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  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Review Price free/subscription

Mesh Elite Quad Express-SP

Selecting a PC for use in the home as an entertainment centre as well as for enthusiast work in video or photo leaves you a lot of choice. You can buy a machine for around £500 which claims to handle TV, video, music, photos and other family interests, but to be able to truly gather round the PC for a night in you need a big screen and hardware support from the rest of the machine. Mesh’s Elite Quad Express-SP has been designed with little compromise and is one of the first we’ve seen to be built around a quad-core processor.

The components are housed inside one of Mesh’s black midi-tower cases, highlighted by a series of silver louvres in the bottom half of the front panel. There’s a multi-card reader in the top 3.5in slot and an 18-speed DVD rewriter below that. Two USB2.0 sockets also sit on the front panel, but no FireWire or audio. This is a bit surprising in a machine obviously geared for video and audio work in the home.

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At the back are four more USB2.0 sockets and single FireWire and external SATA ones, so you can add more high-speed storage. There’s a separate Creative sound card as well as the on-board mic and line-in/line-out audio ports, derived from the Asus system board.

Mesh’s case features tool-less access, so you can get inside very easily. The internal layout is neat, though a fan fitted to the removable side of the case has to be disconnected before you can get at everything. All four memory slots are filled, each with a 1GB DIMM, so with 4GB on board you probably won’t need to upgrade during the PC’s life. If you do, though, you’ll have to replace DIMMs, rather than add them.

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For the CPU, Mesh has chosen Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q6600, a four-core processor with 8MB of Level 2 cache split between the cores, and a 1,066MHz front side bus. That’s a powerful chip, fully capable of handling full-screen multimedia content at high frame rates.

It’s supported by the aforementioned 4GB of 667MHz DDR memory and a 256MB nVidia GeForce 8600GT graphics card – the Asus P5N-E system board supports SLI if you want to add more graphics punch. It’s finished off with a 500GB SATA hard drive and an 18-speed DL DVD rewriter. All in all, a very well specified PC.

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