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Mesh Matrix II 920 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £749
inc VAT

This is the first PC we’ve seen that uses one of AMD’s new Phenom II X4 processors.

The Matrix II 920 uses the 920 model, which is the slower of the two available chips, but it still runs at a respectable 2.8GHz. It has four processing cores, so we were hoping to see some impressive benchmark scores.

PCMark Vantage demonstrated that the new Phenoms are significantly faster than the previous generation. This isn’t surprising given that they have a tweaked architecture and higher clock speeds. The Phenom 920 isn’t as fast as the more expensive Core i7-920 processor. However there’s easily enough power for even tough tasks such as HD video editing.

The new processor is paired with 4GB of RAM, which is more than you get on many Core i7 PCs, as they use the more expensive DDR3 memory. The Matrix’s 500GB hard disk isn’t very impressive these days, but provides plenty of space for most purposes. Sadly, there are no interesting extras such as a dedicated sound card or TV tuner.

The Matrix II 920 has our current recommended graphics card, the ATI Radeon HD 4850, which can play most modern games at high detail levels. It handled our Call of Duty 4 benchmark with ease, but struggled a little with Crysis, producing only 25.9fps in our 1,680×1,050 test. It runs smoothly if you reduce the resolution or switch off anti-aliasing, though.

The Matrix II manages all this without being intrusively loud. The interior of its NZXT Hush case is coated with sound-absorbing foam. We could barely hear the PC when it was running at full tilt, even with our ear pressed to the side of the chassis.

The stylish 22in Iiyama E2208HDS monitor has a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 – sufficient to enjoy full-resolution HD video. Colours were a little undersaturated, but detail was sharp. It’s a good monitor for a PC at this price. Creative’s 5.1 T6100 speaker set provides plenty of volume. Bass is deep and rich, thanks to a hefty sub-woofer, and sound at the top end of the scale is just as clear and crisp. The set of peripherals is completed by a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. These are comfortable enough for everyday use, and not cluttered by the endless short cut buttons we see on more extravagant models.

All in all, this is an excellent and affordable system. The Phenom II isn’t as quick as Intel’s Core i7, but it provides more than enough power for almost every conceivable application. When you factor in the decent games performance, quiet running and competent peripherals, it’s clear that this is a great choice if you’re looking for a capable new PC.

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