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Mesh Cute X215 HD review

Seth Barton
20 Oct 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
399
inc VAT

This media centre mini PC has everything you need at a very reasonable price, but it's louder than we'd like and boxy when compared to many nettops.

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Specifications

2.7GHz AMD Athlon II X2 215, 2.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Cute may be overdoing it as an adjective to describe Mesh's new media centre PC.

It's compact, but its cheerily coloured front panel (also available in white and red) can't disguise the rather boxy and utilitarian design. In fact, compared to many media-centre capable nettops it's a bit of a porker.

At £399 inc VAT it's considerably more expensive than a nettop, but you certainly get your money's worth, as this is a fully equipped media centre. There's a dual DVB-T tuner fitted, so you can make full use of Windows Media Center's excellent TV recording capabilities. Most impressively, a Blu-ray combo drive is included, allowing you to play HD movies using the supplied CyberLink PowerDVD software.

HD video playback isn't a problem thanks to the onboard ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics chipset and dual-core 2.7GHz AMD Athlon II X2 215 processor. The latter provides far more processing power than any nettop, scoring a respectable 65 in our benchmarks. That said it's not very powerful next to many modern desktop PCs.

Part of the reason for its low multitasking score is that it only has 2GB of RAM. We're used to seeing systems with 4GB or more these days. Mesh wants an additional £40 to double the amount of memory.

Opening up the Cute, we were surprised to see that it takes laptop-style SODIMM memory modules. Both its memory slots are full, so you won't save any money by making the memory upgrade yourself - unless you get a good price for the originals on eBay.

There are only two USB ports, plus the usual audio sockets, on the front of the case, which is a pity as a memory card reader would have been handy too. The rear is a different story, as its bristling with ports. Around the back there are an additional six USB ports, eSATA and Gigabit Ethernet - though no WiFi. There's HDMI to connect to your HD TV, along with DVI and VGA. The 7.1 analogue surround sound output must be used to get the highest quality audio from Blu-ray movies, as copy protection restricts HDMI to just 6.1Mbit/s. There are also the more usual optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs.

Above the ports is the single 80mm fan used to cool the Cute. We found that the whole system was noisy and whiny when put under strain. This isn't ideal for a media centre PC. It's not the loudest PC by any means, but there's a price to pay for putting a relatively powerful dual-core processor in such a small chassis.

The Cute's specification is impressive given its price, and technically speaking, it's a very capable media centre PC. However, we weren't won over by its chassis design or noisiness. Due to these factors, it falls short of top marks.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Athlon II X2 215
Processor external bus200MHz (1.8GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx13.5
Processor clock speed2.7GHz
Processor socketAM2+
Level 1 cache2x 128KB
Level 2 cache2x 512KB
Memory2.000000
Memory typePC2-5300
Maximum memory4GB
Power consumption standby4W
Power consumption idle72W
Power consumption active99W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/1
Wired network ports10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemini PC
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)N/A
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity320GB
Spindle speedN/A

Graphics

Graphics card(s)ATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics/video portsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputs7.1 line out, coaxial S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelN/A
Optical drive type(s)BD-ROM + DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Screen modelN/A
Native resolutionN/A
Response timeN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardLogitech Deluxe 660 Cordless Desktop
MouseLogitech Cordless Optical Mouse

Software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£399
Supplierhttp://www.meshcomputers.com
Detailswww.meshcomputers.com

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