Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Mesh Elite Voyager Mini CS review - 'Phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty living space'

Michael Passingham
20 Jan 2016
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
999
inc VAT

Expensive for a compact PC, but there's no doubting its performance

Advertisement

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K, RAM: 16GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB2, 4x USB3, 2x USB3.1, Total storage: 250GB M.2 SSD, 1TB hard disk, Graphics card: 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, Display: None, Operating system: Windows 10

We first saw a version of Mesh's Elite Voyager CS last year. We weren't bowled over by its dual-core performance or lack of dedicated graphics, although its £500 price without a monitor made it reasonable value. This time around, Mesh has pulled out all the stops to supply one of the most powerful mini PCs we've ever seen - a veritable genie in the lamp. It's also doubled the price.

The Fractal Design Node 304 case is striking in white, although its glossy front does give it an unfortunate similarity to a mini fridge. We'd probably go with the black version of this case if we were given the choice. Kitchen appliance styling aside, the Elite Voyager Mini CS is still a decent-looking machine that stands out from its rivals. It's also significantly smaller than many of the desktop Mini-ITX cases we've tested, with a footprint of just 250x374mm. At 210mm high it's a little taller than a PC you'd put under your TV, and it'll need its very own cupboard if you plan on using it in your lounge.

These are the best desktop PCs you can buy in 2016

There's cooling aplenty inside. Two 92mm intake fans sit at the front of the chassis, drawing in air from a small grille at the front. The air, having been whisked through the front of the chassis, meets the storage bays and CPU cooler, passing around the side of the graphics card before being ejected by a large 200m fan at the rear. Even under load, everything stays reasonably quiet, with only a slight whooshing noise audible. The graphics card sits on its side, its fan pointing out of a large grille on the left of the case. In short, there's no shortage of cooling in this compact PC.

The Mesh Elite Voyager Mini CS has been kitted out with the most powerful processor in this group; the quad-core, Hyper-Threaded Intel Core i7-6700K. This chip runs at a base clock speed of 4GHz, Turbo Boosting to 4.2GHz when thermal conditions allow. It's complete overkill for a mini gaming PC, especially when you consider that this component by itself takes up more than a third of this computer's total price. It's a shame the money didn't also go into a bit of overclocking; the 'K' suffix denotes a chip with an unlocked clock multiplier, with overclocking encouraged; however, ramping up the clock speed in such a compact case can make cooling trickier.

The PC's high benchmark scores match its price, with an overall score of 160 and scores of 168 and 176 in the video editing and multitasking tests respectively. This is a massive score, so this PC will dominate any task you throw at it. Both memory slots are filled so you'll have to replace both 8GB DDR4 sticks with two 16GB modules if you want to double your RAM later.

The 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card is a worthy partner for the processor, unsurprisingly producing some excellent performances in all the games we threw at it. Dirt Showdown was dispatched with a 129.2fps average frame rate, while the much more challenging Metro: Last Light benchmark reported back an average frame rate of 48.3fps at its highest settings. There isn't a lot the Elite Voyager Mini CS isn't capable of when it comes to games, and it'll continue to perform for years to come.

With such a compact build, expansion is naturally limited, although there is space for extra storage if you need it. Fractal's case is built with servers as well as desktop users in mind, so there is space for six 3.5in or 2.5in drives, with five drive bays unoccupied. Mesh has supplied a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SSD rated for super-fast 540MB/s and 500MB/s read and write speeds. If you're looking to play a game of 'find the SSD', you should know the M.2 drive is on the back of the motherboard and can only be accessed by completely disassembling the rest of the build. There's also a 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard disk for bulk file storage, leaving three SATA3 connectors free for other drives you may want to add at a later date.

At the rear of the PC are eight USB ports including two USB2, four USB3 and two USB3.1. There's also Gigabit Ethernet, five 3.5mm audio jacks and an optical S/PDIF jack. The motherboard also comes with an aerial that attaches to two ports on the rear of the motherboard to give it 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity. The graphics card, meanwhile, has a DVI connector, HDMI port and two Mini DisplayPort plugs.

Mesh's warranty is generous, with its 'Gold' coverage including two years of replacement parts, a year of collect-and-return cover and free labour for life.

The Mesh Elite Voyager Mini CS is a seriously powerful piece of kit, and while it is expensive, the performance you get from its components is unmatched by any of the mini PCs we've tested. A lack of supplied accessories and a chassis that won't quite fit in your media centre are minus points, but if you're after a micro powerhouse for under £1,000, look no further.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K
Processor socketLGA1151
RAM16GB
Memory typeDDR4
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsus Z170I Pro Gaming
Motherboard chipsetZ170
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports2x USB3
Rear USB ports2x USB2, 4x USB3, 2x USB3.1
Other ports1x PS/2
Networking1x 10/100/1000, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Case typeMini-ITX
Case dimensions HxWxD210x250x374mm
PCI (free)None
PCIe x1 (free)None
PCIe x16 (free)1 (0)
Serial ATA (free)4 (3)
Memory slots (free)2 (0)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)6 (5)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)6 (5)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)None
Storage
Total storage250GB M.2 SSD, 1TB hard disk
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeNone
Graphics
Graphics card4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
Graphics/video portsDVI, 2x Mini DisplayPort, HDMI
Sound
Sound cardRealtek ALC1150 (integrated)
Sound card outputs5x 3.5mm, S/PDIF
SpeakersNone
Display
DisplayNone
Native resolutionN/A
InputsN/A
Other hardware
KeyboardNone
MouseNone
ExtrasNone
Software
Operating systemWindows 10
Operating system restore optionWindows 10 restore
Buying information
WarrantyTwo years parts cover, one year collect-and-return, lifetime labour
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£999
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)N/A
Suppliermeshcomputers.com
Detailsmeshcomputers.com
Part CodeElite Voyager Mini CS

Read more

Reviews