The Xtreme FX-60 from Mesh is based on the latest Athlon 64 FX dual-core processor released in early January by AMD. Though we were very keen to have a look at the whole package – a PC that costs £2,199 has got to be hot stuff, we thought – we were also interested to see how well the new chip performed.
Teamed up with a Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard using an nForce 4 chipset, 2GB of PC3200 (DDR400) DDR RAM, the FX-60 helped the Mesh to a WorldBench 5 score of 119. This isn't the highest score we've seen – that's 124, achieved by the Cube247 Delphinius, which used a Athlon 64 X2 dual-core 4600+ running at 2.4GHz teamed up with 2GB of DDR RAM – but it's still pretty darn quick.
The rest of the specification isn't too shabby, either: two hard drives, one with 200GB and the other with 300GB, for half a terabyte of storage space. The graphics cards are 256MB GeForce 7800 GTs and they do a great job, flying through tests on Doom3 and Halo at all resolutions. And what a monitor – the Philips 200W6CS is a 20in widescreen model, and though the 16ms response time might seem a bit slow, bear in mind that it is a 20in flat-panel, and that the image quality is absolutely brilliant.
The DW-Q30A drive from Sony provides your backup options and will also come in handy if you want to distribute your home movies once you've created them. The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi sound card is perfect for any budding musicians.
In general, the Mesh is a very well put-together system. As ever, the case is big and there's plenty of room inside for upgrading, the warranty covers you for three years – it's onsite cover, too – and there's a decent selection of software to get you started.
Special FX: new chips on the block
The latest 939-pin dual-core processor from AMD, the Athlon 64 FX-60 runs at 2.6GHz and has 1MB of Level 2 cache on each core, making 2MB. Each core has 64KB of Level 1 instruction cache and 64KB of Level 1 data cache, totalling 256KB for the processor as a whole. It uses the 90nm (nanometre) process technology and has an effective data bandwidth of 14.4Gbps. The only difference between these specifications and those of the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is a 200MHz increase in the clockspeed, but the FX-60 is a very different processor.
What it should all add up to is good performance whether you're running multithreaded applications, performing two different tasks at once or even just doing one thing at a time. The FX-60 performed well in our WorldBench 5 test suite, although it didn't achieve the highest score we've seen. It's likely that we'll see better scores from FX-60 based systems in the future, but as WorldBench 5 isn't really designed to test dual-core capabilities (with the exception of one true multitasking element, where the chip was nearly twice as quick as the control system we use to generate the score), this isn't a certainty.
The Cool 'n' Quiet function keeps power consumption low, so the processor doesn't heat up too much and require the fans to go into overdrive. This function works effectively in the case of the Mesh.
FX-60s cost $1,031 (around £582) each when bought in batches of 1,000.