CyberPowerPC has carved out a niche for itself as a large scale system integrator that offers a build for pretty much any user, and today they're giving us an opportunity to once again put the screws to Haswell's new Intel Core i7-4770K as well as get some field practice in with the AMD Radeon HD 7990. These two are undoubtedly among the fastest products in their respective markets, and CyberPowerPC has seen fit to combine them in a reasonably small but attractive enclosure from Fractal Design.

Yet there's a little bit of skepticism when it comes to both parts. The i7-4770K is without a doubt the fastest mainstream chip that Intel has produced, clock for clock, but word in the corners of the internet is that the Haswell-based chip is having trouble hitting comparable overclocks to the previous two generations of Intel parts. Meanwhile, AMD was essentially caught with their pants down when the lack of frame metering in their drivers was exposed, making CrossFire a rough deal and taking a lot of the shine off the flagship Radeon HD 7990. CyberPowerPC can only work with what's available, so we can at least see what's going on with the Gamer Xtreme 5200.

CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme 5200 Specifications
Chassis Fractal Design Arc Midi R2
Processor Intel Core i7-4770K
(4x3.5GHz, Turbo to 3.9GHz, Overclocked to 4.2GHz, 22nm, 8MB L3, 84W)
Motherboard ASUS Z87-K
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 (maximum 4x8GB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 7990 3GB x2
2x (2048 GCN cores, 1000MHz/6GHz core/RAM, 384-bit memory bus)
Hard Drive(s) Corsair Neutron 64GB SATA 6Gbps SSD

Toshiba DT01ACA 1TB SATA 6Gbps HDD
Optical Drive(s) HL-DT-ST UH12NS30 BD-ROM/DVD+-RW
Power Supply Cooler Master 800W Silent Pro Gold 80 Plus Gold PSU
Networking Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC887
Speaker, line-in, mic, and surround jacks
Front Side Optical drive
Top Side 2x USB 3.0
Headphone and mic jacks
Power and reset buttons
Three-speed fan controller
Back Side 2x PS/2
DVI (IGP)
HDMI (IGP)
VGA (IGP)
4x USB 2.0
2x USB 3.0
Gigabit ethernet
Mic, headphone, and surround jacks
1x DVI (HD 7990)
4x Mini-DisplayPort (HD 7990)
Operating System Windows 8 64-bit
Extras 80 Plus Gold PSU
120mm Asetek Closed Loop Cooler
Fan Controller
Warranty 3-year limited parts and labor, lifetime customer support
Pricing Starts at $2,219
Review system configured at $2,316

First, it bears mentioning that certain components in our review unit aren't available on the configurator. The 64GB Corsair Neutron SSD isn't offered anymore, nor is the 800W Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold power supply. Comparable parts are available, but before we get into the meat of this configuration, there are some slightly odd component choices to be highlighted.

The ASUS Z87-K is by no means a bad board and will certainly get the job done, but it's bizarre to see a modern motherboard in a build above the $2,000 mark (let alone the $1,000 mark) that's missing all six audio outputs on the back. The back I/O cluster isn't supremely lacking but it's definitely feature light. Z87 boards are commanding a bit of a premium so it's understandable if SIs have to go with more "budget oriented" options, but this is an oddball nonetheless.

The other side of the budget equation is the storage subsystem. The 64GB Corsair Neutron is no longer available as an option, but the remaining 64GB storage options aren't exciting and either way, this segment of the SSD market really isn't compelling in any way anymore. I haven't been able to survive off of a 64GB system drive for a long time, and honestly the default SSD should really be 120GB/128GB at this point, especially since the price difference is arguably negligible. 1TB of mechanical storage isn't bad, but Toshiba hard drives really aren't what we want to be seeing as they tend to be a bit slower than competing drives from HGST, Western Digital, Samsung, and Seagate.

When we get to the heart of the Gamer Xtreme 5200, we're really dealing with the Intel Core i7-4770K and the AMD Radeon HD 7990. The Haswell-based i7-4770K gets a healthy boost in IPC performance over its predecessor, the Ivy Bridge i7-3770K, but loses that boost almost immediately in overclocking headroom. While it comes down to quibbling over 200MHz here or there, the increase in IPC does make that loss noticeable; either way, the i7-4770K is stuck at a dismal 4.2GHz overclock, just 300MHz over its highest stock turbo bin, a paltry 8% increase. Typical overclocks on Ivy were closer to 4.4GHz, and what we're left with is a plateau of overclocked performance over the course of three generations now.

Meanwhile, the AMD Radeon HD 7990 has had a bit of a troubled life since it was launched. Heat issues make it difficult to use in quad-GPU CrossFire, while CrossFire itself has had serious issues with frame metering. The current beta drivers do help with frame metering, but still not in Eyefinity. Performance potential is undeniably strong, and AMD has been slashing the hell out of the 7990's price to get it competitive, but users looking for triple-screen surround action might actually be better served saving some bread and buying either a single AMD Radeon HD 7970 or an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780. The 7990 is actually the lion's share of the cost of this system, and if you must have multi-GPU performance and/or surround you can actually get a pair of GTX 770s for roughly the same price. I think that's a better deal.

