The Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA uses Intel's impressive Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor, but it's marginally slower than the Arbico CD-8870GS, powered by the cheaper but faster Core 2 Duo E6700. But the difference is fairly small, and the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA, which comes with a gargantuan 4GB of DDR RAM, will be able to keep pace with future software advances. In two years' time, the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA should still be rattling through tasks that'll prove something of an obstacle for the likes of the dual-core Arbico CD-8870GS.

We've devoted plenty of column inches to the battle between quad- and dual-core chips. Quad-core chips, as featured in the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA, are an excellent choice for those with an eye on the future, since these chips work best with multithreaded applications - you can expect plenty of these to come out in the next few years. But on today's (predominantly single-threaded) apps, you won't get much benefit.

The Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA does well in other areas. Its 500GB hard drive is generous, while the Mirai display offers a superb 22in viewing area. The colour quality is pleasing and compares well to other 22in flat-panel screens.

The Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA's graphics card is one component that might need updating to keep pace with game developments. Then again, of today's graphics cards, only the 8800 GTX and Ultra have the clout to cruise through tomorrow's games titles - and they are currently too expensive to feature in a strong £1,000 PC. The 320MB 8800 GTS will do in today's market, and you can upgrade in a year or two.

The sound system, meanwhile, will be good for years to come, and the DVD writer, software bundle and aftersales support are excellent.

Verdict

If you want a PC that'll work well both today and tomorrow, the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA is your machine.

Chart ranking: power PCs September 07 issue

1st place: Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA
2nd place: Chillblast Fusion Centaur
3rd place: Arbico CD-8870GS
4th place: Evesham Solar
5th place: CyberPower Infinity 860 (last month 4th place)


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