CyberPower Gamer Xtreme XT Review

ccokeman - 2008-12-21 18:15:55 in Prebuilts
Category: Prebuilts
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: December 24, 2008
Price: $1599

Introduction:

Now that it' s Christmas time many of us start looking for a new build or a refresh of the old system and try to breath a little more life into the the old warhorse. Graphics cards, processors, system memory, and motherboards all have a cost associated with them and sometimes the smart bet is to just spend the extra cash and update the whole system. The question then is do you go with a pre-built performance PC (Not a Dell) or do you build it yourself. Lets say you go with the complete update. Usually the high performance parts are going to cost the really big dollars so you need to save where you can. But where is the level of the compromise? Usually the result is that the build gets out of hand when looking at performance prebuilt systems. The question is can I (you) build it cheaper and still get the same components? Thats a Question I am here to answer. Cyberpower has provided one of their Gamer XT systems for Overclockers club to play with and to ultimately give away to one of our lucky readers. This system retails for $1599 US and includes some really nice performance parts buried in a Thermaltake Spedo Advanced Chassis. This system includes one of the fastest graphics cards out today: the HD4870x2, The CPU is cooled via an Asetek water cooling system for the Core I7 920 processor that just happens to be overclocked to 3.0 GHz. A set of Kingston Hyper X PC3 14400 3x1gb tri channel memory, The Asus P6T Deluxe as a foundation and a blue Ray drive from Lite-on. With the top brand parts you can see that building this PC for $1599 seems like a tough job. Can we build it for less by using these same parts from the many e-tailers out there? To simplify I will use pricing from one e-tailer that everyone knows in Newegg as my pricing source if possible.

First things first though. I will run this system through the overclockersclub suite of benchmarks to see what kind of performance you can expect from such a build and to see how it compares to our current (soon to be updated) test platform that includes some pretty decent hardware. You have seen the reviews on the Core I7 processors and motherboards since you have been looking at your next upgrade path haven't you? Let's see how well it does.

Closer Look:

The Gamer Xtreme Xt comes in a massive box. So large the UPS delivery guy asked for help bringing it to the house. I had to chuckle at that. When I opened the box I was greeted with plenty of foam. Packaging! Check! The foam was tightly packed and nothing moved. That's always a good sign. Pulling up the 3 inch thick first layer of foam you get to the mouse keyboard combo from Logitech, the video card from HIS and the Cyberpower carry case that has the software and documentation for the build and motherboard. With the components out of the box you can see that the PC is all ready to go save for installing the video card.

 

 

 

The Spedo Chassis from Thermaltake is well protected with a cloth cover that helps prevent damage from rubbing across the foam protective caps.

 

Once the Chassis is out of its cocoon you can see that the Spedo chassis is filled with all of the parts requested during the build. The only Item not installed is the video card. The reason for this is that the card could become dislodged in shipping and wreak havoc on the rest of the components inside the chassis.

 

 

 

On the front panel of the Spedo there are only two items of note. There is the 4x Blue Ray drive to allow viewing the latest high definition content through the HD4870x2 and a flash card reader, something that comes in quite handy with the many different types of flash media we use on a daily basis. Since this is a custom build Cyberpower does put their stamp on the build up front and center.

 

 

Once inside the chassis the build quality is superb. The wire management is excellent with the wiring thoughtfully left in place for the HD4870x2. The rest is well hidden and cannot be seen through any of the assorted vents in the case. The Asetek cooling system is located on the bottom 120mm exhaust vent with the tubing routed in the most direct way to the pump/block assembly. The Kingston memory is pre installed in the outer dimm slots and are rated at 1800MHz which is where they are set to run in the BIOS.

 

 

 

With just a quick look around at the Gamer Xtreme XT it looks like a solid package with parts chosen to work well together for a system that can be used for just about anything from general web surfing to hardcore gaming to watching the latest high definition content on your big screen tv. I cant wait to see how this combo performs knowing just how my current setup performs.

Closer Look:

So you think you can build this PC for the same $1599 price tag that Cyberpower is offering this PC for. I had to think about it for a minute once I saw what went into this little gem but figured I would give it a shot. I chose Newegg as the retailer because their prices are usually pretty decent and the items would be stocked there. The one Item I could not find there was the Asetek LCLC cooling system so the price shown will not be from Newegg. Bare in mind that $1599 is a pretty steep challenge and you know just might not happen. So let's get to it.

Newegg Pricing and Links:

 

If my math is correct my grand total to purchase this system separately and build it myself comes to a grand total of $2056.14. That's almost $500 more than the price Cyberpower is selling this system for. Why build it yourself other than the challenge in doing it when they can build it , ship it and all you have to do is write the cheque and save yourself 5 Benjimans. Its a no brainer if a build such as this tickles your fancy. Now wheres the cheque book?

