If you really do need a PC such as the Mesh Cute Inspire to act as a home entertainment centre, let's get one thing out of the way: it's too noisy for the lounge. Even if you're used to the steady drone of a Sky+ or Freeview box, the Cute will rise above them. If machine noise is not an issue for you, read on.

An AMD Athlon runs the show for the Mesh Cute Inspire, a dual-core 2.7GHz processor backed with just 2GB of RAM, the minimum we'd suggest for the Windows Vista Home Premium installed. It makes for a fairly quick machine, although not as speedy as a comparably clocked Intel Core 2 Duo processor. We saw a WorldBench 6 score of 86 points, roughly the speed of a 2.3GHz Intel C2D laptop.

For storage the Mesh Cute Inspire has a 320GB hard disk, which will soon fill up if you start using the digital Freeview TV tuner on-board. The graphics card is also from AMD, an ATI HD 3200 with 384MB video RAM. As a general-purpose media centre, we'd hope for reasonable games performance, and we found the Cute can play some games providing you keep the detail down.

Our standard FEAR test saw the Mesh Cute Inspire averaging 10fps, too slow for smooth gameplay, but if you drop quality two notches to Medium you can get up to 40fps here.

Continuing with entertainment, the Mesh Cute Inspire packs a Blu-ray ROM drive, good for playing high-definition films, and it will also burn to DVD±R dual-layer discs. Included in the package is all the software you'll need from CyberLink to play BD films and create and burn your own DVD home movies.

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Connectivity includes six USB ports at the rear of the Mesh Cute Inspire, along with both DVI and HDMI digital video outputs (and VGA for older monitors), along with Toslink optical audio and a set of 3.5mm mini jacks for analogue multi-channel audio.

Power consumption is not especially low, idling at 70W and rising to over 105W when the Mesh Cute Inspire is playing games.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Mesh Cute Inspire: Specs

  • 2.7GHz AMD DualCore Athlon II X2 215
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 6.0 SP1
  • 320GB SATA 7200rpm HDD
  • 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2-667 RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 with 384MB RAM
  • DVI, HDMI, VGA
  • BD-ROM/DVD±RW DL tray-load
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • eSATA
  • Toslink optical audio out
  • ethernet
  • PS2
  • DVB-T TV tuner
  • multi-channel audio out
  • mic in, headphone out
  • 70W idle, 105W load power consumption
  • 199x170x295mm
  • 2.7GHz AMD DualCore Athlon II X2 215
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 6.0 SP1
  • 320GB SATA 7200rpm HDD
  • 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2-667 RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 with 384MB RAM
  • DVI, HDMI, VGA
  • BD-ROM/DVD±RW DL tray-load
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • eSATA
  • Toslink optical audio out
  • ethernet
  • PS2
  • DVB-T TV tuner
  • multi-channel audio out
  • mic in, headphone out
  • 70W idle, 105W load power consumption
  • 199x170x295mm

OUR VERDICT

The Mesh Cute Inspire's cuteness is barely skin deep, simply a bright paint job on the front of a small, squarish PC. It should be quick enough for media centre duties, and can even have a go at playing modern Windows games when you’re not watching TV or hi-def films. But all this fun should be countered by the fact that we’d find this PC far too noisy for the lounge, and in that respect alone, far from Cute.

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