While Mesh’s Pulse 24 may lag behind the chart leaders on performance, it has a unique selling point: a 24in display.

Although running at 3GHz, the Mesh Pulse 24's chip is based on the older Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 processor, which leaves its WorldBench real-world speed score rather left behind by the systems fitted with more recent CPUs.

Gaming performance suffers too. While rivals go for one or even two GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB cards, the Mesh Pulse 24 depends on the slower GeForce 8800 GT.

But the 24in Iiyama display gives you impressive screen size and image resolution. It’s fitted with both video graphics array (VGA) and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connections, which means it can double up as a display for high-definition hardware and games consoles. The added resolution, however, places further strain on the Mesh Pulse 24's graphics card.

The Mesh Pulse 24's audio is impressive, provided by a set of Creative Inspire A500 5.1 speakers and the Creative Labs X-Fi Xtreme Gamer card.

Power PCs chart ranking (May issue)


  1. Arbico CD8500 PRO
  2. Chillblast Fusion Anaconda
  3. Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI
  4. Mesh Pulse 24
  5. Chillblast Apollo

Verdict

The Mesh Pulse 24 is a steady all-rounder. Performance is adequate, while the 24in display makes the computing experience productive and enjoyable. Keen gamers should save up for a faster graphics card that can match the display’s resolution.

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Power PCs buying advice (May issue)

Processor: We may shortly reach the tipping point in the delicate balance of power between Intel’s dual-core Core 2 Duo chips and the quad-core stunners in the Core 2 Quad range, but we haven’t got there yet. All the systems in this month’s chart use dual-core processors.

If you want a PC that’ll fly through next year’s software library, a quad system may be worth a gamble. You may have to sacrifice a little speed on today’s applications but, in the long run, the gains could far outweigh the pains.

Yet dual-core chips continue to improve: the E8500 is among the best. Even in the age of quad-core, you should get plenty of performance from the top dual-core chips.

Memory: At this price point, 2GB should be a minimum, especially if you’re running Vista. If you skimp on memory now, you might find yourself having to administer a critical upgrade later on. Indeed, most PCs at this price come with 4GB – expect this to become the norm.

Storage: Anything less than 400GB is now considered a small amount of storage space: four of this month’s systems come with a hefty 500GB. Many users can actually get along very comfortably with considerably less – 320GB is a respectable capacity – but those intending to store lots of video and audio files shouldn’t compromise.

Cover backup with a multi-format DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are a must. Make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL with a minimum of eight-speed – although 10-speed or 16-speed would be better still. DVD-R DL is a bonus rather than essential.

Flat-panel: Flat-panels can vary wildly in quality. We’re starting to see 22in flat-panels as standard, with 20in models becoming increasingly scarce. Bear in mind that you’ll probably have to stare at the screen for long periods so, if you’re plumping for a cheap 22in display, give it a try to ensure that you’ll be able to put up with the picture quality.

A screen with a response time of 8ms or less will minimise blur on fast-moving images – in games, for example – but for image-editing tasks, other specifications such as contrast ratio and colour fidelity are much more important.

Graphics card: At this price, you should be able to get something rather special. The GeForce 8800 GTS 512 has just jumped on the scene and is already making waves. Its support for DirectX 10.0 means Vista users can look forward to some impressive games in the future.

However, the 8800 GT isn’t far behind. The latter is a cheaper card, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a PC housing not one but two of them. In scaleable link interface (SLI) mode, this will produce outstanding results. In exceptional circumstances – namely the Eclipse Platinum, page 183 – you may get hold of dual 8800 GTS cards.

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. Hunt around and you should be able to get a PC with a card from Creative’s Audigy 4 family or the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want 2.1-channel speakers, make sure they’re high-quality models, but most manufacturers are bundling 5.1 speakers. For audio excellence, hold out for a set of 7.1-channel speakers in this price range.

See also:

Mesh Pulse 24: expert review

Power PCs chart ranking

Mesh Pulse 24: Specs

  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6850
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • Asus P5NE SLI
  • 6 x USB
  • 24in Iiyama PLE2403WS-B1 (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,200 max resolution @75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sparkle nVidia GeForce 8800 GT
  • Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeGamer
  • Creative Inspire A500 5.1
  • subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 20x/20x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/+R DL/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • BullGuard Antivirus trial
  • Microsoft Office trial
  • one-year onsite warranty (UK mainland)
  • WorldBench 6 score: 104
  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6850
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • Asus P5NE SLI
  • 6 x USB
  • 24in Iiyama PLE2403WS-B1 (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,200 max resolution @75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sparkle nVidia GeForce 8800 GT
  • Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeGamer
  • Creative Inspire A500 5.1
  • subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 20x/20x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/+R DL/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • BullGuard Antivirus trial
  • Microsoft Office trial
  • one-year onsite warranty (UK mainland)
  • WorldBench 6 score: 104

OUR VERDICT

The Mesh Pulse 24 is a steady all-rounder. Performance is adequate, while the 24in display makes the computing experience productive and enjoyable. Keen gamers should save up for a faster graphics card that can match the display’s resolution.

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