various AI applications, I have tried three of them on my own. Setting aside the overused generative AI, out of all the applications shown I chose to clean a high noise photograph in Adobe Photoshop, split a song in tracks in Audacity, and run a couple of games to check if scaling could make them work in a non-gaming laptop.

To make a casual comparative, in the first and second cases I measured the run time of two 2018 desktops against the Medion MD62621. For the first test I used an Intel Core i7-8700K and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti 32 GB RAM (my work PC). As for the second test I used a compact desktop with Intel Core i5-8499 @ 2.8 GHz and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 16 GB RAM (my home PC).

I took a photo with a Nikon Z6 in RAW on a dark interior. It's a cropped image sized 5405x3603 pixels (from 6048x4042), taken with 300 ppp with ISO 2500, 14 bits of colour depth and 27.5 MB of file size, just for you to get an idea. With the function "noise reduction" at level 50 (high on purpose) of the latest Adobe Camera Raw, the most powerful desktop took 27 seconds, the more humble one, 1:19, and Medion, 3:20.

Medion MD62621 (AKOYA E15443)Medion MD62621 (AKOYA E15443)

Moving on to the song, instead of using a lossless format, I converted Red Hot Chilli Peppers' track "Goodbye Angels" from my iTunes to a 45.2 MB WAV. It was originally a 9.15 MB 256k AAC M4A with a duration of 4:28. I separated it using the OpenVINO plugin in 4 stems: Drum, Bass, Vocals and Others, trying both the CPU and GPU. The more powerful desktop took 1:18 with CPU and failed with GPU. Its little sibling took 1:22 with CPU and also failed with GPU. And finally, Medion took 1:32 with CPU and only 37 seconds with GPU. Truthfully it only used 58 seconds because it was the first time the model was loaded, but after it, it only took it 37 seconds, as you read it.

As for the video games, I ran the benchmarks of demanding games such as Returnal and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, knowing well that it was too much to ask of a notebook. Neither of them reached a comfortable framerate to play on low settings (reaching 15 fps both), but it was interesting, and maybe logical, seeing how Ubisoft's game improved performance by changing AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution 3 to Intel Xe Super Sampling on video configuration and not graphics.

In conclusion, the results of the AI tests were quite intriguing and different, and they reinforce the theory that there is not enough optimization nor compatibility regarding how much the NPU can do. I get the impression as far as I can tell that Adobe routines are supported on a dedicated Nvidia graphic card and that it doesn't know how to properly take advantage of the NPU while in generative we did see more convincing examples. The song, qualities aside, shows that Medion can face and even overcome more powerful computers. Although it's important to note that OpenVINO's learning comes from Intel and thus, has compatibility problems if you try to use a Nvidia GPU, ironically. Finally, even though we saw Medion run an older game like Rise of the Tomb Raider without a hitch thanks to Intel Arc's scaling, this may be the highest point a laptop like this can reach. In other words, it isn't half bad to play older or less demanding games.

That being said, I still think the Medion 62621 is a well-balanced product with remarkable multitask performance and a clever AI integration idea that we will surely see perfected in the following not even years, but months. Now-a-days it isn't fully optimised as shown in the tests, but to have a computer that is ready is always better and if I were to buy a laptop in this price range I would want this SoC.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score


Loading next content