Mesh Titan GT Pro review
While the dearest computers will always have an aspirational appeal, the more modest end of the market can be just as fascinating. A year ago, for instance, you wouldn’t have put money on a 3.16GHz processor, 9000-series graphics card and 750GB of storage space being available for a mere £575.
How times have changed, though. The Mesh Titan GT Pro serves up a tempting core specification that serves to highlight the inevitable drop in component prices: Intel’s Core 2 Duo E8500 – which also boasts a 6MB L2 cache and 1,333MHz FSB – sits alongside an Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT graphics card, 750GB hard disk, 4GB of RAM. Mesh has also included a 22in TFT.
Accordingly, the Titan GT Pro lived up to its name by delivering some impressive benchmark scores. An overall 2D score of 1.82 indicates that even the most demanding of applications won’t phase it, and lightning-quick results in our graphics and multi-tasking tests indicate where the Mesh’s strengths lie.
These results look even better when the Mesh is lined up against rival systems. The Eclipse Zenith i82n98GTX, with its Core 2 Duo E8200 processor, could only manage 1.4 in the same tests. The Titan GT Pro is even quicker than systems which are significantly more expensive – the PC Specialist Apollo Q8200 GTX+ could also only manage 1.4. The Mesh is also quicker than all but one machine in our recent Do-It-All PC Labs test, in which the cheapest system cost £680.
There’s a modest amount of gaming potential, too, thanks to the GeForce 9600 GT graphics card. Our Low and Medium benchmarks didn’t trouble the GPU, but our High-quality Crysis test proved too much – the Mesh only managed a juddering 19fps. It’s a sign, perhaps, that the 9600 GT is getting a bit long in the tooth – ATI’s Radeon HD 4850 or HD 4830 cards, for instance, both cost little extra cash but provide better performance.
Elsewhere, the specification is extremely capable. Intel’s P43 chipset is a relatively modern part that undoubtedly contributes to the decent benchmark score, and 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium means that every bit of the 4GB of RAM can be used effectively. The 750GB hard disk guarantees plenty of storage, too.
All of this is wrapped in a familiar Mesh chassis. The slightly bland looks and uninspiring build quality are the signs of the Titan GT Pro’s reduced budget, but it’s a functional case that offers a reasonable amount of upgrade potential. Three PCI slots and a PCI-Express 1x slot are available, as are several 5.25in and 3.5in hard disk bays – ideal for extra storage or a Blu-ray drive should you want to expand later on. The only thing really lacking is a spare PCI-Express 16x slot that could be used for a second graphics card.
The neat cabling inside the system and frugal use of components – the reasonably small graphics card and low-profile Intel cooler take up little room – mean that tinkering with your PC is relatively easy, too. It’s also worth noting that the Mesh is a quiet machine – the barely audible hum increased to a slight whirr when we pushed the CPU, but it certainly wasn’t intrusive enough to prove a distraction.
As befitting the Mesh’s budget status, the range of peripherals is more modest than some of the components. While the 22in Hanns.G Hi221D TFT provides plenty of desktop space – certainly more than the 19in panel included with the rival Eclipse system – it doesn’t offer great quality. While it’s decent enough for working and surfing the web, the pale colour reproduction and poor contrast mean that it’s not the best for watching movies or playing games. You don’t get any separate speakers, although there is a mediocre integrated set on the TFT.
|Warranty||1 year(s) return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||750|
|CPU family||Intel Core 2 Duo|
|CPU nominal frequency||3.16GHz|
|CPU overclocked frequency||N/A|
|Processor socket||LGA 775|
|HSF (heatsink-fan)||Intel low profile cooler|
|Motherboard||Asus P5QL Pro|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel P43|
|Conventional PCI slots free||3|
|PCI-E x16 slots free||0|
|PCI-E x16 slots total||0|
|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||1|
|Internal SATA connectors||6|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?||no|
|3D performance setting||High|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|Number of graphics cards||N/A|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|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 disk 2 make and model||N/A|
|Optical disk 3 make and model||N/A|
|Monitor make and model||Hanns.G Hi221D|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,680|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,050|
|Resolution||1680 x 1050|
|Sound card||Realtek HD audio|
|Case format||Midi tower|
|Dimensions||180 x 430 x 380mm (WDH)|
|USB ports (downstream)||9|
|Front panel USB ports||3|
|Front panel FireWire ports||1|
|Front panel memory card reader||yes|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows Vista|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||98W|
|Peak power consumption||167W|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.82|
|Office application benchmark score||1.81|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.95|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.51|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||2.02|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||19fps|
|3D performance setting||High|