Mesh’s machine also comes with a very basic keyboard and mouse courtesy of Logitech. Unfortunately there’s little that’s deluxe about the matte black Deluxe 660 Cordless Desktop. The ambidextrous three-button mouse isn’t very comfortable in the hand, though it does have a good four-way scroll wheel with the notched scrolling that most gamers will want.
The keyboard is likewise sparse, with just three media keys and a dedicated Function key turning F1 through F4 into pause/play and volume controls. Key feedback is okay, but the keys themselves are full-height and not very comfortable. They’re also very noisy, thanks in part to the whole keyboard rattling when you type. Overall then, it’s not exactly what a gamer will want (or anyone, for that matter – Ed.). Like the speakers and monitor, your peripherals ideally have a far longer life expectancy than the rest of your PC, so this is another area where it’s worth spending extra to, for instance, get the G11 Gaming Keyboard and MX mouse options Mesh has available.
As if to make up for our misgivings about the keyboard and mouse, the rest of the included bundle is generally rather good. There is a large full-colour sheet which includes set-up instructions on one side, and detailed labels and layouts of connectivity on the other. Though it is a bit unfortunate that none of the three pictured connectivity charts matched the GTX300, the ports will be the same and it’s still a nice touch for those who are new to computers. There’s also a comprehensive manual that provides detailed information on the warranty and other aspects of the setup. It is out of date, in so much as some of the models it refers to are no longer available but most of the information is still relevant and useful. Finally, all the cables, adapters, CDs and manuals, from the components used in the PC, are provided, including those of the motherboard and video card.
Getting onto the PC itself, it’s a beautiful beast housed as it is in a CoolerMaster CM690 chassis. CoolerMaster cases always represent a high level of build quality, and the CM690 is no exception. The whole thing is very solidly build yet is simply and almost elegantly styled, which is always a good combination.
Mesh (the material, not the company) adorns the front, making up the covers for five 5.25in drive bays, and slopes unbroken to continue along the top of the case. It is offset from the rest of the case, which is finished in smooth matte paint, by thin chrome strips. The matching chrome power and reset buttons are very unusual, in that they are set into the curved section where side meets front, and need to be pressed sideways rather than inwards as you’d expect. They can be a bit awkward to reach, especially when the PC is kept on the floor, and being on a corner they are potentially exposed to accidental activation. However, the buttons are quite stiff so this shouldn’t be too much of a worry.
Between the buttons are large LEDs, coloured blue for power and red for hard drive activity. There is also a nice (if you like that sort of thing) blue glow visible through the front mesh from a 120mm fan. The bottom of the case has very broad rubberised plastic feet that ensure your PC won’t be slipping anywhere very fast.
Usually, easy-access ports like USB are found at a chassis’ front, but with the CM690 these have been placed at the top. Whether this is a good thing really depends on where you place the machine; if you tend to have it underneath your desk this will be really handy, but not if you like having your PC beside your monitor. The selection is excellent, though, including twin USBs, headphone and microphone jacks, FireWire and e-SATA.