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For the PC buyer that doesn't like the idea of building their own system, there are two basic purchasing options available. Either you go with one of the big name manufacturers, like Dell, HP, Lenovo, or Alienware who make their own custom systems or you go with one of the myriad of smaller local companies that build systems from off the shelf components. Both alternatives have their advantages - unique styling and generally simpler component choice for the former vs having greater choice but a potential mishmash in terms of design for the latter - and which one you choose to go with is entirely up to you but on test here today we have a PC that falls firmly in the latter category.
CyberPower Systems is a UK based system integrator (PC builder to you and me) that, just as I've described, takes all the components you select, from its comprehensive list, and puts them together for you, installs whatever software you choose, slaps a 3-year warranty on it and sells the lot to you at a moderate premium. It offers a wide variety of system themes from cheap and cheerful, through stylish home theatre models, to powerful gaming rigs like the one I'm looking at today. So, let's find out whether this no frills approach to system building is one that gets our thumbs up.
The model I'm looking at is the Gamer Infinity Crossfire HD. It comes configured with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU, 4GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM, two ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards, an Asus P5E motherboard, a 500GB Samsung hard drive, a DVD/CD writer, and a Hiper 630W power supply. The whole lot is wrapped up inside an NZXT Tempest chassis and the CPU and memory have both been given a healthy overclock.
CyberPower offers overclocking as an optional extra with two levels available. The cheaper option is dubbed S&S, or Safe and Stable, and looks to boost performance by 10 - 20 per cent. Alternatively you can go all out and get the XXX option that aims to push your system to between 20 and 30 per cent higher than stock. The former will set you back £49 while the XXX option costs a hefty £89. Our system had the memory overclocked to 888MHz and the CPU to a not inconsiderable 4GHz, which by our calculations makes for a 33 per cent increase, i.e. XXX all the way!
The system came with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit pre installed and an OEM Vista disc is included to restore your computer back to its original settings should anything go wrong. No extra software was included, which is something we, as enthusiasts, value, but there are options for having basic productivity and security programs installed if you wish.