Computer gaming has been around for decades and its popularity doesn’t seem to fade. Indeed, people want entertainment, and to this desire gaming desktops and laptops answer well. The only bad thing with these player’s computers has traditionally been high price – but a new brand called CyberpowerPC has been launched to combat this! One of their popular models, CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA520, seems to be a popular and rather affordable choice, so it makes sense to invest some time examining it…
Is it good for gaming?
The label says “gaming desktop” so surely CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA520 must be good for players, eh? Well, it’s better than an average computer but not too fast. The graphics engine in this unit is GeForce GT 730 (2GB), a low-end chip from 2014. The G3D Mark test gives it ~900 points, only a little better than integrated engines like Intel HD 4600. If we’re talking about older games like DayZ or Minecraft or World of Warcraft, the FPS won’t be an issue on medium-high settings. A bit newer ones like GTA 5 will need lower settings to get 30-40 frames per second, still alright but not ideal. The heavyweight champions like Witcher 3 would have too low frame rates I’m afraid.
If you only want the best FPS and settings there is a solution: ugprade the graphics card. You’re welcome to put any card in, for example GTX970 fits well. SLI (two cards) is not supported.
The processor comes from the end of 2012, it’s a bit older model, the AMD FX-4300. If you’re concerned about its core amount I can tell you there are four – so this is a quad-core processor. Its clock speed starts at 3.8GHz and the turbo boost takes it up to 4.0GHz, a small increase there. The score in CPU Mark is ~4700 which puts the processor in the lower mid-range of desktop CPUs.
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA520 relies on the older DDR3 memory. It has 8GB installed and I believe on a single stick. Upgrading to at least sixteen gigabytes is possible. In fact, I often see gamers going for 16GB because it gives them smoother gaming experience.
As you could expect from a cheaper desktop like this, the storage drive doesn’t really shine. It’s a one-terabyte 7200RPM HDD attached to SATA interface. I know many power users and gamers desire a solid-state drive – luckily there is free space inside to install one. Precisely three 3.5″ bays and one 2.5″ bay should be unoccupied inside the case.
How about connectivity and ports?
First, bear in mind CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA520 does not have WiFi support out of the box. If you want to go wireless please install a WiFi card to PCI slot yourself, or use a plug’n’play USB to WiFi dongle. Rest assured, wired networking works no problem as Gigabit LAN circuit is built in to the motherboard with RJ-45 port in the back panel.
The USB ports selection isn’t that fancy. Surely, a lot of them are available, eight. But also remember they all are USB 2.0. No USB 3.0 is available! It doesn’t really matter if you just use keyboard and mouse with USB, but if you want better bandwidth for devices like external optical/hard drive, USB 3.0 would provide much faster transfer rates.
You’ll be able to connect three simultaneous monitors to this desktop. The back of the GT 730 card holds HDMI, DVI-D and VGA video outputs for that. If you just have one monitor, I recommend to attach it to HDMI for the best video quality.
What other interesting things are there?
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA520 doesn’t come with a monitor, it’s just not possible for this price. So anyway you need to get display which will up the total price, remember that. Corded keyboard and mouse are however included.
There are two fans in the case, one on the processor and one on the rear side.
I’ve heard two different wattages for the PSU, either 350W or 500W. It’s probably the 350W one, though. If you want to install a better graphics card chances are you need to upgrade the power supply, too.
Like always with life, item is cheap for a reason. In the case of CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA520 the lower price is possible due to less-intense performance. Especially in the graphics department, the “oomph” is quite limited thanks to the low-end card GeForce GT 730. If you don’t mind keeping lower settings and resolution there’s no reason to be afraid, but don’t take this desktop as a full-blown gaming machine. Other side of the equation is indeed price – this costs only a half of what the best gaming desktops are. If affordability trumps performance in your books, this CyberpowerPC should be a noteworthy choice!