A large portion of our test system's $3,599 price goes toward Intel's most powerful (and most expensive) processor: the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition (that and the 20-inch LCD that Cyberpower bundled with our test system). Cyberpower also chose to spare no expense, with 1,024MB of new DDR2 memory.
Cyberpower offers a wide variety of case options for the Gamer Infinity; our review system came in a 500-watt, windowed X-SuperAlien Server tower, noteworthy not just for its snazzy front end and industrial-looking, neon-lit interior, but also for its cooling system. Whereas most PCs packing this much power rely on several noisy fans, the Gamer Infinity has just one--on the video card. A water-based cooling system keeps the rest of the machine from overheating, while at the same time keeping the noise level relatively low--until you put a CD in the DVD/CD-RW drive, that is; then it roars like a jet engine.
An LCD gauge on the front of the tower displays the CPU and hard-drive temperature, but the dials on either side are unlabeled, undocumented, and apparently ornamental; they serve no purpose that we could divine. Another case complaint: the power button is located behind the hinged drive door, meaning you have to open it every time you want to turn the machine on.
The tower has room for a seemingly endless number of drives in addition to the included DVD/CD-RW drive, the multiformat DVD burner, the 250GB Serial ATA hard drive, and the dual 76GB Serial ATA drives, which are configured in a RAID 0 array for maximum performance. The 6800GT also serves up six USB 2.0 ports, two of them in front, along with individual headphone, microphone, and FireWire ports. An onboard 802.11b/g wireless LAN adapter is the icing on the cake. The only thing missing is a media-card reader, which we consider a PC staple these days. Fortunately, you can add one for just $10.
As its name suggests, the Gamer Infinity 6800GT packs an Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT graphics card, which, for the moment, is among the fastest cards available; it's a small step down from the top-of-the-line 6800 Ultra. The card's dual digital inputs are a perfect match for the dazzling ViewSonic VP201b monitor that Cyberpower bundled with our test system. This 20-inch digital LCD made up $1,066 of our test system's price of $3,599, and it can pivot 90 degrees for Portrait computing, though you'll have to install the necessary software utility yourself. During intense action sequences in games and movies, we saw no evidence of ghosting or any other unwelcome effects. The monitor also supplies four USB ports, though they're behind the screen and are therefore extremely inconvenient.
We had initial concerns about the audio quality--Creative's Inspire T7700 is a relatively low-cost speaker system--but our fears were quickly allayed by the crisp and boisterous sound pumping from the seven satellites and the subwoofer. For games, movies, and music alike, the Gamer Infinity 6800GT serves up a feast for the eyes and the ears.
As for actual game performance, we were able to run Doom 3 smoothly at 1,024x768 with antialiasing set to 8X. Pushing the settings any higher resulted in choppy frame rates. In benchmark tests, the Gamer Infinity produced high application and 3D scores, though it wasn't quite the fastest system in its class. Even so, there's no question the system has both the muscle and the storage capacity to keep you computing and gaming happily for years to come.
Cyberpower bundles a good mix of software, including no less than Doom 3 itself. Alas, that's the only game; the other titles are Microsoft Works 7.0; Nero OEM Suite, comprising nearly everything found in Nero 6.0 Ultra Edition; and CyberLink PowerDVD XP 4.0.
Cyberpower's generous warranty covers parts and labor for three years and includes a year of onsite service and 24/7, toll-free phone support. The latter is particularly welcome, as the Gamer Infinity comes with minimal documentation. Cyberpower supplies manuals for the motherboard and a few other components, but there's nothing specific to the case or the system setup. As with the knobs on the front of the tower, we found two audio connectors mounted in a rear backplate and had no idea what they were for. Novice users may prefer a system with better documentation.
|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).
|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).
Alienware Area-51 Extreme
Windows XP Professional; 3.4GHz Intel P4 Extreme; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5950 Ultra (AGP); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller
Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 6800GT
Windows XP Professional; 3.4GHz Intel P4 Extreme; Intel 925X chipset; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT (PCIe); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; Maxtor 7Y250M0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Silicon Image SiI 3114 SATA RAID controller
Dell Dimension XPS
Windows XP Home; 3.6GHz Intel P4 560; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon X800XT PE (PCIe) ; two Maxtor 6Y160M0 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller
HP Compaq X Gaming PC GX5000Z
Windows XP Professional; 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-53; Nforce-3 250 chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (AGP); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated Nvidia Nforce ATA RAID class controller
Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX
Windows XP Professioanl; 3.6GHz Intel P4 560; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe) ; two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; Hitachi HDS724040KLSA80 400GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller