Cyberpower’s Gamer Dragon: Can AMD Bring The Game?

System And Test Setup

As mentioned, we’ll be pitting Cyberpower’s Gamer Dragon against our recently assembled SBM PC for $1,300. If this seems cheap compared to the Gamer Dragon, keep in mind that pricing doesn’t include the operating system or support. We’ll address pricing details later.

Let’s directly compare the two systems:

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Header Cell - Column 0 Cyberpower Gamer DragonSystem Builder Marathon $1300 MicroATX
CPUAMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (3.2 GHz, FSB-200) 6 MB L3 Cache.Factory OC at 3.6 GHz, FSB-225, 2,022 MHz HyperTransport linkIntel Core i7-920 2.66 GHz, 2.80 GHz Turbo, 133 MHz Bclk, 1.36 V (load)Overclock: 3.44 GHz at 1.296 V (load), 172 MHz Bclk
MotherboardGigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P, BIOS F4a, AMD790XDFI LANParty Jr X58-T3H6 Micro-ATX Intel X58/ICH10R, LGA1366
NetworkingOnboard Gigabit LAN controllerOnboard Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryKingston HyperX 9905403-048.A00LF  PC3-107002 x 2,048 MB, 1,498 MHz, CAS 9-9-9-24 2TG.Skill 10666CL7T 6.0 GB DDR3-1064 3 x 2.0 GB, CAS 8-8-8-19, 1.56 VOverclock: DDR3-1378 at 1.56 V, CAS 8-8-8-19
Graphics2 x HIS Radeon HD 4890 in CrossFire850 MHz GPU, 2200 MHz RAM, 1 GB Per Card2 x BFG GeForce GTX 260 in SLI  896MB GDDR3-1998 Per Card 590 MHz GPU, 1,296 MHz shaderOverclock:600 MHz GPU, 1,300 MHz shader, GDDR3-2060
Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda ST31500341AS1.5 TB, 7200.1RPM, 16 MB Cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/sWestern Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7,200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s
PowerCorsair CMPSU-650TX650 W, ATX 12V 2.2PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad S75QB750 W, ATX12V 2.2, 80-Plus Certified
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1
DirectX versionDirectX 10
Graphics DriversNvidia GeForce 185.85, ATI Catalyst 9.5

We’ll point out that our SBM system was a Micro-ATX-based build with poor airflow, so we never achieved any notable graphics card overclock. The Core i7-920 CPU did overclock a bit, but was severely bottlenecked by the heat issues, resulting in a maximum overclock of about 3.44 GHz. This was a little disappointing compared to the overclocks that a well-ventilated Core i7-920 will typically achieve, which can usually come closer to 4 GHz.

So the reasonable overclock of the Cyberpower Gamer Dragon at 3.6 GHz will do battle with the reasonable overclock of the SBM machine at 3.44 GHz. Once again, this should make for a great battle, and represents a best-case scenario for the Phenom II-based system.

The Gamer Dragon and its Radeon HD 4890 cards in CrossFire shouldn't have a hard time besting the graphics power of the SBM machine’s GeForce GTX 260 cards in SLI. Indeed, things are looking good for the Gamer Dragon.

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Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, in-game benchmark Test Set 1: Very High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R Clear SkyAverage of 4 segments "A-Tested Object" Test Set 1: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, no MSAA Test Set 2: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, 4x MSAA
World In ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Test 1: Very High Details, No AA/No AF Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA/16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes 8Version: (x64) Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 64bits (07-04-2008) Audio CD "Terminator II," 53 min. wave to MP3
TMPGEnc 4.6Version: Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search
Xvid 1.2.1Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Gisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8.5Version: 8.5.287, Virus database 2094, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.80Version 3.80, WinZip Command line Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
WinZip 12Version 12.0, Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP3Version 2009.4.15.92, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

Let’s start with the synthetic benchmarks and see if they will give us some insight as to what we should expect…

