When 2016 dawned it was obvious that we needed to update our technology. I spend an awful lot of time sitting at my PC and we were starting to have issues playing the games we wanted to review. Added to this the Oculus Rift and the Vive were soon to launch and we knew something had to change.
I’d been using a MSI gaming laptop for around 4 years and it was showing its age. Originally purchased when I’d been expecting to be much more mobile I’d ended up using it permanently on my desk and using a Windows tablet or Chromebook on the go. So – decision made and time to upgrade we had three basic choices – get something off the shelf, get something built for me or buy the bits and built it myself.
We immediately discarded off the shelf. The old machine needed upgrading but we already had a mechanical keyboard, mouse, screens and many other parts. Some would need upgrading but many could be reused.
Buying and assembling parts was something we seriously considered but it’s been many years since I’ve built a PC and it would involve and awful lot of learning and possibly expensive mistakes.
Finally I could go to a reseller and get it built to my specifications. After a lot of looking around we decided on a company the point of this article – Mesh Computers.
If you’ve never done this before this is how it works – you browse through their catalogue and select a base build. In my case this was the Elite Skylake PCA. This gives you a basic PC starting point and then you customize it to get to exactly what you’re looking for.
The idea is that as Mesh know exactly what will work together they can offer you a list of parts which will work. Change the motherboard for one that can handle less RAM and the Ram available changes. Add in a graphics card that needs more power and you’ll get prompted to upgrade your power supply (PSU). Each part has a short description and can be clicked through to get much more detailed information and specifications.
It’s not quite idiot proof – you need to know what you require but it does take the worries about incompatibilities out of the equation. Mesh takes the parts and offers three more services – overclocking, expedited builds and guarantees.
Overclocking is available as an option for free and is best described as turning all the parts up to 11. With proper cooling processors, RAM and the motherboard can run faster than their advertised speed and Mesh turn things up for you as far as they safely can depending on your system specification. This also does not break the warranty which could happen if you did it yourself.
Expedited builds are just what they sound like – the normal time to wait is around 3 or 4 weeks but pay an extra £69 and you get to jump the queue.
Guarantees are perhaps the biggest reason to get it built for you – the standard guarantee is for lifetime labor, 2 years parts, 1 year free collect and return and this can be upgraded to lifetime labour, 3 years parts and 3 years free collect & return for £50.
Retailer: Mesh +:
Mesh Computers is a brand owned by PC Peripherals. The company was set up in 1987 Reza Jafari and was very popular throughout the 90s and early 2000s. In 2011 they went into administration and in a twist were bought by PC Peripherals which has among its directors Reza Jafari. PC Peripherals also owns eBuyer.
The company has had mixed reviews over the years but seems to have recovered significantly since 2011.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
Configuring a Mesh PC is fairly straightforward. Pick the base configuration and it becomes a matter of just clicking on radio buttons to select parts. If you sign up for an account it’s possible to save a particular configuration although oddly not to change that configuration later.
Once you’ve purchased you get an email through to confirm your booking and then can log into the website to see the current order status. Mesh was somewhat disappointing on this as our order did not change status for the first four days of a promised five day build. I contacted them to check that it was proceeding and was informed the website did not update on expedited builds.
The package that arrived with the PC was well designed and included all the manuals of the parts, a poster showing me how to plug all the cables in, Windows serial numbers and information about how to get in contact with them.
The PC itself was well assembled but the cable management was less ideal than I could have hoped. It’s not something that’s going to significantly affect its operation and as I purchased a case with opaque sides its not viable but it is somewhat messy.
While looking at the cost effectiveness of Mesh and getting a PC built to specifications I went on Amazon and filled a basket with the same (or as similar as I could find) parts. It was a little cheaper but only by a few percent and that didn’t include tools, my time or the possibility of breaking parts or getting things wrong.
One cost that is very optional is getting the expedited built in 5 days and not 3 or 4 weeks. We had a less than great experience with this – I opted for it and the PC turned up a week later fully built – unfortunately when I plugged it in it was non-operational. Credit to Mesh I was able to get it collected and sent back and then a new computer sent out but this meant it took me just over two weeks to get a working computer. I asked for a refund on the expedited build and was refused – the expedited build gets you a faster dispatch of a PC but does not guarantee it will work.
I’m aware that shipping a PC is an occasionally risky business and mistakes do happen, but the first PC I received did not work and had no padding inside the PC. The second did work and had been packed with an expanding foam block to steady the graphics card and motherboard.
Environment & People
Mesh has no particular environmental credentials and appears to be no better or worse than it’s peers.
If you’re eyeing VR or wondering about playing high specced games you’ll need a high powered PC to handle it. Picking a particular reseller is a surprisingly complicated and difficult thing to do when the pack seems so close together.
My experience with Mesh was that they provided a decent quality product and their process for ordering was slick but there were a number of drawbacks from poor cable management to the lack of padding in the first PC. I’d recommend them for the future and would personally use them again but they’re not clear winners.
The review is based on a build of Elite Skylake PCA with Aero Cool DS 200 BLACK/WHITE Super-Silent mid tower Gaming Case w/ Fan Controller, 750W FSP Quiet Power Supply – Silver 80 PLUS, 3x White LED Silent Case Cooling Fan – 120mm White, MSI Z170A GAMING M5 Motherboard, Intel® Core™ i7-6700K Quad Core Processor (Skylake,4.0GHz-4.2GHz Turbo, 8MB Cache), Corsair Hydro Series H110i GT High Performance CPU Cooler with 280mm Radiator, Overclock Configuration,
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 Memory (2x8GB) Memory Kit – Major Brand, 4GB NVIDIA GTX 970 Graphics Card, 1664 Cores, DP/DVI/HDMI, 500GB M.2 SATA SSD – Samsung 850 EVO Solid State Drive, 1TB Seagate Barracuda SATA III 6GB/s 7200rpm 64MB Cache 8ms NCQ, 24x DVD Writer (read/write CD & DVD), Integrated 7.1 High Definition 8-channel Audio, Genuine Windows 10 Home 64 bit inc DVD & licence, Platinum Warranty – (Lifetime Labour,3 Years Parts + 3 Years Free Collect & Return)(Band 2) and Fast Track Build – 5 Working Day Dispatch.
This article was first published on 17th March 2016.