Mesh's Nero 9850 HD is a well-designed system that offers some unique features. And, despite its fifth-place standing, many of these are actually better than those of its rivals.

With a quad-core AMD Phenom 9850 CPU installed, the Mesh Nero 9850 HD will cope well with multithreaded applications such as audio and video encoding. A large 500GB hard drive is also supplied - that's double the capacity offered by Arbico and Eclipse.

The Mesh Nero 9850 HD is the only system here to provide a 22in display. This is a 16:9 full-HD Iiyama model, capable of displaying the 1,920x1,080 resolution required to get the best from Blu-ray movies. That the Mesh doesn't also include a Blu-ray drive is understandable; to do so would require significant cutbacks elsewhere.

But while it's perfectly adequate for business use - particularly if you work with large spreadsheets or multiple documents simultaneously - the Mesh Nero 9850 HD can't match the raw performance of the Intel-based PCs featured in our chart. With the exception of Intel's stellar Core i7 processor, quad-core CPUs don't tend to shine in our WorldBench 6 test suite. Indeed, the Nero 9850 HD scored a rather weak 93 points.

And if you're into gaming, forget it. The Mesh Nero 9850 HD's integrated graphics processor has no trouble driving the high-resolution display, but it'll make even the simplest of 3D games unplayably ponderous.

Despite its compact dimensions, there's some room for expansion inside the Mesh Nero 9850 HD. Note, however, that the 300W power supply may struggle with upgrades - particularly if you plan to add a graphics card later.

Chart ranking: Budget desktop PCs (May 09 issue)

  1. Eclipse Solar i85a465HD
  2. CyberPower Gamer Infinity 600 (last month 1)
  3. Arbico CD8465 EX (last month 2)
  4. Palicomp Excalibur E85-19 (last month 4)
  5. Mesh Nero 9850 HD

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