This is a smart-looking PC, with superb performance in gaming, general computing and creative applications. It offers excellent build quality and features, but is also rather expensive. If you really care about games and nothing else, you may be able to make some cost savings by specifying a Core i5 processor rather than a Core i7.
Mesh’s Elite Mini Gaming OC, is a stand-out PC. Housed in a gleaming white Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX case with an entirely blank front panel it looks somewhat like a tiny fridge. But don’t let that fool you – this is still a very fast Gaming PC. (See also best gaming PC.)
While many would regard the Hyper-Threading feature of the Intel Core i7 pure overkill for a gaming PC, this is exactly what Mesh has chosen. In this case it’s the 3.5 GHz Core i7-4770K, overclocked to a speedy 4.3 GHz, then chilled by a Corsair H60 liquid cooler.
When running general home computing applications, this processor enables the Mesh system to storm ahead of the field, achieving over 5000 points in the PCMark 8 Home test, and all but obliterating the competition in the PCMark 8 Creative test, where those extra processing threads give it a distinct advantage.
So does this processor really offer much of an advantage for gaming? Thankfully, the point is rendered moot by the inclusion of one of MSI’s top-of-the-line Radeon R9 290X based graphics cards, packed with 4 GB of memory. This Mesh PC was often significantly faster than the rest of the field, showing a whopping 36 fps advantage over the next-fastest system in the Alien vs Predator high-quality test.
The Elite Mini Gaming OC also packs in some impressive features, such as a full 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, running at 2133 MHz, and a spacious 240 GB SSD. And that’s alongside a 2 TB hard disk. There’s no room in the case for an optical drive, but the price includes an external 6x Blu-ray drive which you can hook up via USB.
The total price is, as you might expect, really rather high. At £1499 it costs £650 more than Chillblast’s Fusion Xcalibur, but you do actually get around fifty per cent more gaming performance for your money, along with case and components to match.
Under heavy load, the Elite Mini Gaming OC could be quite power-hungry, drawing up to 548W where most of the competition sat around the 350W mark. It also consumed more power than most when just idle. When games or GPU-accelerated tasks run, you will hear the whoosh of the dual fans on the graphics card and although these can get quite loud, the sound isn’t entirely unpleasant; not great if you’re trying to listen to music though. We also noted that the CPU temperature would occasionally poke into the low 80s celsius when pushed really hard. That’s not necessarily cause for concern, but certainly hotter than any of the other PCs in this group.
Mesh Elite Mini Gaming OC: Specs
- Processor (stock speed, overclocked speed): 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.3GHz (4 cores, 8 threads)
- CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H60 liquid cooler
- Installed memory (Capacity, type, speed): 16 GB DDR3 2133 MHz
- Storage (Type, model and capacity): 240 GB SSD, 2 TB hard disk
- Power supply (Model, rating): 750W Cooler Master GX RS-750
- Motherboard (Model): MSI Z87I Gaming AC
- Operating system (name, version): Windows 8.1
- Graphics card (core/memory/shader speeds): AMD Radeon R9 290X (4 GB)
- Sound (Card type/onboard): on-board
- Networking (list network connections): gigabit ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi
- External USB ports (USB 3.0, USB 2.0): 6x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
- Other ports (list ports): 3x DVI, 2x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort, eSATA
- Optical drive (Vendor, model, type): 6x Blu-ray/DVD±RW, external USB 2.0 slimline
- Case (Vendor, model, size): Fractal Design Node 304