I’m no stranger to PC gaming. Our wonderful blog and readers at MakeUseOf are no different. Since the very first month that I began pounding out keystrokes and writing here at MakeUseOf, I’ve contributed to our gaming section. I’d like to think it’s growing at a pretty consistent rate. PC gaming is huge and it isn’t going anywhere. Online services like Valve’s Steam, EA’s Origin, and GameStop’s Impulse deserve a shoutout in that regard. Indie development studios, too! What’s up Mojang? Everyone has their criticisms, but they’ve contributed to online gaming culture. Companies like these put a smile on the face of gamers like me.
If you’re one of many dedicated gamers who are reading this and cringing as you wish you had that powerhouse desktop that’d run Crysis at a decent frame rate, or you really want that upgrade before Diablo III releases very, very soon, then I’ve got a suggestion for you. Everyone knows that a hardcore gamer should probably build their dream PC from the ground up. It’s cost-effective and I think it’s nerd tradition. It lets you bond with your system. But do you really have to? I’ve played with my Gamer Xtreme GXi220 from CyberpowerPC for about a week and I can confidently say that a homemade gaming rig is only a suggestion, not a requirement.
We’re giving away this awesome powerhouse of a gaming desktop worth $1050 to one lucky MakeUseOf reader. Read on to out more about it and join the giveaway.
The CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXi220 desktop computer retails at around $1050, though the online price ranges from that down to about $900. That’s a three-figure price tag on a prebuilt tower that will practically run any game on the market today. Let’s get a little more specific on the details:
- CPU: 3.3 GHz Intel Core i5 2500K
- Video Card: AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB
- Motherboard: Intel Z68 Express LGA1155 Socket
- HDD: 1TB
- RAM: 8GB DDR3
- Ports: 6 × USB 2.0, 2 × USB 3.0, 1 × HDMI, 1 × DVI, 1 × VGA
Maybe these specifications aren’t going to put a feather under the feet of everyone, but this is a very well-rounded system. We’re not trying to “wow” anyone, but we’re definitely up at the higher end on this one. With that being said, let’s look at PassMark’s benchmark ratings on our GPU and CPU (arguably #1 and #2 when it comes to gaming).
Keeping these big marks in mind, let’s look at the price attached to five other gaming desktops of a similar caliber.
- iBuyPower Gamer Extreme AM574SLC Desktop: $1,199.99
- Alienware AX51-0066BK Desktop PC: $1,049.99
- CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXi940 Intel i5 2550K Gaming Desktop PC: $1,109.00
- CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme 1322 (GX1322) Desktop PC: $979.99
- iBUYPOWER Gamer Extreme 927k Desktop PC: $1,049.99
Thanks to the fast-shipping wizardry of Amazon, this desktop made it to my door quicker than expected. Amazon does a great job of packing and handling their product. Does CyberpowerPC do the same?
I encountered a single bump in the road: Amazon doesn’t include specific packing details in the product description. However, searching around for other retailers that carry the same product (such as Buy.com or Walmart), I received a lot of varying information about the contents.
This desktop comes packaged without a power cable (or at least mine did). It wasn’t much of an issue for me, as I had one around, but it is to be noted. You’ll need to come up with one of your own. It also came without any documentation, which is totally alright on me as well. Even without it being outlined in the details, I assumed it would come along with a keyboard and mouse (as they’re shown in the Amazon product image).
This is where it got a little interesting for me. While it did come with the $8 XtremeGear USB keyboard, the expected $5 XtremeGear optical USB mouse was missing. Instead of the mouse, a brand new ASUS P8Z68V LX motherboard was included. Do I know why? Nope. I do know that it retails at around $120 and is currently one of the top five most popular motherboards on Google, though. I won’t be the one to complain.
Just know that when you buy this product (from Amazon, at least), you’re opening up a potential grab bag. All that is guaranteed to you is your desktop. The rest? Well, cross your fingers. Maybe you’ll get lucky like me.
I really like the look and feel of this desktop. I generally associate the design of a typical gaming desktops with blinky lights and bright colors. I’m not too into that. Out of the box, this has none of that. It’s extremely sleek and has a very wide and spacious CoolerMaster case. It’s incredibly light, too. I had originally taken it out of the box, felt the weight, and assumed that something was missing inside. It’s all there, though. It’s a very light and roomy system.
