Noticeably faster than Arbico's fourth-placed HD8650 Pro and edging just ahead of our Best Buy Chillblast, the Ice7 860 DX Fire from Mesh is the fastest of three systems based around the Intel Core i7 860.

We've seen systems based on this processor do very well against pricier Core i7 960-powered machines in the past, and this is no exception. The Mesh Ice7 860 DX Fire achieved a staggering 142 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test, with its powerful processor no doubt aided by its Raid 0 hard-drive configuration.

Such setups can offer a boost in performance for disk tasks, but a greater risk of data loss. For this reason, many systems stripe two drives and offer a third for data backups. The DX Fire offers just two 500GB drives. There are other methods of backup, of course.

Whereas every other vendor has plumped for HD 5850 graphics, Mesh supplies a pair of HD 5770 cards with the Ice7 860 DX Fire. Our tests saw this combination turn in results largely on a par with a single HD 5850, although performance will vary depending on the game you are playing. In particular, some titles show a marked advantage when using a CrossFireX setup.

Dual-graphics setups consume more power and take up an extra slot on the motherboard, however. Using a single HD 5850 would perhaps have been a better idea, costing around the same amount and delivering similar performance, but adding more features and letting you add a second card cost at your leisure.

A good-quality 22in Iiyama full-HD monitor is supplied, although it looks a little small when compared to the competition. No speakers are included, so you'll need to make do with those built into the Mesh Ice7 860 DX Fire's display.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (issue 178)

  1. Chillblast Fusion Goliath
  2. CyberPower Infinity Hercules XT
  3. Eclipse Evolution i792R585
  4. Arbico i7 HD8650 Pro
  5. Mesh Ice7 860 DX Fire

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