For a gamer on a budget, the Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 8000 is a decent solution. Coupling Intel's high-end 3.6EGHz Pentium 4 560 CPU with a midrange Nvidia GeForce PCX 5750 graphics card won't give blazingly fast gaming performance. But with the PCI Express-capable motherboard and plenty of room for additional system memory and hard drive storage, this $1,695 PC is an affordable starting point around which gamers and power users can add more powerful parts. We suggest that gamers opt for a better graphics card and a CRT monitor instead of the 17-inch LCD, and digital video enthusiasts will want a FireWire card. But if you don't mind filling in some of the holes yourself, the fast processor provides a stable foundation for a system that could be useful for a long time. What the Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 8000 may lack in performance, it makes up for in appearance and expandability. The red Xoxide X-Blade full-tower case, with its clear side panel and blue neon lights, is striking, and hiding the DVD and floppy drives behind a front-panel door makes for a clean, attractive appearance overall. The chassis supports a total of four 5.25-inch and two 3.5-inch front-accessible drive bays, with one of each left vacant, and five internal drive bays, of which only one is occupied. Thanks to a 480-watt power supply, you'll have enough juice to power any additional components. As with the Gamer Infinity 9900 Pro, the 8000 is a noisy beast. The five fans--front, rear, side, CPU, and power supply--really make a racket, so think about tucking this system under your desk.
You'll find two of the Gamer Infinity 8000's four memory slots still available, which is fortunate because it allows you to upgrade the extant 512MB of system memory without discarding either of the memory sticks currently in residence. This motherboard Albatron PX915P Pro is also the first we've seen with two small 1X PCI Express (PCIe) slots, in addition to the full-size 16X PCIe graphics card slot and the three standard PCI slots, two of which are free. You won't find the 1X PCIe slots useful initially, because the only compatible cards we're aware of at the moment are Gigabit Ethernet cards, a technology already built into the motherboard. At least you'll be prepared to upgrade down the road.
Accompanying the array of legacy ports on the rear of the case are four USB 2.0 ports, along with two Ethernet ports--a standard 10/100 Ethernet port and the aforementioned Gigabit Ethernet connection for high-speed networking. (The latter probably won't affect home users as much as it will those who use this machine in institutional setting with a Gigabit network infrastructure.) FireWire ports are notably absent from the 8000, a bummer for digital video enthusiasts, although the front of the case features a pair of USB 2.0 ports, as well as microphone and headphone jacks. You'll also find an LCD panel at the top of the front panel that displays drive activity, the fan operation, and the system temperatures. The $1,695 Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 8000 uses a high-end 3.6EGHz Intel 560 Pentium 4 processor with an Albatron PX915P Pro motherboard. However, Cyberpower includes only 512MB of DDR SDRAM in the form of two dual-channel 256MB 400MHz DDR memory modules, failing to take advantage of the Intel 915P chipset's support for faster 533MHz DDR2 memory. That Cyberpower chose the slower memory RAM is not the end of the world, as most applications will run fine using the older spec. What is somewhat puzzling is why Cyberpower didn't just boost the memory to a full gigabyte. While 512MB is not awful, most performance systems we see these days come with 1GB. Since memory is so cheap, the upgrade adds only about $90 to the overall system cost. Although Cyberpower is clearly aiming the Gamer Infinity 8000 at the budget conscious, adding another 512MB of even standard DDR memory would be a great way to keep this system current.
We are excited about the prospect of PCI Express replacing both AGP and traditional PCI slots, although Nvidia's midrange PCX GeForce 5750 card is not the best card to show off the expanded graphics capability. Value-conscious users who don't feel the need to run Far Cry at the highest resolution should be satisfied, though, especially considering that the Gamer Infinity 8000 costs about half as much as high-end systems, such as the .
The Gamer Infinity 8000's ViewSonic VE700 17-inch LCD offers the kind of clear, bright images we expect from ViewSonic, although the computer arrived in our Labs set to a resolution of 1,024x768, which made the display appear fuzzy until we restored the proper 1,280x1,024 setting in the graphics card drivers. While the Mitsuko PS/2 multimedia keyboard and wheel mouse are included in the same red hue as the chassis, the VE700 is not color matched, making ViewSonic's standard silver-and-charcoal color scheme look a bit out of place. We also have to wonder about the wisdom of a system configuration that asks you to play games with a midlevel graphics card set to a resolution not matched to the monitor.
Also puzzling is the Gamer Infinity 8000's hard drive. The single Western Digital 160GB 7,200rpm UDMA/100 hard drive should provide ample storage space for even enthusiastic digital-media fans, but for some reason Cyberpower configured the single hard drive using the RAID 0 configuration. Using this setting doesn't hurt performance, but it's relatively pointless for a system with a single hard drive. At least there's plenty of space for additional storage.
