Mesh – Matrix XP 1900 R-85 review

Ultra-fast Athlon XP 1900+ desktop PC
Photo of Mesh – Matrix XP 1900 R-85
£1,399 + VAT

These new processor speed-grades just keep on coming. The 1900+ Athlon XP from AMD was announced just a few weeks ago and already Mesh has a PC wrapped around one, to give pretty amazing performance.

When you look at what’s fitted to the system, this isn’t altogether surprising. As well as the 1.6GHz Athlon XP processor (the 1900+ in the name is AMD’s ‘real world’ processor power figure), there’s a mind-boggling 1GB of DDR memory – digital video, anyone? – plus an 80GB UDMA/100 hard drive and DVD and CD-RW drives on the front panel.

The final key part of a power PC like this is the graphics sub-system and Mesh has chosen an ATI Radeon 8500. This is ATI’s latest GeForce3-beater, complete with 64MB of DDR memory and a 3D performance which shows a clean pair of heels to all but, maybe, a GeForce3 Ti. This card drives a 19-inch Mitsubishi monitor, a Diamond Pro 920, which uses a Trinitron flat-faced tube to produce an excellent picture. It’s well-defined and pin-sharp and there’s little distortion, even well into the corners of the display.

The sound system pairs a new SoundBlaster Audigy card, with its IEEE1394 (FireWire) port, to a set of DTT2200 speakers from Cambridge Soundworks. The two were made for each other and produce excellent sound for a PC with plenty of dynamics and good bass response. The system is cable of reproducing Dolby Digital 5.1 sound from DVD soundtracks, too.

It’s worth mentioning just a couple of the extras which come with most Mesh machines now. First, there’s the easy-access case, which requires no screwdriver and is very simple to open. Once inside, you’ll notice the usual nest of cables is missing, as Mesh uses sheathed drive cables so the usual ribbons are converted into neat circular cords – it improves airflow and should help keep the machine cool.

Performance was outstanding, with a SYSmark 2001 index of 188 and a 3DMark figure of over 8,300 at 1024 by 768 and 32-bit colour depth. This is by far the highest score we’ve yet seen from this benchmark and a full 25 per cent more than from a GeForce3. Admittedly the Nvidia figures come from systems with slower processors, but we’re still talking 2GHz Pentium 4s.

If you are prepared to lash out this kind of money on a PC – which used to be the norm but is now a premium price – there is currently little to touch the combination of parts in this Mesh stormer.

Company: Mesh

Contact: 020 8208 4705


Verdict
Mesh has taken one of the fastest PC processors on the market and built a system around it that would make the average power user drool. It has more memory, a higher capacity hard drive and, most importantly, a faster 3D card than most PCs you could dream up. And it all works together splendidly.