With a glut of E6850 systems hitting the chart, the E6750-equipped CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite drops from second to fifth place. Aided by some good-quality PC2-6400 memory, the E6750 produces a dapper performance in our test suite, shading the new PC Specialist Apollo 880GT by a point, but it’s not able to keep up with the E6850s. It’s a full nine points behind the 4GB sizzler from Chillblast Fusion Gladiator.

Last time round, the HD 2900 XT was the best graphics card in its price range, but the cheaper and faster GeForce 8800 GT has since stolen its thunder – by these sparkling new standards the CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite’s gaming performance seems disappointing. The Yuraku screen, meanwhile, is a solid model, but the Hannsprees used elsewhere are marginally better – unless, of course, you want a flat-panel that isn’t widescreen.

The audio is adequate, while the DVD drive’s write speeds are decent, if less impressive than those boasted by the CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite’s competitors.

Budget PCs chart ranking as of Feb 08 issue


  1. Chillblast Fusion Gladiator
  2. Eclipse Mirage i685n88gtx
  3. Arbico CD6850 GT
  4. PC Specialist Apollo 880GT
  5. CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite - last month 2

Verdict

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite comes with a lengthy warranty and solid components, but the high-quality models above it in the chart make it seem a little old-fashioned.

Next: Budget PCs buying advice

CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite: our first look

Budget PCs buying advice as of Feb 08 issue

Processor: Dual-core is the way to go for prospective PC buyers. The Intel Core 2 Duo chips currently lead the way. The E6850 is a powerful chip at this price point – three of our Top 5 offer its undoubted charm. As a general rule of thumb, however, the E6750 is a more likely option. This processor is still incredibly fast and would make a worthy addition to any £750 PC.

If you’ve got one eye on the future, consider a Core 2 Quad chip. You’ll sacrifice a little speed for the money now, but you might make it up in spades when multithreaded software applications start hitting the shops.

Memory: It’s a sign of how important memory has become that, even in the sub-£750 category, 2GB is standard, with the odd system daring to stretch to 4GB. If you’re on a budget, there’s no need to go quite this far, but 2GB is a definite must. Memory is only going to become more and more important in the next 12 months, so stock up now.

Storage: You can never have too much storage space. Digital media files such as video and music files will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive, so buy the biggest you can. A 320GB or 400GB drive should make a good investment.

It’s a good idea to keep large files archived on DVD, so make sure your PC has a DVD burner. Look for a drive that can write to the –R/+R formats at rates of at least 18-speed. Eight-speed rewriting is good, and if you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for a drive with DVD-R DL or +R DL. Write speeds on these have got significantly faster in recent months, and you really need to be looking for an absolute minimum of eight-speed.

Monitor: Compromises have to be made to keep the price of a PC down, and the monitor is often where the sacrifices start. Just remember that this is the part of the PC that you’re going to be spending most of your time looking at.

Virtually all PCs (and all of our Top 5) come with flat-panels. We’d recommend a 19in model – they’re rife at this price point. Be very careful, though, when offered anything larger than 19in, as the quality at this price point could be low. Finally, look for a screen with a good response rate – 8ms or below should be more than fast enough.

Graphics cards: Given that the best graphics cards can retail for £300 or £400, feverish gamers are unlikely to be best served by a sub-£750 PC. Nonetheless, the best PCs do tend to come with decent graphics cards.

Although 50 frames per second (fps) is enough to make a game playable, at this price you can set your sights a little higher. Choose one that can do 80 to 100fps on a number of titles. The 512MB 8800 GT has only been out for a few weeks, but it’s already established itself as the likely gold standard at this price – you may be able to find an 8800 GTX if you hunt hard enough, but the 8800 GT is a more feasible option. Stocks may be running a little low, so be patient.

Sound card and speakers: You’re unlikely to get a standalone sound card at this price point, as it’s an area where vendors are likely to cut costs. Most motherboards have decent built-in audio chips that can handle six-channel sound, but to get the best out of them you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system. Unfortunately, you may not get anything better than a 2.1 system in this category – indeed, you won’t necessarily get a subwoofer at all.

CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite: expert review

CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite: our first look

Our first look

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite came perilously close to snatching the Best Buy award, but the Chillblast Fusion Trojan offers a little extra power. This is mainly down to the processor – the Chillblast Fusion Trojan comes with an E6850 version of Intel’s Core 2 Duo rather than the CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite’s slightly weaker E6750.

In our WorldBench real-world speed tests, the CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite trailed the Chillblast Fusion Trojan by four points. This isn’t a massive difference and the typical user won’t be affected by the CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite’s comparative lack of speed. And in certain areas it gets its own back on the Chillblast Fusion Trojan.

