||CyberPower Core i7-965 Extreme Review
December 03, 2008 Tom Colarusso
Summary: With dual Radeon 4870 X2 cards, liquid cooling, and a factory OC'ed Core i7-965 EE CPU, CyberPower's boasts nice specs, but does its performance and build quality live up to expectations? Find out in this review!
| CyberPower PC Core i7 System Review||Page:: ( 1 / 10 )|
|<% print_image("13"); %>||<% print_image("14"); %>||<% print_image("15"); %>|
Since that time, retailers and PC builders have started to officially offer systems featuring the Core i7 CPU, along with the X58 chipset that accompanies it. CyberPower PC, Falcon Northwest and Alienware all currently offer Core i7 systems, while others have started to follow suit as greater numbers of chips hit the market. These systems feature some of the latest cutting edge technology and are being built from the ground up to target both the mid-range and extreme high-end segments of the market. While many of us love the power of selecting, purchasing, assembling, and testing our own systems, pre-configured PC’s comprise a large part of computers sales. This is especially true in regard to gaming rigs, as more novice users become involved in the enthusiast market. It is with that in mind that we are going to take a look at one system from Cyberpower PC featuring the latest technology from Intel, the Core i7, as well as some of the best components on the market. Our review is going to not only focus on system performance, but overall value, build quality, attention to detail, and level of support provided from this foremost manufacturer in high-end computing.
Cyberpower is an industry leading provider of enthusiast and gaming oriented PC’s. Specializing in both desktops and notebooks, Cyberpower offers pre-built systems, as well as PC’s that are fully configurable from entry level gaming to high-end enthusiast. Cyberpower carries hardware from many industry heavy hitters, including MSI, Asus, Corsair, Kingston, and CoolerMaster to name a few. They offer a 3 year limited warranty on all their machines, as well as lifetime labor and phone support. This warranty covers everything from defective parts within the one year, labor within 3 years, as well as damage that may occur during shipping. Now, let’s take a look at the specs of the system up for review.
| System Setup||Page:: ( 2 / 10 )|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition @ 3.6Ghz|
|CPU Cooler||Asetek LCLC Self-Contained Liquid Cooling|
|Motherboard||Asus P6T Deluxe|
|Graphics||2x HIS Radeon 4870 X2 CrossFireX|
|Memory||3x 1GB Kingston DDR3 1800Mhz|
|Hard Drives||2x Western Digital VelociRaptor 10k 300GB SATAII in RAID-0|
1TB Samsung 7200RPM w/32MB Cache SATAII
|Optical Drives||Sony Optiarc 20x LightScribe DVD+RW|
Lite-On DH4-1S 4x Blu-Ray Drive
|Power Supply||Thermaltake ToughPower 1000W|
|Case||Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package|
|Removable Storage||12-in-1 Internal Card Reader|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit|
Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition
CyberPower has overclocked the Core i7 from the factory, from a stock speed of 3.2Ghz to 3.6Ghz. They also conduct a 72-hour burn-in procedure on all their systems, ensuring that any defects or glitches are found prior to a product leaving the floor. Since we’ve already done a pretty heavy technical breakdown on what’s in the Nehalem architecture, we are going to focus instead on a few other interesting components of this system starting with the CPU cooler, the Asetek LCLC Self-Contained Liquid Cooler.
|Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition|
|Chipset||1x QPI 6.4 GT/s|
|<% print_image("01"); %>||<% print_image("02"); %>|
Asetek, known for their VapoChill line of CPU coolers, designed the LCLC (Low Cost Liquid Cooler) for use in high-end OEM applications, like gaming and server PC’s. The LCLC is a self contained water block and radiator that mounts to any available 120mm fan spot, like the one on our systems Thermaltake Spedo Advance case. The LCLC has been designed from the ground up for the OEM market, which means zero maintenance for the end-user after installation. For you as the buyer, this translates into no reservoir, and no need for periodical refills. This is achieved thanks to the use of plastic tubing instead of traditional silicone, which is permeable and leads to liquid evaporation issues in standard water setups. The water pump has been integrated into the CPU block, further simplifying the entire system. This allows the system to be completely enclosed, and could potentially offer better thermal performance than air cooling, thanks to the thermal properties of liquid. We’ll see how well it works later on in our review. It’s important to note that the LCLC is not readily available to consumers, instead being offered almost exclusively to PC builders.
