With a fierce pace set by the top two PCs, the Mesh G92 Extreme Media struggles to make an impact on this month’s chart. Essentially an inferior reworking of the excellent PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli, the Mesh G92 Extreme Media needs to do better in a few areas to compete with the top machines in this price category.

The Mesh G92 Extreme Media’s WorldBench 6 real-world speed score of 118 is a little down on the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli’s tally, which may be down to the DDR2-667 RAM, which isn’t really good enough for this price level. But the Mesh G92 Extreme Media makes up ground elsewhere. The paired 500GB hard drives are an outstanding inclusion, as are the two GeForce 8800 GT cards – even if the Mesh G92 Extreme Media can’t match the Chillblast Fusion Zodiac and PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli machines for raw gaming speed.

The Mesh G92 Extreme Media's 22in Iiyama is a pleasing screen and the sound system is impressive, if lacking the all-round punch of the Chillblast Fusion Zodiac’s T7900 speakers. The Samsung DVD writer packs some marvellous double-layer speeds, and is probably the stand-out component here. But the power and value offered by its rivals leave the Mesh G92 Extreme Media with ground to make up.

Verdict

Essentially an inferior reworking of the excellent PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli, the Mesh G92 Extreme Media needs to do better in a few areas to compete with the top machines in this price category.

See also:

Power PCs buying advice

Buying advice: £1,001+ desktop PCs

Processor: The once all-conquering E6850 processor seems to be on its way out, overmatched by the new Penryn E8500 chip. The E8500 will register the same performance scores as the E6850 with just half the RAM.

The E8500 remains a more expensive option, however. It’ll be worth watching out for bargains on E6850 machines as manufacturers look to offload supplies.

If you’ve got one eye on the future, you might also want to consider a Core 2 Quad chip. You’ll sacrifice a little speed for the money in the short term, but you could see a serious performance boost when multithreaded software applications start hitting the stores.

Memory: No sooner had the age of the 2GB PC been ushered in than PC makers started deluging us with 4GB machines. Virtually all models over £1,000 come with such a configuration. If you want a PC that’ll be able to cope easily with programs in 2008 and beyond, 4GB of RAM is the key. For the best performance, look for high-quality memory from a reputable maker such as Corsair.

Storage: It’s hard to believe, but anything less than 500GB is now considered a small amount of storage space – most manufacturers supply somewhere between 500GB and 1 terabyte (TB). Unless you pursue a particularly gigabyte-hungry pastime such as video editing, however, you’re unlikely to need more than 400GB or 500GB. Get serial ATA cabling for rapid transfer rates.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are a must, and make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or more. Eight-speed DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Also, look for good eight-speed DVD+RW facilities. Other optional formats include DVD-RAM.

Display: You might think a £1,001-plus PC would be guaranteed to come with a superior flat-panel display – but you’d be mistaken. The PCs in our chart all come with high-quality 22in displays, but there are some 24in screens to be had – and these are of less consistent quality. Some of the 24in monitors out there suffer from poor colours and fuzzy images, which can be a serious problem for those with sensitive eyes. It’s a safer bet to go for a 22in screen, provided you don’t mind inferior resolution support.

Graphics card: At this price point, you should be able to get something rather startling. Of the single cards, the GeForce 8800 Ultra is the most prized acquisition. Its support for DirectX 10.x means Vista users can look forward to some impressive games titles in the future.

The Ultra also has bags of performance and a slew of sizzling features. Stocks of the Ultra are running low, however, and many manufacturers are supplying one or two 8800 GT or 8800 GTS 512 cards. These aren’t actually very far behind the Ultra (and the impressive 8800 GTX) on performance. A pair of 8800 GTs is an excellent choice for high-level gaming speed.

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 sound card. You should be able to find 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 models; most firms are bundling 5.1 speakers. If you want audio excellence you’d be best off holding out for a set of 7.1 speakers, which are becoming less common.

See also:

Mesh G92 Extreme Media: expert review

Mesh G92 Extreme Media: Specs

  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6850
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR2-667 RAM
  • 2 x 500GB SATA
  • Abit IN9 32X-MAX
  • 7 x USB
  • 22in Iiyama ProLite E2202WS (0.277mm pixel pitch
  • 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution @75Hz)
  • 2 x 512MB PCI Express Sparkle nVidia GeForce 8800 GT
  • Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer
  • 5 x Creative Inspire A500
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • CyberLink Video Editing Suite
  • flash memory drive
  • one-year onsite warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 118
  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6850
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR2-667 RAM
  • 2 x 500GB SATA
  • Abit IN9 32X-MAX
  • 7 x USB
  • 22in Iiyama ProLite E2202WS (0.277mm pixel pitch
  • 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution @75Hz)
  • 2 x 512MB PCI Express Sparkle nVidia GeForce 8800 GT
  • Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer
  • 5 x Creative Inspire A500
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • CyberLink Video Editing Suite
  • flash memory drive
  • one-year onsite warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 118

OUR VERDICT

Essentially an inferior reworking of the excellent PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli, the Mesh G92 Extreme Media needs to do better in a few areas to compete with the top machines in this price category.

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