For audio playback, the Gamer Infinity 8000 relies on the motherboard's 7.1 audio chip, complemented by a Creative SBS 5.1 70-watt speaker system. Hardly gut-quivering in terms of raw power, but the sound quality is more than adequate for games and movies. Audiophiles may opt for a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy and a 7.1-speaker system via Cyberpower's online configurator, although adding a discrete sound card will disable the front-mounted audio ports.
The Gamer Infinity 8000 comes with Windows XP Home Edition and includes an assortment of original software on CD, including the motherboard drivers and the display drivers, along with bundled applications, such as Nero OEM Suite 6.0, CyberLink's PowerDVD 5.0, and Microsoft Works 7.0. Surprisingly, there were no games included with this gaming system. Cyberpower includes a complete recovery CD that can restore the system to its factory-fresh condition if necessary. Application performance
Cyberpower matches Intel's brand-new high-end 3.6EGHz 560 Pentium 4 CPU with comparably dated 512MB 400MHz DDR SDRAM. The good news is that not only can the motherboard support faster 533MHz DDR2 memory, but also that the performance impact between the two, at least as far as current everyday applications are concerned, is minimal. Compared to the first system with 533MHz DDR2 RAM we tested, the Dell Dimension 8400, the Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 8000, held its own, finishing the SysMark 2004 performance test only 7 percent slower than the Dell. While this difference lies just outside the range of statistical deviation, the performance difference is minimal, which demonstrates the Gamer Infinity 8000's ability to handle everyday applications with ease.
|BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating||SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
To measure application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark 2004, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).
3D graphics and gaming performance
Despite its use of a PCI Express graphics card, we can see from its 3D performance results that the Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 8000 is not a gaming powerhouse. While the Nvidia GeForce 5750 card delivers sufficient mainstream gaming performance, scoring 98.2 frames per second (fps) on our 1,024x768 Unreal Tournament 2003 test, the 22.4fps score on the more demanding 1,600x1,200 resolution test does not bode well for this system's ability to play 3D games at high resolutions. As long as you stick to lower-detail settings, you should be able to play most 3D games at decent frame rates.
|Unreal Tournament 2003 Flyby-Antalus 1,600x1,200 4XAA 8XAF||Unreal Tournament 2003 Flyby-Antalus 1,024x768|
To measure 3D gaming performance, CNET Labs uses Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2003, widely used as an industry-standard benchmark. We use Unreal to measure a desktop's performance with the DirectX 8.0 (DX8) interface at a 32-bit color depth and at a resolution of 1,024x768 and 1,600x1,200. Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are disabled during our 1,024x768 tests, and are set to 4X and 8X respectively during our 1,600x1,200 tests. At this color depth and these resolutions, Unreal provides an excellent means of comparing the performance of low-end to high-end graphics subsystems. We report the results of Unreal's Flyby-Antalus test in frames per second (fps).
Performance analysis written by CNET Labs technician David Gussman.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Windows XP Professional; 3.4GHz Intel P4 Extreme Edition; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5950 Ultra; two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller
Windows XP Home; 3.6EGHz Intel P4; Intel 915G chipset; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB Nvidia PCX GeForce 5750; WDC WD1600JB-00EVA0 160GB 7,200rpm
Windows XP Home; 3.6EGHz Intel Pentium 4 560; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon X800XT Platinum Edition (PCIe); two Seagate ST3160023AS 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller
Hypersonic Sonic Boom
Windows XP Professional; 3.6EGHz Intel Pentium 4 560; Intel 925X chipset; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia PCX GeForce 6800 GT; Seagate ST380013AS 80GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Windows XP Professional; 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-53; Via K8T800 Pro chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5900XT; two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated WinXP Promise FastTrak 579 controller Cyberpower protects the Gamer Infinity 8000 with a standard three-year warranty, which includes onsite service for the first year. For another $99, you can extend the onsite service to three years. Free toll-free technical support is available 24/7 during the warranty period. In the event that the unit must be returned for service, you'll need to pay to ship the unit to Cyberpower's warehouse for repair, although Cyberpower covers the return shipping costs.
We were disappointed by the lack of system-level documentation. There isn't even a setup poster. Cyberpower includes the original motherboard manual but not the original manuals for the graphics card or the other system devices. This may leave you scrambling for documentation before an upgrade. If you need additional support, Cyberpower's Web site offers real-time support chat and a suite of driver downloads, though it lacks the FAQs, the knowledge base, the online documentation, and the other support content often found from larger manufacturers.