Based on an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, Mesh’s G94 Pulse offers solid – but not class-leading – performance. Its WorldBench speed score of 113 beats the E8500-powered Chillblast Fusion Cobra.

The 512MB nVidia Geforce 9600 GT delivers plenty of performance for the casual gamer. It’s well above the budget level and capable of playing modern titles at acceptable resolutions. The motherboard is SLI-ready, so if you want more gaming power you can easily add an extra 9600 GT to the Mesh G94 Pulse.

However, Mesh’s priorities lie elsewhere. You get a massive 500GB Seagate hard drive, which dwarfs rival offerings. The 22in Iiyama display, meanwhile, is as big as flat-panels get at this price point. The Mesh G94 Pulse is therefore ideal for both editing and storing media files.

There’s two small Logitech speakers and a subwoofer, but the Mesh G94 Pulse's audio duties are left to the motherboard’s built-in sound hardware rather than an add-in card.

The Mesh G94 Pulse's supplied 4GB of RAM occupies all four slots, but there are plenty of PCI and PCI-Express expansion slots free and room for many more hard drives.

See also:

Buying advice: Budget desktop PCs

Chart ranking: Budget desktop PCs (June issue)


  1. Arbico CD8520 XL
  2. Chillblast Fusion Cobra
  3. Mesh G94 Pulse
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity 850
  5. CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition

Verdict

The Mesh G94 Pulse is able to hold its own in terms of general office performance and is a strong all-rounder with upgrade potential.

Buying advice: Budget desktop PCs (June 08 issue)

Processor: The once all-conquering E6850 processor has almost disappeared from the chart, outrun by the mighty E8500 chip – you can put in half the RAM and an E8500 will register the same performance scores. The E8500 will be a little more expensive, however, so it’s worth watching out for special offers as manufacturers try to offload their supplies of E6850s.

If you’ve got one eye on the future, consider a Core 2 Quad chip. You’ll sacrifice a little speed for the money now, but you might make it up in spades when multithreaded software applications start hitting the shops.

Memory: It’s a sign of how important memory has become that, even in the sub-£750 category, 2GB is the bare minimum, with most systems stretching to 4GB. If you’re on a budget, there’s no need to go quite this far, but 2GB is a definite must. Memory is only going to become more and more important in the next 12 months, so stock up now.

Storage: You can never have too much storage space. Digital media files such as video and music will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive, so buy the biggest you can. A 320GB or 400GB drive should make a good investment.

It’s a good idea to keep large files archived on DVD, so make sure your PC has a DVD burner. Look for a drive that can write to the –R/+R formats at rates of at least 18-speed. Eight-speed rewriting is good; if you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for a drive with DVD-R DL or +R DL. Write speeds on these have got significantly faster in recent months, and you really need to be looking for an absolute minimum of eight-speed.

Display: Compromises have to be made to keep down the price of a PC and the monitor is often where the sacrifices start. Just remember that this is the part of the PC that you’re going to be spending most of your time looking at.

Virtually all PCs come with flat-panels. We’d recommend a 19in or 20in model – they’re common at this price point. Be very careful, though, when offered anything larger than 20in, as the quality at this price point could be low. Finally, look for a screen with a good response rate – 8ms or below should be more than fast enough.

Graphics cards: Given that the best graphics cards can retail for £300 or £400, feverish gamers are unlikely to be best served by a sub-£750 PC. Nonetheless, the best PCs do tend to come with decent graphics cards.

Although 50 frames per second (fps) is enough to make a game playable, at this price you can set your sights a little higher. Choose one that can manage 80-100fps on a number of titles. The 512MB 8800 GTS 512 is your best option if you find one, although the 8800 GT isn’t far behind. You may be able to find an 8800 GTX if you hunt hard enough, but the GT and GTS 512 are more likely. Stocks may be running a little low.

Sound card and speakers: You’re unlikely to get a standalone sound card at this price point, as it’s an area where vendors are likely to cut costs. Most motherboards have decent built-in audio chips that can handle six-channel sound, but to get the best out of them you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system. Unfortunately, you may not get anything better than a 2.1 system in this category – indeed, you won’t necessarily get a subwoofer at all.

See also:

Mesh G94 Pulse: expert review

Chart ranking: Budget desktop PCs

Mesh G94 Pulse: Specs

  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI
  • 7 x USB
  • 22in Iiyama ProLite E2202W (0.277mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution @ 75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express MSI nVidia GeForce 9600 GT
  • onboard Realtek ALC883 sound
  • 2 x Logitech S220
  • subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 20x/20x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 115
  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI
  • 7 x USB
  • 22in Iiyama ProLite E2202W (0.277mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution @ 75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express MSI nVidia GeForce 9600 GT
  • onboard Realtek ALC883 sound
  • 2 x Logitech S220
  • subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 20x/20x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 115

OUR VERDICT

The Mesh G94 Pulse is able to hold its own in terms of general office performance and is a strong all-rounder with upgrade potential.

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