Mesh – Matrix 1.2GT Pro review

Athlon-based ultra-fast home desktop PC
Photo of Mesh – Matrix 1.2GT Pro
£2,199 + VAT

The Mesh Matrix is one of those PCs built for users who are going to push their machines hard. The emphasis is on speed, so the spec is full of big numbers, kicking off with the 1.2GHz AMD Athlon processor, chip of choice for the seriously power-mad.

Intelligently, Mesh has been generous with the memory, kitting the Matrix out with 256MB of fast PC133 SDRAM so things won’t get cramped. There’s plenty of room in the hold too, thanks to the 60GB IBM Deskstar hard disk, which also scores points for its 7,200rpm spin speed and zippy new UltraDMA/100 interface.

Graphics get the benefit of an ATI Radeon AGP 4x card with no less than 64MB of local memory, so you get very impressive high-res, high-colour frame rates and lots of goodies like environment bump-mapping and hardware transform and lighting, so if there are any new games in your Christmas stocking they’ll look marvellous.

Audio is handled by the ever-popular Sound Blaster Live 1024 and a 4.1 Labtec speaker set. The SB Live has front and rear channels for driving each pair of satellite speakers, so you get a decent enough surround effect from games soundtracks, and the overall quality of the noise is fair, although there are better speaker setups than the LCS-2514.

Mesh hasn’t spoiled the show with a duff monitor. Far from it in fact, since you get a 19-inch Mitsubishi Diamond Pro based on the NF flat-screen aperture grille tube. This seemed to give of its best, in terms of focus versus resolution, when run at 1152 x 864 – pushing it up to 1280 x 1024 made everything slightly too small and fuzzy for comfort.

The Matrix has both DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives, the former being a fast 16-speed Pioneer and the latter an 8-speed write, 4-speed re-write and 32-speed read Acer unit. Sensibly, these are on separate IDE channels so you can copy CDs on the fly, something that tends not to work when both drives are on the same channel (not that that stops some system builders from connecting them up that way).

Communications are handled by a Conexant V.90 modem, and the system is supplied with a copy of Works Suite 2000, so it’s effectively ready to go straight out of the box, although you’d only be human if you were to pause to install a few games before you got going.

There were one or two minor niggles, though, like the too-noisy cooling fan, and the understandable choice of the OEM version of the Radeon rather than the retail card which has slightly faster SGRAM. But the screaming performance – and this is a seriously fast PC – and bulging specification carry the day convincingly.

Company: Mesh

Contact: 020 8208 4708


Verdict
This is a very fast, high-end, consumer PC, which could perhaps have been a tad cheaper, but still stands up well on the basis of great performance and a fat feature set.