Cyberpower Gamer Ultra M2 Quad review

£1062
Price when reviewed

There’s plenty about the Cyberpower Gamer Ultra M2 Quad that instantly demands attention. The front of its metallic chassis is liberally splashed with chrome, a bulky, heavy door securely grasps the front of the fascia, and a red strip-light glows angrily at the bottom of the case.

The object that attracts the most attention, however, is the one that the red light is surely employed to illuminate: a card boasting ATI’s brand new GPU, the Radeon HD 4870. The technical information alone makes for mouth-watering reading: 800 stream processors, 512MB of cutting edge GDDR5 memory, and a core clock speed of 750MHz.

But it was when we started to run our demanding suite of tests, that this machine really began to shine. Our demanding Crysis benchmark, run at a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 with High settings turned on was dispatched at a fantastic 35fps – only 6fps lower than the expensive, A-listed Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut. The Cyberpower even managed 25fps when we ramped the settings up to their absolute pinnacle, proving that Crysis-beating performance is now available for a comparatively low price.

The rest of the specification is just as up to date. An AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition is a top-of-the-range processor that’s barely been out three months and, coupled with 2GB of RAM, is capable of delivering impressive benchmark results. A score of 1.67 can’t beat the 2.10 of the Juggernaut, but it’s more than enough, however, to cope with the most demanding of applications with little fuss.

The motherboard is another high point: an Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe. This is similar to the Wi-Fi edition, without the wireless internet. It’s an extremely capable overclocker, courtesy of the AMD 790FX chipset and a large copper cooling pipe that snakes through the heart of the board.

There’s a Blu-ray drive, which will please those looking for a high-definition PC. Cyberpower has also generously included a separate DVD writer, so both can be used at the same time.

The chassis, like the specification, is another area that commands attention – though not necessarily in a good way. There’s a rather pointless clear plastic window cut in the side of the Sigma Unicorn case, and a red strip-light lends an annoying glow to proceedings.

And, for all its bluster, the Sigma case isn’t the most practical chassis we’ve seen either. It’s not a huge chassis, especially for a gaming machine, and suffers with so much hardware crammed inside: the dual-slot GPU practically almost touches the large RAM cooler, and the hard disk isn’t too far away from it either.

The selection of high-power parts also means that thick power cables trail all over the chassis with little care paid to how they’re handled – so it could probably do without that window exposing its messiness to the world.

It’s not all bad, though: each of the numerous expansion ports is equipped with tool-free clips, and there’s a couple of free DIMM slots for extra RAM – which could conceivably come in handy when coupled with the included 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium.

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Despite the generally excellent specification, though, the selection of peripherals is somewhat mixed. A Logitech LX710 gaming keyboard and mouse set is pretty comfortable to use and comes with a selection of useful features, too: buttons on the left hand sound allow for basic picture manipulation – such as zooming and rotating – and media buttons on the right-hand side let you pause and play music tracks.

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