As already mentioned, a PCI Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer is on hand to take care of audio duties. This is pretty much the ideal sound card for gaming, and the only one to offer EAX5.0 effects in supporting titles.
Complementing the AMD processor and motherboard is an AMD/ATI graphics card (yes, I was expecting a GeForce GTX card too considering this system’s name), specifically the award-winning ATI Radeon HD 4870 – one of those hallowed few products to garner a perfect 10/10 TR score. While again it’s not the fastest card on the block, it is probably the best value for money one available right now, and is sure to chomp through any game (except Crysis) with ease.
The only niggle with all this hardware is that the Mesh Xtreme GTX300 is a tad on the noisy side, but this is not unusual for gaming machines. Also, it can potentially be alleviated by lowering the fan speeds through the BIOS if you find it too annoying, if you dare venture into such murky realms.
Overall then, I would like to congratulate Mesh on going for a well-balanced system. None of the components are top of the line, but unlike the hideously unbalanced and overpriced Alienware Area 51, the GTX300 covers every base well while remaining affordable at ‘only’ £1123.98. Especially going for a cheaper CPU but relatively high-end graphics card is a sensible trade-off, as you can see in our benchmarks where the Mesh consistently trounces the Wired2Fire Diablo MaXcore Gaming PC, which is equipped with a far faster processor and only a GeForce GTX 260.
In terms of performance, as I already said it will handle most games with profound ease, as shown by the 65FPS average (and 35FPS minimum) in Call of Duty 4 at 1,920 x 1,200 with four sample antialiasing enabled. The only title to bring this rig to its knees is as usual Crysis. However, if you’re willing to play at a lower resolution like 1,440 x 900, you still get a playable DX10 experience with detail set to Very High.
When it comes to software, a very clean Windows installation is enhanced by CyberLink’s High Definition Suite, which means you can play Blu-rays out of the box. Microsoft’s Works 8.5 is also on hand for light office duties. Warranty, meanwhile, is nothing too special: a standard three-year affair (worth around £17) includes parts and labour for the first year, and just labour for the next two.
So how does the Xtreme GTX300 compare to the competition? As long as you add the £100 upgrade to the 24in Iiyama from the 22in E2207WS (bringing the total to 1223.98), pretty darn well, actually. Sure, the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Crossfire HD gives better performance in games for around £220 less, but has half the hard drive space and no Blu-ray drive, not to mention the lack of speakers and a monitor. And of course thanks to the CrossFire X motherboard and powerful 700W PSU, you can always add a second Radeon 4870 card to take the GTX300’s gaming performance to the next level.
If you’re looking for an all-in desktop PC for gaming and entertainment, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a configuration that offers more for the money than the Mesh Xtreme GTX300. As long as you spend another £100 upgrading the 22in Iiyama monitor to a 24in model, this PC is easy to recommend. Even as a standalone system (the extras can be omitted) it’s definitely worth considering.