capsule review

CyberPower Gamer Ultra 7500 SE

At a Glance
  • CyberPower Gamer Ultra 7500 SE

    PCWorld Rating

CyberPower Gamer Ultra 7500 SE
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

CyberPower knows how to design gaming systems that look unabashedly cool, and the newest version of its Gamer Ultra 7500 SE is a classic example. Fortunately, this system has more going for it than just an arresting appearance: Based on its reasonable performance and price, it's also an excellent value for gamers on a budget.

Using a low-end CPU (a 2-GHz Athlon 64 3200+), 512 MB of DDR400 SDRAM, and an EVGA GeForce 6600 graphics card, the $1075 Gamer Ultra 7500 SE delivered 95 frames per second (near the middle of all tested systems) in Castle Wolfenstein and 146 fps (another midrange result) in Unreal Tournament 2003 graphics tests at 1280-by-1024 resolution. Though not as fast as some value systems that cost more, the Gamer Ultra 7500 SE's still-playable performance is a reasonable compromise for cost-conscious gamers. In our WorldBench 5 performance tests, the 7500 SE scored 90, typical for a system with this processor.

The midsize tower system we tested came in a silver-colored case (other colors are available) with a tricked-out, front-panel door that prominently features three display gauges--for monitoring temperature, volume, and fan speed--accented by colorful neon lights. The hinged door gives access to the power and reset buttons and to six drive bays. The system we reviewed came with a six-in-one media card reader and dual-layer DVD±RW, DVD-ROM, and floppy disk drives.

The left side of the case includes a clear panel that offers views of the neatly organized interior and its components, all bathed in blue neon. On the lower right side of the front panel are ports for USB, FireWire, and audio (microphone and headphone) connections. Also on the side of the front panel are volume and fan-speed adjusters. The back panel provides four USB 2.0 ports and six audio ports (the motherboard supports high-definition 7.1 audio), but no FireWire connector.

One feature this system has in abundance is fans: I found them built into the top of the case, behind the front-panel door, on the side, and in the back. CyberPower has even added a knob for adjusting the speed of the power supply fan in the rear, but it occupies a slot bracket that belongs to an open PCI slot inside the case.

Our review unit's interior was easy to access using thumbscrews. Expansion options include two open memory slots, three open PCI slots, and two open PCI Express slots. Two externally accessible and three internal drive bays are also open. Although tools are required for adding cards and drives, there's ample space in which to work.

The model came with ViewSonic's 17-inch VA712b LCD monitor, which scored high marks for displaying sharp, clear text (even at small sizes) and colorful graphics with good detail and realistic skin tones. The sound from the bundled Logitech X-530 5.1 speaker system was also pleasing; it produced solid tones with no distortion in our CD music and DVD movie tests.

CyberPower includes a Microsoft Multimedia keyboard and USB IntelliMouse Explorer that matches the color of the case; all are available in a variety of colors (including black, blue, green, red, and yellow). The company also provides useful documentation for the motherboard, graphics card, and monitor.

Sporting a showy design, the CyberPower Gamer Ultra 7500 SE offers adequate performance at a very low price for budget-minded gamers.

Richard Jantz

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Jazzy, neon-lit unit has an adjustable fan controller, a dual-layer optical writer, and a stellar LCD.

    Pros

    • Cool-looking chassis; stellar LCD

    Cons

    • Company's poor service marks
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