Cyberpower Gamer Infinity i5 Hercules SE review

Intel’s new Core i5-750 processor threw down the gauntlet when it was released in September. Quick, frugal and affordable, Intel’s low-cost alternative to more expensive Core i7 CPUs was an instant hit.

The Gamer Infinity i5 Hercules SE is the first system we’ve seen with the new Core i5-750 installed, and it’s not difficult to see why Cyberpower has chosen this chip: its four 2.66GHz cores occupy a single 45nm die and are ably assisted by 8MB of L3 cache. It boasts Intel’s new Turbo Mode too, which overclocks active cores dynamically by borrowing power from those sitting idle.

The new silicon proved more than capable in our benchmarks, returning an overall score of 1.93 in our application tests. It’s a superb result and far quicker than everything else we’ve seen at this price.

Cyberpower has managed to squeeze a decent graphics card into its budget too. The ATI Radeon HD 4850 delivered good games performance: it ran through our 1,600 x 1,200 high quality Crysis benchmark at 34fps, and managed to complete our World in Conflict test at the same frame rate with the highest quality settings enabled.

The HD 4850 may be near the end of its natural life – ATI has already unveiled high-end HD 5000-series parts, with mid-range GPUs due in the New Year – but the card should be able to handle top titles for a while yet.

Cyberpower’s budget begins to tell, though, when it comes to the rest of the specification. The half-terabyte hard disk is roomy enough but hardly generous, and the 2GB of DDR3 RAM is half the amount that we’d expect, even from a budget system. It won’t cause Windows 7 Home Premium to run sluggishly, but the lack of memory could prove a handicap if you wanted to use the powerful CPU for intensive multi-tasking. It’s worth noting that Cyberpower will double the system’s RAM for £25 exc VAT.

Cyberpower Gamer Infinity i5 Hercules SE interior

The chassis is better. The Cooler Master Elite 310 is a sound platform upon which to build a PC and although the glossy finish and blue trim may be an acquired taste it’s one of the sturdiest budget cases around.

Inside a pair of DIMM slots, a trio of 5.25in bays and four hard disk bays lie empty alongside single PCI Express x16 and PCI sockets, so there’s plenty of room for improvement. And Cyberpower’s impeccable approach to cable tidying means that the chassis feels roomy and well-organised.

It’s just a shame that none of the empty drive bays come with tool-free access. The choice of a Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 motherboard results in a superb selection of ports and sockets too. The backplate boasting eSATA, FireWire, PS/2, coaxial and optical S/PDIF outputs and ten USB ports.

One nice touch is that Cyberpower has added sound-absorbing foam to the interior. While this doesn’t eliminate noise completely, it certainly keeps it to a minimum. The machine does emit a faint hum, but it’s not too intrusive.

The Gamer Infinity is a very good PC, but what makes it a real tempter is Cyberpower’s aggressive pricing. At this price we’ve seen no machine to top it, with benchmark results far in excess of any system at this price.

It’s even got the oomph to challenge more expensive machines: the A-Listed Chillblast Fusion Midgard boasts the same processor and is only faster thanks to some judicious overclocking. If you’re looking for performance on a budget, look no further.

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