The CyberPower Infinity 860 struggles to keep up with the leaders in this category despite housing the quickest CPU (central processing unit) in the Top Five – the Intel Core 2 Duo E6700.


  1. Chillblast Fusion Raider 6600
  2. Mesh Elite GTS Media
  3. Evesham Solar Storm
  4. CyberPower Infinity 860
  5. Zoostorm 4-6405 Advanced PC

Fourth place

It might be the fastest chip on paper, but this theoretical dominance didn’t convert into a particularly high score in our tests, with the CyberPower falling just behind the E6600-powered Chillblast, Mesh and Evesham PCs.

The CyberPower also features one of the best graphics cards, in the shape of the 640MB GeForce 8800 GTS. This translated into a slightly better effort in our games tests, with the Infinity finishing ahead of the Evesham. It still trailed behind the Chillblast. The raw specifications suggest this PC would be the best system overall, so we were slightly surprised to see only moderate real-world performance.

For a PC at this price point onboard sound is a bit of a disappointment, and the CyberPower doesn’t feature much in the way of extras. That said, we can understand that plenty of the budget must have been lavished on the processor and graphics. This PC also suffers from having an extremely noisy case, a fault that may grate on the nerves rather more than CyberPower’s inability to translate strong base components into truly devastating speed.

Buying advice

Processor: Intel's Core 2 Duo chips have established themselves as the best in just about every category and the sizzling E6600 model is proving itself the chip of choice for £751-£1,000 PCs. The E6600 is amazingly fast and holds a significant advantage over its Athlon counterparts. That's not to say AMD processors can't still do a job - especially if your budget is closer to £751 than £1,000 - but for those with the full amount to spend, the E6600 remains peerless.

Memory: The age of the 2GB PC is upon us. Given the power and juggling space required by 2007's software titles, 1GB PCs won't cut it at the top level in the Vista era - skimp on memory now and you might find yourself having to administer a critical upgrade later on. For the best performance, look for a high-quality memory maker such as Corsair.

Storage: It's hard to believe, but 250GB is now considered a small amount of storage space. All five of the manufacturers in our Top Five have included at least 320GB and, as Mesh and Zoostorm show, as much as 500GB is a possibility at this price. Make sure you get serial ATA cabling for rapid transfer rates. Cover backup with a multi-format DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are a must, and you should make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL with a minimum of eight-speed or more. DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Also, look for good eight- or 10-speed DVD+RW facilities. Other optional formats to consider include DVD-RAM.

Display: Flat-panel screens can vary wildly in quality - preferably look for a 19in model with a DVI (digital visual interface) that can support a resolution of 1,280x1,024 or more. You may be able to stretch to a good 20in screen, but be careful if you're offered a 22in flat-panel at this price - the quality of the image on cheap 22in models tends to be patchy. Bear in mind that you'll have to stare at this screen for long periods, so picture quality is an important consideration. Try to get a screen with a response time of 8ms or less so that the screen doesn't blur fast-moving images.

Graphics card: At this price, you should be able to get something rather startling. The nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS is making great waves in its 640MB incarnation, providing excellent graphics features and wonderful visual quality. It also packs DirectX 10.0 support, theoretically giving you access to some impressive games in the future - although it's too early to tell whether the card will be powerful enough to handle the demands of DirectX 10.0 in practice. Nonetheless, this is an excellent card for the money. The 320MB version of the 8800 GTS is also decent, although you will have to sacrifice a bit of detail.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard or integrated sound has come on in leaps and bounds, with support for 7.1-channel sound now available - but it's no match for a decent sound card. You should be able to get a card from Creative's Audigy 4 family or the excellent X-Fi range. If you want only 2.1-channel speakers then make sure they're high-quality, but most manufacturers are bundling 5.1 speakers. If you want audio excellence, you should hold out for a set of 7.1-channel speakers.

CyberPower Infinity 860: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • 6 USB ports
  • 19in HannsG HU196DP flat-panel, 0.294mm pixel pitch, 1,280x1,024 maximum resolution
  • 640MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS, PCI Express
  • onboard Realtek High Definition sound
  • 5 x Creative Inspire T6100 speakers
  • maximum DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD -ROM/-R/+R) 8x/8x (-R DL/+R DL) 6x/8x/12x (-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 3-year RTB warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 102
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • 6 USB ports
  • 19in HannsG HU196DP flat-panel, 0.294mm pixel pitch, 1,280x1,024 maximum resolution
  • 640MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS, PCI Express
  • onboard Realtek High Definition sound
  • 5 x Creative Inspire T6100 speakers
  • maximum DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD -ROM/-R/+R) 8x/8x (-R DL/+R DL) 6x/8x/12x (-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 3-year RTB warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 102

OUR VERDICT

CyberPower has gone all out on its CPU and graphics, leaving other component areas perilously weak against its components.

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