Mesh 7 review

£2748
Price when reviewed

The Mesh 7 was hotly anticipated in the PC Pro Labs this month, but it’s not a new CPU or graphics card we’ve been eager to see. You’ve probably already guessed from the picture, but our excitement comes entirely from Thermaltake’s staggering Level 10 chassis.

Created in partnership with designers from BMW, it’s one of the most outlandish cases you’re likely to see. With its hardware ensconced in individual enclosures and attached to a towering spine of brushed aluminium, it’s hard not to be impressed – indeed, the Mesh drew a crowd of perplexed admirers within minutes of its arrival in the Labs.

The Level 10 is vast compared to the average chassis – it’s 666mm tall and weighs 21kg when empty – and its eye-catching design means it will dominate any room it occupies. Thermaltake’s innovative approach means the motherboard, CPU and graphics card are contained within the main enclosure. The PSU and optical drives are housed in separate boxes, and each of the six hard disk bays is its own isolated, removable tray.

Mesh 7

It also comes with several practical benefits. The motherboard tray, optical drive cover and PSU bracket can all be easily removed, and a hole in the motherboard tray allows easy access to the backplate of a heatsink or water-cooling unit. Each hard disk enclosure has a red LED that lights up when it’s occupied, too.

The Level 10 just isn’t built to the standard you’d expect, though. The motherboard enclosure wouldn’t open or close without grating on one of the 120mm case fans and, with the open door no longer supported by the rear fan mount, it noticeably sagged, too heavy for its own hinges.

Due to the asymmetric design, the chassis wobbled at the touch when sat on a flat surface and sagged slightly to one side when fully stocked with components; hardly the sturdy, indestructible build we’d expect given its preposterous price.

Away from the glamour, the Mesh 7 boasts decent upgrade potential: three DIMM sockets, four hard disk bays and two 5.25in bays lie empty alongside two spare PCI Express x16 sockets and two PCI slots. The port selection is fairly standard, with four USB ports and an eSATA connector on the front, and six more USB sockets alongside eSATA, FireWire and PS/2 on the rear.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base N/A

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,064
RAM capacity 6.00GB
Screen size 24.0in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 2.66GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 3.60GHz
Processor socket LGA 1366
HSF (heatsink-fan) Akasa Freedom Tower

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P6T SE
Motherboard chipset Intel X58
Conventional PCI slots free 2
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots free 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 3
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 1
Internal SATA connectors 6
Internal SAS connectors 1
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 3
Memory sockets total 6

Graphics card

Graphics card ATI Radeon HD 5970
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD 5970
Graphics card RAM 2.00GB
DVI-I outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Capacity 1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity 931GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Cache size 32MB
Hard disk 2 make and model Samsung SSD
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 64GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 59
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Monitor make and model Iiyama Prolite E2407HDS
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Pixel response time 5ms
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Screen brightness 300cd/m2
DVI inputs 1
HDMI inputs 1
VGA inputs 1
DisplayPort inputs 0

Additional Peripherals

Speakers N/A
Speaker type N/A
Sound card Realtek HD Audio
Peripherals N/A

Case

Chassis Thermaltake Level 10
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 318 x 614 x 666mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply rating 850W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 2

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 10
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 2
PS/2 mouse port yes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 1
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 4
Front panel eSATA ports 1
Front panel memory card reader no

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 172W
Peak power consumption 545W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 2.56
Office application benchmark score 2.28
2D graphics application benchmark score 2.68
Encoding application benchmark score 2.10
Multitasking application benchmark score 3.16
3D performance (crysis) low settings 186fps
3D performance setting Low

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