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Mesh Elite 560 DVI-Xtreme
With ATI announcing its latest range of graphics cards just before the Christmas holidays it’s impressive to find cards in pre-built PCs this early on in the New Year. What is even more impressive is that Mesh actually sent us this PC just before the holidays and still managed to fit it with a Radeon X850XT PE PCI Express card.
The graphics card is a reference board in terms of design and as you’d expect it sports 256MB of GDDR3 memory, while the reference design dual slot cooler is also in evidence. To go with the graphics card Mesh has put together a very impressive PC in terms of specifications and there have been no corners cut, as far as I can tell.
The core of the Elite 560 DVI-Xtreme is quite easy to guess, as the model name refers to the CPU, a Pentium 4 560 3.6GHz processor. To accompany the processor, Mesh has included a generous complement of RAM - 2GB of Samsung PC4200 533MHz DDR2 memory in a four by 512MB module configuration. The only downside to this is that there are no free memory slots, but 2GB of memory should be good enough for a fair while.
It’s not often that you find top of the range motherboards in pre-built PCs but Mesh is using an Asus P5AD2 Premium Edition board which offers an amazing range of onboard features. At least it shows that when Mesh builds a high-end PC it uses high-end components. On the motherboard you’ll find the usual stuff such as 7.1-channel HD audio, two SATA RAID controllers and IDE RAID. But the P5AD2 also offers dual PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controllers and two FireWire b ports which support speeds of up to 800Mbit/sec not to mention onboard 802.11b/g wireless networking.
To make the most out of the SATA RAID Mesh has fitted no less than three hard drives. Windows XP Professional is loaded on the main 160GB Maxtor drive, while a further two 200GB Maxtor drives make up a RAID 0 storage partition. This setup is ideal for anyone interested in video editing or even if you just want oodles of space. It says something about the amount of data that we use these days when you can buy a desktop PC with over half a terabyte of storage, and not bat an eyelid.
You won’t be able to add any more hard drives though, unless you upgrade to a bigger case - the Mesh case only accepts three 3.5in hard drives, although you could in reality use the spare 5.25in drive bay to fit a fourth hard drive. The other two 5.25in drive bays are taken up by a Sony DVD writer that will burn DVD+R media at 16x, but can only manage 8x for DVD-R. It will also write to dual layer DVD+R media, but only at the basic 2.4x. The second bay is populated by a 16x Sony DVD-ROM drive.
Mesh has also fitted a Black Gold DVB-T TV-tuner card – this is a digital tuner that will allow you to watch Freeview channels on your PC. And just in case you don’t have a broadband connection, there’s a 56k V.90 dial-up modem filling a PCI slot. One aspect that’s important in a high-performance PC like this is the power supply, since with so many high-end components there will be a fairly steep load on the PSU. Mesh has fitted a 450W unit from hec which should be fine as long as it delivers close to the rated output.