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Mesh Matrix 250 Plus CS review

David Ludlow
12 May 2010
Mesh Matrix 250 Plus CS
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
400
inc VAT

The large, high-quality monitor makes this PC a tempting choice, but for the same amount of money you can buy a faster, better-specified computer.

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Specifications

3GHz AMD Athlon II X2 250, 4.000000 RAM, 20in 1,600x900 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Most budget PCs typically ship with small monitors with low resolutions in order to keep the price down. With its Matrix 250 Plus CS, Mesh has opted for a 20in display. This may not seem a lot bigger than the 19in models that ship with most budget computers, but it has one important advantage: resolution.

Rather than a 1,366x768 or 1,440x900 resolution that most budget monitors have, the supplied AOC 2036Sa has a resolution of 1,600x900. What this means in practice is that there's a lot more room on the Windows desktop, so working on multiple documents or a large spreadsheet feel much more comfortable than on a smaller and more cramped screen.

Fortunately, its quality is pretty good, too. The screen's not quite as bright as some we've tested, but contrast is decent and we found that colours were accurate, rather than punchy and vibrant. Whites looked pure, although a touch dim. The screen has only a VGA input, but that's fair enough as the PC has only a VGA output from the integrated GeForce 630a graphics chip.

As you might expect from a budget chip, performance is rather lacking. We managed to get Call of Duty 4 running, but it was a completely unplayable slide show, with less than one frame per second. In other words, games are completely out of this computer's reach. Fortunately, there's a spare PCI-E x16 slot inside the case, should you decide that you want to upgrade. You may need to upgrade the 400W power supply, though, as it doesn't have any PCI-E graphics card adaptors on it.

Even a budget computer should offer decent desktop performance, and the Matrix 250 Plus does well. The AMD Athlon II X2 250 has a clock speed of 3GHz, making it one of the quickest dual-core chips that you can buy. Mesh has kitted the PC out with the motherboard's maximum 4GB of RAM (filling both DIMM slots), which helped the PC get an overall score of 76 in our Windows benchmarks. This PC is good for all standard tasks and some light video editing, too.

A 320GB hard disk is about the minimum that we'd expect to see today, and provides enough space for most people's documents and media files. Should you want to ugprade, there are two free 3.5in drive bays inside the case, but you'll have to overcome some problems. First, there are only two SATA ports on the motherboard and both are used: one for the DVD writer and one for the hard disk. This means you'd have to buy a SATA card and fit it in either the PCI or PCI-E x1 slot. Secondly, there are no free SATA power connectors, so you'll need to buy a converter for the single free Molex power connector.

It's good to see that Mesh hasn't skimped on any of the other components. The wired Logitech keyboard and mouse may not be very exciting, but they're a good choice. We found that the keyboard was comfortable to touch-type on, and the mouse fitted perfectly in our hand.

The Matrix 250 Plus CS is a decent budget computer and a brilliant choice if you want a large monitor. However, Palicomp's Carbon AMD TFT-19 is a better all-round choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorAMD Athlon II X2 250
Processor external bus200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx15
Processor clock speed3GHz
Processor socketAM3
Level 1 cache2x 128KB
Level 2 cache2x 1,024KB
Memory4.000000
Memory typePC2-6400
Maximum memory4GB
MotherboardAsus M2N68-AM SE2
Motherboard chipsetNvidia GeForce 7025

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays2

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar WD3200AAJS-00L7A
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity320GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Nvidia GeForce 630a
Graphics/video portsVGA

Sound

SoundRealtec High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out, mic in, line in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelTTSTcorp SH-S223C
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size20 in
Screen modelAOC 2036Sa
Native resolution1,600x900
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardLogitech Deluxe 250 Keyboard
MouseLogitech B110

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£400
Supplierhttp://www.meshcomputers.com
Detailswww.meshcomputers.com

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