In theory the release of Mesh's Elite 3.6GHz 560 PCIX should raise the bar for all PC manufacturers, combining as it does brand new technology with above par specifications and features. Add to that a co-ordinated black casing and a generous warranty and you should be salivating at the prospect of getting your hands on this system.

But don’t jump the gun just yet because, unfortunately, it’s our job to administer a dose of cold hard reality.

The fact is that the Elite put in a distinctly underwhelming performance in the PC Advisor Test Centre – not something a PC can afford to do if it’s carrying a price tag of £1,879.

This system may be high on the wow factor, but Mesh has produced better-balanced PCs for less money. At best this machine will only interest diehard tech fans with deep pockets.

The Elite 3.6GHz 560 PCIX has twinned its 1,024MB of DDR RAM with a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 560 processor, rather than one of the cheaper AMDs that are dominating our charts at the moment. This is because PCI Express support is currently only available on the Intel platform.

PCI Express is the next step up for motherboard expansion slots. It offers twice the bandwidth of AGP so it squeezes better performance from intensive applications such as gaming. However, in our tests the Elite couldn’t break the 100 frames per second barrier.

When you also consider the below average 134 WorldBench score, the Mesh’s end-of-term report reads: ‘could do better’. The Elite is capable of any task you throw at it – but you’re paying a good £400 over the odds for its services.

Leaving concerns about power and price aside, this machine is a thoroughbred. Two 250GB serial ATA hard drives give you the most storage of any PC we’ve seen. And if you somehow manage to fill them, data backup is covered in the form of a super-fast, 16-speed DVD writer.

The PCI Express-based 256MB ATI Radeon X800 XT graphics card is complemented by Sony’s excellent 19in flat-panel, its stylish design means it looks great with the wireless Logitech peripherals. Although the audio solution is onboard, the 5.1 integrated sound offers audio fidelity to match all but the best standalone sound cards.

The Elite 3.6GHz 560 PCIX is a next generation PC that should satisfy anyone who wants tomorrow’s technology today. As always there’s an added cost if you buy now and most consumers will be happy to wait for the price to come down before they buy.

  • Mesh:
  • £1,879 inc VAT

  • Build quality: 8/10
  • Features: 9/10
  • Value for money: 6/10