The Mesh Elite Quad 6600 FX is all about value for money. It's more of a PR stunt for Mesh Computers than anything else, but don't let that turn you away -- any quad-core PC costing less than £700 shouldn't be sniffed at.
It packs one of the fastest CPUs on the market, has a ridiculous amount of memory and a fairly decent graphics card. As a result, it's capable of doing pretty much anything and is perfect for anyone from humble students to bargain-hunting video editing aficionados.
The Elite Quad 6600 is not unattractive, but it's not exactly pretty either. It's basically the Ugly Betty of PCs -- a munter compared to the best lookers, but with the potential to look good in certain situations.
The chassis is primarily black with some contrasting silver along the front. The middle is home to a circular power button, status lights and, more significantly, a couple of USB ports. Mesh also supplies a memory card reader with slots for the most popular card types.
Mesh helps improve the machine's airflow with a couple of strategically placed chassis vents. There are two on the left side panel, one adjacent to the graphics card and another near the CPU. The latter has 89mm funnel attached in order to more efficiently direct hot air away from the processor.
The rear is pretty bland. You get four additional USB ports, a parallel port, LAN and six-pin FireWire ports, an optical S/PDIF audio out and an eSATA port for connecting an external hard drive. Arguably the most interesting thing at the rear is an RoHS "lead free" sticker, which should appeal to the planet-saving hippy inside you. Let's hope it's made with biodegradable glue.
This is where the Quad Elite excels. It's based on the solid foundation of an Asus P5JN-E SLI motherboard -- a comparatively old but sturdy motherboard that uses the Nvidia 680i chipset. Think of it as the Lauren Bacall of motherboards -- not that young, but still appealing in many ways.
The real star of the show, however, is the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU. Don't be fooled by the 2.4GHz clock speed. It may sound low in comparison to the 3+GHz CPUs of yore, but it contains four separate cores on a single die, which means it's nippier than anything you or your mates have ever owned. Unless, obviously, you've owned a quad-core PC in the past.
Mesh could be forgiven for skimping on the RAM. Sony certainly did with itsPC that shipped with only 2GB of DDR2 667MHz. The Quad Elite has double that amount, making it theoretically faster and more capable of handling memory-intensive applications and large files. The only problem here is that the motherboard has all four DIMM slots occupied, which slows the operation of the memory somewhat. Having two 1GB sticks would have allowed for a faster 'dual-channel' memory configuration.