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CyberPower Gamer Infinity Crossfire HD - CyberPower Gamer Infinity Crossfire HD
As you may imagine from that comprehensive components list, this machine is large and heavy, which is quite understandable. However, the fact it is also very noisy is less forgivable. The main culprits seemed to be a fan in the front of the case that was only capable of running at full pelt or not at all (I just unplugged it in the end) and the CPU fan. This was running at full speed because - now this is one we've come across before - the motherboard's temperature based fan speed controllers had been disabled to ensure a consistently stable overclock.
As I say, this is a problem we've seen before and we really just don't understand it. If you're going to disable the fan controller to get a better overclock, use either a manual controller to find a balance between fan speed (i.e. noise) and cooling to at least try and bring the noise level down or just use a better cooler. This is all the more pertinent considering we found this system suffered from a common problem that besets many review PCs that come pre overclocked - it simply wasn't stable.
Running the Prime95 torture test the system threw up errors within seconds. Admittedly we had no problems during our benchmarking but were we running some intense video encoding, for instance, it seems likely the system would've crashed. Moreover, we'd simply never recommend running a system that's so close to the edge. Quickly dialling back the FSB from 444MHz to 400MHz, which brought the memory back to stock speed and the CPU to a more modest 3.6GHz, and the same torture test passed without any problems. Essentially, when the website says extreme overclocking, don't take it lightly!
It's certainly little things like this that would always make me wary of buying a system that conglomerates a whole variety of different components and certainly one overclocked like this. That said, the fact that everything is off the shelf, and thus easy to replace, means that sorting problems like the fan noise yourself is very easily done and if you find your system unstable a quick call to tech support should sort any overclocking problems.
Considering the systems from CyberPower are fully customisable I won't comment too much on the merits of each individual component and I'll let you decide whether the blue strip lights and black plastic look of the chassis is one that appeals to you. However, I will give you a brief overview.
The chassis has room for eight 3.5in hard drives and three 5.25in drive bays, one of which incorporates a 3.5in drive adapter for mounting a floppy drive or memory card reader. The layout is slightly unconventional with the power supply mounted in the bottom and the motherboard above. It's a layout that makes sense though as the ATX standard that normally has the power supply mounted above the motherboard is an inefficient design. It tends to create a pocket of heat around the CPU and memory, which in turn raises the temperature of the power supply lowering its efficency. By moving the power supply out of harm's way heat from the CPU and memory can be drawn directly out of the top of the case, keeping things considerably cooler.