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.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity320
RAM capacity2.00GB
Screen sizeN/A


CPU familyAMD Athlon
CPU nominal frequency2.70GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketAM3
HSF (heatsink-fan)AMD Low-profile


MotherboardJ&W Minix 780G-SP128M
Motherboard chipsetAMD 780G
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total1
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SATA connectors4
Internal SAS connectors0
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors0
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR2
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardN/A
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
DVI-I outputs1
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskSamsung HD322HJ
Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Cache size16MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A


Optical driveLite-On iHES106
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelN/A
Resolution screen horizontalN/A
Resolution screen verticalN/A
ResolutionN/A x N/A
Pixel response timeN/A
Contrast ratioN/A
Screen brightnessN/A
DVI inputs0
HDMI inputs0
VGA inputs0
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

Speaker type0
Sound cardRealtek HD audio


ChassisMesh Cute
Case formatMini ITX
Dimensions200 x 301 x 171mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyCFI KT-T150FXS-06A
Power supply rating150W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)8
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portyes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports1
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
3.5mm audio jacks6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readerno

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardLogitech Deluxe 660 Cordless desktop

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery disc
Software suppliedCyberlink BD Solution

Noise and power

Idle power consumption75W
Peak power consumption112W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score1.16
Office application benchmark score1.07
2D graphics application benchmark score1.37
Encoding application benchmark score1.15
Multitasking application benchmark score1.07
3D performance (crysis) low settings22fps
3D performance settingLow

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