Fitted with the latest ATI Radeon 5870 HD graphics card and powered by AMD's flagship CPU, the MESH Matrix II 5870XT is a supremely fast gaming PC costing less than £1,000.

With the exception of nVidia's hugely expensive GeForce GTX 295, this new single-GPU graphics card stomps all over anything else on the market today, including AMD's former champ, the twin-processor Radeon HD 4870 X2.

No other sub-£1,000 system we've seen so far can come anywhere close to the MESH Matrix II 5870XT's level of gaming performance. The Radeon 5870 HD propels it to speeds of 40fps in our high-quality Crysis test - at least 10fps faster than the best of the rest can muster.

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Furthermore, this is currently the only graphics card capable of forthcoming titles such as DiRT2 from Codemasters. These will push the 5870 still further ahead of the competition in both performance and image quality. You'll also be able to use Microsoft's DirectCompute 11 API, allowing the graphics card to take on other duties more effectively, such as seamlessly converting video for use on your portable media player. Older cards are limited to DirectCompute 10.0 or 10.1.

See also: HIS Radeon HD 5870 1GB review

A total of four monitor outputs include a pair of DVI ports as well as both HDMI and DisplayPort connectors, all of which (thanks to AMD's ‘Eyefinity' feature) can be used simultaneously to enable ultra-high resolution multi-screen gaming. However, our review MESH Matrix II 5870XT PC is supplied with a single 22in Iiyama full-HD monitor (for £50 more you can get the 24in monitor pictured).

Housed in a black brushed-aluminium NZXT Hush system case, the MESH Matrix II 5870XT PC remains quiet. This is thanks to a sound-insulated interior which dampens the soft whirr of the specially selected cooling fans inside.

The Asus M4A79XA EVO mainboard comes with two x16 PCI-Express slots supporting an upgrade to dual graphics cards using CrossFireX. Two sticks of DDR3 RAM provide a total of 4GB - with a pair of empty slots of upgrades.

Our WorldBench result of 126 points reveals general application performance to sit at the lower end of what we'd expect from a similarly priced PC based on Intel's Core i7 920, so while the MESH Matrix II 5870XT offers exceptional value for gamers, those hungry for the ultimate overall performance may wish to spend a little more for a faster processor.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

MESH Matrix II 5870XT: Specs

  • 3.4GHz AMD Quad core Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • 1TB SATA 2 HDD with 32MB buffer
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel RAM (2x2GB)
  • ATI Radeon 5870 HD with 1024MB RAM
  • 2xDVI, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • BD-ROM/DVD±RW tray-load
  • 10x USB 2.0
  • eSATA Toslink optical audio out
  • Ethernet
  • PS2
  • Logitech Cordless keyboard and mouse
  • Multi-channel audio out
  • mic in, headphone out
  • 700W Power supply
  • 22in Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS-1 16:9 display with full HD (24in version for £50 extra)
  • 1 Year RTB Hardware Warranty
  • DVD speeds: 16x/16x (DVD-R/+R), 4x/4x (-R DL/+R DL), 6x/8x (-RW/+RW), 5x/16x/8x (-RAM/-ROM/BD-ROM)
  • 3.4GHz AMD Quad core Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • 1TB SATA 2 HDD with 32MB buffer
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel RAM (2x2GB)
  • ATI Radeon 5870 HD with 1024MB RAM
  • 2xDVI, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • BD-ROM/DVD±RW tray-load
  • 10x USB 2.0
  • eSATA Toslink optical audio out
  • Ethernet
  • PS2
  • Logitech Cordless keyboard and mouse
  • Multi-channel audio out
  • mic in, headphone out
  • 700W Power supply
  • 22in Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS-1 16:9 display with full HD (24in version for £50 extra)
  • 1 Year RTB Hardware Warranty
  • DVD speeds: 16x/16x (DVD-R/+R), 4x/4x (-R DL/+R DL), 6x/8x (-RW/+RW), 5x/16x/8x (-RAM/-ROM/BD-ROM)

OUR VERDICT

The MESH Matrix II 5870XT is powerful, well-constructed and built with quality components, but the Radeon 5870 HD takes it to a whole new level of gaming performance at an affordable price.

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