System and Gaming Performance
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  • todlerix - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    Nothing beats a $2300+ system when it is rocking a Realtek integrated NIC. Reply
  • XZerg - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    or the 64gb ssd... Reply
  • XZerg - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    or the 1tb drive. Reply
  • Seminya - Friday, August 23, 2013 - link

    hyyyy Reply
  • BlackObs - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    After years of reading articles, I've finally signed up for an account just to say that this looks like a system whose good potential was wasted by some poor component selection and poor configuration.

    That's the sort of thing I'd expect of a massive OEM like Dell, not a boutique system maker.
    Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    Dell has WAY better validation and QC than the likes of CyberPowerPC and iBuyPower. I've consistently seen horrendous and confusingly bad builds from the latter, ranging from physically damaged ports and slots on brand new motherboarda to fans installed in the wrong orientation.

    Seriously, you'd be way better off buying from Dell if you're concerned with build quality.
    Reply
  • typicalGeek - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    IMHO - you've never dealt with dell's build issues and their so-called customer service.

    My son spent nearly a grand on a 15" XPS notebook w/ processor / RAM / video card and sound card upgrades (from base model) in June of 2012. After just a month or so he has having problems with the power switch. Found this was a common problem with the 15" XPS. They had him ship the computer back to Texas and when he got the repaired computer back (fixed with an updated Motherboard) neither the video card drivers nor the sound card drivers had been re-installed. (The problem was with the motherboard, but dell always re-images your HDD to factory default... causing the customer to waste time re-installing software and restoring files once they get the computer back.)

    Once he got the computer back he was on the phone with tech support for a couple of hours before both the sound card and video card worked correctly. Something was preventing the sound card from being "seen" even after the drivers were installed... don't remember the details.

    Then just a month or so later he had a game stop working because the DVD drive would not recognize the disk. He first got a replacement disk from the game maker, but that didn't help. At their suggestion, we tried the game on an external USB DVD drive and it worked fine. So the disc was not the problem. This time around dell sent a tech to the house, replaced the drive, still no go with the game and blamed it on some copy protection or something. (The drive acted like it there was no disc in the drive.) It took WEEKS for that problem to be resolved. The resolution finally came when a tech had him roll back to an older driver for the drive. It turned out that the DVD drive was never the problem, just dell's crappy auto updated drivers.

    Needless to say, we'll have to think long and hard about our options before considering getting anything from dell again.
    Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    So a technician at a Dell depot completed a generic restore instead of using Dell's recovery partition and did a sloppy driver install (installing some drivers out of order can cause detection issues) and then you had a DVD configuration issue (there is no "DVD" driver, it would have been a SATA controller or upper/lower registry filter problem)

    Have you ever purchased a new desktop only to discover that two internal USB headers on the motherboard were physically smashed, causing an overcurrent problem that prevented the computer from POSTing? What about a dent on the PCB of the mobo next to the PCIe slot that clearly came from the bottom of the graphics card? Or a fan installed in the incorrect orientation on a CLC, and upon correcting that issue discover severe denting to the fins of the rad?

    All of the above were issues I personally witnessed with ONE iBuyPower system. And it wasn't a low-end system either; ROG mobo with a GTX 680. They clearly never tested it once after assembly. But CyberPowerPC isn't any better. I've seen a SATA connector snapped off of the motherboard. I've seen a 3.5" hard drive resting in a 5.25" bay... just sitting there bouncing around inside the bay kept in place only due to the SATA cables being tied down. That one didn't even have the slightest excuse if the assembler had been short of screws or something as the chassis in question had a toolless internal hotswapable 3.5" bay with backplane.

    These are INEXCUSABLE issues that I have seen far too many of in my encounters with CyberPower and iBuyPower and that I have NEVER once seen with Dell or HP or any other mainstream brand. Hardware and software can fail, problems can occur and no technician is perfect, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about utter negligence. These kinds of things should never pass any kind of post-assembly inspection which leads me to believe such an inspection doesn't happen or they just have insanely low standards.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    Actually Dell is not a stranger to this sort of thing. I bought a Dell XPS L521x notebook (@1699.99) last summer and had big issues with build quality, pieces not fitting together, dead pixels, etc. It also had horrible issues with thermal throttling.

    It was basically impossible to run the GPU at all because either the GPU or CPU throttled up and down to minimum clocks when playing any game, even ones that aren't particularly stressful like Sonic Generations. This resulted in wildy fluctuating framerates that made it impossible to do anything that utilized the Nvidia GPU at all.

    After several system replacements and long after the 30 day return window Dell agreed that the thermal design wasn't up to par and just refunded my money.

    I looked around for a replacement unit and eventually (possibly stupidly) settled on an Alienware m14x R2, which has performed very well and I have no problems with so it's not all Dell systems that have issues.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    To clarify "minimum clocks" is not the advertised clock speed, but the emergency downclock frequency, which I believe was 1.2Ghz for the CPU and 200Mhz for the GPU. a 1.2Ghz i7 with a 200Mhz Geforce 640m is not much fun. Reply

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