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Mesh X-treme FX-60
If you're in the market for a pre-built PC, Mesh is definately a company that deserves consideration, if only for the fact that it exists. What I mean by this is that Dell's dominance is such that Mesh has done well just to still be here, when over the last ten years, so many PC builders have gone to the wall. Clearly it must be doing something right. However, I wasn't completely blown away by the X-treme FX-60.
When a system costs over £2,000 you'd expect something special and there's certainly a lot of impressive hardware in this system. The housing is fairly standard though, with no funky blue lights and other distinctive design features of note, but the silver and black colouring is perfectly inoffensive. However, when holding down the power button it once got stuck inside the case, and the reset button can only be accessed with something like a pen nip, which I find frustrating.
I'm also not completely convinced that the mix of components is right. There's no doubting the credentials of the AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 that's at the heart of the system. Running at 2.6GHz, this is the fastest dual-core processor that AMD currently offers, coming in 200MHz faster than the X2 4800+. Both offer 1MB of Level 2 cache for each core, and aside from the clock speeds the difference is that AMD's FX range is multiplier unlocked. This enables enthusiasts to overclock without having to adjust memory or HyperTransport speeds. It's simply a case of changing the multiplier and seeing how far the system will go.
This is a good thing in the case of this system as Mesh has only fitted standard PC3200, which isn't really suitable for overclocking. On the upside 2GB is installed over two DIMMs, leaving two slots free for moving up to 4GB. It's known that with 4GB fitted the integrated memory controller in the Athlon 64 can only run the memory at the slower 2T setting. However, this system proved to have problms with 1T even with two DIMMs. When we ran PCMark 05, we found that the Mesh locking up in the memory test. When we dropped down to 2T it ran without problems. The fact that it completed our game benchmarks with 1T though indicates that you'd be unlikely to have any issues with most games, but it could be a problem in some cases and that's a worry. We also found that SYSmark kept locking up, preventing us from getting a score.