One limitation of the case is that there are only two USB ports at the front, with no room for audio connectors or FireWire. There’s an (evil) floppy disk drive included and while there is an external USB 8-in-1 card reader supplied, it is ironically branded, ‘Integral’.
The final components are the 56k modem, still useful for dial-up and for sending faxes over standard phone lines and the keyboard and mouse. Sensibly these are wired versions, which are better for games. Both are from Logitech and were very comfortable to use.
On the software side, in the box you’ll find, Microsoft Works 8.0, Pinnacle Studio 9 SE and Instant CD/DVD and InterVideo WinDVD, as well as Norton Internet Security 2005, with a years’ free subscription.
Performance wise, the Mesh gave a good account of itself. The numbers generated weren’t as high as the motherboards we’ve tested with two 660GTs but those were tested with a much faster Athlon FX-55 processor. We didn’t test above 1,280 x 1,024 resolution as there’s no way a 6600GT SLi setup could do this justice. If you want fast rates at 1,600 x 1,200 you’ll need to look at the 6800 series or at ATI’s X800/X850 cards.
But below 1,600 x 1,200, a 6600GT SLi machine will give you what you want. The sweet spot for this machine was Far Cry at 1,280 x 1,024 with both FSAA and AF enabled, hitting 60fps right on the nose.
At the same image quality settings only Half-Life 2 struggled at 1,280 x 1,024. The 37.6fps score is still playable, though we’d have to turn off FSAA and AF to play Counter-Strike:Source smoothly online.
The only real issue is that with two cards already in the machine, the only upgrade path is to change both cards for 6800s or whatever else nVidia comes up with in the future. However, considering the price of this system, you wouldn’t be paying less for a single card system with an nVidia or ATI card of equivalent graphics power. In fact, the same Mesh system with a single 6800GT in it would cost you £47 more. We know, because we asked.
If you’re looking for a one stop, no hassle SLi system that offers good value, you won’t go far wrong with the Mesh Matrix Fireblade TRX. The lack of monitor gives you the option of using your old screen or choosing the model you want, rather than having to settle for what Mesh has in stock. If you want the SLi performance and kudos without the cost give Mesh a call, just make sure you upgrade the graphics drivers when you get it home.