It might not have the thumping desktop presence of Alienware or Dell’s high-end machines, but the Mesh impresses at first glance due to sheer force of numbers. There's no single box here: you get system, monitor, desktop set and a full set of 7.1 surround sound speakers.
It's an impressive sight, and if you're starting your gaming career from scratch rather than from the ruins of a previous system then there's a lot to recommend.
The 22in widescreen display looks small in the shade of top-end 30-inchers, but it's still a highly respectable size, and it's fed at a decent rate by a pair of 320MB 8800GTS cards in SLI mode.
They're powerful cards, but not as gutsy as the 8800 GTX and Ultra versions used by the pricier gaming systems, and the CPU is a step back from the top as well. It's still Intel quad-core, but it's the slower-clocked Q6600 flavour untouched by aftermarket faffery.
The result is, of course, lesser performance - but not so much less that you're likely to suffer. It's great for desktop work and swift for gaming, and while you won't be able to see quite as much detail on screen as the big spenders the Mesh gives you a hefty chunk of change to ease the pain.
While it's hardly cheap, a shade under two grand is none too shabby for a complete gaming system, particularly one that doesn't skimp on the accessories. The Creative speakers aren't the last word in fidelity but they're perfect for the slightly crude requirements of gaming audio, and with the input coming from a X-Fi Fatal1ty sound card there's little room for complaint.
There's been no scrimping on the memory provision, either. Here the Mesh is top-notch, with a terabyte of hard disk space and 4GB of RAM, and there's a useful LightScribe DVD writer as well.
The only slightly bum note is the mouse and keyboard, being wireless and thus prone to dropping out at moments of murderous frenzy. Most dedicated systems sacrifice style for performance and go for a wired set. Plus, if we're really being picky then there's only six USB ports rather than the eight we've seen elsewhere.
As flaws go, however, these are entirely bearable, and all the more so when you consider the mighty warranty. Three years of telephone service and on-site repair is well worth having if you're not keen on technological tinkering, and it'll cover you right up to the point when an upgrade becomes really hard to resist.
- Digital TV card
- Graphics card
- 2x 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS
- Operating system
- Windows Vista Ultimate
- Optical drive
- 18x DL DVD +/-RW
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
- Screen resolution
- Screen size
- USB 2.0