Mesh Xtreme i7 920 review

£1956
Price when reviewed

New technology is always incredibly enticing. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks tinkering with Intel’s debuting Core i7 processors, becoming suitably impressed and even getting the 965-Extreme part running at a ferocious 3.7GHz after overclocking. The Mesh Xtreme i7 920 is the first full PC system we’ve seen with one of the new parts – and we’re interested to see how one of the new CPUs performs in a fully-built machine.

The part in question is the Core i7-920, which offers a huge amount of power despite being the entry-level part. A core clock speed of 2.66GHz is spread across four cores, with the revamped Hyper-Threading technology meaning that the PC can tackle eight tasks at once.

This jump in specification also provides a significant boost in performance. In our 2D benchmarks, the Xtreme managed a score of 1.94 – a time that’s almost a match for the fastest PCs we’ve ever seen, and faster than the 1.67 delivered by the A-Listed Cyberpower Gamer Ultra M2 Quad. It’s not far behind the 2.1 of the Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut and 2.01 of the Chillblast Fusion Dominator, both of which came pre-overclocked.

Gaming performance is equally impressive thanks to the inclusion of an ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. Our low and medium tests were dispatched with ease, although its scores of 95fps and 51fps weren’t quite as impressive as the Dominator, which managed 68fps in our medium-quality test.

More demanding tests, though, saw the HD 4870 X2 really coming into its own. The Mesh ran at 46fps in our high benchmark, with the very high test returning a decent result of 37fps – faster than both the Cyberpower and Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut in the same test. While both these machines provided unplayable results beyond this, the Mesh carried on, managing 33fps in our 1,920 x 1,200, very high quality test – proof that the Mesh is one of the most capable gaming machines we’ve ever seen.

The rest of the specification is reasonably good, too. The Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard comes equipped with the Splashtop interface, and 6GB of RAM – arranged in the X58 motherboard’s triple-channel DIMM slots – is a step up from the 4GB, dual-channel memory we’re used to seeing. There’s a capacious terabyte of storage, and an optical drive – LG’s GGC-H20L – that can read both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs, although it can’t write to either format.

The huge amount of power available is packed into a decent chassis. The Cooler Master Dominator 690 is a mid-tower ATX case that comes with a 1,200W PSU and, despite the amount of hardware crammed inside, it’s relatively tidy. The powerful PSU comes with a mass of cables which are bundled together neatly, and the usual tool-less entry is prevalent here. The Mesh is also a reasonably quiet PC – the Akasa Nero CPU cooler and quiet fan on the graphics card see that little noise escapes the chassis.

There’s even a decent amount of upgrade space, too. Two free PCI Express slots could cater for a potentially ferocious CrossfireX rig, and a trio of empty triple-channel DIMM slots could house a mammoth 12GB of memory in the future. Four hard disk bays sit empty, too – although we see more need for, perhaps, a super-fast SSD than traditional storage. There’s only one internal 3.5in bay empty – the other is occupied by a neat control panel for the SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty sound card – but there are two 5.25in bays, so including a second optical drive is still an option.

Warranty

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Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,000
RAM capacity 6.00GB
Screen size 24.0in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 2.66GHz
CPU overclocked frequency N/A
Processor socket LGA 1366

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P6T Deluxe
Motherboard chipset Intel X58 Express
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots free 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 3
PCI-E x1 slots total 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 3
Memory sockets total 6

Graphics card

3D performance setting High
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD4870 X2
Graphics card RAM 1.95GB

Hard disk

Capacity 1.00TB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM

Drives

Optical drive LG GGC-H20L
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader

Monitor

Monitor make and model Iiyama PLE2403WS
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,200
Resolution 1920 x 1200

Additional Peripherals

Speakers Creative Inspire T6200
Speaker type 5.1
Sound card Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Edition

Case

Chassis Cooler Master Dominator 690
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 214 x 525 x 482mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply rating 1,200W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 2

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 10
FireWire ports 2
eSATA ports 2
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Modem no

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Logitech Cordless Desktop

Operating system and software

OS family Windows Vista

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 217W
Peak power consumption 408W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 1.94
Office application benchmark score 1.64
2D graphics application benchmark score 2.12
Encoding application benchmark score 1.64
Multitasking application benchmark score 2.35
3D performance (crysis) low settings 46fps
3D performance setting High

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