Mesh's Matrix DX 250 offers plenty of speed for everyday computing and gaming but, with it's compact case, there's little room for upgrading.

The 3GHz Athlon II X2 250 dual-core processor used by the Mesh Matrix DX 250 is one of the faster chips available at this price point. It performs well in WorldBench 6, scoring 110 points, and should be powerful enough for most users. The Athlon is a little slower than the Phenom CPU found in the Arbico, however, despite its use of faster memory.

Like all the PCs in this price category, the Mesh Matrix DX 250 comes with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Because of its conveniently compact system case, this PC is necessarily fitted with an undersized motherboard. As a result, there's limited scope for internal upgrades. The 300W power supply is therefore more than adequate, despite advertising only half the power of models fitted in competing PCs.

An ATI Radeon HD 5670 provides the Mesh Matrix DX 250 with the latest graphics technology and full compatibility with recent 3D games. At this price, framerates can be more important than visual effects, however. You may prefer to plump for a slightly older but faster card such as one of the HD 4700- or 4800-series options supplied by CyberPower and Arbico.

The Mesh Matrix DX 250 is sold with a rather nice AOC monitor. At 20in, it's the largest in the chart, and it offers the highest screen resolution of 1600x900. The true 16:9-format panel is a little wider than the competition and will display slightly smaller text.

Although its performance in our benchmarks is beaten by rival systems, the Mesh Matrix DX 250 is a well-balanced system that performs well in all manner of tasks.

The Mesh Matrix DX 250 offers a great out-of-the-box experience, too, thanks to the wealth of software that comes preinstalled. Its compact case and large monitor add appeal, but it won't be easy to upgrade and we would prefer a warranty lasting more than just one year.

Chart ranking: Budget PCs (issue 178)

  1. CyberPower Ultra Athenna Elite
  2. Arbico Phenom 5570HD
  3. Chillblast Fusion Battleaxe
  4. Mesh Matrix DX 250
  5. Eclipse Matrix A62R567

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