Fourth place probably doesn't do justice the Mesh Elite Q6600 PCA. A PC that, depending on whether you're looking to the future or the present, could yet be the best buy of any of these machines.


  1. CyberPower Infinity Crossfire GT
  2. Arbico CD8800 XL
  3. Mesh Elite E6700 GTS PCA
  4. Mesh Elite Q6600 PCA
  5. Evesham Axis R6 XT

Fourth place

Fourth place probably doesn't do justice to a PC that, depending on whether you're looking to the future or the present, could yet be the best buy of any of these machines. The real dilemma stems from the Mesh's use of the 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 chip. This quad-core chip promises excellent speed with multi-threaded multi-core applications - you could easily see performance increase of 50 to 100% with the right software. Unfortunately, multi-threaded applications are still pretty thin on the ground. Very thin, in fact, and on today's programs, the results are less stellar. The WorldBench score is very decent, but it's several points short of being the highest in the chart.

You will also have to put up with the 22in Iiyama flat-panel. Vast this screen may be, but the colour quality isn't as sparkling as we'd like it to be, while the focus is also slightly dubious. Nonetheless, if you like plenty of viewing area then you might find it possible to look past these faults. For our money, we'd rather have an excellent screen like the 20in Samsung.

The Mesh's 640MB GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card is very decent, if not quite the equal of the CyberPower's ATI HD 2900 XT. And there are plenty of juicy extras (such as a TV tuner) and a fairly strong warranty. For today's programs, the Mesh isn't the fastest here. However, if you have one eye on the future, you might find the Quad-Core technology something of a killer blow.

Buying advice

Processor: Intel is back and its Core 2 Duo chips are quickly establishing themselves as the best in every category. The £1,000+ chart is no exception, and while prices haven't fallen significantly enough for 6800 to make an appearance, the E6700 is rapidly taking over the top five. A reasonably new contender, though, are the Quad-Core chips. These potentially offer around 50-100% extra performance, but only in applications and games that are programmed to take advantage of the extra cores included within each chip. Don't expect multi-core applications to be flooding in, but a couple of years time could have seen a rather dramatic shift in the software landscape. And then, the higher the number of cores, the more impressive the performance is likely to be. In today's world, though, the likes of the E6700 remain better bets.

Memory: Make no mistake about it. The age of the 2GB PC is almost upon us. If you skimp on memory now, you might find yourself having to administer a critical upgrade later on. Given the power and juggling space required by 2007's software titles, 1GB Power PCs won't cut it in the Vista era. If you really want the best performance, look for a high quality memory maker like Corsair.

Storage: It's unbelievable that anything less than 400GB is now considered a small amount of storage space but look out our chart and you'll see most manufacturers looking in the region of 400GB to 500GB. You're unlikely to get - and, unless you specialize in a particularly gigabyte-hungry pastime like video, won't really need - much more than this. Make sure you get serial ATA cabling for rapid transfer rates
Have backup covered with a multi-format DVD writer. Dual layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are a must, and you should make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or more. 8x DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Also, look for good eight-speed DVD+RW facilities. Other optional formats include DVD-RAM.

Monitor: You'd think all of the flat-panels found in this category would be of superior quality. But you'd be miserably mistaken. No chart offers such a range of flat-panel shapes and sizes. A 22in model may sound nice, but be very careful that you choose a good one. Many of today's 22in flat-panels suffer from poor colours and fuzzy images and, depending on how sensitive you are, this might cause more than a few problems. 20in screens are safer bets, if you don't mind inferior resolution support. 19in models are becoming more outdated, although you might get better image quality if you don't mind going to this size.

Graphics card: At this price point, you should be able to get something rather startling. The GeForce 8800 GTX is undoubtedly the most prized acquisition. Its support for DirectX 10 means that Vistaites can look forwards to some impressive games titles coming out in the future. The GTX also has bags of performance and a slew of sizzling features. However, you shouldn't overlook its slightly less exciting sibling, the 8800 GTS, nor the brand new ATI HD 2900 XT. The latter card can't keep up with the GTX, but it will eclipse even the 640MB version of the 8800 GTS.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard or integrated sound has come on in leaps and bounds with support for 7.1 channel sound but it's still no match for a decent soundcard. Hunt around and you should be able to get a PC with a Creative Audigy card or, better still, one from the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want 2.1 channel speakers then make sure they're high quality but most manufacturers are bundling 5.1 channel speakers. Strangely, 7.1 speakers are becoming less and less common, but if you want audio excellence then you'd be best off holding out for a set of these.

Mesh Elite Q6600 PCA: Specs

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB serial ATA
  • nVidia nForce 680i SLI motherboard
  • 9 USB ports
  • 22in Iiyama E220WS flat-panel, 0.282mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution
  • 640MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS, PCI Express
  • Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer sound card
  • 5 x Creative Inspire 6100 speakers
  • maximum DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD -ROM/-R/+R) 8x/8x (-R DL/+R DL) 6x/8x/12x (-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • includes CyberLink Video Editing Suite and Kworld DVB-T 210 TV tuner
  • flash memory drive
  • 2-year onsite warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 106
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB serial ATA
  • nVidia nForce 680i SLI motherboard
  • 9 USB ports
  • 22in Iiyama E220WS flat-panel, 0.282mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution
  • 640MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS, PCI Express
  • Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer sound card
  • 5 x Creative Inspire 6100 speakers
  • maximum DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD -ROM/-R/+R) 8x/8x (-R DL/+R DL) 6x/8x/12x (-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • includes CyberLink Video Editing Suite and Kworld DVB-T 210 TV tuner
  • flash memory drive
  • 2-year onsite warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 106

OUR VERDICT

For today's programs, the Mesh isn't the fastest here. However, if you have one eye on the future, you might find the Quad-Core technology something of a killer blow.

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