Back in late 2016, budget supermarket Aldi Australia put together a rather competitive gaming PC in the form of the Medion P5370e and now, three years later, it's back with a follow-up, priced at the same $1,999 but with all new, 2019 ready hardware. The system will officially go on sale on Saturday, October 19. We got our hands on an early review unit to find out if it lives up to its predecessor's reputation.
At a glance
CPU: Intel Core i5-9400
RAM: 2 x 8GB DDR4-2666 (16GB total)
GPU: GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD
Connectivity: 2x USB 3, 4x USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort.
Dimensions: 209mm x 381mm x 390mm
I still talk about it: the day I bought my young son his very own jumping castle for $200 from Aldi. It wasn’t some teensy kiddy-sized one either – you could fit 20 children on it. A safety patch said the limit was four but when you own your own motherf***ing jumping castle, you make your own rules. The kids want to play on it while it deflates and squishes/suffocates them all? Go nuts! That was ten years ago and ever since I’ve been looking for a better bargain to beat it. Can the famously-cheap German store do so with this gaming PC?
Medion is a German computer brand and Aldi is the exclusive distributor here in Australia (and in the US too). The Erazer X67127 is built inside a modified InWin 301 mini-ATX tower case which sports illuminated RGB detailing at the front, an LED exhaust fan at the rear and two, easily-removable matte-black side panels (one of which has hexagonally-detailed vents) that match the rest of the chassis. In the box is an optional Perspex panel which we recommend using, as it allows you to peer into the impressively-cable-managed interior with its three RGB case fans and illuminated heatsink-fan. The whole system purrs very quietly when idling and, frankly, feels like one of the best, most solidly-built PCs we’ve seen from any of Australia’s systems integrators.
The specs are impressive too. The CPU is Intel’s, 9th-Generation Coffee Lake i5-9400 which has six cores (each single-threaded – there's no i7 Hyperthreading on offer here) and has a stock speed of 2.9GHz but which can ramp-up to 4.1GHz. There are two 8GB sticks of Samsung DDR4-2666 RAM (for 16GB total), a 512GB PCIe SSD by Phison and a 1TB mechanical hard disk. Everything is plugged into an MSI MAG Z390M Mortar motherboard and graphics come courtesy of MSI and Nvidia in a powerful GeForce RTX 2070.
There’s not much room on that motherboard for upgrades (just two spare RAM slots and a single PCI-Express x16 slot) but, as off-the-shelf PCs go, this includes pretty much everything you need to handle 4K games and VR.
Gaming and performance
Our first test was the Cinebench R20 benchmark, which uses all the CPU’s power to render a scene. The i5 chip’s six cores and six threads scored a decent 961 which rivals the performance of top, Core i7 chips of two-generations ago. It was a similar tale in the single-thread test, where the 2.9GHz chip matched the score (165) of an older 3.5GHz Core i7 CPU. It’s a good choice for gamers who don’t need countless threads, but those doing rendering will be served better elsewhere.
We used CrystalDiskMark to check hard drive performance and the enormous 3,391MB/s read speed and 2,096MB/s write speed were in keeping with our expectations for fast, PCIe SSD storage.
Scores of 4,163 in PCMark 8 and 4,784 in PCMark 10 Express are, Futuremark tells us, both spot-on for a typical 4K gaming machine. But what about actual gaming performance?
Scores of 9,387 in 3DMark Firestrike Extreme and 5,030 in Firestrike Ultra are good, for sure. But they’re also a little low considering the power afforded by the Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics card, which suggests there may be a little bottlenecking coming from the Core i5 processor.
It wasn’t always possible to see in practice, though. Our Total War: Warhammer II test saw average framerates of 82fps at 1440p and 66fps at 4K. Just to reinforce this point, it scored a perfect 11 in Steam’s VR-readiness test.
However, when we tried the punishing Metro Exodus Extreme benchmark it averaged 34fps at 1080p and just 26fps at 1440p – you’ll need to drop the settings to keep things smooth.
It’s worth noting that the Erazer X67127's cooling fans ramp up and become audible when under a gaming load, but that never becomes more than an audible swoosh. It’s certainly not loud.
3DMark Fire Strike: Extreme: 9,387; Ultra 5,030
Cinebench CPU: multi-core 961; single-core 165
PCMark 8: 4,163
PCMark 10 Express: 4,784
Crystal Disk Mark: Read 3,391MB/s; Write 2,096 MB/s
Total War: Warhammer II: 1440p - 82fps; 4K - 66fps
Metro: Exodus: 1080p - 34fps; 1440p - 26fps
Steam VR Benchmark: 11
Connectivity and peripherals
The front of the case offers two USB 2.0 ports plus two 3.5mm audio jacks, while the rear sports two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C), two additional USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 peripheral port, Gigabit Ethernet, five audio jacks and an optical port. There’s onboard graphics but you’ll want to use the Nvidia’s connectors. The system comes with a functional, unbranded optical mouse. Aldi does offer a matching keyboard for this system, but it isn't included as standard and will set you back an additional $79. There's also an optional gaming mouse, priced at $49, a gaming headset for $69 and a 27-inch gaming monitor for $379, which we've reviewed separately here.
While it's not quite a '$200 jumping castle' value proposition, this Medion gaming PC is worthy of even an enthusiast’s consideration. Like the old Shamwow Infomercial meme goes, “The German’s always make good stuff” and the Erazer, like so many cheap, imported chocolate gingerbread biscuits and cake treats, is another Teutonic feather in the peaked-cap, bargain basement that is Aldi.
If you thought Medion was a cheap brand that just threw components together to create a low-cost PC, think again. We always expect a PC to be more than the sum of its parts while costing less (or about the same) and the Erazer achieves this. It’s solid, well-built, uses quality components, the cable management is impressive and the LED-based design flourishes remain attractive without transforming your room into a night club.
On top of that, there’s the two-year RTB warranty which is common for Australian PCs, but what really impressed us was the bespoke documentation which includes a manual, QR-coded part leaflets and a large labelled picture which shows what all of the ports are. There’s some serious thought and care that’s gone into building and packaging this PC.
At $1,999 it represents very good value. You’d have to look very hard to individually purchase the components for less, and then you’d need to spend some serious time and effort assembling them to a similar standard. It's possible to find similar builds from smaller computer stores in Australia, but few will offer such neat cabling.