The Athlon 64 FX-60 is one heck of a processor, as we discovered when we looked at its performance earlier this year. We've seen a couple of high-end complete systems in our labs now, and the AMD behemoth is clearly the chip of choice right now if you're building an uber-system. Couple it up with a pair of graphics cards, and you get a machine that will make most people drool.
The guys at Mesh have assembled a pretty nice system for gamers and enthusiasts who are looking to splash out some cash on a major upgrade, and this rig includes a monitor and speakers too. Coming in around £2000 cheaper than the Alienware FX-60 system we reviewed, does it make for good value? We're going to rip it apart to find out.
The system is housed in a standard Mesh chassis, which is a combo of black plastic and steel. The monitor is in a matching silver.
The specs of the machine are thus:
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60;
Two Leadtek GeForce 7800 GTs;
2GB of Samsung DDR400 memory;
ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe;
300GB Maxtor 6L300S0 and 200GB Maxtor 6L200M0;
DVD-ROM and DVD±RW drives;
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi;
Creative T7900 7.1 speakers;
ViewSonic VA2012W 20" widescreen monitor;
Logitech cordless desktop.
Price: £2099 including VAT.
The price also includes a 3-year on-site warranty.
There are a couple of things we'd change with this specification, but it's generally well thought out. If you don't need a new monitor or speakers, you can ask Mesh to cross those off the list, but this is a well-balanced, well-specced complete system.
The first question mark is over the FX-60: without outrageously fast memory and bleeding edge video cards, would this system be better off paired with a mid-to-high end Athlon 64 X2 processor to shave a few pounds off? Also, we feel that Mesh could have opted for the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium motherboard, as the chipset fan on the A8N-SLI Deluxe is one of the loudest parts of the system, as it screams along at 8000RPM.
We debated whether to include a detailed evaluation of the ViewSonic monitor and Creative speakers included within this review. However, we decided against a detailed evaluation for two reasons. One is that we can tell you that the Creative speakers sound fantastic, and are more than capable of relaying the audio from the X-Fi - the issue is whether you really have room on your desk for 8 speakers! The second is that we will have a group test of 20" widescreen monitors coming up in a week's time, and the VA2012W is included in this, which would make a detailed discussion here rather redundant. However, to pre-empt the conclusion slightly, the ViewSonic is a well specified monitor that any gamer would be happy with, and its inclusion here is welcome.