| Motherboard and Graphics||Page:: ( 3 / 10 )|
Asus P6T Deluxe
|<% print_image("03"); %>||<% print_image("04"); %>|
|Asus P6T Deluxe|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||12 in x 9.6 in|
|Chipset||Intel X58 Express/ Intel ICH10R|
|Memory||6x DIMM 1600 (O.C.)/ 1333/ 1066|
|Expansion||3x PCIe 2.0|
1x PCIe 4x
|Multi-GPU Support||Nvidia 2-Way or Quad-GPU SLI|
|Storage||6x SATA 3.0Gb/s Intel ICH10R Supports RAID 0,1,5,10 |
2x SATA 3.0Gb/s Marvell88SE6320 Supports Raid 0,1
1x UDMA 133/100/66
1x External SATA 3.0Gbp/s
|Network||2x Marvell Gigabit PCIe LAN Controller|
|USB||14x USB2.0 Ports|
|IEEE1394||2x 1394 Ports|
|Audio||ADI AD2000B 8-Channel HD |
Analog/Coaxial/Optical SPDIF Connectors
HIS ATI Radeon 4870X2 1GB CrossFireX
For maximum graphical performance, CyberPower went with two HIS Radeon 4870 X2 video cards in CrossFireX mode. These massive cards support 1GB of GDDR5 each, with memory speeds running at 3.6GHz effective and a core clock of 750Mhz. The 4870X2 is built on a 55 nanometer process and features 956 million transistors. To give you some perspective, the Core 2 Duo processors featured around 291 million transistors, so these GPUs certainly pack a serious punch. The 4870X2’s are almost 1 foot in length and 3 pounds in weight…and there are two of them! So, needless to say, the system is fairly hefty overall and not intended for LAN gaming. But when you think about it, if you are packing this kind of heat under the hood, I think it’s safe to say other gamers should be coming to you. CyberPower took great effort to ensure the cards were well packaged during shipment. Strategically placed foam pieces were laid between the cards internally and this helped to keep them from banging off one another.
|HIS Radeon 4870 X2|
|Interface||PCI Express 2.0|
|Pixel Pipelines||1600 Stream Processing|
|Transistors ||956 million|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||12.6 x 28.1 x 4 cm|
| Memory, Hard Drives, Optical Drives||Page:: ( 4 / 10 )|
Kingston HyperX 3x1GB 1800Mhz DDR3
Western Digital VelociRaptor 10,000RPM SATA
Two 10,000RPM Western Digital VelociRaptors, configured in RAID-0, support the operating system installation. The VelociRaptors support SATA at 3.0Gb/sec and come in at a capacity of 300GB each, for an array size of 600GB. CyberPower also installed an additional 1TB 7200RPM hard drive for extra data storage. That makes total capacity for this system 1.6TB, more than enough to store pretty much anything you can think of. Think of it this way, 1.6TB will store up to about 188 hours of 1080p video or 375,000 hours of MP3’s. That’s a shuffle list that probably wouldn’t repeat many songs anytime soon, given that you can think of that many artists to fill a drive of that size. (For me, it’s Celine Dion, all day, EVERYDAY.)
|Western Digital VelociRaptor Hard Drive|
|Rotational Speed ||10,000RPM|
|Read Seek Time||4.2ms |
|Write Seek Time||4.7ms|
|Track-to-Track Seek Time||0.7ms|
DVD burning is handled thanks to the Sony Optiarc AD-7201A DVD+RW. The Optiarc brand name is relatively new the marketplace, an offshoot of a merger a few years back between the optical businesses of Sony and NEC. The AD-7201A is a IDE DVD drive that reads DVD’s at 16x and writes DVD+RW at 20x. It also supports the LightScribe feature pioneered by Hewlett Packard. The second optical drive is a Lite-On 4x Blu-Ray player, the DH-401S. The DH-401S is a SATA BD drive with a DVD read speed of 12x.
