CYBERPOWERPC Gamer GXIVR8020A5 Review
CyberPowerPC has a reputation of building powerful, and inexpensive gaming machines, yet its Gamer Xtreme range of VR-Ready gaming desktops boasts latest components and more affordable prices, while maintaining CyberPowerPC’s hard-won standing in the gaming community. The Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5, which we review here, has the muscle to continue the tradition.
The Xtreme GXIVR8020A5 sits between CyberPowerPC’s Gamer Master range of affordable gaming PCs and the high-end BattleBox Ultimate (we recently reviewed the BattleBox Ultimate SLC8600A). While this puts the GXIVR8020A5 in the mid-range of things, its spec-sheet and performance push it out of a middle-of-the-road gaming rig. It combines everything we’ve come to expect of CyberPowerPC’s devices including, including out-of-the-box VR capability, powerful components and a likable design.
Gaming desktops PCs have evolved over time –especially ones made by CyberPowerPC – into eye-catching towers, some smaller than mainstream PCs, that can’t dominate your desk. The Gamer GXIVR8020A5 is a standard tower, that measures 17.9 by 7.9 by 18.5 inches (HWD). This is within the same ballpark as most of its peers, and the design is as close as gaming desktop PCs go.
On these sides of computing, we’ve seen boutique builders like SkyTech and CyberPowerPC go overboard on the bling, but the spirit is tame on this system. Our review unit gets an aluminum case, with a black theme along the front, and top dotted with airflow inlets accentuated with signature lights. The sides and front panel are made of tinted tempered glass doors, that lets you access and view interior components easily.
Unlike its stable mates that have a myriad of decorative LEDs, the choice of lighting here is serious and mature. Let’s face it, it’s not always that you need to learn all colors of the rainbow out of a single gaming PC’s casing. All you have are red LEDs, and a trio of concentric rings on the front panel, and a CyberPowerPC logo near the bottom. Overall, it’s a nice looking tower, with enough real estate to grow into something bigger in future.
As early as 2016, PC manufacturers decided that we don’t need optical drives on notebooks, and by late last year, they had affirmed it that we don’t need the same on desktops PCs, as well. It was cast on stone, and you don’t have an optical drive on the Gamer GXIVR8020A5, not as long as you can download all your games from digital services like Steam and Origin.
For now, you can do with a couple of easy access ports on the upper deck –two USB 3.0 ports, microphone and headphone, a reset button and Power button. Around the back are more ports including: four USB 3.1 Type-A ports, audio ports, an Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports (for connecting the bundled keyboard and mouse).
There’s also a HDMI and DisplayPort on the graphics card for connecting to external displays. For a VR-Ready system with HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift, having more ports is a bonus. Wireless connectivity comes via a 802.11AC Wi-Fi adapter.
Solid-State-Drives (SSDs) have become common among high-performance notebooks and desktops alike. Apart from performance boost, SSDs suffice for faster data transfer speeds, especially on a system that comes without an optical drive. For that, it is not clear why CyberPowerPC opted to exclude even a smaller SSD for boot programs, and instead have a roomier 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive on the GXIVR8020A5. Being an upgrade over its predecessor from last year, the Gamer GXIVR8020A4, we at least hoped they’d improve on the choice of storage. Sadly, they didn’t…or the good reception blurred our expectations.
We wouldn’t mind the price difference, but we now mind the storage option, hope they improve in the next iteration. That said, CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 offers a good storage option – 1TB hard drive plus a 120GB SSD. The 120GB SSD may not be much, but it does count for much is a gaming PC of its stature.
As mentioned above, the Gamer GXIVR8020A5 is billed as an upgrade over the Gamer GXIVR8020A4 from last year, and we expected a whole load of new features. It turns out that the only new feature here, is an eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8400 (2.8GHz 6 Core) processor, against the Intel Core i5-7400 (3.0GHz) chip in last year’s model. The other configurations remain unchanged from its predecessor –AMD Radeon RX 580 (4GB) graphics card and 8GB RAM.
Intel’s 8th Gen. “Coffee Lake” (technically, Coffee Lake-S) is the latest chip offering in the desktop PC market, and extends what systems can now offer for ever decreasing amounts of money. Essentially, it is built on the same architecture as the seventh-generation Core “Kaby Lake” processors, but we’re looking at notable improvements in performance that comes with newer components.
With a base clock speed of 2.8GHz and six processing cores, the new chips allow the system to perform both as a gaming rig, and perform other tasks on the side when not playing, such as photo editing and video encoding.
Like its predecessor, the AMD RX 580 (4GB) graphics card remains the raison d’être here. This is a fairly new midrange GPU that falls in the same class as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and a successor to the dated AMD RX 480 graphics card. As we wait for AMD to launch the RX 680 Series, the RX 580 remains the GPU of choice, at least for now.
It delivers crisp 1440p gaming performance, a step ahead of the usual 1080p gaming experience on most entry-level systems. Considering that gaming PCs are all about playability, this system stacks well against pricey behemoths. Plus, the fact that it offers solid HD and VR playability, it emerges top among gaming PCs ranked higher in the category.
On the Gamer GXIVR8020A5, you’ll play a bunch of modern titles at maximum resolutions, although 4K and 3D gaming is a reserve for the ‘mean-beasts’ in the high-end category. For the casual gamers, scores of 60.6 fps on Grand Theft Auto and 176 fps on League of Legends, all played at 1080p is more than you’re paying for.
The Bottom Line
Like the CyberPowerPC Gamer GXIVR8020A4, the Gamer GXIVR8020A5 is an excellent gaming desktop for value-hunters who don’t want to spend obscene amounts of money chasing an over-the-top rig. Though, that doesn’t make it cheap – it isn’t – only that it manages to hit the sweet spot in balancing price and power. Its aesthetic footprint comes out as attractive and eye-catching without being to garish, and it is the right size to fit on a desk, and still have some work space.
Still, I have issue with the lack of an SSD, but CyberPowerPC does offer some flexibility in customizing the storage options on other systems, that’s if you have a bit of time researching the options. If you do, you might land on something like the Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5, that offers a 120GD SSD + 1TB hard drive, and an eight-generation CPU.
However, if you need to keep your budget straight, and going by CyberPowerPC’s well-earned reputation for build quality and down to the cent value, the Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5 is a fantastic gaming PC (can moonlight as a powerful content creation tool) that’s future proof for the next few years.