Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500: How Far Can SLI 450's Go?

I'll cut right to the chase and say "Xtreme" doesn't cut it for the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500 we have on hand. Pretty much everything targeted to gamers these days promises some measure of extremity or extreme-ness, and usually that just amounts to a ceaseless amount of gloss, poor choices in system balancing, and exorbitant price tags. There isn't anything too extreme or excessive about this unit; what we have is something that looks a little flashy, a little glossy, but ultimately very well-tuned. Hopefully, it'll feel good for the price, too.

CYBERPOWER Gamer Xtreme 8500 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-875K @ 3.85GHz (160MHz Bclk with x24 multiplier)
(spec: 4x2.9GHz, 45nm, 8MB L3, 95W)
Motherboard ASUS P7P55D-E Pro Motherboard with P55 chipset
Memory 2x2GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 @ 1600MHz (expandable to 16GB)
Graphics 2x eVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 SuperClocked 1024MB GDDR5 in SLI
(192 CUDA Cores, 882MHz Core, 1764MHz Shader, 3.8GHz Memory, 128-bit memory bus)
Hard Drive(s) Intel X25-V 40GB SSD (OS drive)
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gbps (Data drive)
Optical Drive(s) Samsung 8x BD-ROM/DVD+/-RW
Networking Realtek Gigabit Ethernet
Audio VIA VT1828S HD Audio
speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Front Side AeroCool Touch 2000 Fan Controller
Optical Drive
MMC/SD/CF/MS reader
Top 2x USB 2.0
eSATA port
Headphone and mic jacks
Power and reset buttons
Fan controllers
Back Side 2x PS/2
S/PDIF and TOSlink digital audio jacks
6-pin FireWire ports
6x USB 2.0
2x USB 3.0 (blue)
Gigabit Ethernet jack
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks
4x DVI-D
2x Mini-HDMI
AC Power
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 18" x 17" x 8" (WxDxH)
Weight 16 lbs (case only)
Extras 750W Corsair TX750 Power Supply
Asetek 570LX 240mm Liquid Cooling
XION Predator Case
Touch-based fan controller
Flash reader (MMC/MS/CF/SD)
Overclocked from warehouse
Warranty 3-year limited warranty and lifetime phone support
Pricing Quoted Price: $1,499
Price as configured (9/13/2010): $1,715

Let's start with the sexiest part of the 8500 (I refuse to type the word "Xtreme" any more than I have to): the impressive factory overclock on the Intel Core i7-875K. Socket 1156 may be on its way out, but the 875K is sending it out with a bang. A combination of overclocking the base clock of the chip and raising its multiplier has produced a very healthy 3.85GHz overclock, up from a stock speed of 2.93GHz. Modern games paired with powerful graphics solutions can still produce bottlenecks at the CPU; CyberPower seems to have done everything they can to ensure this isn't an issue. To ensure the extra heat associated with such a hefty overclock is handled properly and quietly, an Asetek 570LX liquid cooling system is built in.

Strapped to the i7-875K is 4GB of choice Kingston HyperX DDR3 running at 1600MHz. While going up to 8GB is getting more affordable by the day, 4GB is still an industry standard and the configuration shouldn't suffer too badly for it. What's really interesting is the pair of spanking new eVGA GeForce GTS 450 SuperClocked cards slotted in a ASUS P55-based motherboard (a board that comes with all the modern trimmings, by the way). These cards both ship from the factory with an extra 100MHz on the core. Ryan wasn't hugely impressed with the GTS 450 and I can't blame him, but a pair in SLI have the chance to produce an excellent alternative to more expensive single-GPU setups. (Our GPU testing indicates performance better than HD 5850 and GTX 465, and similar to GTX 470 and HD 5870—win some, lose some but never by a huge margin.)

The rest of the build seems fairly smart and well-balanced: while write performance on the 40GB Intel X25-V SSD is pretty poor and the capacity might be too cramped for some to use as an operating system drive, read performance and random access are both stellar. That SSD is backed up with one of the new SATA 6Gbps Western Digital terabyte drives with 64MB of cache to be used as a data drive. Rounding things out are a blu-ray combo drive and a media card reader on the front panel, and a generous 750-watt Corsair power supply. The remaining two drive bays on the front are taken up with a touch-based fan controller that is perhaps better left untouched.

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