| Power Supply, Case, Misc||Page:: ( 5 / 10 )|
Thermaltake ToughPower 1000W Power Supply
|<% print_image("07"); %>||<% print_image("08"); %>||<% print_image("09"); %>|
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package Full ATX Case
Thermaltake is also known for their cases which have provided not only innovations in cooling, but in ease of use as well. The Spedo Advance Package is a full tower case that comes with support for up to 6 3.5” drives and 7 5.25” drives. The Spedo also features four 120mm fans, as well as two big 230mm fans, one directly on the side panel. For the drive bays, the Spedo utilizes a unique system of snap-locked trays that hold your drives hard in place, but also allow them to be easily removed with the push of a button. One of the best features is the cable management system which provides room behind the motherboard panel for the system wiring, including SATA and power cables. This helps alleviate airflow issues and ensure proper system cooling, preventing hot air build-up due to poor cable placement. CyberPower offers professional cable wiring as an option on all configured builds.
Our system got this treatment, and it goes to show just how serious CyberPower is about their level of service. All cables were expertly tied down and no loose wire was left dangling. The end result was a case completely free of any clutter, which should not only provide great cooling, but also work to soothe the obsessive compulsive person inside all of us. Also installed at the bottom bay of our system was a 12-in-1 card reader that supports just about every popular memory card format available, past and present.
|<% print_image("10"); %>||<% print_image("16"); %>||<% print_image("12"); %>|
| Synthetic Benchmarks||Page:: ( 6 / 10 )|
From our synthetic benchmarks, you can see the power of the QPI and the increased memory buffer. PCMark Vantage is a general benchmark that helps to give you a sense of how well a system will run with day to day applications, such as Photoshop and picture manipulation or TV and video encoding. The results for Vantage are very impression, especially in the productivity suite and overall score which helps give you an idea of just how fast this system really is. Memory bandwidth was also exceptional in Sandra’s tests, and both 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 06 resulted a score over 10k, even at the Extreme setting. But how about some real world tests, like games?
| Crysis, World In Conflict, Far Cry 2, Lost Planet, Tropics Demo||Page:: ( 7 / 10 )|
Oh Crysis, our old foe, we meet again. You may have melted my 7800GT’s, but vengeance is mine! That’s right, thanks to the dual CrossFireX power of the 4870X2, even the one game you can bet will eat your system and spit it is of no match. World in Conflict gave us a lot of the same numbers regardless of resolution, which probably means we are going to have to retire that benchmark as computers have just gotten too fast. The performance in Far Cry 2 was also pretty interesting, even at the high 1900x1200 resolution. An average of 55FPS is certainly worth looking over again.
| Noise Levels, Temps, Power||Page:: ( 8 / 10 )|
Audible noise levels from the computer were all within a comfortable range, and hardly any hard drive chatter was heard. Thanks to the great wiring job and solid construction of the Thermaltake case, we did not detect any annoying rattles usually associated with vibrations from lower quality components.
Temperature levels were kept at great levels, thanks to the amount of case fans providing lots of airflow, as well as the Asetek LCLC, which cooled the overclocked CPU even under extreme load. Even the 4870X2 graphics cards were kept nice and chilly, again mostly likely due to the lack of excess obstructions within the case and plenty of high volume fans.
| Ballistics Report||Page:: ( 9 / 10 )|
Our testing certainly confirmed that this is one of the fastest systems out there right now. Even Crysis, who has a nasty habit of bringing systems to their knees, had a hard time with this rig.
Every part in this system is name brand and from quality manufacturers, starting at the motherboard and memory, all the way down to the case fans. It seems that no corners are cut in ensuring high standards of quality when assembling, testing, and shipping systems from CyberPower.
CyberPower had the cables routed behind the motherboard instead of in front it, potentially affecting airflow and thermal performance. The wiring job was very well done and professional, with no shortcuts taken to save on time.
Revolutionary CPU Cooling
The Asetek LCLC works wonderfully, cooling the CPU to very nice 52 degrees under load. It also has the added benefit of helping to minimize audible noise since it lacks a CPU fan cranking at full speed.
Configurability and Support
One of the best features of a PC from CyberPower is the huge amount of options you have when it comes to building a PC to suit your needs. Checking their website will show you that there is not an option you cannot change, from optical drive to memory. You can build the PC you want, how you want it, and get support you need when you need it.
Although it should go without saying, performance of this level does not come cheaply. The system we reviewed would retail for around $4200 configured on CyberPower’s website.
| Final Verdict||Page:: ( 10 / 10 )|
Print Article! | Close Window ]