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Getting onto the core of this Mesh system, the PC itself is an attractive unit thanks to the sculpted lines of its NZXT Hush case. NZXT is a well-established player in the PC case market, so we're expecting good things here.
Aside from its front the Hush's look is restrained, with its steel side panels and top featuring no ripples, waves or other embellishments, and no fan openings either which is not a great sign for performance but certainly adheres to the case's emphasis on silence.
The Hush's front door, meanwhile, does almost everything right. It only goes two-thirds of the way down, so it shouldn't catch on the floor the way my Antec P180's full-length door does and the action is super smooth. The hinges are also mostly metal, with just the door-side attachments being plastic, so it should be reasonably sturdy. The panel set into the door is a fetching brushed black metal, subtly lit by a blue glow from both a vertical LED strip and the front 120mm fan.
One minor downside is that both power and reset buttons are hidden if the case is stood on the floor, and since they are similarly-sized and close together you could easily press the wrong one. Another small issue is that the solid door covers part of the front mounted fan, which could have been alleviated by adding a grill or some other air channel in the door.
Unfortunately there's no sign of eSATA on the case's front or back, but other connectivity is abundant. The Matrix II 955BE Hush offers headphone and microphone jacks, a FireWire and two USB ports (a bit too close together) on the right side. Set into the one of the free 3.5in drive bays is a memory card reader for every variant of CF, MD, SM, SD, MMC and MS card, and this also houses a third USB port.
At the back we find eight USB ports, two PS2 connections, standard and mini FireWire ports, Gigabit Ethernet, co-axial and optical digital audio outputs plus six analogue audio mini jacks. There are of course also the usual dual DVI and seven-pin DIN analogue video outputs courtesy of the ATI graphics card.
Opening the case up requires a screw-driver, where on a high-end model like this we would ideally like to see thumb-screws. However, there's little reason for complaint on the Hush's insides with plenty of room for air to circulate and all cables tidied away neatly. The majority of unobstructed areas are covered with noise-dampening foam, and fans are kept to a minimum with only two 120mm units; one at the front and one at the back.
Though its back-plates feature standard screws, the Hush's four 5.25in and seven 3.5in bays all have tool-free clip systems which work brilliantly. Oddly, Mesh has elected to screw all the PC's drives in the old-fashioned way and while this may arguably make them just a tad more secure, it also negates the noise-dampening effect of the rubber grommets fitted to the clips - not a good move Mesh.