Despite supplying one of the cheapest systems in the chart, CyberPower has been able to specify a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-930 processor and a premium Asus X58-chipset motherboard for its Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC. The compromises have all been made elsewhere.

Despite supplying one of the cheapest systems in the chart, CyberPower has been able to specify a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-930 processor and a premium Asus X58-chipset motherboard for its Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC. The compromises have all been made elsewhere.

The triple-channel memory architecture of the Core i7-930 dictates that memory be installed in groups of three, so 6GB of system memory is installed in the CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC rather than the 8GB found in the Arbico and Chillblast.

The CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC also lacks a performance-boosting SSD and comes with a lower-spec graphics card than the DinoPC.

Performance results are very good nonetheless. The CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC's 145-point tally in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test is highly commendable, while its factory-overclocked graphics card meant gaming performance from its GTX 470 was just as good as the DinoPC’s GTX 480.

Storage comes in the form of a single 1TB drive. The CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC's provisions will be more than adequate for most people, but faster setups are available from SSD or Raid 0 arrays.

The CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC's Asus P6X58D-E motherboard supports both USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA. Better performance is also available from its X58 chipset than the P55 model used by the Core i7-800-series CPUs. In addition to the six memory slots and triple-channel memory supporting up to 24GB, there are three PCI Express x16 slots – two of which operate at x16 speed simultaneously.

A Blu-ray drive and a 24in BenQ monitor are provided with the CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC. The display supports a full-HD resolution and comes with LED backlighting, but no external speakers are provided.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Tracer
  2. Arbico Elite i7-8670 HSD
  3. CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix
  4. DinoPC Ultrasaur 860 OC
  5. Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Despite supplying one of the cheapest systems in the chart, CyberPower has been able to specify a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-930 processor and a premium Asus X58-chipset motherboard for its Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC. The compromises have all been made elsewhere.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s original 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 i7-800-series chips are excellent value, delivering good performance while requiring less expensive motherboards.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM, although 3GB may be 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 i7-900-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7-800-series CPUs use a two-channel system.

A 64bit OS is essential to 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 trio of drives to reduce the risk of total data loss, although noise levels will increase. Raid 0 setups boost speed at the expense of reliability.

Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs provide a speed boost, but offer limited capacity and are expensive. Go for an SSD with at least 60GB if you’re running Windows 7.

Dual-layer DVD+/-R capabilities are useful, preferably at eight-speed or above. Also look for eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds or buy a dedicated Blu-ray drive.

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 new GeForce GTX 480 and AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 5870. It’s a close call between the two, with nVidia’s newer card often offering a performance edge, but costing considerably more. nVidia’s cards offer support for PhysX in-game 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 and 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. If you’re using an Intel CPU, a motherboard with an X58 chipset will give you better performance in multicard setups.

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: Specification and our expert verdict

CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-930
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 950W CyberPower PSU
  • 24in BenQ G2420HDBL (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1,280MB MSI nVidia GeForce GTX 470 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 82/41fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 124/76fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC889
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-ROM)
  • three-year limited return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 145
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-930
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 950W CyberPower PSU
  • 24in BenQ G2420HDBL (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1,280MB MSI nVidia GeForce GTX 470 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 82/41fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 124/76fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC889
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-ROM)
  • three-year limited return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 145

OUR VERDICT

CyberPower’s Infinity i7 Phoenix desktop PC delivers tremendous upgrade potential, excellent performance and good value.

Find the best price