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Mesh Elite 4850 Power review

13 Feb 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

A superb £500 PC ifyou have a gamer in the household. Power without the price.

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Specifications

The Mesh Elite 4850 Power is the best all-round performer we've seen under £500.

It may have been some way off the top scores in our 2D (general) benchmarks, but performance in all the tests was perfectly respectable. It's significant that this was the only PC in the group to score over 100% in both of our tests - an indication that, while there are more powerful machines out there if you're prepared to pay for them, this one won't let you down in any task.

Where it really showed its mettle was in the 3D benchmark. The Mesh's gaming performance blew the other models here out of the water by a huge margin, thanks to the inclusion of a powerful ATI Radeon HD4850 graphics card with 512MB of memory on board. Thanks to this, the Elite 4850 Power was able to run Call of Duty 2 with our high video settings at nearly 67 frames per second - more than twice what you'd need for smooth gameplay, and double the performance of its closest competitor here. If you aspire to the latest and most graphically intense DirectX 10 titles, such as Crysis: Warhead or World In Conflict, the HD4850 shouldn't have any problems keeping up, even with all the detail settings enabled.

On the money

Within a limited budget, one standout component usually means corners cut elsewhere. It's true that the rest of the Mesh's specification can't quite match that graphics card, but nothing about it looks weak. The 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 has enough oomph to run just about any software comfortably, and 4GB of memory helps prevent Vista slowing down when multiple applications are running at the same time. The 64-bit version is supplied to enable the full 4GB to be used.

The 500GB Samsung HD501 hard disk is not only big enough for most media collections, but also fast. It sits inside a tidy case in which all the leads have been tied out of the way. The motherboard only has two memory slots, which are both used already, but you're unlikely to need more than 4GB in the near future. The processor is cooled with an efficient Akasa fan, and a single 120mm exhaust blows air from the back. Although the case is unlikely to win any design awards, in no way is it ugly. The plastic front is solid and chunky, with a memory card reader, USB, FireWire and audio ports neatly incorporated, and no flimsy doors. A small Mesh logo glows blue when you turn the PC on, and that's as garish as it gets.

Built for speed

The Hanns G HG191A monitor is no premium product, but a perfectly serviceable 19 incher, also chosen by Cyberpower. The Logitech S220 speakers are a commonplace and inexpensive 2.1 set (two desktop speakers and a subwoofer), which sound quite reasonable, though you can't expect sound quality to rival a good hi-fi or volume levels that would drown out Glastonbury.

This is a well built PC with plenty of functionality and no unsatisfactory or unnecessary features. If neither you nor anyone else in the vicinity has any interest in 3D games, the excellent graphics card will be rather wasted, so you might be tempted by the faster 2D performance of the Eclipse or Cyberpower. However, as an all round family computer, the Elite 4850 Power not only offers the performance to run games without compromise, but will have no problems with music or video playback, multimedia or office applications. None of the bundled extras are disappointing,and the whole lot will set you back less than £500.At this price, the Mesh is our Best Buy.

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