The CyberPower’s £999 price plants it firmly into the middle of the affordable gaming PC market, and it includes an AMD Ryzen processor and Nvidia Pascal GPU in its budget.
CyberPower’s rig is built inside a Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 5. It looks the part: the opaque plastic front panel uses an angled design, and CyberPower has chosen the red variant of the case, which means crimson detailing around the front UI and at the base.
Impressively, Cooler Master includes black and white trim options with this chassis – so new plastic can clip into place if you fancy a change. It’s even possible to 3D-print your own if you’ve got the right hardware.
This mid-sized tower has the usual see-through side panel, although here it’s made of plastic rather than glass. That’s not the only bit of cost-cutting – the metal throughout is pretty thin. That means build quality is only middling, but that’s not a huge concern if this system is just going to sit still.
On the inside, it’s business as usual. The PSU, its cables and the sole spare hard disk bay are hidden beneath a neat shroud at the bottom of the case, and there are three 120mm intake fans and a single 120mm exhaust to usher air through the interior.
CyberPower has done a reasonable job with the build. Cables are routed neatly, and around the back the wires are similarly tidy. A strip of red LEDs matches the colour on the outside.
This is a familiar case – it was also used in the Wired2Fire Pyro Ultima. That’s one of our favourite budget machines from recent months. Both machines have mid-sized graphics cards and small AMD coolers, which means there’s a lot of empty space in this rig.
That’s a minor issue, though, and our only other concerns about this rig are similarly small. The build quality is mediocre, for instance, and there isn’t much room to add storage – a single flimsy hard disk bay and a couple of 2.5in mounts are the only expansion areas available.
There isn’t much wrong with this budget-conscious case – it’s large, good-looking and has a fine set of features. It’s perfectly adequate for this level of PC.
CPU: 3GHz AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Memory: 16GB 2,133MHz DDR4
Graphics: Asus GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
Motherboard: MSI B350 PC Mate
Hard disk: 1TB Seagate FireCuda HDD
Ports: Front: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio; rear: 4 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x PS/2, 6 x audio
Case: Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 200 x 469 x 455mm
Extras: Cooler Master MasterWatt 500 Lite 500W PSU, 802.11n Wi-Fi
Warranty: 3yr Labour w/ 2yr parts and 1mth C&R
Processing grunt in this machine comes from an AMD Ryzen 7 1700. It’s one of AMD’s more expensive Ryzen parts, which means a solid specification: eight cores with support for sixteen threads, a 3GHz stock speed and a 3.7GHz boost peak.
Despite that, the Ryzen 7 is a step ahead of the cheaper Wired2Fire. That system only used a Ryzen 5 1500X – a chip with a better stock speed of 3.5GHz but half as many cores as the 1700. It’s a similar story in the memory department: the 16GB of dual-channel 2,133MHz DDR4 here is better than the 8GB of single-channel 2,400MHz DDR4 in the Wired2Fire PC.
The CyberPower’s better memory is demonstrated in benchmarks. Its multi-threaded memory bandwidth sits at an impressive 28.35GB/s – but the Wired2Fire could only manage 13GB/s. That’s a big gulf, and it’ll impact on every area of performance in these systems.
The CyberPower’s better budget gives it a superior CPU and memory, and both machines trade blows when it comes to storage. CyberPower’s system comes with a 1TB Seagate FireCuda hard disk, while the Wired2Fire PC had a 240GB SSD, but no hard disk.
The Wired2Fire may have faster storage, but capacity is more important in a gaming machine where you’ll need plenty of space for triple-A titles.
CyberPower has deployed an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in this rig. That’s an excellent choice for a mid-range machine, as it’s got enough power to handle any single-screen before 4K – so 1080p and 1440p panels will play well, and it’ll run lower-resolution widescreen panels too.
The card here comes from Asus, and it’s a stock-speed model. That’s fine, but we’re a little disappointed that CyberPower has used the cheaper of Nvidia’s two GTX 1060 cards: it means you get 1,152 stream processors rather than 1,280, and 3GB of memory rather than the 6GB found in the pricier version. It’s especially disappointing given that the cheaper Wired2Fire machine included the more expensive model.
CyberPower’s components are connected to an MSI B350 PC Mate motherboard. It’s an ATX product that’s larger than the board included with the Wired2Fire, so it’s got better features – a second PCI-Express x16 slot, for instance, better-looking heatsinks and USB 3.1 type-c connectors at the rear.
