CyberPower has cleverly opted for a cost-effective Core i7 9xx-series CPU with its Infinity Hades GT power desktop PC, leaving cash in the budget for a fast-booting solid-state disk and a Blu-ray drive.

Both the CyberPower Infinity Hades GT and Mesh PC have opted for Intel's Core i7 860 processor. This chip combines a 2.8GHz clock speed with quad-core performance and demands lower-cost components than the Core i7 9xx series.

Unfortunately for the CyberPower Infinity Hades GT, this has resulted in the lowest WorldBench 6 score of the group. It's worth pointing out, however, that this is still a jolly quick PC.

The installation of Windows on a 64GB SSD improves the CyberPower Infinity Hades GT's startup and shutdown times, as well as general operation. SSDs are rather expensive, so it's pleasing to see the inclusion hasn't pushed up the price tag.

One down side to SSDs is that they fill up quickly, but the CyberPower Infinity Hades GT gets around this by also including a 1.5TB hard drive.

With an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card under the hood, the CyberPower Infinity Hades GT is easily capable of keeping up with the competition in our gaming tests.

CyberPower supplies separate DVD and Blu-ray drives, with the latter put to good use playing HD movies on the Infinity Hades GT's 24in full-HD AOC monitor - the same screen that Arbico includes. While it offers a good specification and a front-facing USB port, it looks a little chunky and less elegant than those supplied with the other systems in our chart.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (June issue)

  1. Chillblast Fusion Pinnacle
  2. Mesh Ice7 5870 HD
  3. Arbico Elite 9387 HD
  4. CyberPower Infinity Hades GT
  5. Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 960-24

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

CyberPower has cleverly opted for a cost-effective Core i7 9xx-series CPU with its Infinity Hades GT power desktop PC, leaving cash in the budget for a fast-booting solid-state disk and a Blu-ray drive.

Buying advice

Processor: Intel's Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. The Core i7 950 or 960 are good choices at this price, or you can save money by opting for an i7 930. Core i7 860 chips cost even less.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM, although 3GB is acceptable if the manufacturer compensates with other extras. For dual-core machines, look for 4GB in two modules to allow expansion.

The triple-channel architecture of Core i7 9xx-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7 8xx-series CPUs use a two-channel system, which will save you some cash. You'll also need to splash out on DDR3 RAM, but the price of such memory is falling fast.

A 64bit operating system can take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you're running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage: Expect at least 1TB. Look for a pair or even a trio of drives rather than a single unit to reduce the risk of total data loss, although noise levels will increase. Raid setups are an option for speed at the expense of reliability. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs provide speed boosts, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Dual-layer DVD+/-R capabilities are useful, preferably 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.

Display: We're seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1080p (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.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality, while an extra HDMI port is great for hooking up additional devices such as games consoles without having to switch cables.

Graphics card: For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia's GeForce GTX 285 or GTX 295 and AMD's DirectX 11.0-compatible ATI Radeon HD 5870. The GTX 275 and HD 4890 cards also offer great performance and very good value for money. Radeon cards seem to be the current favourite for raw performance, but nVidia's cards offer unique features such as support for PhysX in-game physics effects and stereoscopic 3D using special glasses.

Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value and are approved by chip manufacturers. Buying a single-card setup keeps your options open for adding a second card later. It also leaves more space for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard: If you're considering any upgrades, check that the motherboard offers enough memory slots to support the chips. SLI or CrossFireX support will enable you to add extra graphics cards to boost your gaming performance.

Power supply: The level of power you require will largely depend 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 setup later. Any form of overclocking will also demand a powerful PSU.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specifications and our expert verdict

CyberPower Infinity Hades GT: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 64GB SSD
  • Gigabyte P55M-UD2
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 850W WinPower PSU
  • 24in AOC 2436PWA (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 75/42fps
  • Fear = 333fps)
  • onboard Realtek RTL8111D
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 137
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 64GB SSD
  • Gigabyte P55M-UD2
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 850W WinPower PSU
  • 24in AOC 2436PWA (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 75/42fps
  • Fear = 333fps)
  • onboard Realtek RTL8111D
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 137

OUR VERDICT

The CyberPower Infinity Hades GT offers good value for money. Its inclusion of an SSD means it will feel faster in use than our benchmarks are able to reveal.

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