Cyberpower gave this one all the right parts to crank through modern games and pretty much anything else, and the company even took some conscientious design steps, such as organizing the internal wires. Other design miscues, though, along with some mediocre accessories, don't justify the high price.
The Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 9900 Pro's Asus P5AD2-E Premium motherboard is an overclocker's dream come true. The BIOS lets you manipulate various CPU and video-card settings, such as the frontside bus speed and the CPU clock multiplier. (Asus claims that CPUs with clocked multipliers, like the Pentium 4, aren't an obstacle.) Should you push the PC too far, Asus's Proactive AI feature will automatically revert to the system's default settings on the next reboot. An external blue-fluorescent display on the front panel shows the temperatures of the hard drives and the CPU, also aiding the overclocker's cause. Also appreciated: the built-in 802.11g access point, which can connect to an existing wireless network or become the hub for one you want to create.
This is not to say that you need to get involved with tweaking this system to get the most out of it. The Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 9900 Pro achieved appropriately high scores on our benchmark tests, even slightly edging out the PC Club Enpower Edge and its higher-end 3.8GHz Pentium 4 570 CPU on our SysMark 2004 application test. Gaming performance was a little less dominant, although the 9900 Pro's 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics card is certainly no slouch. Scores on our 1,024x768-resolution Half-Life 2 test were more than adequate and in line with where the system should be on the performance scale. Higher resolutions get challenging for this and all other PCs on Half-Life 2, but the good news is that on the 1,600x1,200 Half-Life 2 benchmark, Cyberpower beat even the ZT Group Pro Gaming X6647 and its ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition, a 3D card that usually kicks Nvidia's butt (SLI rigs notwithstanding). As its name implies, if you buy this PC for gaming, you're set.
Aiding our test system's performance is a pair of fast hard drives. The two 74GB, 10,000rpm Western Digital Raptor hard drives (in a RAID 0 configuration) give you a decent amount of fast access storage, although we'd recommend that digital media aficionados add a 160GB or larger tertiary drive for extra space. (Unfortunately, you can configure the 9900 Pro with only two drives on Cyberpower's online configurator.) You have the room to add more hard drives yourself, however; the extant drives occupy only two of the five internal 3.5-inch drive bays.
The roomy case also features five 5.25-inch bays, of which only two are occupied by a pair of Sony optical drives: a 16X DVD-ROM drive and an 8X double-layer DVD burner. Expanding the memory is the only potential problem area. Two open sockets wait next to the resident pair of 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM modules, but the radiator for the liquid-cooling system is mounted directly above them, essentially rendering the slots inaccessible, unless you undertake the cumbersome task of taking the radiator out. You also get two vacant PCI slots for card expansion, a respectable number.
Externally, the Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 9900 Pro gives you a fair amount of add-on flexibility. On the back, there are four USB 2.0 ports, a single FireWire jack, and the requisite array of 7.1-supporting audio jacks. Two additional USB 2.0 ports reside on the front, along with another FireWire input. The 6-in-1 media-card reader rounds out the front panel, with enough variation in media types to accommodate most removable flash storage formats.
The 19-inch ViewSonic VX900 LCD display bundled with our test system (Cyberpower gives you a choice among CRTs and LCDs when configuring the 9900 Pro) delivers reasonable picture quality that doesn't falter in letterbox sizing, a bonus for movie watchers. We're less jazzed about the 90-watt 7.1 Creative Inspire P7800 speakers and the motherboard's integrated sound chip. They get the job done, but if you're picky about audio, you might consider an upgrade to a Creative sound card, a $95 upgrade for the most basic Audigy 2. At this price (north of $3,000), we expected better audio without having to add to the cost. Neither the Microsoft Optical Wheel mouse nor the Logitech keyboard stand out, as well. Make no mistake, the audio and input experiences are functional, but they also feel like missed opportunities for Cyberpower, where it could have created a more polished computer by adding even slightly better components.
In a similar vein, no documentation came with the system. Online service is also half-baked, consisting mainly of links to component manufacturers' Web sites, although about half of the links didn't work when we tried them. At least Cyberpower offers toll-free 24/7 tech support if you happen upon an awkward moment. The warranty coverage is appropriately generous for the price, too, with a three-year parts-and-labor warranty, including a year of onsite service.
|BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating||SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
|Half-Life 2 1,024x768 4xAA 8xAF||Half-Life 2 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF|
Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 9900 Pro
Windows XP Home SP2; 3.6GHz Intel P4 660; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated Silicon SiI 3114 SoftRAID 5 controller (RAID 0)
Windows XP Home SP2; 3.2GHz Intel P4 640; Intel 915GSE chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe); two WDC WD2500JD-22HBB0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
iBuyPower Gamer-SLI Special Edition
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 4000+; Nvidia Nforce 4 Ultra SLI chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6600 GT (PCIe, SLI, Dual GPU); two WDC WD2500JD-98HBB0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Silicon SiI 3114 SoftRAID 5 controller
PC Club Enpower Edge
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.8GHz Intel P4 570; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800GT (PCIe); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; WDC WD2500JD-50HBB0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller
ZT Pro Gaming PC X6647
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.73GHz Intel P4 Extreme Edition; Intel 925XE chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon X850XT PE (PCIe); Seagate ST3400832AS 400GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA