Mesh Ultimate XT940 GTO review

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With a name like the Ultimate XT9450 GTO, we expected the latest machine from Mesh to come with a stunning specification and an extravagant selection of peripherals. At first glance, the Mesh certainly fulfils this obligation: its quad-core processor, 28in screen, Blu-ray drive and huge hard disk all add up to a fearsome-sounding PC. And that’s before you even mention Nvidia’s brand-new graphics card, the GTX 280.

As expected, the inclusion of this GPU means that the Ultimate is capable of blistering games performance. While many of the specifications of the new card fall into line with other recent Nvidia cards from the 9000-series, it’s the 240 processing cores, as opposed to the 128 in the 9800 GTX, that make the GTX 280 such a powerful GPU.

This massive boost in power has a dramatic affect on 3D performance. Our Low and Medium Crysis benchmarks were brushed aside with effortless ease, as the Mesh scored 120fps and 76fps respectively.

The high test, too, proved an elementary challenge. The Ultimate dispatched this normally-demanding benchmark at 43fps. In fact, the Mesh blazed through Crysis with the highest quality settings at a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200, scoring 28fps. The only system we’ve seen recently to surpass these scores – or even approach them – is the Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut, which scored 53fps in the High test thanks to its dual-GPU 9800 GX2 graphics card.

Performance in our 2D benchmarks was similarly impressive. An overall score of 1.58 – including a brilliant score of 1.91 in our intensive multi-tasking test – indicates that the Ultimate is one of the more powerful PCs we’ve seen recently and will be able to handle almost anything you care to throw at it, even intensive multi-tasking and video editing. Still, it’s not the quite the ultimate in 2D performance: the Fusion Juggernaut still holds that crown at an astonishing 2.07 – the highest we’ve ever seen – and the Chillblast Fusion Photo OC II also scored highly, with a 1.93.

The gap in performance is explained by the difference in processing power between the two systems. While the Juggernaut and Mesh machines both share the same Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450, the Chillblast’s CPU is overclocked to 3.4GHz, compared to the standard 2.66GHz clock speed of the Mesh.

Despite this, it’s still a fantastic processor, and the rest of the specification is just as impressive. A Blu-ray drive adds some high-definition sheen to the system, and an HDMI port on the Hanns.G 28in monitor can take full advantage of it, too.

There’s a terabyte of storage available – enough for the mightiest of film and music collections, as well as dozens of games – and 4GB of DDR3 RAM is superior to the same amount of 800MHz DDR2 memory available in the Juggernaut.

The chassis is another high point: it’s a monolithic Cooler Master Cosmos that we last saw in our Ultimate PC Labs and comes with a host of useful features – as well as styling that will make it the centrepiece of a room rather than a shrinking violet.

A sturdy door hides the Blu-ray drive and separate DVD writer – as well as a raft of spare 5.25in and 3.5in bays – and four USB ports, an eSATA socket and FireWire on the top of the case provide scope for plenty of peripherals. There’s also a slightly softer area on the roof of the case for storing small peripherals. The rear is just as well appointed: six USB ports, two Ethernet sockets, eSATA, FireWire and a bevy of audio jacks cater for everything you’d want to connect to the Ultimate.

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