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CyberPower Gamer Ultra Perseus PC - CyberPower Gamer Ultra Perseus
In CPU-intensive PCMark Vantage tests, the near-1GHz overclock occasionally allows the Gamer Ultra Perseus to come within touching distance of the Alienware Area 51's Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor, a chip still costing only about £200 less than this entire PC! For this kind of performance, the £110 required for the watercooling kit seems very reasonable, especially since it also adds a lot to the visual appeal of the PC.
The kit's thick tubing (1.5cm diameter) with UV reactive liquid hooks up to the low-profile CPU block, reservoir at the front and a large radiator at the PC's back which covers the two 120mm fan exhausts. Unfortunately the water-cooling does not extend to the graphics card, which with most games is far more crucial than the CPU and is also the single noisiest component in the Gamer Ultra Perseus. That said, the thermal output of a graphics card at full tilt is so enormous you'd need a colossal water cooling system to cope.
Speaking of noise, with all the case's fans active and that of the graphics card thrown in, this is not a silent PC - sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping otherwise. To be fair though, CyberPower's machine doesn't get louder than an audible hum, most of which can be attributed to the graphics card while gaming. And as long as you make sure everything stays well-ventilated you could always risk disconnecting one or even two of the front 120mm fans to knock the total volume down further.
Back to components, the graphics card in question is the Editor's Choice-winning ATI Radeon 4870, equipped here with the full 1GB of fast DDR5 RAM. Not only is this card a great performer on its own, but since the Asus motherboard supports CrossFire X you can always add a second one for a major performance boost later on. Though due to the board only having 16PCIe lanes in total each slot will receive just eight in CrossFire mode.
The 4GB of OCZ 1666MHz DDR3 RAM used looks almost as impressive as the CPU cooling, with each stick sporting its own massive black heatsink plus heatpipes. The amount of memory, meanwhile, strikes just the right balance between price and performance - and since CyberPower's PCs are fully customizable you can always add more when configuring the system.
Your gaming explosions and other sound effects, meanwhile, are in the very capable hands of a Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio card, which is still one of the best choices for gamers because it sports the latest version of Creative's own EAX (Environmental Audio Effects).
Last but not least is a 750GB Samsung hard drive for storing all those game installs. This is also the one area where I would definitely recommend an upgrade, since for only £10 extra you can get a 1TB (1000GB) drive instead. Of course, it depends if you're the type who likes to have 50 games installed at once or just plays them one by one getting rid of the old ones, but either way there is a generous amount of storage on offer here.
Also worth mention is CyberPower's bundle, which contains spare drive bay covers, video cables and adapters, SATA and power cables, manuals, and essentially all the bits and bobs that came with the components used in the PC.