Mesh could be forgiven for skimping on the RAM. Sony certainly did with its Vaio RM1N PC 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.
Mesh doesn't tout the Elite Quad as a gaming PC, but it won't let you down completely if you like playing 3D titles. It uses an Nvidia GeForce 8500 GT graphics card -- an entry-level DirectX 10 offering that should run most games, provided you scale back the fancy graphics effects. We're pretty serious about our games at CNET.co.uk, so we'd toss the 8500 GT and buy at least one Nvidia 8600 GTS instead. We're happy to note the motherboard supports dual-card SLI configurations.
One area Mesh has compromised on is storage. The machine ships with a 250GB hard drive, which in the age of broadband and file-hungry users, simply isn't enough. It arrived in our offices with about 200GB of free space, so you might be making backups with the 18x DVD rewriter sooner rather than later.
As for software, you get Windows Vista Home Edition and a copy of Microsoft Works 8.5, which includes word processing, database, presentation and spreadsheet apps. You also get CyberLink DVD/CD burning and video editing tools plus a one-year on-site warranty.
Obviously, the Elite Quad 6600 FX is quick -- most quad-core PCs are. It racked up a stirring 5,246 in PCMark 2005, which is 2,083 less than the £2,500 Vaio RM1N. The Mesh has more RAM, but the fact it's not arranged in a dual-channel configuration may have affected it slightly, as might its comparatively old motherboard chipset. Don't be put off though, it's still very quick indeed.
The Sony holds the advantage in 3D performance, too. It scored 5,571 in 3DMark 2006, to the Mesh's 2,881. Both will play games, but pushing polygons isn't the Elite Quad 6600 FX forte.
The Elite Quad 6600 is fast and fairly well-equipped -- so what's not to like? It outpaces most computers with its performance and embarrasses the Sony Vaio RM1N with its excellent price.
If you're after an inexpensive new PC, or want a second PC simply for number crunching, video compression and the like, you won't find many better.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield