Our recent reader’s survey indicated that the average bit-tech reader spends eight hours a day using a PC. That’s the equivalent of 121 days a year sat next to your trusty PC of choice, be it working, gaming, or searching YouTube for videos of skateboarders face planting (hi Tim!). With so much of our modern lives spent in the company of our PC, it stands to reason that it should be one of the single most important purchases you can make, even more so than say your car or TV.
For most of us, especially those that reside in the bit-tech forums, nothing beats the thrill of lovingly custom building your PC from carefully selected component parts. There is a pleasure derived in watching your new über pc take shape and then joyously burst into life as it POSTs successfully for the first time.
However, while the majority of the bit-tech readership might be comfortable in building their PCs from scratch, any of us who have offered our skills for fixing PCs for friends and family will know that most people might as well have a PC on their desk filled with magic pixies and leprechauns, such is their understanding of its innards.
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And sorry folks, but its machines sold to people with little understanding of their working that make up the majority of computers sold today. For all our snobbery at people who buy pre-built PCs, they still offer the safest and easiest route into the wonderful paradise reserved for the PC gaming master race.
Having visited more than a few I-Series LAN parties, the myth that every PC gamer is switched on in regards to PC hardware is just that – a myth. Where many of us might have one foot in PC gaming and the other equally in PC hardware, many PC gamers don’t know their CPU from their CD-ROM drive, yet still want to be able to play modern games without having to worry about tweaking their hardware (hi Joe).
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This is where companies like Cyberpower step in, offering premium PC gaming performance, a solid warranty far in excess of what you’d get from separately bought component parts and a lifetime of telephone and email support when you run into problems.
What you get for your money
Cyberpower’s website offers enormous degrees of customisation when you pick your hardware, and basically every component has an alternative to cut costs/improve performance/add extra features. The model that Cyberpower sent to us for review was a slightly modified version of the Gamer Infinity CrossFire HD, with a few premium extras included.
Case: NZXT TEMPEST Black mid tower case PSU: Hiper 630W Type-M Power supply CPU: Intel Core2Duo E8400 CPU@3.0GHz 1333FSB overclocked to 4.0GHz Heatsink: Asus Silent Knight II Memory: 2x2GB PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual channel memory OCZ Gold w/ heat spreaders Motherboard: Asus P5E Intel X38 Graphics Card: Dual ATI Radeon 4870 PCI-E 512MB in Crossfire Hard drive: Samsung Spinpoint 500GB SATA 7200RPM
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Certainly an impressive setup, with both the CPU and graphics cards having earnt bit-tech excellence awards in the past. Cyberpower have also included some extras in our review sample, but these come at a cost. Having the processor overclocked from 3.0GHZ to 4.0GHz with Cyberpower’s XXX extreme overclocking service will set you back a princely £105, extra case fans another £10 and the dual ultraviolet cold cathodes and matching UV cabling included in our sample an extra £33, so there’s quite a bit extra included here that the more frugal gamer could happily trim out to save a few quid.
All this is awesome kit is backed up by a three year warranty, one of key advantages of going pre-build over self build although for a full collect and return service on faults for the full three year life of the machine you'll be paying a monstrous £155 extra! Considering most e-tailors now do free collect and return on faults, albeit only for their twelve month warranty period, this is a bit of a letdown. Having to pay to ship your full, heavy system across the country for repair is a bit heavy to swallow when you pay the premium for pre-build.