Mesh Matrix Vector 2006 review

£799
Price when reviewed

Mesh knows a thing or two about value, and the Vector 2006 is a hard PC to beat on those terms. It scores highly for packing in so many features without cutting corners in any of the vital areas.

Mesh Matrix Vector 2006 review

The Matrix is based around a solid motherboard – the Asus A8N-E – which itself is based around the nForce4 Ultra chipset. Like Evesham’s Radeon Xpress 200 motherboard, the Asus offers Gigabit Ethernet, RAID and plenty of expansion but oddly has no FireWire controller.

Unless you have a DV camcorder and want to edit videos, this won’t be a major problem. Even if you do, it’s likely you can use one of the eight USB 2 ports. If audio is important, the A8N-E offers both optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs.

On the subject of audio, Mesh includes the Inspire T6060 5.1 speaker system from Creative. They’re better quality than the P5800s but still lack mid-range response.

2D performance comes courtesy of an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ – like the Evesham’s – and this led to a similar Overall 2D score of 1.01. It suggests that even the latest applications used in our benchmarks don’t benefit significantly from an extra 512MB of RAM – Mesh generously includes two 512MB sticks, leaving two sockets free.

The motherboard isn’t an SLI model, and the single PCI Express 16x slot is occupied by a Radeon X800 – similar to Evesham’s – which managed a decent 41fps in Far Cry. In the box, you’ll find cables for outputting the signal to composite, S-Video and component video – useful if you want to hook up a TV.

The 19in ViewSonic VX912 provides a relatively big image, though, but the resolution remains the same as the 17in TFTs on test. It’s a high-quality monitor, offering horizontal viewing angles of well over 100 degrees and an evenly lit, crystal-clear picture over DVI.

Mesh chooses exactly the same optical drives as Evesham, so there’s a fast Sony DVD writer that supports dual-layer formats, and a Sony DVD-ROM drive. There’s also a 200GB hard disk, although it’s a Maxtor rather than a Western Digital.

The cordless Logitech keyboard and mouse are identical too. Extras include a modem, a USB media card reader and a decent VoIP phone. A two-year on-site warranty (with a year’s RTB cover afterwards) rounds off the system.

Unfortunately, with sound measurements never dropping below 41dBA, the Mesh can’t match the Evesham overall, but remains a good choice if noise isn’t too important and you want the larger monitor and surround-sound speakers.

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