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back to article Mesh Ultimate Q8 Tri-SLI gaming PC

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 …

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Silver badge

Regarding the Coolermaster 832

Regarding the number of drive bays, remember that this is also known as the Stacker. It's a modular, toolless case that accepts EATX and BTX, has gobs of cooling, the lot. You can buy more HDD bay conversion modules from CM. C'mon, it's a server/extreme workstation case. I've got the black 830 version, and I think it's bloody marvellous.

I was really surprised when you said it was quiet though! I've got two 200 series Opterons and two 7900GTXs with a SCSI rack in mine, so as you can imagine it needs cooling. I filled the side fan array, got huge heatsinks, fitted fans to them, fitted a fan to the drive bay, one to the dorsal vent and two exhausts, and it sounds like a ruddy jet taking off. Worth every penny though. I just love hearing the drives spin up and down from 0 to 15000rpm and back. Bloody eats most apps for breakfast. ;-)

*Hugs machine*

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is it me or is this a bit..poop ?

lets do a lil tinkering..

2x800GT's

2x74gig Raptors, striped

keep CPU RAM optical drive and HD

swap screen for a 30" or at least a 27"

i bet it'd come in cheaper :P

when i get home i'm definately pricing it up

system just seems like a bit of a waste of money; you're paying more for bragging rights than performance as tri-SLI isn't that much of a bump over SLI, especially for the price premium of a 3rd GTX card (what are they, like 250-300 quid ?)

plus i bet your leccy bill would go up a fair bit ;)

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Bronze badge
Happy

1.2kw supply?

Well it's got to save on the heating bills.

Load up Crysis and you're set to heat a 2 bedroom terrace from this alone, when combined with the monitor.

You say it's expensive for a PC, I say it's cheap for a central heating system.

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Go

5.25" Bays...

...would be useful for fitting one or more SAS or SATA hot-plug backplanes accommodating 4x3.5" drives in 3x5.25" bays, or even 8x2.5" SFF in 2x5.25" bays.

eg:

http://www.supermicro.com/products/accessories/mobilerack/CSE-M28E2.cfm

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Ash

Heat & Noise

I run an 850w PSU, clocked Q6600 and 8800GTX at home with air cooling, and my room is a decent size (a rough 50m square of floor space). I can go out to work leaving my PC on IDLE and come back to a room a good 4c higher than without it. The noise is invasive, but you have to expect that from a rig that runs hot.

I'm pretty sure anyone who wants a rig like this would expect water cooling everywhere apart from the PSU, and for that to have a high induciton, low RPM fan at least. £3k for something that sounds like a formula one car under load is horrible; take out that extra card and spend it on configuring the cooling to be quiet.

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Happy

Cheaper

Build it yourself from Aria (just an example)

CoolerMaster Black 832 Tower Case £144.82

ASUS P5N-T nForce 780i 3xSLI socket 775 Mobo £156.22

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.83Ghz £359.49

3 x Asus Extreme 8800 GTX 768MB PCI-E £747.48

Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 1TB drive £163.27

OCZ 4Gb PCs-1066 Reaper memory (2x2gb) £270.19

Zalman CNPS8000 Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler £24.38

4 x 120mm Blue LED Pattern Fans £37.36

Aopen 20X DVDRW - Black Dual Layer £15.22

Tagan 1300W PSU £199.74

Total of £2118.17

There's a couple of bits missing there, no HD-DVD or Blu-Ray and the processor is slightly slower, but otherwise the same spec with 3x8800GTX cards

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Crysis

So not even this abomination of a beast of a PC can run Crysis at its highest quality.

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RE: Cheaper

You're missing monitor, speakers, keyboard/mouse, OS, as well as the Blu-Ray. Granted, you may already have those, but should factor them in for fairness of comparison. Could easily become £2500-2600 for a box that is retailing for £2900 inclusive. If you've got that kind of money to spend on a gaming pc, then it may just be worth it to avoid the hassle of a self build.

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@ Steve Foster

Exactly! Im surprised the reviewer missed the flexibility this allows rather than restrictive 3.5" bays.

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Black Helicopters

It can't use 4GB

So, Vista SP1 has already succeeded in fooling people regarding addressable versus installed memory.

32-bit Windows systems cannot address all 4GB of RAM. Due to reservations made for memory mapped devices, the actual amount varies significantly with hardware, usually within the range of 3.2 to 3.5GB. However, Vista SP1 misleads people by changing from reporting addressable memory to installed memory. Perhaps the intention is to reduce support calls now that Vista is pushing up the bar for installed RAM so high that more and more people are moving up to 4GB. See:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946003

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929605

Note the phrase "This change in Windows Vista SP1 is a reporting change only" in the first of the two pages. You should be able to find out just how much is accessible by looking at Task Manager's Performance tab, which ought to report the real figure.

64-bit systems do not suffer from this problem, although the 64-bit variants of Vista seems to impose a variety of different artificial limits depending on which version you use. Goodness knows why.

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piddly PSU

pah, My computer has had a 1.5kw PSU in it since 1996 :p

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Joke

Nonsense.

This so called 'gaming' rig only has 667MHz RAM. What's that all about?

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Silver badge

Not so impressive

Do these manufacturers not tweak systems for performance?

Build your own and overclock.

I get a 3Dmark 06 score of around 11700 from a core 2 Allendale @ 3.2 Ghz and a single HD3870@850/1200. FSB is 400Mhz with a 1:1 memory ratio. Accepted that synthetic benchmarks bear little resemblance to real game play, and at standard 1280x1024 resolution 3Dmark 06 appears to be CPU limited.

OK, my games system gets eaten by the Mesh's Crysis score, but I have playable frame rates at 1650x1080 at high settings with no AA in Crysis, this is DX9 on XP. The difference between DX9 and DX10 visually is virtually zero but the frame rate takes a severe hit. Yeah, vista sucks and so far DX10 seems to be hype.

I would guess this system is all about bragging rights. And as Andy stated, tri-Sli over Sli seems pretty pointless. Add the fact that not all games get a performance boost from dual or tri card setups, @ almost £3k the machine looks more and more like a lemon. Would I exchange my PC for the mesh? Absolutely. I would then sell it, build something better and have a grand left over to spend on smarties.

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Gold badge

Worrying

I think you need to get a life once you consider spending near £3k on a computer to play games.

No matter how good the graphics are in a game, you'll still never replicate the thrill and sense of achievement of doing something outside.

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Jobs Horns

32-bit Vista SP1 might report 4GB ram, but won't use it all.

So with 3 of those 768MB 8800GTX cards that'll still only leave you about 1700MB of usable RAM.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929605

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946003

Marketing wins ;)

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Heart

Quality reviews

"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. :-)

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E

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.

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E

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?

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I wonder how old I will be....

when someone finally outputs a consumer machine that can play Crysis at 40fps with everything on high.

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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.

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