The ultra-quiet CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition has plenty to offer, despite a disappointing benchmark result.

Housed in the same NXZT hush case as the Mesh Matrix II 920, CyberPower's Gamer Infinity Silent Edition is far quieter than most of the PCs that grace our Test Centre.

Large, slow-moving fans keep noise to a minimum and cool both the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition's power supply and the case itself. The processor cooler is also a highly efficient, quiet model. Any escaping noise is then absorbed by the soundproofing material fitted into the case.

In common with many PC manufacturers at this price point, CyberPower has plumped for Intel's Core 2 Duo E8600 CPU. The Gamer Infinity Silent Edition's WorldBench 6 score of 112 points was therefore disappointing and surprising, given that this chip still offers the best performance for the money. Close inspection revealed that the CyberPower's performance was being affected by Winzip 10.0.

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition's gaming scores were more in line with our expectations; its HD 4850 graphics card produced framerates that compare well with the competition.

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition's 22in Fujitsu-Siemens display is an excellent and eyecatching inclusion, with its brilliant white casing illuminated by a blue LED. This screen delivers a decent image and features a comprehensive selection of inputs, including VGA, DVI, HDMI, composite video and S-video.

Unfortunately, this monitor also provides the only audio output for the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition, via a rather small pair of internal speakers.

Budget PCs chart ranking (April 09 issue)

  1. Chillblast Fusion Anubis
  2. Arbico CD8850 XL
  3. Mesh Matrix II 920
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition
  5. Zoostorm 64-5300

>> NEXT PAGE: Budget desktop PCs buying advice

Budget PCs buying advice (April 09 issue)

Processor: Intel's Core 2 Duo range offers almost unbeatable performance for the price. The 3.33GHz E8600 now supersedes the E8500 as the CPU of choice, appearing in the vast majority of desktop PCs in this price category.

Alternatively, go for one of Intel's latest quad-core chips, such as the Q9300. These processors are performing well with newer applications and games. Older Q6600 chips offer good performance with multithreaded apps, but only go for them if the price is right.

AMD's latest Phenom II X4 920 also offers excellent value for money and quad-core performance.

Memory: If fast processors speed up your PC, a large bank of memory stops it from slowing down. Get the most out of your CPU by including at least 4GB of RAM. You can get by with 2GB, but your PC ?will run more smoothly with 4GB.

Storage: Digital media will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive, so buy the biggest you can afford. A 400GB-500GB drive is a good investment. If you've got space, consider a pair of smaller drives - a terabyte (1TB) is a huge amount of information to lose in one go.

Your DVD drive should write to the -R/+R formats at 18-speed or better. Eight-speed rewriting is good; if you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for fast DVD-/+R dual-layer drives. Drives that can read Blu-ray are becoming affordable, but they're still quite rare at this price.

Display: Many PC manufacturers make sacrifices here to keep costs down. But a poor monitor can ruin your computing experience - try it out before buying.

At this price you may get a 19in, 20in or 22in model. Be aware that 19in displays offer lower resolution; 20in and 22in displays usually offer the same resolution, with 22in models displaying larger icons.

A DVI or HDMI connector will provide a considerably better image than a VGA port, so look for a display with a digital input; if you want to connect additional devices you'll need at least two. Finally, look for a good response rate: 8ms or below should be fast enough for games.

Graphics cards: Really hardcore gamers are unlikely to be happy with a sub-£750 PC, but you should be able to find a decent graphics card at this price.

We test PCs on the three-year-old game Fear, and Crysis, a far more demanding title. Although 50fps is enough to make a game playable, you can set your sights higher in this category - look for 80-100fps for decent gameplay.

ATI's Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 and nVidia's GeForce GTX 260 graphics cards deliver excellent performance and value for money, making even cutting-edge games playable if you drop the resolution and settings a notch.

Sound card and speakers: You may find a budget sound card at this price, but most motherboards depend on a decent built-in audio chip that can handle six-channel sound. To get surround sound you'll need a 5.1-channel system (five speakers and a subwoofer). You may be offered a 2.1-channel stereo system, which will be good enough for most users. A monitor's built-in speakers seldom offer a satisfying audio experience.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specifications and our expert verdict

CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition: Specs

  • 3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8600
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit (choose XP and save £16)
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • MSI P31 Neo-F
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 22in Fujitsu-Siemens H22-1WS (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1,680x1,050)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 (games scores: Crysis High = 57fps, Very High = 20fps
  • Fear = 170fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • 22x/22x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 112
  • 3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8600
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit (choose XP and save £16)
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • MSI P31 Neo-F
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 22in Fujitsu-Siemens H22-1WS (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1,680x1,050)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 (games scores: Crysis High = 57fps, Very High = 20fps
  • Fear = 170fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • 22x/22x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 112

OUR VERDICT

Despite its poor WorldBench score, the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition has plenty to offer, and its ultra-quiet operation makes it a good choice for stress-free use in a home environment.

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