CyberPower’s Infinity i3 Apollo desktop PC is sold with a dual-core Core i3-530 processor overclocked to 3.4GHz, but at stock speeds it lags behind the competition.

CyberPower’s Infinity i3 Apollo desktop PC is built around a dual-core Core i3-530 processor. CyberPower sells this system with the CPU overclocked to 3.4GHz, resulting in a 138-point score in our WorldBench 6 test. However, we’re concerned only with this chip’s stock speeds: at 2.93GHz, its 123-point tally lags somewhat behind the competition.

Even when overclocked, it’s possible to find an unclocked machine with similar bench performance at the same price as the CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo desktop PC – look to the Eclipse Matrix, for example.

The CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo desktop PC's MSI motherboard doesn’t offer USB 3.0 support and provides limited expansion potential with only a pair of PCI Express 1x slots and a single PCI slot free.

Don’t rule out the CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo desktop PC yet, however. The cash saved on a cheaper processor has enabled the inclusion of a whopping 1TB of storage and the largest monitor here, at 23.6in. The HKC offers a full-HD resolution, making it a great choice for watching films or playing games. Its larger pixel pitch also improves text readability.

Budget PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Nautilus
  2. Arbico i7-9250 XL
  3. DinoPC Elmisaur 750 OC
  4. Eclipse Matrix i567r577
  5. CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

CyberPower’s Infinity i3 Apollo desktop PC is sold with a dual-core Core i3-530 processor overclocked to 3.4GHz, but at stock speeds it lags behind the competition.

Budget PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s latest naming scheme is confusing: if you want a quad-core PC, look for a Core i5-700-, 800- or 900-series CPU; the newer Core i5-600 series are dual-core.

Quad-core chips offer greater multiprocessing capabilities, but the higher clock speeds of dual-core chips mean they can run single-threaded applications faster. Non-gamers should note that their integrated graphics chips will allow them to play full-HD video without a discrete graphics card installed.

The dual-core Core i3-540 provides great performance and is compatible with the most up-to-date motherboards and DDR3 memory, but it lacks the integrated graphics and performance boosting features of the Core i5. AMD’s quad-core Phenom II X4 920, 940 and 965 also offer good value for money, although they can’t match the Core i5 in our tests.

Some AMD processors contain hidden extra cores that can be enabled in the Bios. Ensure that any tweaks are backed by the vendor.

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 more.

Core i5- and i7-800-series CPUs use DDR3 memory rather than DDR2, but there’s no need to buy the chips in threes as you do with i7-900-series systems.

Storage: Digital media will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive; buy the biggest you can afford. At least 500GB should be expected at this price point.

Consider using a pair of smaller hard drives rather than one large drive – a terabyte (1TB) is a huge amount of information to lose in one go.

Your DVD drive should write to the +/-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. Blu-ray readers are becoming more affordable, but they’re still quite rare at this price.

Display: Note that 19in screens offer a lower resolution than 20in/22in monitors; 22in models display larger icons. Newer 21.6in (16:9) flat-panels are capable of displaying full-HD content, but onscreen elements will be even smaller. You may be able to get a 23.6in display at this price if you make compromises elsewhere.

A DVI or HDMI connector will provide a considerably better image than a VGA port; if you want to connect additional devices, you’ll need at least two.

Finally, look for a good response rate: 8ms or below is fast enough for games.

Graphics cards: We test graphics with Crysis and Stalker: Call of Pripyat, the latter able to benchmark DirectX 11.0-capable graphics cards. Although 25fps is enough to make a game playable, you can set your sights higher at this price point – look for 50fps.

Current pricing will limit you in this area, but ATI’s Radeon HD 5770 and nVidia’s GeForce GTX 260 both deliver great performance and value for money, making the latest games playable if you drop the resolution and settings a notch.

nVidia cards offer support for realistic object interactions in games supporting PhysX and are able to display 3D content.

If you don’t play games at all, consider using only the integrated graphics of Intel’s Core i5-600-series processors.

Power supply: A large PSU is less vital at this price point, but look for a model with a full set of SATA and PCI Express connectors to make later upgrades easier.

Sound card and speakers: Most motherboards at this price point depend on onboard sound. To get surround sound, look for a 5.1-channel system (five speakers and a subwoofer).

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo: Specs

  • 2.93GHz Intel Core i3-530 (sold overclocked to 3.4GHz)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • MSI H55M-E33 motherboard
  • 700W WinPower PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB HIS ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 57/25fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 96/43fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC889
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+ DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year limited return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 123
  • 2.93GHz Intel Core i3-530 (sold overclocked to 3.4GHz)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • MSI H55M-E33 motherboard
  • 700W WinPower PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB HIS ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 57/25fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 96/43fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC889
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+ DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year limited return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 123

OUR VERDICT

Whether you’re a speed freak or not, you’ll find the CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo desktop PC fun to use. Gamers will love its transparent side panel and the ability to boost system performance at the flick of a switch, although it’s possible to get a faster system for the same money.

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