For plenty of PC buyers, screen size is everything. Such customers will be drawn to the Mesh Elite, whose 22in Mirai model is about as large as displays get at this price point.


  1. Chillblast Fusion Raider 6600
  2. Mesh Elite GTS Media
  3. Evesham Solar Storm
  4. CyberPower Infinity 860
  5. Zoostorm 4-6405 Advanced PC

Second place

However, since you’re going to be staring at the flat-panel for long periods of time, we think it’s important for the image to be as sharp as possible. The Mirai is solid on this front – it gets our nod above the third-placed Evesham’s GNR TS902W, for example – but it can’t compare to the Chillblast’s HannsG HW191DP.

The Mesh surpasses the Chillblast in two areas: its fantastic sound facilities (the best in the chart) and the hard drive, a vast 500GB model that will take some filling.

In other respects the Elite struggles to stand out. It plays host to the E6600 processor and 2GB of DDR RAM found in the majority of its competitors, while the graphics card is the relatively undramatic 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS. Mesh manages to coax some decent framerates from this card, but if it’s high gaming speed you’re looking for, pick one of the PCs with a 640MB card: the Chillblast or the Zoostorm.

The Mesh Elite GTS Media lacks some of the charm of the Chillblast, but it offers excellent sound facilities and one of the better 22in screens available at this price point. This is comfortably our second choice.

Buying advice

Processor: Intel's Core 2 Duo chips have established themselves as the best in just about every category and the sizzling E6600 model is proving itself the chip of choice for £751-£1,000 PCs. The E6600 is amazingly fast and holds a significant advantage over its Athlon counterparts. That's not to say AMD processors can't still do a job - especially if your budget is closer to £751 than £1,000 - but for those with the full amount to spend, the E6600 remains peerless.

Memory: The age of the 2GB PC is upon us. Given the power and juggling space required by 2007's software titles, 1GB PCs won't cut it at the top level in the Vista era - skimp on memory now and you might find yourself having to administer a critical upgrade later on. For the best performance, look for a high-quality memory maker such as Corsair.

Storage: It's hard to believe, but 250GB is now considered a small amount of storage space. All five of the manufacturers in our Top Five have included at least 320GB and, as Mesh and Zoostorm show, as much as 500GB is a possibility at this price. Make sure you get serial ATA cabling for rapid transfer rates. Cover backup 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 with a minimum of eight-speed or more. DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Also, look for good eight- or 10-speed DVD+RW facilities. Other optional formats to consider include DVD-RAM.

Display: Flat-panel screens can vary wildly in quality - preferably look for a 19in model with a DVI (digital visual interface) that can support a resolution of 1,280x1,024 or more. You may be able to stretch to a good 20in screen, but be careful if you're offered a 22in flat-panel at this price - the quality of the image on cheap 22in models tends to be patchy. Bear in mind that you'll have to stare at this screen for long periods, so picture quality is an important consideration. Try to get a screen with a response time of 8ms or less so that the screen doesn't blur fast-moving images.

Graphics card: At this price, you should be able to get something rather startling. The nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS is making great waves in its 640MB incarnation, providing excellent graphics features and wonderful visual quality. It also packs DirectX 10.0 support, theoretically giving you access to some impressive games in the future - although it's too early to tell whether the card will be powerful enough to handle the demands of DirectX 10.0 in practice. Nonetheless, this is an excellent card for the money. The 320MB version of the 8800 GTS is also decent, although you will have to sacrifice a bit of detail.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard or integrated sound has come on in leaps and bounds, with support for 7.1-channel sound now available - but it's no match for a decent sound card. You should be able to get a card from Creative's Audigy 4 family or the excellent X-Fi range. If you want only 2.1-channel speakers then make sure they're high-quality, but most manufacturers are bundling 5.1 speakers. If you want audio excellence, you should hold out for a set of 7.1-channel speakers.

Mesh Elite GTS Media: Specs

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB serial ATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • 6 USB ports
  • 22in Mirai DML-522W100 flat-panel, 0.282mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution
  • 320MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS, PCI Express
  • Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer sound card
  • 5 x Creative Inspire T6100 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 Suite
  • flash memory drive
  • 2-year RTB warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 103
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB serial ATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • 6 USB ports
  • 22in Mirai DML-522W100 flat-panel, 0.282mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution
  • 320MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS, PCI Express
  • Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer sound card
  • 5 x Creative Inspire T6100 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 Suite
  • flash memory drive
  • 2-year RTB warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 103

OUR VERDICT

The Mesh Elite GTS Media lacks some of the charm of the Chillblast, but it offers excellent sound facilities and one of the better 22in screens available at this price point. This is comfortably our second choice.

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