Specifications:

Cyberpower Gamer Xtreme Xt
Price
$1599
Processor

Intel Core I7 920 (Oc to 3.0 GHz)

Motherboard
Asus P6T
Memory

Kingston HyperX PC3 14400 3x1Gb

Optical Drive
Liteon Blueray  DH-401S
Hard Drive
Western Digital 1 TB
Chassis
Thermaltake  Spedo  Advanced
Power Supply
Thermaltake Toughpower 600w
Flash Card reader
yes
Video Card
HIS  HD4870x2
CPU Cooling
Asetek LCLC Prefilled self contained 50,000 MTBF
Keyboard and Mouse
Logitech  EX110 combo
Operating  System
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64 bit
Extras
Cyberpower Tshirt
Cyberpower Carrying case

 

Testing:

I will be using a series of benchmarks to gauge the performance of the Cyberpower Gamer Xtreme Xt system to see just what kind of performance it delivers in relation to our standard test system. There will be one change from the normal test system as I equip it with an HD4870x2 to at least make the graphics benchmarks a somewhat fair fight. Truth be known it would have been a bloodbath with the HD4850 used as our benchmark standard card. The Gamer Xtreme XT is overclocked slightly but 334MHz is not that much of an increase so the OCC test bench was left at 2.66GHz as a means of showing the capabilities of the Cyberpower built rig. The operating systems are fully patched and both video cards are running the latest catalyst 8.12 drivers. The video cards are at there default settings with the OCC test bench at defaults in the BIOS with the Cyberpower Xtreme Xt having an increase in the baseclock to 150 MHz and the vdimm to 1.64volts. Everything else is left untouched.

 

Cyberpowerpc Gamer Xtreme XT:

Comparison System:

 

Just in case there were any questions about the specs of this little beastie here's a little screenshot showing the installed components.

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. SpecviewPerf 10
  4. PCMark Vantage
  5. Sandra 2009
  6. ScienceMark 2.02
  7. Cinebench 10
  8. HD Tune 2.55
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Left For Dead
  3. Bioshock
  4. Call of Duty World At War
  5. Crysis Warhead
  6. Dead Space
  7. Fallout 3
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage

 

Testing:

The first part of our testing regimen will be the system specific benchmarks.

 

Let's get started with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:

 

 

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 10MB, 100MB and 500MB files and test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds.

 

ZIP:

 

 

 

RAR:

 

 

 

In Apophysis as well as in WinRar the Core I7 performance is markedly better than the current OCC test platform in almost all of the benchmarks. There is no difference in performance in the 10MB file transfer test using both compression methods. The performance margins are huge when comparing the two systems.

 

Testing:

Specview 10 is a benchmark designed to test OpenGL performance. I will be using the multi-threaded tests to measure the performance when run in this mode. The tests used for comparison are listed below. The default multi-threaded tests were chosen to be able to compare across platforms. In these tests, higher scores equate to better performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

PcMark Vantage is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge performance of each individual board to see which board, if any, rises above the others.

 

The Specview testing shows the strengths of the I7 platform. It is far and away the stronger combination here. PCMark Vantage tests the entire system and gives a score based on how the system performs as a whole. The CyberPower built Gamer Xtreme XT system out performs the OCC testbed by a wide margin all across the board.

 

Testing:

Sisoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be running a broad spectrum of tests to gauge the performance of key areas of the motherboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

Memory Latency

 

Cache and Memory

 

File System

 

Physical Disks

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

The Gamer Xtreme XT just ran away with the testing here. It dominated in every test except the hard drive related tests probably due to the difference in buffer size from 16mb on the Cyberpower build and 32mb on or test platform. The memory bandwidth available on the I7 platform is just huge. Of course this is with DDR3 and the I7's integrated memory controller that really helps. The performance differential is phenomenal in the Sandra Testing.

 

Testing:

Sciencemark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better!

 

Cinebench is useful for testing your system, CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Lower is Better

 

Again the Gamer Xtreme XT is the faster system in all of the tests but the drive testing which in reality is probably the difference in the drives capabilities.

 

 

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

"Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built specially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation first person shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

An increase of over 30 frames per second over our testbed is huge. Both systems were tested with an HD4870x2 at its stock frequencies. This is just a huge performance jump.

 

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the Island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and Aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the Cryengine 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From 1024x768 to 1280x1024 the Gamer Xtreme delivers a higher level of performance while at the top of the scale the difference is negligible but the CyberPower built rig falls a few FPS short of the OCC test system.

Testing:

BioShock is one of the creepier games you can play. The building of a perfect Utopian society undersea gone horribly wrong. Its inhabitants driven mad with the introduction of tonics and genetic modifications. Now Rapture is just a shadow of its former glory with little girls looting the dead of what little they have left while being shadowed by guardians known as "Big Daddys" It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This First Person Shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played. The environment as well as the story line will wrap you up for hours on end.

 

Video Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bioshock really loves ATI video cards in Crossfire but 200+ FPS makes this rig a monster in Bioshock. If you cant get the jump on the Splicers and "Big Daddys" with this level of performance well its time to hang it up.

