iBUYPOWER Trace 9220 Gaming PC Review
The iBUYPOWER Trace 9220 is a VR-Ready gaming PC that combines the best of both worlds, by simply combining a snappy hexa-core Intel Core i7-8700K chip and the latest Turing-based Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics card, all at a very reasonable price.
- Outstanding configuration and pricing
- Elegant case design. Smooth gaming performance
- Latest GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card
- Lacks USB-C port
- Screen panel doesn’t add much utility
Like most spendy gaming desktops, the iBUYPOWER Trace 9220 draws most of the attention with unique features and components. While that is impressive, the reality is that not every shopper is after having the latest or unique parts in a system of choice. Most shoppers are interested in a system that’s a bit more reasonably price. The Trace 9220 is one of those more modest options, a standard tower that falls somewhere in between midrange and high-end in terms of cost and power.
With the fresh Nvidia GeForce RTX 1070 (Turing) graphics card and a snappy Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, the Trace 9220 is a reliable 4K gaming machine with few real drawbacks (that’s if there is any). Its design may not necessary be a thrill to everyone, though, its pricing and power will please any gamer seeking to maximize speed as much as tote-around convenience.
With a reasonable price considering the punch packed inside, and performance to match, the iBUYPOWER Trace 9220 is among our Top Picks for midrange gaming desktops.
Built into a standard tower case, it bears the same design as the iBUYPOWER Trace 9240, both with relatively unassuming looks when viewed head on, and if you poke around, there’s a lot to like on the sides. The black tower has a steel frame with two LED fins cutting from the front-straight to the bottom on both sides. It looks more appealing than a traditional black tower chassis, with the signature gamer looks. At 19.76 by 8.54 by 19.48 inches (HWD) and 30 pounds, the system will take some space on your desk. If you have limited space on your desk, a small-form- factor (SFF) desktop like the ASUS GR8 II-T044Z is a better choice.
On the left flank is a nice looking, tempered glass side panel than open up to the interior compartments and components. Instead of a plain glass panel, the case features an innovative 16 color RGB lighting, that’s remotely controlled. The glass tempered side panel gives you a gaming aesthetic that can be seen from any direction, and displays the interior cabling, dotted with LED lights. To that, it adds a liquid cooling compartment, air vents on the opposite side panel and a standard iBUYPOWER gaming keyboard and mouse.
The system doesn’t have an optical drive, which is fine given that these days you occasionally need to play from DVDs, as most PC games can be downloaded from digital services like Steam and Origin. Plus, having one on the front would be a scratch on the case’s stylish austerity. As it is, there are easy-access ports on the top panel (towards the front): two USB 3.1, microphone and headphone, and a Reset button.
On the back, it’s a completely different story, it’s there you find the rear panel ports: two USB 2.0, two USB 3.1, one RJ-45 Network Ethernet, and Audio 7.1 channel. The new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card also includes one HDMI 2.0b and two DisplayPort 1.4, alongside a VirtualLink connector, the latest versions of the ubiquitous technologies you’d need to power most G-Sync HDR monitors. Wireless connectivity comes via 802.11AC Wi-Fi and is Bluetooth ready.
The Trace 9220 isn’t all flash, when you look at it head-on; it has plenty of power. As configured, our review unit is fitted with an 8th Gen., hexa-core Intel Core i7-8700K processor (Max Turbo 4.7GHz), 16GB of DDR4 memory, and the new Turing Nvidia RTX 2070 (8GB) graphics card and 240GB SSD + 1TB hard drive storage.
For general productivity, this is a solid combination, that will deliver better performance than most mainstream PCs. For professional tasks like media creation, video encoding, photo editing among others, it will live to the hype. So, if you’re looking for something that lets you work while not playing, the Slate is worth a long look.
