The Mesh Elite Q9300 PRO is the first PC in our charts based on Intel’s latest generation of quad-core processors. These chips are a step forward: at 2.5GHz, the Quad Q9300 runs faster than the 2.4GHz Q6600, and uses a 1,333MHz front-side bus rather than 1,066MHz.

These seemingly small improvements make a significant difference – at last, a quad-core system is able to compete with the dual-core E8500-based systems in our WorldBench 6 speed tests. The Mesh Elite Q9300 PRO’s score of 113 points shows that you no longer need to sacrifice day-to-day performance to get the big boosts in multithreaded applications that quad-core CPUs can deliver. The Mesh’s showing in our Adobe Photoshop tests, for example, was very quick indeed.

The Mesh Elite Q9300 PRO’s other specifications are solid: 4GB of installed RAM and a 500GB hard drive are most welcome, as is the 22in Chimei monitor. You don’t get surround speakers, but the Logitech set comes with a small subwoofer and provides adequate audio for music and casual gaming.

The Mesh Elite Q9300 PRO's GeForce 9600 GT graphics card is newer than the 8000-series models used elsewhere in this group, but it’s also a tier below them. This gives it a slight disadvantage against the CyberPower Gamer Infinity GT’s 8800 GT, while it’s left standing by the Eclipse Elite i85n98GTX’s 9800 GTX when playing at higher resolutions and quality settings.

Mesh often comes up with something a bit different. In this case, the firm adds Blu-ray playback to the Elite Q9300 PRO, which none of the other systems offer at this price. You also get a full video-editing suite.

Chart ranking: budget desktop PCs (August issue)

  1. Arbico Elite 8070EX
  2. Mesh Elite Q9300 Pro
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity GT
  4. Eclipse Elite i85n98GTX
  5. Dell Inspiron 530/1142

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