 

Testing:

Activision's Call Of Duty World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought COD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a large resolution. This game just may be my reason to move to a 30 inch monitor. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From 1024x768 to 1680x1050 the Gamer Xtreme Xt again has our test rig covered but the little system that could pulled out a win in the 1920x1200 resolution. That makes 2 games so far the OCC test bench has won the highest resolution. Unfortunately thats about all it has done.

Testing:

In Dead Space, as part of the crew of the USG Kellion you are headed on a repair mission to repair a ship in distress. Things go from bad to worse as starting with the crash landing and seemingly silent and "Dead" ship, the USG Ishimuru. Offering a non-traditional over the shoulder viewing angle, the game gets right into the action as soon as the ventilation systems are activated. From there things get worse with the appearance of the Necromorphs. Survival now becomes a primary concern for the primary character Isaac Clarke. Survive and you may find the loved one that was aboard the Ishimuru. Again, there are some screen shots of real gameplay to show a bit of the action. In one frame a Necromorph is visible right before an attack from behind.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gets a little redundant but the Gamer Xtreme Xt just beats the OCC testbed across all four resolutions. Its nice to see a custom built PC that really performs well across our benchmark suite.

 

Testing:

Fallout 3 takes place after the nuclear holocaust that nearly wipes out civilization and leaves the world an irradiated mess. The vault, or fallout shelter, you are born in is Vault 101, situated in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia area. The premise of the game is that the Vault has been sealed for 200 years and now your father has opened the vault and escaped without a trace. The Overseer believes you are involved, so you must escape as well into the wasteland that was once our nation's capital. I find myself looking for landmarks since I am familiar with the streets of Washington DC.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With both systems sporting a strong video card (HD4870x2) the results show the difference in the two systems are more than just skin deep. The new technology is just beating our testbed into the dirt.

 

Testing:

Left For Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival! Below are several screenshots to show some in-game action.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the system is taken out of the equation as the resolution increases the performance of the two systems almost equalizes with the Gamer Xtreme XT pulling out a win by 6 frames per second at 1920x1200.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of those benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest breaks out. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

While the OCC test system struggles to push past the 16000 point barrier the Gamer Xtreme Xt just blows past that barrier and moves up over 20,000 marks at 1024x768 and almost reaches that plateau at the standard test resolution of 1280x1024.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gamer Xtreme XT has a commanding performance lead in the first 3 resolutions but yeilds to the OCC system when just the video card is being tested. This gives the OCC test system exactly 4 wins in the gaming category. Not really a strong performance from what has been a nice performing test system.

Conclusion:

Prebuilt computers have usually had two thing not going for them, Price and performance. Performance usually comes in the form of a price tag outside our reach or when in our price range the performance is not there. As enthusiasts we think we can always do a better job of building a superior rig at a better price than the companies that do it day in and day out. Most times I would say that is true. But with the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme Xt system I think the watermark has been set on both the price front as well as the performance front. For $1600 dollars you can have a system that will run today's games and applications much better than a similarly equipped system using not last years technology but technology that was released This year! If you wanted to build this system you would be hard pressed to find the identical components used in this system at a price even $500 higher than the $1600 dollar asking price. This system from CyberPower just crushed our poor testbed system that really is no slouch. I even threw in the Sapphire Atomic HD4870x2 to try and hedge the performance a bit but still came up short in the performance comparisons. Did I say it's water cooled yet? Well yes Johnny it is! While you may not think of a prefilled water cooling system as a performance peice Asetek makes cooling solutions that work and are shipped on OEM PCs such as HPs BlackBird. Even the Test video card on my OCC testbench uses Asetek cooling on the CPU and Video card via the Atomic HD4870x2. If you take a look at the review of that piece you can see the cooling performance delivered with a similar setup. When it came to cooling I loaded the Gamer Xtreme XT up with the latest Prime 95 and hit the switch and walked away. An hour later it still sat at 67 degrees Celsius. About the same as my TRUE with a much louder fan.

What more can I say! I'm impressed with the level of performance delivered by this system. It uses name brand parts to deliver this level of performance not off the wall no name parts to sell the system at a lower price point. Name brand parts such as Asus, Kingston, HIS, Intel, Thermaltake, Asetek, Western Digital, Liteon, and Logitech to name a few. This system is a Prebuilt that delivers great results without breaking the bank. If you are getting ready to slap your hard earned dollars down on the counter for that spankin' new gaming rig you ought to head over to the folks at Cyberpowerpc and see just what they can do for you. You might be surprised. I was!

 

If you would like a shot at winning this particular system you can head over to our Christmas Contest giveaway to register and put your name in the hat for a chance to win this wonderful system as well as a shot at 59 other prizes. Thats a grand total of 60 prizes up for grabs. Thanks to the folks at Cyberpowerpc for helping us with this contest! Good Luck and hope this one lands in your hands!

In the end what does this all mean besides this PC being a killer deal? It means OCC needs to update their test platforms. We already knew that we just wanted to give you an idea what kind of differences are available with I7. Look for OCC's new platforms to take effect full force in Jan with the 2560X1600 resolution being added into our testing regimen.