  • astrodudepsu
    Great article. It will be quite hard for anyone to shout after something like this. Granted, there will surely be the 'you can build it for less' crowd but I think all in all this should silence some folks.
  • Ogdin
    Would have been nice if the video cards where the same in both.
  • Proximon
    I have to wonder what would happen with a 790FX board and RAM running at CAS 7. Those are two glaring problems I see with their build. I priced out the items to make the build work better and still came out at $1300.
    While it's an indictment of AMD clearly, seems like you shouldn't write it out of the SBM just yet.
    I was actually surprised to find some reasonable 790FX boards, as long as you don't need one of the big two brands.
    Also, other tests seem to contradict this. Sure, there is going to be some FPS difference, but there should not be so much.
  • Ogdin
    The lower cas ram wouldn't change anything.Having the 16x16 pci-e slots of the 790fx vs the 8x8 of the 790x.....doubtful it would make a big difference,though it would be nice to see if there would be a difference.
  • Buying parts online I was able to get a fairly decent i7 920 setup for only $80 above a similar X4 955, the setups both had parts that would allow them to reach maximum OCing results and both had equivalent ATI/NVIDIA GPUs. AMD may have had a competitive price advantage a month ago but right now the i7 920 is better without question, in fact the $80 increase didn't even apply for me since the GTS 250 I bought off newegg for $135 came with COD4 and COD:WaW and the i7 920 came with HAWX for only $280 and an unopened HAWX goes for $40 at gamestop(they sell it for $50) and CoD:WaW also came in an unopened case that would have been sold to gamestop for $20 if I didn't keep it.

    X4 955 buyers beware, you're getting equivalent performance to a Q9550 setup for a $100 premium and if you're looking for an upgradeable setup the 1366 socket is a lot safer investment.

    P.S. - Sorry if the grammar and such is terrible, I just woke up to get a late night snack and check my e-mails but saw this and felt a need to post.
  • IronRyan21
    Cyber Power comes to the rescue.......
  • cinergy
    The point is if you build a system without any "Cyberpower" ready made premium priced stuff, AMD platform is cheaper and makes more sense, so again comparison seen here is unfair. Of course you wanted to justify your previous choices but in a misleading way. Having to the max (almost 1ghz) over clocked i7 only and comparing self built cheaper system to premium retail system just underlines to fact that you have taken sides.
  • supergroover
    I Still say biased. Why not give the overclock a go and present the results with the note that it may void warranty. You also overclock the SBM core i7 system.
    Also as proximon points out, this build does not say anything. You can yourself piece together something better at a lower cost, therefore the price comparison is not a good one if you want to point out the difference between AMD phenom II and Intel core i7.
  • mcvf
    My points:
    1. Comparison of two different graphics cards. Based on completely different systems you speculate that i7 is much better. If the i7 is so clearly better, it is important for readers to know how much. Test it on the same computer (same graphics card) and prove how much better it actually is. Till now I only see relatively small advantages of i7 over phenom or intel quad limited within few percents only in Tom's review. Seems to me Tom is just hyping i7 (regularly "forgetting" comparisons with core 2 quads).
    2. Power usage. How the hell is possible that overclocked i7 takes significantly less power than non-overclocked one? That smalls to me and says that there is something rotten in the benchmark. I do not think readers should trust this review too much and rely on it when buying new computer.
  • goose man

    In SBM article before, many reader states that the prices different between Phenom system and Core i7 system can be used to purchased "stronger" GPU.

    Assuming frreerr_hardware (no 5 post) statement is true, the difference is only $80 and ATI 4890 is STRONGER card than GTX 260 core 216
    The cheapest ATI 4890 in Newegg is $189 after MIR
    and the chepest GTX260 core 216 in Newegg is $149 after MIR
    The difference is $40 for a card and $80 for a pair (SLI or Crossfire)
    So the comparison of Phenom system using ATI 4890 and Core i7 system using GTX 260 core 216 is well justified.

    And please do not start talk about overclock.
    The standard (not overclocked) Core i7 system (2.66 GHz) manage to wins some cases to the overclocked Phenom system (3.6 GHz), that's almost 1 GHz difference in clock. Do you really want to compare their performance in fully overclocked system like frreerr_hardware's system ?

    Typical Phenom 955 (in average) can achieve 4 GHz when overclocked and so does typical Core i7 920. Remember this is in SAME PRICE system (according to frreerr_hardware). Logic dictates the the Core i7 system will crushed the phenom system if both is fully overclocked.