Compared to the competition, the 2.8GHz clock speed of the Mesh Ice7 5870 HD's Intel Core i7 860 CPU seems rather pedestrian. But this quad-core chip is easily fast enough for most users and brings several cost-saving advantages to the table.


Compared to the competition, the 2.8GHz clock speed of the Mesh Ice7 5870 HD's Intel Core i7 860 CPU seems rather pedestrian. But this quad-core chip is easily fast enough for most users and brings several cost-saving advantages to the table, including the ability to use a less expensive motherboard and install memory in pairs rather than threes. Mesh therefore saves money by supplying 4GB of DDR3 RAM rather than the 6GB seen elsewhere.

As a result, there's cash left in the budget to spend elsewhere on the Mesh Ice7 5870 HD's specification. The first area Mesh has put this to good use is graphics, and the Radeon HD 5870 is a formidable DirectX 11.0 card. It delivers excellent performance in our demanding games tests and gives intensive tasks such as video encoding a processing boost.

Also included is a 1.5 terabyte (TB) hard drive and a 64GB solid-state drive (SSD). The SSD significantly improves the Mesh Ice7 5870 HD's startup times and application launches, but can quickly become full. We were unable to install Crysis, Fear and WorldBench 6 on the SSD simultaneously.

Mesh hasn't included speakers with the Ice7 5870 HD, but a Blu-ray drive and full-HD monitor offer the beginnings of an immersive multimedia experience. The display is the excellent Iiyama ProLite E2407HDSD, a 16:9 1920x1080 screen.

Chart ranking (issue 177)

  1. Mesh Ice7 5870 HD
  2. Arbico Elite 9655 HD
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Heaven (April 2010)
  4. Chillblast Fusion Eagle
  5. Eclipse Titan X58 i795R585

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Compared to the competition, the 2.8GHz clock speed of the Mesh Ice7 5870 HD's Intel Core i7 860 CPU seems rather pedestrian. But this quad-core chip is easily fast enough for most users and brings several cost-saving advantages to the table.

Buying advice


Processor:
Intel's quad-core Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, including the ability to run eight threads simultaneously, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. At this price, the Core i7 950 or 960 would be a great choice.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM, although 3GB is acceptable if the manufacturer compensates with other extras. For dual-core machines, look for 4GB in two modules to allow expansion.

The triple-channel architecture of Core i7 9xx-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7 8xx-series CPUs use a two-channel system, which will save you some cash. You'll also need to splash out on DDR3 RAM, but the price of such memory is falling fast.

A 64bit operating system can take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you're running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage: Expect at least 1TB. Look for a pair or even a trio of drives rather than a single unit; it will boost performance and prevent the risk of total data loss. Raid setups are an option. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs can provide speed boosts, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities are useful. Make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or above. You should also be able to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds.

Display: We're seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1080p (full-HD) playback became available, making these ideal partners for Blu-ray drives. However, some of the newest 22in (16:9) monitors can also display full-HD - and with a considerable saving.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality and an extra HDMI port is great for hooking up additional devices such as games consoles without having to switch cables.

Graphics card: For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia's GeForce GTX 285 or GTX 295 and AMD's DirectX 11.0-compatible ATI Radeon HD 5870. The GTX 275 and HD 4890 cards also offer great performance and very good value for money. Radeon cards seem to be the current favourite for raw performance, but nVidia's cards offer unique features such as support for PhysX in-game physics effects and stereoscopic 3D using special glasses.

Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value and are approved by chip manufacturers. Buying a single-card setup keeps your options open for adding a second card later. It also leaves more space for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard: If you're considering any upgrades, check that the motherboard offers enough memory slots to support the chips. SLI or CrossFireX support will enable to you add extra graphics cards to boost your gaming performance.

Power supply: The level of power you require will largely depend on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for a known and respected brand, and consider from 750W upwards if you have any thoughts of moving up to a dual-card setup later. Any form of overclocking will also demand a powerful PSU.


>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

Mesh Ice7 5870 HD: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 64GB SSD
  • Asus P7P55D LE motherboard
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 700W XPower PSU
  • 24in Iiyama ProLite E2407HDSD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 75/42fps
  • Fear = 340fps)
  • VIA VT1828S
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 5x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 12x/12x/4x/4x/6x/6x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 141
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 64GB SSD
  • Asus P7P55D LE motherboard
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 700W XPower PSU
  • 24in Iiyama ProLite E2407HDSD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 75/42fps
  • Fear = 340fps)
  • VIA VT1828S
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 5x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 12x/12x/4x/4x/6x/6x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 141

OUR VERDICT

Mesh’s Ice7 5870HD delivers a lot for your money, even if getting superb gaming performance and a Blu-ray drive means you must sacrifice a little raw speed. Note that the only other PC here to offer both is the Chillblast, which is £300 more expensive.

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