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Mesh Inspire CSR review

Tom Morgan
9 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
550
inc VAT

It comes with a decent monitor and has reasonable upgrade potential, but you can get more for your money elsewhere.

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Specifications

3.33GHz Intel Core i3-560, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The Inspire CSR has a larger case than most budget PCs we’ve seen from Mesh, so there's plenty of room inside for expansion. You probably won't need this for some time though, as there's also the fastest Intel Core i3 processor currently available. Running at its stock speed of 3.33GHz, the Core i3-560 is fast enough for the majority of applications. As it’s a dual-core chip, only heavily multi-threaded programs like video encoding could become slow.

Rather than use the processor’s integrated graphics chip, Mesh has installed a Radeon HD 5450 graphics card. Unfortunately, this doesn’t provide much of an improvement, managing 11.7fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. It’s much better suited to playing HD video, although older games should still be playable. The card also takes up the single PCI-E x16 slot, so it will have to be removed should you upgrade to a more powerful card.

The case might be basic, but the midi-tower size means there is plenty of room for adding extra components. Decent cable management means the interior is tidy. A spacious 1TB hard disk fills one of the seven 3 1/2in drive bays, leaving a further six free. The DVD re-writer takes up one 5 1/4in drive bay, leaving three empty bays for future upgrades. The single-slot graphics card doesn’t obstruct the empty PCI slot, and a further two PCI-E x1 slots are clear for adding expansion cards. The 4GB of memory also occupies just two RAM slots, leaving a further two free. The power supply has a decent number of spare SATA and Molex connections, and with a rating of 450 watts, there's enough power for adding several extra disks.

While there's no intake fan installed on the case, the stock Intel CPU cooler and a single exhaust fan are enough to keep the system cool. There are four additional 120mm fan mounts for increased cooling power if you plan on adding a very hot graphics card. Thankfully installing extra components won’t invalidate the warranty, which covers parts and labour for the first two years, and labour only for the final year.

Mesh Inspire CSR Ports

A 22in Iiyama monitor has a 1,920x1,080 resolution, which is great for Full HD content. There's a choice of DVI or VGA connections, but without HDMI you can't connect it to a Blu-Ray player or games console. Image quality was great: colours were rich, contrast was good and images were particularly sharp. The screen also has a pair of in-built speakers, but the volume was predictably quiet and quality was merely average.

Unfortunately, the included mouse and keyboard were simply awful. The keyboard was noisy to use and felt slightly spongy when typing. The mouse wasn’t comfortable to grip, with angular corners that dug into our hands.

Unfortunately the Inspire CSR can't compete with the stiff competition from other manufacturers at this price. While it’s well built and comes with a decent monitor, the basic graphics card can’t handle modern games. Despite using the fastest Core i3 processor available, it's slower than overclocked models with less well-specified chips, meaning there are better choice to be had.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i3-560
Processor external bus133MHz (2.4GHz DMI)
Processor multiplierx25
Processor clock speed3.33GHz
Processor socketLGA1156
Memory4
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardAsus P7H55-M
Motherboard chipsetIntel H55

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)1/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports3
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung HD103SJ
InterfaceSATA II
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)ATI Radeon HD 5450
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC887
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelIiyama ProLite E2208HDS
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA, DVI

Other Hardware

KeyboardCherry KU-0556
MouseCherry M-5400

Software

Software includedCyberLink PowerDVD suite
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionburn own restore disc

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB (three years labour, two years parts)
Price£550
Detailswww.meshcomputers.com

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