Although we tested it at stock speeds, the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD is usually sold overclocked to 3.6GHz. The Core 2 Duo E8400 can handle this quite easily, thanks partly to this system’s huge processor cooler, usually reserved for quad-core chips.

In any case, the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD was able to beat the rest of the field even when operating at 3.2GHz, turning in an impressive WorldBench 6 speed score of 127.

The CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD's graphics performance was also excellent. In essence, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 places two graphics cards on a single board, providing the performance boost of a twin-card system without the extra space and power requirements.

Our review system was shipped with a 64bit edition of Windows Vista Home Premium, which enables the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD to take full advantage of the 4GB of installed memory. This has been supplied in two sticks, leaving two empty slots for even more memory.

It may be the smallest flat-panel in the chart, but the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD's 21.6in Hanns-G HG216DP monitor is deservedly popular. It features both VGA and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) inputs, and gives solid image performance.

Power desktop PCs chart ranking (September issue)


  1. Arbico Elite 4850
  2. Chillblast Fusion Sledgehammer
  3. Eclipse Matrix SLI i85n98GTX
  4. CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD
  5. Arbico CD9800 PRO

>> NEXT PAGE: POWER DESKTOP PCs BUYING ADVICE

Power desktop PCs buying advice (September issue)

Processor: All of the systems here use dual-core processors. In fact, it’s a clean sweep for Intel’s Core 2 Duo E8500, which continues to dominate our charts. Even in the age of quad-core computing, you should still get plenty of performance from the top dual-core chips.

If you want a PC that’ll fly through next year’s software library, however, a quad-core system may be a wise choice. You’ll have to sacrifice a small amount of speed on today’s applications but, in the long run, the benefits are likely to be worth it. AMD’s Phenom X4 9850 offers good value for money, as do the later revisions of Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q6600.

Memory: At this price point, 4GB should be considered a minimum, especially if you’re running Windows Vista. All of the PCs here come with this amount.

Get a 64bit operating system to take full advantage of your RAM. But check beforehand that all your software and drivers are supported.

Storage: Anything less than 400GB is now considered a small amount of storage space – this month’s manufacturers have all opted for at least 500GB. Many users can get by comfortably with 320GB, but those intending to store lots of video, games and audio files should stock up.

Get a multiformat DVD writer that can write to dual-layer formats if you want to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc. Look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL; DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Also try to get eight-speed DVD+RW. At this price you should be able to find a drive that reads Blu-ray Discs, but it won’t burn them, and DVD burning speeds will generally be slower.

Display: In this category, 22in flat-panels are the standard. Many PC manufacturers supply budget screens, but it’s worth spending a little more if you intend to work with digital photos or video – you’ll probably have to stare at the monitor
for long periods. Give the display a try to ensure you can put up with the quality.

A screen with a response time of 8ms or less will minimise blur on fast-moving images such as games. For image editing, contrast ratio and colour fidelity are more important. A digital input can preserve picture quality, so avoid displays that provide analogue inputs only.

Graphics card: The new GeForce 9800 GTX offers better performance than the 8800 GTS, although it’s based on almost identical technology. The extra power may not always justify the higher price. Both support DirectX 10.0, which means Vista users can look forward to some impressive games in the future.

The 8800 GT isn’t far behind. It’s cheaper and you may be able to get two of them in scaleable link interface (SLI) mode – this will produce outstanding results. The 9600 GT is a still cheaper option that can also be used in SLI mode.

AMD’s Radeon HD 3820 X2 is another blisteringly fast card. Containing two graphics processors, it gives you bags of performance without requiring a specially designed motherboard. ATI’s new HD 4850 card is also worth looking at, but make sure you have the latest drivers.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard sound has improved, but it’s still no match for a decent sound card. Consider Creative’s Audigy 4 family or the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want a 2.1-channel setup (two speakers and a subwoofer), make sure they’re high-quality models. Most firms are bundling 5.1 speakers.

>> NEXT PAGE: OUR FIRST LOOK

Our first look

With its CoolerMaster Centurion case, CyberPower’s Infinity Crossfire HD bears more than a passing resemblance to the Chillblast Fusion Viper. Although we tested it at stock speeds, the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD is usually sold overclocked to 3.6GHz. The Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 can handle this quite easily, especially when provided with the excellent cooling capabilities of this case.

A huge processor cooler usually reserved for the top-of-the-range Quad Core Extreme QX9650 processors has replaced the usual heatsink and fan, providing extra protection against overheating problems should you choose to go down the overclocking route with the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD.

