Mesh Cute X215 HD review

Price when reviewed

Bringing a PC into your lounge might be considered grounds for divorce in some households, but Mesh’s latest aims to slip under the radar by cramming a capable Windows Media Center PC into a compact package.

We’re not, however, talking fit-in-your-pocket petite. Compared to the latest net-tops, such as Acer’s slimline Aspire Revo R3600, the Mesh doesn’t push the boundaries of miniaturisation very far. About the size of a Shuttle barebones, it’s neither particularly small or, for that matter, cute.

It isn’t that Mesh hasn’t tried to give the Cute a friendly face, it’s just that, to all intents and purposes, it looks desperately ordinary. Despite the attention-grabbing glossy red fascia and the rest of the chassis being finished in smart gloss black, the Mesh singularly fails to set the pulse racing.

That’s entertainment

Look past its shiny exterior, though, and the Mesh’s Media Center credentials are pretty convincing. There’s a dual-tuner DVB-T TV card nestling in the sole PCI Express x16 slot, and Mesh has even managed to squeeze a Blu-ray reader into the budget.

And we have few quibbles with the rest of the Cute’s pedigree. The AMD Athlon II X2 215 processor is hardly high-end, but it’s plenty powerful enough for watching TV and recording it, and it managed 1.16 in our application-based benchmarks.

Its modest performance goes hand in hand with reasonably low power consumption, too: the system draws 112W at full tilt, and idles at just 75W.

The presence of integrated graphics is hardly a surprise at this price, but the ATI Radeon HD 3200 chipset is a cut above many of its rivals. There still isn’t a great deal of 3D gaming potential, as a result of 22fps in our lowest Crysis benchmark testifies, but ATI’s Avivo technology is a welcome sight since it offloads Blu-ray decoding from the CPU and consequently helps to keep power consumption down.

Hot to trot

The Cute’s power demands might be miniscule, and its mini-ITX motherboard equally so, but a peek around its rear reveals a backplate simply fit to bursting with useful ports and connectors. HDMI takes care of most modern TVs but, with DVI and VGA sockets snuggled alongside, the Mesh is equally happy connected to a standard PC monitor.

Meanwhile, audio can be ferried through the onboard 7.1 sound card and hooked up to suitable set of PC speakers, or bypassed completely with the optical and coaxial digital outputs at the rear. And with two USB ports at the front, six at the rear and a single eSATA connection ready and waiting, you’ll need a veritable army of peripherals before the Cute is found wanting.

The moment you turn the Cute on, however, it’s attention-seeking in all the wrong ways. The noisy fans whirr incessantly, and with just a low-profile CPU cooler and a 80mm exhaust fan at the rear, the Mesh struggles to keep its cool.

The AMD processor idled at a toasty 48 degrees centigrade, and after mere minutes of stress-testing shot up to 72 degrees. Such temperatures might be forgivable if the Cute was silent, but it’s quite the opposite, and given its inefficient cooling we’d hardly recommend stifling the Mesh in the confines of an AV rack.


The reasonable performance and generous specification make the Mesh Cute X215 HD look like a truly stonking deal, then, but it’s by no means perfect. The key requirements for a capable media-centre PC are efficiency and silent running, and while the Mesh won’t send your electricity bill ballooning, its noisy fans will soon leave you reaching for the off switch.


Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 320
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Screen size N/A


CPU family AMD Athlon
CPU nominal frequency 2.70GHz
CPU overclocked frequency N/A
Processor socket AM3
HSF (heatsink-fan) AMD Low-profile


Motherboard J&W Minix 780G-SP128M
Motherboard chipset AMD 780G
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
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 0
Internal SATA connectors 4
Internal SAS connectors 0
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec


Memory type DDR2
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card N/A
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
DVI-I outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Samsung HD322HJ
Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 298GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Cache size 16MB
Hard disk 2 make and model N/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 2 cache size 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


Optical drive Lite-On iHES106
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A


Monitor make and model N/A
Resolution screen horizontal N/A
Resolution screen vertical N/A
Resolution N/A x N/A
Pixel response time N/A
Contrast ratio N/A
Screen brightness N/A
DVI inputs 0
HDMI inputs 0
VGA inputs 0
DisplayPort inputs 0

Additional Peripherals

Speakers 0
Speaker type 0
Sound card Realtek HD audio
Peripherals N/A


Chassis Mesh Cute
Case format Mini ITX
Dimensions 200 x 301 x 171mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply CFI KT-T150FXS-06A
Power supply rating 150W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 8
eSATA ports 1
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 2
Front panel memory card reader no

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Logitech Deluxe 660 Cordless desktop

Operating system and software

OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery disc
Software supplied Cyberlink BD Solution

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 75W
Peak power consumption 112W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 1.16
Office application benchmark score 1.07
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.37
Encoding application benchmark score 1.15
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.07
3D performance (crysis) low settings 22fps
3D performance setting Low

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