The front fascia houses the now standard feature set of a multi-format card reader, two USB ports, a Firewire port, and a pair of 3.5mm jack sockets for a microphone and headphones. A lightscribe CD/DVD-drive sits in the top drive bay and there are three spare bays below it so there’s plenty of upgrade options. The lightscribe capability enables you to flip the disc over, when it has finished burning the data, and burn a custom image onto the top of the disc. It’s only monochrome and you need to buy special discs for it to work but it does take a large amount of hassle out of giving a professional looking finish to your home movies and the like.
All the latest connectivity options are covered and a nice smattering of older connections makes it to the party as well. To start off, four more USB ports and another Firewire port should provide plenty enough options for even the most peripheral heavy user. A couple of legacy PS2 ports cater for those with older keyboards and mice and likewise a parallel port will please those with, in particular, old printers. An eSATA port is the latest favourite amongst those in the know, as it provides a lighting-fast connection for external hard drives, so it’s good to see one on show here as well.
There’s no onboard Wi-Fi but a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port adds support for the fastest wired networks. Also, a trio of microphone, line-in, and line-out sockets is enough to give you basic stereo audio capabilities but you’ll have to rely on the coaxial S/PDIF digital audio output to get surround sound.
Opening the case up, we find out what really sets apart companies like Mesh from the bigger brands. By using quality branded components and an open spacious case, the Pulse Pro gives the adventurous user a great starting block for upgrading and tinkering with their computer. Of course, it would be unwise to do this while the computer is still under warranty but once it runs out, you won’t be held back by proprietary case designs or non-standard components.
An Intel Core 2 duo E6850 sits at the heart of the machine, ably supported by an ASUS P5N-E SLI motherboard and 2GB of 667MHz Samsung RAM. The latter component is the one thing that slightly lets the side down as we would have liked to see some faster 800MHz RAM in there but that’s really just nit-picking. The nVidia 650i chipset that powers the motherboard is getting a little long in the tooth and an Intel P35 based board would have been preferable but, until you start pushing your system to its limits by overclocking or upgrading, it will serve you fine.
An ASUS made version of our award winning graphics card, the nVidia GeForce 8800 GT, powers the graphics side of things so you should be able to play all the latest games for the foreseeable future. Wrapping things up, a suitably large 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard drive should provide plenty of storage space for all your games and multimedia.