In case you missed the original article, this system was recently mentioned on HHW: http://hothardware.com/News/CyberPower-Introduces-Gamer-Xtreme-1003 I've only had this out of the box for a couple of days now, so these are just my initial impressions/experiences.
Pro - Looks nice. The wiring is all nicely bundled and tucked away. Looks like they spent more time on it than when I do it myself. :) Pretty blue case light, if you're into that kind of thing.
Con - I'm not a big fan faceplates that cover the drives. This one uses a magnetic latch, and it swung shut while I wasn't looking. When the CD I was recording finished, you could hear the eject mechanisms gears slipping loudly as it struggled vainly to force the front door open.
I've not run prerequisite benchmarks, but it responds very nicely. I've spent most of my time (like right now) in Ubuntu on it, but Vista seemed to boot quickly and perform well... I installed Steam under Vista, so I will check out some games later and post some stats..
I have it hooked to a Samsung 22" 2232bw running at 1680x1050 (I used this as an excuse to by me a 23" <g>), and the Compiz effects run smooth as silk.
Temps are lower than I expected for this processor (40 degrees and below)... we'll see if that holds once I start stressing it.
Nice: The Vista pre-load was very clean, exactly as I wanted it. That's important, when the only install media you get these days are recovery CDs.
So, since I obviously havent' been stress-testing it yet, what have I been doing?
Fun thing #1: Since this PC's nowhere near an ethernet jack, I moved the (LinkSys WMP54Gv4) card from my old system to it and booted up.
Vista had no idea what to do with the card. The manufacturers CD had no compatible drivers
Okay... booted the system from a Linux LiveCD (Knoppix), clicked on networkmanager, chose my wireless access point and put in the WPA info, and started surfing the internet to LinkSys's site for Vista 64-bit drivers.
They never released any.
Okay... Since Linux identifies (sudo lspci) the manufacturer and chipset as being Ralink and rt2500 respectively, I decided to look for reference drivers on their site. They had them! Downloaded them, saved them to the thumbdrive I was running Knoppix from, then rebooted into Vista and installed them.
Success! The configuration utility's kind of ugly, but it works 100%
Fun thing #2: Wubi!
What's Wubi? Wubi is a way to install Linux to the same drive as your existing Windows install without repartitioning. It installs Linux within a single folder on your existing Windows partition. In fact, the majority is written within virtual partitions that exist as single files inside of c:\ubuntu\disks. You can access the full Windows host partition from within Linux if you want to (it gets mounted as /host), making it easy to transfer files back and forth as necessary.
Wubi does not run Linux inside of Windows; it's not an emulator or virtual machine. What it does is add a new boot option to the Windows boot menu that let's you choose to boot Linux at startup instead of Windows. And, you can easily remove it from the add/remove programs menu within Windows should you later choose to do so. Anyway, see the Wubi site (http://wubi-installer.org/) for more info.
I figured that if I was going to keep the Vista install on this box (the kids are always getting little electronic gifts that include Windows-only CDs, some with drivers that just can't be made to work under Wine), this would be the perfect time to be a Wubi for Jaunty alpha-tester. So I downloaded the latest Ubuntu Jaunty daily-live cd (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/). I'm mostly a KDE guy and use Kubuntu, but I figured the Gnome interface might be easier for the kids to manage.
The install time was amazingly fast. Five minutes, a reboot, super quick partitioning (of a virtual disk that exists as a file inside your c:\ubuntu\ directory), another reboot, and Ubuntu was ready! If anyone want's an easy way to get the full-Linux experience without going through partioning pains, I highly recommend it - at the very least as a backup way to get on the Internet and download a fix in the event a virus cripples an important Windows system file.
I'm installing a gig or so of Linux free games right now (Nexuiz, Sauerbraten, SMC, OpenArena, Extreme Tux Racer, World of Padman, etc), but after that's done I'll see about some benchmarks on both the Windows and Ubuntu side of things!
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Glad you are liking the new rig. I have heard good things from Cyberpower. Also Wubi is great. I installed it on my girlfriends computer. the only downside is hard drive performance, but everything still feels very snappy on her rig. Easiest install of any OS ever.
Yeah - I had read that there's a penalty for hard drive performance too (since it's basically running ext3 on top of ntfs), but I haven't seen anything drastic. It boots in about the same time as Vista on this machine.
CounterStrike:Source - 1680x1050, no AA, all other options at max: 288fps
CounterStrike:Source - 1680x1050, 16xQ CSAA, all other options at max: 180fps
3D Mark Vantage downloading now.... will paste in this same post.
Hey thats some good performance of the price.
Also yeah I can't really complain about Wubi's HD performance. It is lower that a regular install, but it is miles better than using a live CD. I don't think people really get WOWed off of a liveCD. Get Wubi on there and install compiz and a none gamer will get hooked. Plus they have the ease of uninstalling it, which makes you more apt to try it. My only complaint is that sometimes it does not remove the ubuntu option in the boot loader after uninstall.