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The noise level of the Elite 560 DVI-Xtreme is going to annoy anyone looking for a quiet PC, since there are plenty of fans and together they make a fair bit of noise. Considering that the case has a rear 120mm fan, I was expecting it to make less noise than it did, but all the fans are pretty standard rather than “low noise” models.
You do of course get a monitor and a set of speakers as part of the package and Mesh has continued the high-end theme with the display by supplying a Sony SDM-HS94P - a very stylish looking X-black monitor, although the bezel does make it look bigger than it actually is. As this is a 19in TFT display the resolution is limited to 1,280 x 1,024. This might not be ideal if you’re a gamer, since the X850XT PE card has enough power to run this resolution with full FSAA and anisotropic filtering without breaking a sweat in most games. With this kind of graphics horsepower, you might want to push things up to 1,600 x 1,200, but of course a monitor with that resolution would also push up the already significant price.
The speakers are a new set from Creative, the Inspire T7900 which is a full 7.1-channel setup to accompany the onboard 7.1-channel audio. The major improvement over the T7700 set is that you get a desk mounted wired remote which also has a headphone socket and a line in, apart from that the T7900 are very similar to the T7700.
You also get an external 8-in-1 memory card reader which connects to one of the USB 2.0 ports. It may not be as tidy a solution as an internal reader, but at least you can use it with more than one PC if you need to. A wireless Logitech keyboard and an optical mouse rounds off the hardware package.
Mesh supplies a copy of Microsoft Works 8.0 – it’s always good to see a bundled office suite, but I would have preferred to have seen Works Suite, which ships with MS Word. It would also have been nice to see a couple of games thrown in to make use of the X850XT PE graphics card. For those interested in home video editing there’s a copy of Pinnacle Studio 9 in the box and Mesh supplies the full version rather than the SE version that tends to be supplied with a lot of PCs.
Now to the not so good news, the review unit we got wasn’t configured properly and was running at a mere 2.8GHz instead of 3.6GHz. This was easy enough to fix, but it still shows a lack of attention to detail – something that I wouldn’t have expected from Mesh. Also the side mounted fan was hitting the side of the case when we got the machine - loosening the screws half a turn solved this problem, but again this should have been spotted when the machine was built.
One final issue has to do with the way the Mesh case is designed, although this can be solved very easily. The add-in cards are held in place by a special clip instead of screws, which generally works fine, but the FireWire b bracket that comes with the Asus motherboard also features the second Ethernet port and this makes for an unusually shaped bracket. This in its turn means that it doesn’t fit properly with the clip that holds the cards in place and the engineer who put the machine together bent the clip slightly to make it fit. So, as I tried to attach a network cable to the Ethernet port on the bracket I pushed it loose and inwards in to the machine - had I not noticed this straight away, the bracket could have fallen on top of the graphics card and caused a short circuit. The way to get around this problem is for Mesh to use screws instead of the retention clip for brackets such as this Asus one.