In terms of gaming, the CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite has a very slight edge. This is mainly down to its Sapphire rendition of the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics card, which is marginally faster than the Chillblast Fusion Trojan’s 640MB 8800 GTS. Once again, however, the two machines were extremely closely matched.

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite falls behind again with its Yuraku screen. This is a solid flat-panel, but the Chillblast Fusion Trojan’s Hannstar AH191DP offers a better picture – the latter’s widescreen capabilities also give it an advantage. There will be some potential customers who prefer non-widescreen dimensions, but we suspect they will be in the minority.

Audio isn’t stunning, but it’s not the worst we’ve heard – particularly with few PCs at this price point housing anything close to a decent sound card. The CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite's DVD writer is fast enough, however, and the three-year warranty is extensive.

Verdict

Generally speaking, the CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite is an excellent system. If you can’t get hold of the Chillblast Fusion Trojan, CyberPower’s Gamer Infinity XT Elite would serve as a very able deputy.

£501-£750 desktop PCs chart ranking, Dec 07 issue


  1. Chillblast Fusion Trojan
  2. CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite
  3. Eclipse Evolution i685n88s - last month 1
  4. Eclipse Titan i675n88GTS
  5. AdvanceTec AT-FX E430-AP

Buying advice: £501-£750 desktop PCs, December 07 issue

Processor: Dual-core is the way to go for prospective PC buyers. Intel’s Core 2 Duo chips currently lead the field. The E6850’s appearance in this month’s chart is a bit of a surprise – as a general rule of thumb, the E6750 and E6700 are better options. But all of these processors are incredibly fast and would make a good addition to any £750 PC.

If you’ve got one eye on the future, consider a Core 2 Quad chip. You’ll sacrifice a little speed for the money now, but you might make it up in spades when multithreaded software applications start hitting the shops.

Memory: It’s a sign of how important memory has become that, even in the £750 category, 2GB is rapidly establishing itself as the standard. Only a few months ago, 1GB seemed sufficient, but you’d be well advised now to play it safe and plump for the extra gigabyte. It’s only going to become more important in the next 12 months.

Storage: You can never have too much storage space. Digital media files such as music and video will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive, so buy the biggest you can – 320GB to 400GB drives are a good investment.

It helps to keep large files archived on DVD, so make sure the PC has a DVD burner. Look for a drive that can write to the –R/+R formats at rates of at least 18-speed. Rewrite speeds of eight-speed are good, and if you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for a drive with DVD-R DL or +R DL. Write speeds on these have got significantly faster in recent months – you need to be looking for an absolute minimum of eight-speed.

Display: To keep the price of a PC down, compromises have to be made – and the monitor is often where the sacrifices start. Just remember that this is the part of the PC that you’re going to be spending most of your time looking at.

All PCs now come with flat-panels. As for size, 19in models are the most common. Be very careful when offered anything larger than this, as the quality at this price point could be low.

Look for a screen with a good response rate – 8ms or below should be more than fast enough.

Graphics cards: Given that the best graphics cards can retail for £300 or £400, feverish gamers are unlikely to be best served by a sub-£750 PC. Nonetheless, the best machines in this category generally manage to include a decent graphics card.

Although 50fps (frames per second) is enough to make a game playable, you might want to set your sights a little higher at this price. Choose a card that can produce 80 to 100fps on a number of games. The 640MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS and the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics cards are fantastic and are fast becoming standard at this price point. The 320MB 8800 GTS is a decent choice.

Sound card and speakers: You’re unlikely to get a standalone sound card at this price point, as it’s an area in which vendors are likely to cut costs. Most motherboards have decent built-in audio chips that can handle six-channel sound, but to get the best out of them you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system. Unfortunately, you often won’t get anything better than a 2.1 system in this category.

CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • motherboard: Asus P5K SE
  • 8 x USB ports
  • 19in Yuraku MA9BBK flat-panel (0.285mm pixel pitch, 1,280x1,024 maximum resolution at 75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT
  • ATI Audio
  • 2 x Logitech S100 speakers
  • max DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R), 8x/8x (DVD-R DL/+R DL), 6x/8x/12x (DVD-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • bundle includes Corel Snapfire Plus SE 1.2
  • WorldBench 6 score = 109
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • motherboard: Asus P5K SE
  • 8 x USB ports
  • 19in Yuraku MA9BBK flat-panel (0.285mm pixel pitch, 1,280x1,024 maximum resolution at 75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT
  • ATI Audio
  • 2 x Logitech S100 speakers
  • max DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R), 8x/8x (DVD-R DL/+R DL), 6x/8x/12x (DVD-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • bundle includes Corel Snapfire Plus SE 1.2
  • WorldBench 6 score = 109

OUR VERDICT

The CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite comes with a lengthy warranty and solid components, but the high-quality models above it in the chart make it seem a little old-fashioned.

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