Also based on the Core i7 920, CyberPower's Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy is a good performer, if not quite as fast as the Arbico or Chillblast.

Housed in a striking black-and-silver NZXT case, the CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy will appeal to gamers without appearing too garish for general use. The external drive bays are hidden behind a magnetic-lock door with transparent smoked-acrylic panels. The case also incorporates a pair of quiet 120mm cooling fans that use a screwless design for easy access and installation of components.

An ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card provides excellent gaming performance, reaching comparable levels to the similarly equipped Chillblast. However, if it's gaming performance you're after, Mesh's Matrix 295 HD is faster and costs less than the CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy.

A 24in Optiquest monitor is provided with the CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy, which bears more than a passing resemblance to similar models we've reviewed from Digimate.

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy is alone in its inclusion of a sound card, and its Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio can potentially improve audio quality - although it could be argued that the onboard audio found on newer motherboards offers sufficient quality for most of us. A set of Creative T6100 speakers completes the deal with a full surround-sound system - a good complement to the Blu-ray drive and HD-capable display.

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy's Asus P6T motherboard is feature-rich, while the 780W Hiper power supply offers plenty of potential for upgrades.


Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (June 09 issue)

  1. Arbico Elite i7 RSX
  2. Chillblast Fusion Hercules
  3. Mesh Matrix 295 HD
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy
  5. Eclipse Excalibur i792nGTX260

>> NEXT PAGE: Power deskktop PCs buying advice

Buying advice: Power desktop PCs (June 09 issue)

Processor: Until recently, Intel Core 2 Duo chips were your best bet. This has all changed with the release of Intel's Core i7 CPUs. These offer a number of speed boosts, including the ability to run eight threads simultaneously, although they require far more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. The E8600 is still a very fast processor and delivers excellent value.

Memory: If you're spending more than £1,000 on a Core i7 PC, it should come with a minimum 3GB of RAM. For dual-core machines, look for 4GB in two modules to allow room for expansion.

Core i7 PCs require you to buy your chips in threes, in order to take advantage of the triple-channel architecture. You'll also need to splash out on DDR3 RAM.
A 64bit OS can take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you're running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage: Expect at least 750GB. Look for a pair of drives rather than a single larger unit; it will boost performance and prevent you losing lots of data if a drive fails. Raid setups are also an option. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs can sometimes provide additional speed boosts, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB on a disc) are useful. Make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or above. You should also be able to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds. Alternatively, buy a second DVD burner for backup.

Display: We're seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1,080p (full-HD) playback became available, making these ideal partners for Blu-ray drives. However, some of the newest 22in (16:9) monitors can also display full-HD - and with a considerable saving, making them excellent value for money.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality.

Graphics card: For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia's GeForce GTX 285 or GTX 295 and an ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value for money and are approved by chip manufacturers.

Buying a single-card solution keeps your options open for adding a second card later. It also leaves more space in your PC for sound cards or TV tuners.

Power supply: The level of power you require will depend largely on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for a known and respected brand, and consider from 750W upwards if you have any thoughts of moving up to a dual-card solution later. Any form of overclocking will demand a powerful PSU.

Sound card and speakers: There have been improvements in onboard sound, but it's still no match for a decent sound card. You should be able to get a Creative Audigy or X-Fi card at this price.

If you only want 2.1-channel speakers, make sure they're high-quality models.

CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 750GB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • Asus P6T motherboard
  • 780W Hiper 4M780 PSU
  • 24in Optiquest Q241WB monitor (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,200 native resolution)
  • 2 x 1GB PCI Express XFX ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 70/35fps
  • Fear = 334fps)
  • Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio sound card
  • 5 x Creative T6100 speakers and subwoofer
  • 6x BD-ROM
  • 3x HD DVD
  • max DVD speeds: 16x/16x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Express Gate
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 131
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 750GB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • Asus P6T motherboard
  • 780W Hiper 4M780 PSU
  • 24in Optiquest Q241WB monitor (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,200 native resolution)
  • 2 x 1GB PCI Express XFX ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 70/35fps
  • Fear = 334fps)
  • Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio sound card
  • 5 x Creative T6100 speakers and subwoofer
  • 6x BD-ROM
  • 3x HD DVD
  • max DVD speeds: 16x/16x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Express Gate
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 131

OUR VERDICT

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy looks good, is fast, and offers a well-rounded package. However, it’s simply too expensive in the face of the competition.

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