With the quad-core processor, it does edge-out the AMD Ryzen-equipped CYBERPOWERPC BattleBox Essential GMA2000A (AMD’s chip is cheaper, is of course, cheaper) though the latter delivers better multimedia performance. Nevertheless, the feature set and components are fast enough for day-to-day use, multitasking, and any media projects you’ve always had on your desk.
The new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 is no slouch, leveraging new technologies to enable real-time ray tracing on your favorite games and deep learning Tensor cores. From the onset, the next-generation GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards (starting with GeForce RTX 2070 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti) look like the most significant generational upgrade to the gaming cards. The GeForce RTX 2070 system included in this system uses new Nvidia Turing architecture that boasts more cores than existing GTX GPUs.
We mentioned earlier that the Trace 9220’s design isn’t entirely different from its predecessor, and for that the graphics must be the culprit for the price hike. Thus, we expected that performance needs to be impressive to justify the added bucks, and right now it seems to be the case. Nvidia claimed that the GeForce RTX 2070 would be, on average, 50 percent faster than the GTX 1070.
That’s true but on tests the overclocked GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition basically tied with the GTX 1080, which somehow adds to the typical aspect of diminishing returns, while the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders edition remains unrivaled, so far. And, there is some difficulty assessing the RTX 2080 Ti’s performance as it gets tons of new features, including 68 RT Cores for ray tracing and 544 Tensor Cores for deep learning.
Currently, games that can leverage such potential and features aren’t available. In future, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti may end up being an even better performer than the 1080 and 1080 Ti with newer games, but in the present the benefits are far more marginal. We have seen popular overclocking apps like EVGA Precision X1 and MSI Afterburner release beta builds of their apps, and we are hoping for the same in gaming in the near future.
As far as comparisons to more expensive systems go, gaming still is, a different story, as many pricier desktops boasts two graphics cards. Compared to the rest with just one, though, the Trace 9220 holds its own, again as a less-expensive option.
Nvidia RTX 2070 (Turing – Founders Edition) GPU
As specced, the RTX 2070 boasts 2,304 CUDA cores, 8GB memory and 1,620MHz boost clock, which is far better than the GTX 1070’s 1,920 CUDA cores and a 1,683 maximum frequency. As a result, the new graphics card gets a 20 percent jump in performance, with better frame rates per second over the Pascal GTX 1070 card. Meanwhile, 288 Tensor Cores now bring artificial intelligence (AI) to consumer graphics cards, and Nvidia intends on using these to effect even better anti-aliasing.
Some real-world game scores, the RTX 2070 manages to achieve 33fps on the recently released Shadow of the Tomb raider at 4K, 99fps at 1080p, at very high preset; while Far Cry Primal yielded 32fps, once again at 4K, and 88fps at 1080p, all in Ultra preset his is pretty impressive for a single card GPU, and for the price it can’t get any better. Plus, short of the Nvidia RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, you won’t find another more capable graphics card than what you have on this system.
The Bottom Line
The iBUYPOWER Trace 9220 is an efficient, ready-to-go gaming PC with a distinct (yet common) style. Whether you personally like the aesthetic is a question for another day, but at least it has some personality with a distinct-tempered front glass panel and a transparent LED-lit side panel that make it stand out. The design, love it or leave it, is just a part of development that houses a unique array of components that are of more interest.
Of interest is that, the Trace 9220 offers decent performance and racks up well against expensive gaming PCs in both productivity and high-end gaming, thanks to the new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 (Turing) graphics cards and a capable 8th generation eight-core i7-8700K CPU. With this combination, you don’t have any reason for DIY endeavors, since this high-end system has it all for much less than the competition.
If you’re looking for gaming desktop that moonlights as a productivity PC for media creation but boasts of the latest components and tons of features, the Trace represents unbeatable value. For around the same price, the CyberPowerPC Gamer SLC10200CPG offers the same Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 (Turing) graphics cards but takes gaming a notch higher with a 9th Generation eight-core Intel Core i9-9900K CPU that supports Hyper-Threading. It remains our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming desktops PCs.