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Mesh Elite CSR review

Barry de la Rosa
19 Oct 2010
Mesh Elite CSR
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
549
inc VAT

The overclocked Core i3 processor makes the Elite CSR blazingly fast, but it's let down by the poor monitor and it lacks a dedicated graphics card

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Specifications

3.6GHz Intel Core i3-530, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The Mesh Elite CSR comes in a slightly taller tower case than most budget Mesh PCs, which means there's plenty of room inside for expansion. Mesh has relied on the Intel Core i3-530's integrated graphics chip, leaving the single PCI-Ex16 slot free for a dedicated graphics card upgrade. You also get a 22in Full HD monitor for your money, although this can be omitted to save £77.

Depending on what you want to use the display for, this could be a good idea, as the AOC F22s+ has only a VGA input, so you can't use it for another device, such as a games console or Blu-ray player. Image quality from the display isn't too bad, with decent colours and viewing angles. There's some light bleed at the top and bottoms of the screen, but this is only noticeable on dark images, such as the black bars at the top of films.

The Core i3's integrated graphics chip isn't powerful, and can barely handle decoding Full HD content. It failed to run our Call of Duty 4 benchmarks test, and is certainly not suitable for games. It's fine for Windows use, however, and if you want to play games you should save up for a decent graphics card, such as the ATI Radeon HD 5770.

Mesh Elite CSR

You certainly won't need to upgrade the processor any time soon: Mesh has overclocked the Core i3-530 from its stock speed of 2.9GHz to a speedy 3.6GHz, making the Elite CSR as fast computer. Single-threaded performance in our image-editing test was an astounding 153, but with only two physical cores, the result in our multi-tasking test was a much lower 106.

This sort of performance is astounding at this price point, and only the most intensive applications, such as video-encoding or 3D rendering, will ever slow down this PC. Similarly, you'll probably never need to upgrade the 4GB of RAM, and the 500GB hard disk will take a while to fill up.

With neatly bundled cables, the inside of the case looks rather empty. There are a total of five free 3.5in bays, two of which are external, and three free 5.25in bays, all of which have easy-to-use tool-less mounting brackets. The motherboard is empty apart from the processor's massive heatsink and fan: there's one free PCI slot, two PCI-Ex1 slots and a single PCI-Ex16 slot, as well as two spare DIMM sockets and four SATA headers.

On the outside, a total of eight USB ports are spread across the front and rear panels, although one is used up by the mouse. There aren't any eSATA or FireWire ports to cater to fast external drives. For audio, there's a choice of 5.1 or optical S/PDIF outputs, and you can also output both audio and video via HDMI.

Sadly, the Elite CSR falls behind the competition this month. Palicomp's Core i3 Blast 530OC41-22 has an even faster processor, a better quality Full HD monitor and twice the hard disk space, and even has a cheap graphics card. It's much better value.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i3-530
Processor external bus200MHz (4.4GHz QuickPath Interconnect)
Processor multiplierx18
Processor clock speed3.6GHz
Processor socketLGA1156
Level 1 cache2x 64KB
Level 2 cache2x 256KB
Memory4
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardAsustek P7H55-M
Motherboard chipsetIntel H55

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
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

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SpinPoint F3 HD502HJ
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity500GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel GMA HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelAOC F22s+
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardCherry KU-0556
MouseCherry M-5400

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB (three months collect and return)
Price£549
Detailswww.meshcomputers.com

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