Other key features are a 1TB Seagate hard drive, Pioneer BDC-202 Blu-ray Disc reader and a TSST SH-S203N LightScribe 20x dual-layer DVD writer.
Mesh has chosen to install four 1GB 667MHz DDR 2 DIMMs, and for the first time you can see the full 4GB in a 32-bit operating system. On those occasions where we’ve tried out 4GB of RAM in a 32-bit OS, the amount of memory that is available is reduced to 3.5GB or even to 3GB, but it seems that Vista SP1 fixes this issue.
We were surprised to see that Mesh used such slow memory in the Ultimate Q8. However, we're assured that it has successfully tested some OCZ DDR2-1066 in this configuration so a speed bump would appear to be imminent.
Power Draw Results
Power draw in Watt (W)
The CoolerMaster case is a colossus but the internal arrangement seems a bit weird. There are bays for three hard drives and six optical units but who, we wonder, wants more than two optical drives? OK, maybe you want HD DVD as well as Blu-ray, and possibly you might consider an HD burner, but four is surely the absolute limit. Yet three hard drives is comparatively modest.
Longer bars are better
Turning to the peripherals we were very happy with the choice of a Logitech G11 gaming keyboard and MX Revolution laser mouse, but the Creative Inspire A500 5.1 speakers are rather modest and the 24in Iiyama PLE2403WS-B1 flat-panel monitor won’t set the world alight.
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?
WRT Game Titles
I gather that Crysis is very demanding of video cards, so much so that most people - myself included - probably cannot play it on their single sub $200.00 video card. That is fine, a test ought to offer results from a strenuous program. Most of us have no idea what it means to get X, Y or Z FPS in Crysis. It would be meaningful for a lot of people to see numbers for other games that they can can actually play. Quake 4, Quake Wars, Doom 3, FEAR, the latest version of Half Life 2 all come to mind (I am an FPS monkey). But thanks for the review also, I am not dissing it.
"according to our bathroom scales, weighs in at 22kg"
I am LOVING the extremes that El Reg go to in order to carry out a review. :-)