It’s still a mid-range board, though, which means the middling B350 chipset. It does support overclocking, but it has no support for Nvidia-based dual-graphics and limited provision for extra storage. That’s fine for this kind of mid-range system, and there’s more on offer here than on the Wired2Fire machine – but this motherboard isn’t high-end enough for extreme users.
CyberPower has used on its smaller PCI-Express slots to install a wireless card. On paper, that’s a good addition, but the wireless card here only supports single-band connections and tops out at 802.11n – so there’s no support for 802.11ac. That’s hardly forward-thinking, and it’s going to hamper your internet’s performance.
There are plenty of interesting battles here between the CyberPower and its cheaper rival from Wired2Fire. The CyberPower system has the better CPU and memory allocation, but the Wired2Fire machine has an SSD – and it also has the superior version of the GTX 1060, with more stream processors and memory.
On paper, at least, we’re veering towards the CyberPower: the GPU should still be powerful enough, it’s got a better processor, and it has more storage space and dual-channel memory.
The differing versions of the GTX 1060 makes for an intriguing battle in graphical benchmarks. At 1080p, the CyberPower’s minimum framerates were better in three of our five gaming tests – but the Wired2Fire returned faster averages in three of our gaming benchmarks.
The CyberPower fell behind at 1440p – and, even then, there was little in it. The Wired2Fire machine was faster in three of our five games in both the minimum and average tests, but our results graphs demonstrate that we’re talking about very fine margins.
Further evidence can be found in theoretical tests. In the 3D Mark Fire Strike benchmark the CyberPower and its 3GB GPU scored 10,587 – but the Wired2Fire was only 252 points quicker.
The CyberPower just about falls behind the Wired2Fire in gaming, but the GTX 1060 is still a great GPU: even the 3GB card will handle any current game at 1080p and the majority of titles at 1440p. Our only concern is for longevity, because the 6GB card will play games further into the future.
The tables were turned thanks to the CyberPower’s better processor. Its result of 1,379cb in Cinebench was more than 500 points beyond the Wired2Fire, and the CyberPower’s Geekbench single-core result of 3,986 snuck ahead of the Ryzen 5 1500X. Dominance was determined in the multi-core test, where the CyberPower scored 19,115 – nearly 7,000 points beyond its rival.
The hard disk’s read and write speeds of 127MB/s and 153MB/s are several times slower than the Wired2Fire machine, but that’s a minor blip.
When it comes to application performance, there’s only one winner. The CyberPower machine’s extra cores gives it a definitive lead in multi-threaded tests, which bodes well for work, gaming and multi-tasking, and it’s a bit quicker in single-threaded applications too.
The CyberPower’s biggest performance issue came in thermal tests. The three intake fans and single exhaust spinner are all connected using three-pin plugs that don’t have PWM, which means their speed can’t be regulated – which means, in turn, that they always run at their maximum speed. That made the CyberPower louder than most gaming rigs, even when idling.
We tried unplugging all of the case fans and running our benchmarks. This solved the noise issue, but it saw the case become extremely hot – the top panel was too hot to touch, in fact. That’s no good, but it’s no surprise considering there was no way for hot air to leave the PC.
The ideal middle ground comes by connecting the exhaust fan and a single intake. With that more minimal fan arrangement used the cause cools down, and the noise is better – still a little too loud, but not deafening. It’s an easy fix, but it’s disappointing that it was even required.
It’s a little surprising, too, considering that the temperatures were never bad in this PC. With all of the case fans activated the CPU and GPU topped out at 62°C and 67°C, and those figures rose to 71°C and 78°C even with no case fans used – so the components are hardly in danger.
This is one area where the Wired2Fire was comprehensively better: it was always quieter, and only a little hotter – with none of the parts ever proving too toasty.
CyberPower’s machine might have some thermal issues, but a stricter budget always does mean compromise – and we’re pleased, at least, that the noise issues in this system can be easily rectified.
In other departments it’s better. The Ryzen 7 processor has more ability than the Wired2Fire’s Ryzen 5 chip, and it’s partnered with superior memory. The graphics card lags behind a little, but the CyberPower will still play any game at 1080p or 1440p. The motherboard is better, too, and the CyberPower’s larger hard disk is more useful than a quicker, smaller SSD.
Both of these budget systems are good, but we prefer the CyberPower. It costs a tad more, but it delivers in processing power, versatility and storage space – and those are all important areas.