Mesh Stylus review

Price when reviewed

Small form-factor PCs, undeniably, have plenty of advantages. They’re far easier to accommodate on, or under a desk, than the traditional, bulky ATX tower, and they often have enough power to be used as a main PC as well as a quiet, unobtrusive media centre.

Shuttle has had this corner of the market practically sewn up, over the past few years. Its full PC systems – including the XPC P2 3500G (web ID: 191256) have sat as alternative choices on the A List for several months – and Shuttle’s barebones cases also frequently impress. Now, finally, there’s a new contender: the Mesh Stylus.

Instead of the common Shuttle case, this machine uses a Silverstone chassis – the Sugo SST-SG02-F. It’s larger and heavier than most of the Shuttle cases that we’ve seen, and the huge struts of metal inside provide evidence of solid build quality throughout.

Initially, it seems that this extra bulk has been put to good use: A free hard disk bay can be used to augment the existing 500GB disk, and a spare PCI slot and pair of empty DIMM sockets all aid expansion. At the front of the machine there’s an empty 3.5in socket below the optical drive that could easily accommodate a card reader.

The Silverstone chassis isn’t without fault, though. The excellent build quality means that, as well as being bigger than the Shuttle cases we’re used to seeing, the sheer amount of steel used tends to interfere with sections of the case. It’s difficult to access the empty 3.5in bay or DIMM slots, for instance, without having to remove other parts of the PC first.

Thankfully, the impressive specification does mean that the need to upgrade will be some way off. The processor, an Intel Core 2 Duo E8500, runs at 3.16GHz and is one of the newest Wolfdale parts, built using the more efficient 45nm manufacturing process.

Accordingly – and when coupled with the system’s 4GB of RAM – the Stylus provided a superb benchmark result. Its overall score of 1.61 is quicker than the 1.45 scored by the Shuttle XPC, and far faster than the 1.32 scored by the formerly A-Listed Mesh Elite Pulse HD (web ID: 175197) and its Core 2 Duo E8200 CPU, which only ran at 2.66GHz.

For gaming, the Stylus is equally well equipped – with a huge Nvidia GeForce 9800GTX+ graphics card. This takes up plenty of space inside the Silverstone case – so much so, in fact, that it would be difficult to cram even the smallest of expansion cards into the vacant PCI slot.

But it did at least ensure impressive performance in our 3D benchmarks. A score of 35fps in our high settings test is far more impressive than the 21fps scored by the Mesh Elite Pulse HD or 24fps scored by the Shuttle. It’s clear that the 9800 GTX+ is more than capable of handling modern games with little fuss, even at the highest detail settings. Meanwhile, a high-definition optical drive adds to the Stylus’ media capabilities: it can read both Blu-ray and HD-DVD media.

Where this Mesh differs from the Shuttle XPC, and sidles up to traditional ATX rivals, such as the Mesh Elite Pulse HD, is in the addition of a full range of peripherals. There’s a wireless keyboard and mouse from Logitech plus a set of competent – although not outstanding – S220 2.1 speakers.

The monitor, though, a 22in Hanns.G Hi221DP, is deeply average. Blacks and dark greys lack depth, light grey tones and whites lack intensity, while brighter colours appearing especially pale and lifeless.

The price makes up for this somewhat. Remarkably, for a PC that offers such awesome power and a full range of peripherals, the Stylus costs just £681 exc VAT – far more palatable than the £954 for the Shuttle PC without peripherals and also cheaper than the £765 that Mesh demand for the Elite Pulse HD.


Warranty1 year(s) return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity500
RAM capacity4.00GB
Screen size22.0in


CPU familyIntel Core 2 Duo
CPU nominal frequency3.16GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketLGA 775
HSF (heatsink-fan)Intel low profile cooler


MotherboardAsus P5N-MX
Motherboard chipsetNvidia nForce 610i
Conventional PCI slots free1
Conventional PCI slots total1
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
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR2
Memory sockets free2
Memory sockets total4

Graphics card

Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingHigh
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce 9800 GTX+
Graphics card RAM512MB
DVI-I outputs2
HDMI outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cardsN/A

Hard disk

Hard disk usable capacity500GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
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 disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelHanns.G Hi221DP
Resolution screen horizontal1,680
Resolution screen vertical1,050
Resolution1680 x 1050
DVI inputs1
HDMI inputs0
VGA inputs1
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

SpeakersLogitech S220
Speaker type2.1


ChassisSilverstone Sugo SST-SG02-F
Case formatMicro ATX
Dimensions270 x 393 x 212mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)6
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readerno

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardLogitech Cordless Keyboard and Mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows Vista

Noise and power

Idle power consumption102W
Peak power consumption205W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score1.61
Office application benchmark score1.68
2D graphics application benchmark score1.72
Encoding application benchmark score1.36
Multitasking application benchmark score1.69
3D performance (crysis) low settings35fps
3D performance settingHigh

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