Build Quality

The build of the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme 5200 is generally excellent. The Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 is a fine enclosure, and CyberPowerPC is able to keep cabling well organized and neat as you'd expect from an SI. Interestingly, though, the fan controller proves to be practically a non-starter, both literally and figuratively.

An unusual issue I ran into during testing was that the fans on the liquid cooling system would have a hard time starting up at anything less than the highest setting (12V). The top fan never started at all. These aren't actually major problems; the system is typically very quiet unless you're taxing the 7990, and the CPU isn't overheating. But it's very strange; the fan controller should be able to easily pull enough juice from a single molex connector, and all the cable connections are secure, so I'm not sure what gives.

It also bears mentioning that the additional drive cages typically found between the 5.25" bays and the bottom 2.5"/3.5" drive cage were not included, presumably due to clearance issues with the 7990. Still, this limits expandability later on and it would've been nice for CyberPowerPC to at least include them in the package for futureproofing's sake.

Finally, there's the overclock, and someone at CyberPowerPC must have known I was going to eat them alive for this. There is no dynamic voltage scaling, no dynamic clock scaling; the i7-4770K is set at a fixed 4.2GHz which it runs at all times and the voltage does not change. This is lazy and a waste of efficiency.

Noise and Heat

The Asetek liquid cooler upgraded with the two silent Enermax fans is, frankly, pretty fantastic. At its highest speed the cooler is still incredibly quiet; unless you're hitting the Radeon, you can expect the Gamer Xtreme 5200 to stay well under 32dB. If you're running the air conditioner or have any kind of ambient noise, the system is drowned out almost immediately.

Thermals are certainly reasonable given the way the system is configured, but the AMD Radeon HD 7990 really is the problem child. Temperatures aren't too bad, but they're not stellar either, and worse, the card is loud under load. Not aggressively loud and certainly not over 40dB, but definitely very audible. This is another place where switching to a single GPU card would pay major dividends, and I'm keen to point out the stock coolers on the GTX 770 and 780 are incredibly quiet even under sustained load.

Power Consumption

Where the lazy overclock takes its toll is at the wall. The 7990 is actually a fairly frugal card for a dual-GPU solution, but the fixed voltage and clocks on the CPU hurt.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption

Power consumption is just unpleasant across the board. Idle power could be about 20W lower, and that's not too bad, but the 7990 is a power hungry beast, and you'll see it draws more current than even a few of our multi-GPU systems. The iBuyPower Erebus GT in particular offers potentially superior gaming performance and comparable CPU performance with less power consumption under load (although it loses big time at idle.) I'm left feeling like there's a better, more finely tuned build still waiting to happen.

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

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

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

    or the 1tb drive.
  • homer_pickett - Thursday, October 9, 2014 - link

    It's okay.. but when you add price into the picture it stand zero chance to for example CybertronPC Borg-Q GM4213C. /Homer from
  • Seminya - Friday, August 23, 2013 - link

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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