Introducing the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500

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.

But is the Performance "Xtreme?"
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  • vol7ron - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    Not too bad for the price. The hard drive is kind of weak. I'd expect at least an 80GB SSD
  • wolfman3k5 - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    It's to expensive for what it is. To me, a 40GB SSD doesn't make much sense. I'd rather have a 300GB VelociRaptor as an OS drive for that price. Anyway, great review. And again, the system isn't worth the price tag.
  • Roland00 - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    40 GBs is enough for the OS and any non program you may want to install (with the exception of games.)

    Games don't benefit that much from random access times for most of their data is sequential, you just need a fast hard drive to access these (and many normal hard drives have similar sequential reads compared to a VR). The OS and other programs benefit muchly from an SSD since most of their data is random thus the access time matters much more than sequential reads.

    My personal experience with ssds also backs this up.
  • Bitter - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    What about the power cosumption? Could be an important factor
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    Seconded. Seems odd it was mentioned in the conclusion that it was idling in the 40's but then no power consumption, temp, or noise results. Seems like an entire section was left out.
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    I see three main issues with this build, the liquid cooling system, the choice of SLI GTS 450s, and the low-end SSD. Using liquid cooling doesn't make much sense, as a high-end air cooler (like the Noctua NH-D14 or Thermalright Silver Arrow) provides better cooling performance, lower noise levels, and higher reliability, all at a lower pricepoint. The SLI GTS 450s are also a poor choice, as a single GTX 460 1GB offers very similar performance, but with substantially lower power usage and noise levels, and at a lower pricepoint. Finally, the use of a low-end, 40GB SSD really hamstrings the system, as there really isn't enough room after the installation of the OS for the games and other applications that you want to load quickly.

    By eliminating the unnecessary fan controller (~$60) and using a single GTX 460 1GB (~$60), CyberPower could have included a 120GB Sandforce-based SSD, providing ample capacity for a number of games, as well as substantially improving performance. Depending on the cost of the liquid cooling system they used, they may have even been able to upgrade to 8GB of RAM, though I'll grant that may have impacted their ability to run at 1600Mhz, and there aren't very many applications aside from desktop virtualization that need more than 4GB. This would have also given owners the option to upgrade to SLI GTX 460 1GB cards if desired at some point in the future, for truly formidable gaming performance.

    Overall, this isn't a bad system, and I applaud their choice of an LGA-1156 processor, Asus motherboard, and Corsair power supply, but it seems like they made too many concessions to make the system LOOK extreme, rather than balancing it for the best performance possible.
  • Meaker10 - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    A small water cooling system is less likely to break in transit than some massive air cooler.

    The SSD is OS and a game only, but is perfectly acceptable for an OS drive (I have used one).

    Hopefully you can configure and make your own balance.
  • Roland00 - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    Furthermore while it doesn't perform better, most people assume watercooling is better based on name. Some youthful people also think watercooling is more "elite."

    Thus sales wise you are more likely to sell the watercooled solution even if in reality good aircooling would have performed just as well.
  • acooke - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    The water cooling takes up less space. It's difficult to fit a high end air cooler in these boxes - there's not the vertical space.
  • acooke - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    Duh. I'm an idiot. The review mentioned the Cube and so I assumed this was also small form factor, but I just read it again and it's not. Sorry.

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