Mesh Ultimate Q8 Tri-SLI gaming PC
We've drooled - now it's time to see Nvidia's Tri-SLI in action
Review Everything about the Mesh Ultimate Q8 is imposing. The black CoolerMaster 832 aluminium case is 62cm long and 53 cm tall, and, according to our bathroom scales, weighs in at 22kg.
We love the industrial looks of the case and a visiting (bloke) neighbour thought it looked dead impressive, though the missis thinks it's one of the ugliest things she has seen in a long time. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder.
Mesh's Ultimate Q3: beautiful or butt-ugly?
The cooling abilities of the CoolerMaster case are fundamental to the Ultimate Q8 as it has the capacity to carry a huge array of fans. The top and side panels have large mesh sections that allow cooling air to flow freely. There’s a fan at the rear of the case, one at the top and three of them in the side of the case above the graphics cards and processor.
Release a latch and lift off the side panel and you’re faced with a door that can carry up to four 120mm fans arranged in a square pattern. Mesh has chosen to install three Akasa fans with blue LEDs that shine through the vented side panel to add some geek bling.
Inside the case, there’s an EVGA 780i SLI motherboard with a Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor that runs on a 1333MHz frontside bus. It’s a 3GHz 45nm 'Penryn' processor that's cooled by a ginormous Intel heatsink that is very shiny.
Below the processor there’s an angled cooler on the Nvidia 780i SLI chipset's northbridge and below that there are three Leadtek GeForce 8800 GTX graphics cards.
That's right, three graphics cards.
Two graphics cards not enough for you?
Because the Mesh Q8 is the first machine we've seen that implements Nvidia's Tri-SLI technology, part of that 780i SLI chipset. Tri-SLI allows you to gang up three GeForce 8800 graphics cards that use the 'G80' graphics chip - rather than the new 'G92' - on either a 680i or 780i SLI chipset-based motherboard with a suitable number of PCI Express slots.
As we say, the Q8 has three Leadtek 8800 GTX cards, each with a core clocked at 576MHz and with 768MB of memory that runs at 1800MHz.
I wonder how old I will be....
when someone finally outputs a consumer machine that can play Crysis at 40fps with everything on high.
Crysis and graphics
A number of points: If you want to run SLI or Tri-SLI (Or CrossFireX for that matter) then you're getting towards the territory where 32-bit Windows and 4GB of RAM is a limitation. I wouldn't say that 64-bit is a necessity at this point because most of us tend to play games in isolation with a minimum of background activity and multitasking.
Sticking the Mesh on the scales - it's heavy. Does it matter exactly how heavy? Heavy enough to make you go 'Gawd!'.
Multiple 8800 GTX cards are indeed packed very close together and I am sure it increases the noise level. Ordinarily a single 8800 GTX is incredibly quiet but these three cards made a steady muted roar. No doubt the new angled fan on the G92 8800 GTX has been introduced for this very reason.
You can play Crysis on a single graphics card. I have an HD 3850 in my own PC and play on Medium quality settings at 1,920x1,200 in DirectX 9. The problem comes when you bump up the quality settings and especially is you want everything on Max in DirectX 10.
Perhaps a stupid question
Let me say first that I've not had more than one video output card in a machine since the days of Voodoo II, and I don't recall that it had a fan.
There looks to be about 3 mm between the sandwiched video cards. For the two that have their fan intake up against the next card: does not the narrow space negatively affect cooling performance? If so, then the noise output will be higher from those two cards because of turbulence induced by moving air through such a narrow space compounded by the higher resistance to air movement.
Is this a reasonable analysis?