CyberPower Liquid i7 Kraken review

CyberPower is a company that seems to like pushing the boundaries of PC design, with top-end and budget systems alike regularly kitted out with a coloured lights and high-end components. The Liquid i7 Kraken is no different: it’s only system we’ve seen to include Nvidia’s top-end GeForce GTX 480 graphics card, and it glows like Blackpool seafront at Christmas.

All that is immediately upstaged, however, by the processor. Intel’s Core i7-930 normally runs at a respectable 2.8GHz, but CyberPower has overclocked the chip to run at a formidable 4GHz. We’ve seen ambitious overclocks before, but few have ever worked so well: the Liquid i7 Kraken scored a mighty 2.83 in our application benchmarks.

It is, quite simply, the best benchmark result we’ve ever seen. It’s no incremental improvement, either: the previous record holders, the A-Listed Wired2Fire Hellspawn XFire and Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut 2, both scored 2.58 in the same tests.

That graphics card is no shrinking violet either, and it helped the Kraken ploughed through our Low, Medium and High quality Crysis tests at 179fps, 121fps and 81fps respectively, and didn’t break a sweat when confronted with more demanding tests. At 1,600 x 1,200 and Very High quality settings, the card scored 49fps, and this result dropped to a still-smooth 42fps when we ran the rest at a higher resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. Only at the extreme resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 did the CyberPower falter with a near-playable result of 25fps.

Good results, to be sure, but on closer inspection little better than the competition. The Wired2Fire scored 40fps in the 1,920 x 1,020 Very High quality test, for instance, just a couple of frames behind the CyberPower.

CyberPower Liquid i7 Kraken

Now we get to the interesting bit, for both CPU and graphics card are bound together by a water-cooling system. Manufactured by XSPC, it dominates the interior of the chassis: the top two 5.25in bays are occupied by the reservoir, and the top of the interior is home to a pair of 120mm fans that cool the system. The rear of the Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced case is home to the pump and another 120mm fan.

The various tubes look good as they arc across the case, but cooling performance was mixed. It did manage to keep the notoriously toasty Nvidia graphics card cool – the GTX 480 hit a peak temperature of 53⁰C during our stress tests – but the processor wasn’t as easy to tame. During our intensive tests, the i7-930 peaked at 76⁰. That isn’t high enough to be worried about, but it is higher than we’d expect from a water-cooled system.

The rest of CyberPower’s specification is excellent, with the an Intel X25-M 80GB SSD taking pride of place. This houses the PC’s OS and has proven pedigree, having won a Recommended award in our last SSD Labs. The other headline features, a Blu-ray writer and Asus Xonar DX sound card, are also generous inclusions, and there’s 6GB of DDR3 RAM and a 1TB mechanical hard disk for general storage.

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