At £999 without a monitor, the Mesh Elite Skylake PCA is one of the most expensive PCs in our group test, but its features and build quality most certainly earn that price tag. Its feels like a higher-quality system and the high-end internal components deliver useful additional capabilities and bags of upgrade potential.
It may not resemble a gaming PC at first glance, but the Mesh Elite Skylake PCA exudes quality. Its tower case comes with a matt black finished that’s soft to the touch, giving it an expensive feel, while at the top an illuminated display shows the current CPU temperature in a variety of colours which can be altered at the push of a button. Also see: Best gaming PCs 2015/2016.
Unlike most of the gaming PCs we review, the case has no transparent side panel. It’s a real shame in this case, because the Mesh Skylake PCA is by far the most impressive-looking inside. The case is spacious, with plenty of available drive bays and the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 3 motherboard features attractive red and black details. Most impressive though is the Raijintek Triton 250mm high performance all-in-one CPU cooler, its two transparent pipes fat and filled with striking blue coolant. There’s also a blue downlight which illuminates the desk surface from the bottom of the case. We’d say the build quality of this case is considerably higher than most, certainly a tier above those from Cyberpower and Chillblast.
Under that fancy cooler lurks an Intel Core-i5 6600K Skylake processor, overclocked from 3.5GHz to 4.4GHz. This yields a decent boost in performance without pushing components to the absolute limit. It’s coupled with 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 RAM – a little faster than the base 2133MHz stuff found in lower-end systems and comes with a 250GB Samsung SSD backed by a 1TB Seagate hard drive. Although the SSD uses one of the two M.2 ports on the motherboard, it’s using the SATA interface, rather than PCI-E so it can’t match the raw performance of the Samsung 128GB SM951 used by Chillblast. However it does perform very well and its extra capacity may well prove more beneficial than extra speed. See all PC reviews.
Mesh has opted for the ever-popular Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card in the Elite Skylake PCA, and in this case it’s a Palit-branded model running at standard clock speeds, rather than the boosted speeds found in some competitors’ systems.
Mesh’s chosen motherboard doesn’t just look good, it’s also designed specifically for gaming and comes with a selection of features not found on lesser models. Not only does it support USB 3.1, but it also supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 which allows for speeds of up to 10Gb/s and up to a claimed 16 Gb/s using Intel’s USB 3.1 controller. It also supports both USB Type-C and Type-A connectors.
Audio quality has also been boosted, claiming 115dB signal to noise ratio and featuring support for the Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 audio suite. The OP-Amp chips have also been made user-upgradable, so if you want the very best sound quality, you can swap them out for higher-fidelity alternatives of your choice. See all gaming PC reviews.
If you prefer to use an external USB audio device, you can use Gigabytes, “DAC-UP” USB ports which feature isolated power supplies to ensure there’s no interference from other components.
The board also includes a high-performance “Killer Ethernet” network interface, designed to reduce latency and improve overall system performance and is one of the few reviewed here to offer 2-way Nvidia SLI certification, allowing the addition of an extra GTX 970 as a future upgrade. The supplied 750W power supply also provides plenty of upgrade potential.
The Mesh Elite Skylake PCA is a great performer, but not the fastest overall. Chillblast’s Fusion Krypton, for example, beats is in the application performance tests, probably due to its faster SSD, and also beats it by a few fps in gaming, thanks to its factory overclocked card. The Mesh system does come with double the amount of SSD storage however, which means more games can be installed on it for much faster loading times.
Performance in our tests was as follows: PCMark 8 2.0 Home: 5316; PCMark8 2.0 Work: 5748; PCMark8 2.0 Creative: 7282; PCMark8 2.0 Storage: 4996; Alien vs Predator 1080/720: 89.6/169.6fps; Sniper Elite V2 Ultra/Medium/Low: 47.6/203.2/444.7fps; Final Fantasy XIV Creation Benchmark Maximum: 130.4fps; 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra/Fire StrikeExtreme/Fire Strike/Sky Diver/Cloud Gate/Ice Storm Unlimited/Ice Storm Extreme/Ice Storm: 2,588/4,919/9,494/24,308/23,574/207,151/183,687/194,602; max CPU temp under load: 51ºC; power consumption idle/load: 63/251W
Read next: Learn more about Intel Skylake and Windows 10.
Mesh Elite Skylake PCA: Specs
- 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-6600K @ 4.4GHz
- Raijintek Triton 240mm High Performance AIO Water Cooling Solution – BLUE Coolant
- 16GB DDR4 2400MHz
- 250GB Samsung M.2, 1 TB Seagate SATA 3 HDD
- 750W FSP Quiet Power Supply – Silver 80 PLUS
- GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 3
- Windows 10 Home
- Palit Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB 1051/1178MHz Core, 7000MHz RAM
- onboard sound
- Killer Lan 2200 Gigabit ethernet
- 3x USB 3, 2x USB 2, 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
- 1 x D-Sub, 1 x DVI-D, 1 x HDMI
- 24x DVD Writer (read/write CD & DVD)
- Aero Cool DS 200
- ROCCAT ISKU Keyboard (ROC-12-722), ROCCAT Lua Mouse (ROC-11-310)
- Gold Warranty (Lifetime Labour, 2 Year Parts, 1 Year Free Collect & Return)