Mesh’s £739 Ice5 5750 HD offers excellent value for money, with its impressive spec including a Core i5 750 CPU, a full-HD 22in monitor, 1TB of storage and a generous software bundle.


Mesh's £739 Ice5 5750 HD offers excellent value for money. Its impressive spec includes a Core i5 750 CPU, a full-HD 22in monitor, a terabyte (1TB) of storage and a generous software bundle that includes a CyberLink suite.

Mesh has accidentally submitted the least expensive PC of the group, if only by £10. Originally specified with a Radeon 5770 HD graphics card, our Mesh Ice5 5750 HD review sample shipped with the 5750 HD instead. This resulted in a noticeable, although not extreme, reduction in gaming framerates. If you want to pay the extra, and we strongly suggest you do, the Mesh Ice5 5770 HD is available for £749 and should deliver a similar gaming performance to our Best Buy Arbico.

If space is at a premium, you'll appreciate the Mesh Ice5 5750 HD's diminutive system case. Note that this compact machine has less room for upgrades than the other PCs here as a result. The hard drive has been mounted vertically, for example, while the rather basic Asus motherboard has only one PCI Express x16 slot. You won't be able to add a second graphics card later, which makes the £749 Ice5 5770 HD all the more attractive.

Chart ranking: Budget desktop PCs (issue 177)

  1. Arbico HD 7577 XL
  2. Mesh Ice5 5750 HD
  3. Chillblast Fusion Scimitar
  4. CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo
  5. Eclipse Matrix Crossfire i786R577

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Mesh’s £739 Ice5 5750 HD offers excellent value for money, with its impressive spec including a Core i5 750 CPU, a full-HD 22in monitor, 1TB of storage and a generous software bundle.

Buying advice

Processor: The arrival of Intel's Core i5 750 has changed everything in this price range, bringing with it superb quad-core performance and support for DDR3 memory. Core i5 processors use new motherboards with a different CPU socket; buying one now puts you in a good position for future upgrades. If you're lucky, you may find a faster Core i7 8xx-series CPU at this price point.

Intel's Core 2 Duo E8600 was once king of this category and is still available, but with the Core i3 540 hitting the market there's now no reason to choose it unless you find a fantastic deal. The Core i3 540 will give you superb dual-core performance and is compatible with the most up-to-date motherboards and DDR3 memory. AMD's Phenom II X4 920, 940 and 965 also offer good value for money and quad-core performance, although they can't match the Core i5 in our tests.

Memory: If fast processors speed up your PC, a large bank of memory stops it from slowing down. Get the most out of your CPU by including at least 4GB of RAM. You can get by with 2GB, but your PC will run more smoothly with 4GB.
Core i5- and i7 8xx-based PCs use DDR3 memory rather than DDR2, but there's no need to buy the chips in threes as you do with Core i7 9xx systems.

Storage: Digital media will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive; buy the biggest you can afford. A 500GB drive is a good investment.

Consider using a pair of smaller hard drives rather than one large drive - a terabyte (1TB) is a huge amount of information to lose in one go.

Your DVD drive should write to the -R/+R formats at 18-speed or better. Eight-speed rewriting is good; if you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for fast DVD-/+R dual-layer drives. Blu-ray readers are becoming more affordable, but they're still quite rare at this price.

Display: Many PC manufacturers make sacrifices here to keep costs down, so you should always try out the monitor before you buy.

Note that 19in screens offer a lower resolution than 20in/22in monitors; 22in models display larger icons. Newer 22in (16:10) flat-panels are capable of displaying full-HD content, although onscreen elements will be even smaller.

A DVI or HDMI connector will provide a considerably better image than a VGA port, so look for a display with a digital input; if you want to connect additional devices you'll need at least two.

Finally, look for a good response rate: 8ms or below is fast enough for games.

Graphics cards: There's simply not room in the budget for a top-end graphics card at this price point, but you should still be able to find a decent model.

We test PCs using the four-year-old game Fear and Crysis, a far more demanding title. Although 50fps is enough to make a game playable, you can set your sights higher in this category - look for 60fps for decent gameplay.

Current pricing will limit you in this area, but ATI's Radeon HD 4890 and nVidia's GeForce GTX 260 both deliver great performance and value for money, making even cutting-edge games playable if you drop the resolution and settings a notch. AMD's HD 5770 is a slower card with today's games, but adds DirectX 11.0.

nVidia cards offer support for realistic object interactions in games supporting PhysX and the ability to display content in 3D when used with special glasses.

Power supply: A large PSU is less vital at this price point, but look for a model with a full set of SATA and PCI Express connectors to make later upgrades easier.

Sound card and speakers: Most motherboards at this price point depend on onboard sound. To get surround sound you'll need a 5.1-channel system (five speakers and a subwoofer).

>> NEXT PAGE: Specifications and our expert verdict

Mesh Ice5 5750 HD: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i5 750
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Asus P7P55-M motherboard
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 550W HEC PSU
  • 22in Iiyama E2208HDS (0.25mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express ATI Radeon HD 5750 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 62/21fps
  • Fear = 173fps)
  • onboard VIA VT1708S
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • CyberLink DVD Suite
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 135
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i5 750
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Asus P7P55-M motherboard
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 550W HEC PSU
  • 22in Iiyama E2208HDS (0.25mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express ATI Radeon HD 5750 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 62/21fps
  • Fear = 173fps)
  • onboard VIA VT1708S
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • CyberLink DVD Suite
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 135

OUR VERDICT

The Mesh Ice5 5750 HD may prove difficult to upgrade and its one-year warranty looks a little stingy, but this excellent PC offers better value for money than any other contender.

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