Packard Bell – iMedia 8500T review

conventional home desktop system
Photo of Packard Bell – iMedia 8500T

Packard Bell’s iMedia 8500T is the latest in a long line of reasonably well-featured systems for the home user, but at £700 for just the base unit it’s also very expensive and you can’t really see where your money is going. There are plenty of other PCs vying for your well-earned cash, either as base units or as complete systems.

For this amount of money you might think there is a serious CPU hiding away in the standard iMedia PC case, but no, the processor sitting in the MSI motherboard is a lowly Intel Core 2 Duo E6320, clocked at just 1.86GHz and backed by a mere 1GB of PC2-533 DDR2 memory. That’s just enough to run the Windows Vista Premium OS and the Aero glass interface.

It could only manage a meagre score of 4.1 when tested with Vista’s own benchmark, being let down mainly by the memory, so performance-wise it’s not going to set the world on fire, although it’s perfectly adequate to perform most of your home office jobs. That said, it may struggle a little if you plan to do something as punishing as video editing, but with a single free memory slot you could help your cause by adding in another stick of memory; though the board only supports a maximum of 2GB.

For storage there is a handy 250GB of space courtesy of a Seagate hard drive, and with an 8MB cache and a 7,200rpm spin speed at least data transfers should be quick and painless. To keep as much free space as possible there is a 16x Philips dual format, dual layer DVD burner which writes discs at 16x DVD+/-R, 8x DVD+R DL, 8x DVD+RW and 6x DVD-RW.

The graphics sub-system is an Nvidia GeForce 8500GT which has 256MB of GDDR2 memory on board, making games playing a bit of a lottery: some modern games are likely to be rather unplayable despite the card supporting DirectX 10, a point displayed by its F.E.A.R frame rate scores; 30fps maximum, 18fps minimum, giving quite a low average frame rate of 24fps.

Integrated into the motherboard is a 5.1-channel audio chip and there is also integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet. Sitting in one of the PCI slots is a TV card which is a useful addition to the hardware.

The software package includes all you need to get up and running, namely Microsoft Works 8, Roxio Creator 9 and Norton Internet Security suite. Packard Bell backs this machine with a one-year collect and return warranty.

Company: Packard Bell

Contact: 0870 112 2334

Even 6 months ago this would be a pretty well specified and priced base unit, but the market is moving so fast, with so many players, that the iMedia just seems too expensive for what you get.