The case is designed for great ventilation with openings on the front, side, and top. The placement of front-facing USB and audio ports is very intuitive and doesn’t cause any issues in the effect of case cooling or opening your CD/DVD drive.
At face value, it looks a lot like a “normal” desktop with a heavy-duty touch to it. A mature gaming desktop is what I’ll call it. Maybe you’re into that, but maybe all the extra bells and whistles are what really make you feel like you’ve got something special. I feel at peace being able to sleep in the same room as my desktop without waking up to a bright red glare against my wall. It’d be a little scary. If you’re into that though, feel free to open up the case and a few cables are left unconnected. Put them together and you’ve got your aura.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I plugged this desktop in and turned it on. I’ve always used the casual, “average” desktop and laptop. Having something a little closer to the top of the class is a bit new to me.
As I went through the Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) setup, I could already tell things were different. It’s incredibly responsive and much smoother than anything I’ve experienced before. The time required to install the initial Windows Update packages was what first had me understanding that it’s the real deal. The time it takes me to reboot is less than a minute, something that takes me anywhere between 2-3 minutes on a brand new Dell laptop from 2010.
Of course, that’s not what us gamers care about though. We want to see the real power. Open up the case and you’ll see exactly that.
This desktop is put together very nicely and all of the innards leave plenty of room for expansion. Adding another 8GB of RAM would take all of 15 seconds. So much open, uncluttered space lends heavily to more effective cooling in the case.
All cables are tied together neatly and are of high quality. I’ve had many bad experiences where the case guts are very amateurly stuffed inside of the case. Pull a few out and good luck getting everything back in place. Not here though.
The AMD Radeon HD 6850 video card is really the prize of the insides here. I’ve heard it to be an incredibly popular piece in the gaming crowd and I’ve enjoyed my experiences with it thus far. I have yet to play a game that doesn’t offer a comfortable frame rate by default (and I’ve got more than $5000 worth of games on Steam). Many of those same games don’t flinch even with the display quality turned all the way up. Gamers, remember to turn vertical sync off if you want those big framerates. Let’s take a look at a few games now.
On the world’s largest MMORPG, World of Warcraft, FPS hovers around 90-95 consistently. In highly-populated areas (such as Orgrimmar), frame rates very rarely drop below 70 FPS. This test was performed with display settings raised slightly from the defaults.
Minecraft is one of those games that I always see people have a gripe about when it comes to resource intensity. Roaming freely about a server for 5 minutes, my FPS never dropped below 130. For at least 4 minutes, it was above the 200 FPS mark. This test was performed under default display settings.
On Counter-Strike: Source, we hit the 300 FPS cap. To be fair, it’s old as hell. It’s a game you and I probably play though, so it counts. This test was performed under default display settings.
This machine is going to be able to play any game you throw at it.
It’s a gaming desktop, but that’s not all it can do. That Intel i5 processor and 8GB of RAM really helps when it comes to tasks like multimedia editing. It’s comforting to know that I can finally have Photoshop CS4, Firefox, Skype, and WoW running without feeling any hiccups. It’s a gamer’s rig but this thing works wonders for work purposes as well.
I think my favorite thing about this desktop is something that has nothing to do with its actual performance at all. It is dead quiet. Even under rigorous stress testing, it doesn’t make a peep. That’s with three fans running actively, too.
Should you buy it?
I’ve never had a computer dedicated to gaming before. This is also my first high-end desktop. With that, I don’t have much leverage when it comes to making a solid comparison. I will say that this is the best computer (desktop or laptop) that I’ve ever owned, and a week into owning it I can already see myself using this for a very long time.
The best way I can put it is that this is a very balanced and powerful system for the price you’re paying. You’re not giving up anything on the CPU side to get a better video card. You aren’t sparing RAM to get a bigger hard drive. As I said before, it’s very well-rounded and it’s something you can build upon as it ages with you. Definitely get this. If it’s your first desktop for gaming, you’ll surely be impressed.
We’re giving away a brand new set with exactly the same configurations from Amazon to one very, very lucky MakeUseOf reader. If you’d like to be the proud owner of this gaming rig, join the giveaway below.
CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXi220 Giveaway
It’s simple, just follow the instructions.
Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form
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Step 2: Share!
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This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, April 27th. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email.
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