Even at 3.2GHz, the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD was able to beat the rest of the field with an impressive WorldBench 6 processing-speed score of 127.

The CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD's graphics performance is also excellent, thanks to the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2. In essence, this places two graphics cards on a single board, providing the performance advantages of a twin-card system without the extra space and power requirements. It’s an excellent performer, but whether it’s faster than a GeForce 9800 GTX is dependent on the game and screen resolution.

Our CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD review system was shipped with a 64bit edition of Windows Vista Home Premium, which enables it to take full advantage of the 4GB of installed memory. This has been supplied in two sticks, leaving two empty slots for even more memory if you need it.

It may be the smallest flat-panel in the chart, but the CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD's 21.6in HannsG HG216DP is a deservedly popular display. It features video graphics array (VGA) and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) inputs and solid image performance, although it’s no match for the Acer AL2251W supplied by Chillblast.

Verdict

The CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD is a strong system in all areas. It has bags of performance and the potential for much more if you’re prepared to overclock.

Power desktop PCs chart ranking (July 08 issue)


  1. CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD
  2. Arbico CD9800 PRO
  3. Mesh Elite HD24
  4. Chillblast Fusion Viper
  5. PC Specialist Fusion 9850 X2

See also: Power desktop PCs buying advice

Power desktop PCs buying advice (July 08 issue)

Processor: Four of the systems we've reviewed this month use dual-core processors. The E8500 is a good bet for current applications. Even in the age of quad-core computing, you should still get plenty of performance from the top dual-core chips.

If you want a PC that’ll fly through next year’s software library, however, a quad-core system may be worthwhile. You’ll have to sacrifice a small amount of speed on today’s applications but, in the long run, the gains could far outweigh the pains. AMD’s Phenom X4 9850 offers good value for money.

Memory: At this price point, 2GB should be considered a minimum, especially if you’re running Windows Vista. Skimp on memory now and you might have to administer an upgrade later on.

Indeed, most £751-£1,000 PCs now come with 4GB. If you want to take full advantage of your RAM, you’ll need a 64bit operating system, but check beforehand that all your software and drivers are supported.

Storage: Anything less than 400GB is now considered a small amount of storage space – this month’s manufacturers have opted for around 500GB. Many users can actually get along very comfortably with considerably less – 320GB is a respectable capacity – but those intending to store lots of video and audio files should stock up.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are a must – look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL; DVD-R DL is nice but not essential – and try to get eight-speed DVD+RW. At this price you should be able to find a drive that reads Blu-ray Discs, but it won’t burn them.

Flat-panel: We’re starting to see 22in flat-panels as standard. Bear in mind that you’ll probably have to stare at this screen for long periods – give the display a try to ensure you’ll be able to put up with the picture quality.

A screen with a response time of 8ms or less will minimise blur on fast-moving images such as games. For image-editing tasks, contrast ratio and colour fidelity become much more important. Using a digital input can also significantly improve picture quality, so avoid displays that provide only analogue inputs.

Graphics card: The new GeForce 9800 GTX offers better performance than the 8800 GTS, although it’s based on almost identical technology. The extra power may not always justify the higher price. Its support for DirectX 10.0 means Vista users can look forward to some impressive games in the future. However, the 8800 GT isn’t far behind. It’s cheaper and you may be able to find a PC housing two of them. In scaleable link interface (SLI) mode, this will produce outstanding results. The 9600 GT is a still cheaper option that can also be used in SLI mode.

AMD’s Radeon HD 3820 X2 is another blisteringly fast card. Containing two graphics processors, it gives you bags of performance without the requirement for a specially designed motherboard.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard sound has come on in leaps and bounds, but it’s still no match for a decent sound card. You should be able to find something from Creative’s Audigy 4 family or the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want a 2.1-channel setup (two speakers and a subwoofer), make sure they’re high-quality models, but most manufacturers are bundling 5.1 speakers.

CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD: Specs

  • 3.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
  • Windows Vista Home Premium (64bit)
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • MSI P35 Neo
  • 6 x USB
  • 21.6in Hannspree HG216DP (0.277mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 native resolution)
  • 1,024MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2
  • Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme
  • 5 x Creative T6100
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/8x/6x/8x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 127
  • 3.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
  • Windows Vista Home Premium (64bit)
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • MSI P35 Neo
  • 6 x USB
  • 21.6in Hannspree HG216DP (0.277mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 native resolution)
  • 1,024MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2
  • Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme
  • 5 x Creative T6100
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/8x/6x/8x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 127

OUR VERDICT

The CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD is a strong system in all areas. It has bags of performance and the potential for much more if you’re prepared to overclock.

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