CyberPower Gamer Infinity 850 review

£553
Price when reviewed

We’ve seen plenty of well-specified PCs at PC Pro recently, all with ambitions of providing gaming and entertainment muscle for a low price. Many of these systems, though, relied on ATi Radeon and Nvidia 3870 and 8000-series graphics – or even integrated chips. With the Gamer Infinity 850, Cyberpower has raised the bar by including a brand-new GeForce 9600 GT.

This so-called mid-range card dispatched our low and medium benchmarks in Crysis – the world’s most graphically demanding title – with little fuss, hitting a mighty 109 and 50fps respectively. The only test it struggled with was the high test, where it scored 21fps. That’s not particularly playable, but still an impressive score and not far behind the numbers achieved by the top end cards in the 8000 series.

It’s an impressive inclusion in a PC this cheap, but the good news doesn’t end there The Core 2 Duo E8400 processor, released at the end of January, is also pretty new. It boasts an fast standard clock speed of 3GHz, which contributed to an impressive 2D benchmark score, but a larger heatsink will be needed if you plan to indulge in a touch of overclocking – only a low-profile Intel model is included as standard. Either way, its overall result of 1.55 is higher than all but one of the machines in our recent Luxury PC Labs – the Gladiator Retiarius PCP Q6600 scored 1.69, but was powered by a quad-core processor – and it also trumps the A-listed PC Specialist Apollo Q6600GT , which costs £999 and scored 1.45.

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Other, similarly priced PCs are also put in the shade by the Gamer Infinity 850’s performance: the last Cyberpower we reviewed from this range, the 550, won our Luxury PC Labs test, but scored only 1.27 in our 2D benchmarks. The Mesh Express TV was recommended in the same month, and only managed 1.12 – all of which just goes to show how capable this new Gamer Infinity machine is.

The Cyberpower’s Cooler Master chassis is just as competent. It’s sensibly designed throughout to keep components as cool as possible. A pair of 120mm fans maintain good airflow throughout – although you do pay for this with a near-constant hum. We also liked the unobtrusive looks, which is in stark contrast to other Cooler Master cases; it’s a triumph of substance over garish style.

Inside the case, a single 400GB hard disk provides plenty of storage for all but the largest of media collections, and the drive is kept in one of the higher 3.5in bays so the airflow from the front of the case isn’t disrupted. There six more to fill after this, plus another three 5.25in bays after the DVD writer has been taken into account. And, continuing the solid and practical theme, all the bays are adorned with tool-free latches for easy installation of extra drives.

Outside, two USB ports, along with headphone and microphone jacks, are all that decorate the front of the machine – which is a little on the spare side – but this is more than made up for by the selection at the rear. Six USB sockets, audio jacks and ethernet are standard fare, but the eSATA port and range of video outputs mark the Gamer Infinity 850 out from a multitude of rival PCs: there’s a pair of DVI-I sockets, an HDMI output and a future-proofed DisplayPort socket as well.

The rest of the machine isn’t so solid. The Hanns.G monitor is a mixed bag. It has VGA input and HDMI inputs, which is good. But the plastic base feels cheap and not particularly stable, and there’s no leeway for adjustment beyond vertical tilt. It also suffered from slightly uneven backlighting at the bottom of the panel, and while colour reproduction and image quality was generally good, whites did appear a little washed-out.

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