Other things to consider
The specification we’ve reviewed is the middle of three systems produced by CyberPower. The more affordable option, the £499 Syber Vapor A, uses an AMD Athlon X4 840 processor – a weaker part that’s got four cores clocked to 3.1GHz, and with the Steamroller processing architecture.
Oddly, the cheaper system’s lesser processor is paired with an AMD Radeon R9 270 – the card that was used in the faster Alienware. We’re not confident the more affordable system will match our review sample for gaming performance, because of the weaker processor. Syber says that it’ll play most games at reasonable resolutions, so expect a console-style experience rather than Full HD gaming.
Elsewhere, it’s got 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk – half as much memory and storage as our sample.
That base model is a little cheaper than the most affordable Alienware, but its graphics horsepower impresses when compared to the X51: in the £569 version of Dell’s gaming desktop, you’re saddled with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 745.
Spend £1,249 and you’ll get the Syber Vapor Xtreme. The high-end version upgrades to a Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 graphics card, which is enough to play most games at 4K.
That’s more than the £1,079 Alienware, but the most expensive X51 won’t be as good in games – it’s got a mid-range GTX 760 Ti graphics card that just won’t compete with the GTX 980.
That’s a wide range of prices, but all of them are more expensive than the current consoles, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before investing in one of Syber’s systems. These PCs may cost more, but PC games are cheaper than console equivalents, and the Syber’s upgradeable hardware could improve its longevity.
Should I Buy the Syber Vapor I?
Syber’s new system wades into the market traditionally occupied by Alienware and, in many key areas, it competes well with the Alienware X51. It’s got the grunt to play 1080p games and, while the Alienware is a bit quicker in games and applications, the Vapor is significantly cheaper.
The Syber is easier to upgrade than its rival, and its fully upgradeable design also wins it points when compared to the current crop of consoles – adding components costs more, of course, but it adds longevity.
The Vapor is a more affordable and manageable prospect than the X51, but it doesn’t just compete with Alienware’s gaming system – it’s fighting the consoles for living room space, too. When stacked up against the PS4 and Xbox One, it’s a little less convincing: you’ll have to buy a lot of cheap games from Steam’s mammoth library to make up for its higher initial price and, while it can handle titles at Full HD, the leap in graphical fidelity from console to PC isn’t huge. The Syber is bigger, heavier and consumes power while playing games.
If you want a PC to sit beneath the TV, the Syber is well balanced, capable of Full HD gaming and cheaper than its main rival. The PC’s cheaper, larger games library makes it a tempting alternative to consoles, but consider the Vapor’s higher initial cost before opting for this over a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
Syber’s system is cheaper and easier to manage than its Alienware rival, and can still handle gaming at Full HD resolutions. It’s still more expensive than consoles, though, so consider its benefits carefully before splashing out.
Score in detail
Heat & Noise 8