- Review Price: £1807.00
With the recent introduction of Socket 939 for the Athlon 64, the 3700+ is rumoured to be the last of the Socket 754 processors, but only time and AMD can tell if this really is the case. But let’s take a closer look at the 3700+ and what Mesh has on offer with its Matrix 64 3700+ Pro system.
On top of the 2.45GHz Athlon 64 3700+ processor Mesh has fitted a Radeon X800 Pro and has managed to create one fast PC that will laugh at any application you try to run on it. But high performance has always come at a cost and the Mesh Matrix64 3700+ Pro doesn’t come cheap at £1,807.16 including VAT and delivery. That said, Mesh is giving you a lot of PC for your money.
The motherboard is from Asus and is the top notch K8V Deluxe that comes with integrated Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, S-ATA and IDE RAID to mention just a few features. Add a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum sound card, a set of Creative Labs Inspire 7700 7.1-channel speakers and things start to look very good indeed.
It doesn’t stop here though as Mesh has really pulled out all the stops and fitted 1GB of PC3200 DDR SDRAM, a 250GB Maxtor S-ATA hard drive, an eight-speed Sony DVD writer and a Sony 52-speed CD-RW drive. If that doesn’t add up to a fully loaded PC I don’t know what does.
Add to this a 19in ViewSonic VG910b TFT display with DVI input and you’ve got yourself a top of the range system. It’s a shame though that the ViewSonic display only supports a maximum resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 as it does limit your gaming resolution and doesn’t show off the Radeon X800 Pro card to its full potential. That said, you will be able to turn pretty much all the features on in a game and still get a decent frame rate.
A cordless keyboard and optical mouse from Logitech makes up the input peripheral package, while you also get a 56k V.90 PCI modem and a copy of Microsoft Works Suite 2004. The latter is a good inclusion since it features a full version of Microsoft Word – undoubtedly the most useful part of Microsoft Office. Mesh includes a three-year on-site parts and labour warranty in the price, which should provide a good degree of piece of mind.
If I were to complain about something, it would have to be the noisy CPU cooler. This is a real shame as the PSU and the rear 120mm fan produce far less noise. With a better CPU cooler the Mesh Matrix64 3700+ Pro would have been a very quiet PC, but with the current cooler it is too loud for comfortable use at home. The thick Mesh case does however block some of the noise produced, but even so, a modest investment in a better CPU cooler would have made this machine as quiet as it is fast.
The 360W power supply should easily cope with the components fitted, but it is getting to the stage where anything less than 400W is under powered. This is something worth considering for future upgrades. Although to be fair, you’re not likely to need to upgrade this machine for some time.
With its range of high quality components a PC such as this should deliver stunning benchmark results and I can’t deny that I was very impressed with the numbers produced by this Mesh. The Matrix64 3700+ Pro scored 196 in SYSmark 2004 which makes this the fastest PC we have ever tested.
Graphics performance was equally impressive, with a 3DMark03 score of 10,023; this is the first PC that we have ever looked at to break the 10,000 mark. You will however notice that the graphics score is missing from the PCMark 2004 graphs, but this seems to be an issue with PCMark not recognising the graphics card properly. Similarly high scores are seen across the board in all of the other 3D benchmarks and if you’re an avid gamer you’ll be very happy with the Mesh Matrix64 3700+ Pro.
The Athlon 64 3700+ shows that there is definitely some life left in the Socket 754 platform, even if this is the last CPU to make use of it. Looking at the SYSmark 2004 score, the Matrix64 3700+ Pro managed to beat the 3800+ and the FX-53 we looked at a few days ago, but these where tested on a pre-production motherboard with an IDE hard drive and a different graphics card, all of which will have an impact on the SYSmark score. But it’s also worth remembering that the 3700+ is clocked slightly faster than both those chips.
It is great to see that the new ATI Radeon X800 Pro cards are finally staring to filter through into the retail channel and that the performance is as good as our initial testing of the reference card showed. Of course the latest generation of graphics cards thrive on a fast CPU, so it’s not surprising that this Mesh produced great 3D results.
Mesh has put together a well built system with a plethora of features that showcases the latest Athlon 64 processor and ATI graphics card. It is however quite pricey, but for anyone looking for an extremely fast PC with top notch graphics, this could be the one to go for.
The Mesh Matrix64 3700+ Pro offers cutting edge hardware, great performance and a correspondingly high price tag. But even though it’s expensive, you’d be hard pushed to find a faster system for the money.
Score in detail