Unlike some of the crazy-looking systems we’ve seen, the CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite tempers its daring touch of metallic paint and interior blue neon with a degree of visual restraint. You can take the system seriously during Microsoft Office moments too.

Unlike some of the crazy-looking systems we’ve seen, the CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite tempers its daring touch of metallic paint and interior blue neon with a degree of visual restraint. You can take the system seriously during Microsoft Office moments too.

Through the transparent side panel you can see an Intel Core i7 920 CPU (running at 2.66GHz) and an ATI Radeon HD 5850. The latter provides cutting-edge graphics and excellent framerates in the latest games titles. Very good performance was displayed by the CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite in all our tests, including a 136-point WorldBench 6 score and a Crysis showing on a par with the Best Buy and Recommended Chillblast and Eclipse PCs.

A 6GB memory allocation is provided on three RAM modules, and the Gigabyte motherboard supports a maximum of four; so upgrading the CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite's memory will require you to replace what’s already installed.

A single 1TB hard drive is supplied, along with an undersized-looking 600W PSU. Also disappointing is the choice of monitor. The CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite's 22in Digimate offers dual analogue and digital inputs, but it’s the only monitor here not to support 1080p video. Its 1680x1050 resolution will make items onscreen appear larger, however, which may be useful if you have trouble reading tiny icons.

Unfortunately, the money saved hasn’t been invested elsewhere: there are no speakers, nor a Blu-ray drive. But the CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite offers the best warranty here.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (issue 176)

  1. Eclipse Evolution i792R585
  2. Chillblast Fusion Eclipse
  3. Arbico Elite 9257 HD
  4. CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite
  5. HP P6227uk

>> NEXT PAGE: Power desktop PCs buying advice

Unlike some of the crazy-looking systems we’ve seen, the CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite tempers its daring touch of metallic paint and interior blue neon with a degree of visual restraint. You can take the system seriously during Microsoft Office moments too.

Power desktop PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel's Core i7 chip is taking this price bracket by storm. It's a match for the best dual-core systems and will outpace any previous-generation quad-core machine. However, Core i7 chips require more expensive DDR3 memory and a new motherboard design, so expect to make sacrifices elsewhere.

The latest Core i7 800-series processors use lower-cost motherboards but can still compete with the lower end of the Core i7 900-series on performance.

Dual-core CPUs are still available, but the time has come to switch to the quad-core architectures.

Memory: Consider 4GB as a minimum. If you're buying a Core i7-based system, however, expect 3GB or 6GB of RAM (such machines install memory chips in threes). The Core i7 800-series and Core i5 chips install memory sticks in twos, however, making them excellent value for money.

A 64bit OS will take full advantage of your RAM, but check that your software and drivers will be supported. If you opt for more than 4GB, a 64bit OS is essential.

Storage: Anything less than 500GB is now considered a small amount of storage space. Many users will get by with 320GB but, with prices falling, it's more typical to find 1TB at this price point.

Get a multiformat DVD writer that can write to a dual-layer format if you want to store 8.5GB on a single disc. Look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL. Try to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

At this price you may also find a drive that reads Blu-ray discs - note that it won't burn to Blu-ray, and DVD burning speeds will be slower.

Display: 22in or 24in flat-panels are the standard here. Many vendors supply cheap screens in order to leave more room in the budget for other components, but it's worth spending a little more if you intend to work primarily with digital photos or video.

A screen with a response time of 8ms or less will minimise blur on fast-moving images. For image editing, contrast ratio and colour fidelity are more important.

A digital input can preserve picture quality, so think twice about displays that provide analogue inputs only.

If you're a movie fan, look for one of the new 16:9 format 22in-plus displays that offer full-HD playback. You may even be able to find a 24in model.

Graphics card: At this price point, the ATI Radeon HD 5850 is an almost unbeatable choice for gamers. It offers multiscreen support and supports DirectX 11.0.

You'll also find good deals on nVidia's GeForce GTX 260 (or even GTX 280). Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory. nVidia cards offer some unique features, including support for 3D gaming with compatible monitors and glasses.

The GTX 260 and HD 5850 can be used in dual-card setups later but, to take advantage of this, your motherboard and power supply must be compatible.

Ready-made dual-card solutions are available but can be more expensive.

Power supply: The level of power you require will depend largely on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for at least a 500W unit at this price point; 750W upwards if you plan to add another card. A known brand is also likely to give better stability. Overclocking also demands a high-quality power supply.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard sound is no match for a sound card. Consider Creative's Audigy 4 or X-Fi range.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

CyberPower Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Gigabyte GA-X58-UD3R
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 600W AvengePower PSU
  • 22in Digimate L2262WD (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 73/35fps
  • Fear = 309fps)
  • onboard sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/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: 136
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Gigabyte GA-X58-UD3R
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 600W AvengePower PSU
  • 22in Digimate L2262WD (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 73/35fps
  • Fear = 309fps)
  • onboard sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/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: 136

OUR VERDICT

CyberPower's Infinity i7 Andromeda Elite is a very attractive machine, without overstepping the mark. It might not offer the best multimedia setup, but gamers will still want to take it home.

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