iBUYPOWER Ultra Gaming PC Desktop AM900Z Review
The iBUYPOWER Ultra AM900Z is a gaming PC that has a fairly unique styling, is expandable and fuses gaming and processing prowess at a delectable price. It is powerful enough to play most modern titles at good resolutions for much less than competitors.
- Outstanding performance
- Elegant case design
- Reasonable price
- Some might expect an optical drive
The iBUYPOWER Ultra AM900Z has the flair of a powerful gaming desktop and, there’s one unique feature that helps it stand out. Its stablemate, the iBuyPower Snowblind Pro has a semi-translucent LCD on the left side panel, which displays images, videos and animations as you play. Now, iBuyPower flaunts tempered glass on one side panel, unlike the usual transparent glass we usually see on a single side panel, and, sometimes on the top panel.
While it doesn’t provide lots of utility, it’s a worthy entertaining inclusion that doesn’t add too much to the system’s price. The system’s unique design, reasonable pricing, and solid gaming performance make the iBuyPower Ultra an entirely viable choice for you next boutique-built gaming PC.
The case used for the Ultra AM900Z’s tower packs lots of bling. The black tower has a steel frame and glass flourishes, including a straight fin cutting from the front-upper left, a slight intersection with a bald black curve near the top, then straight to the lower-left side. It looks more appealing than a generic, black rectangle, and does adopt the distinct “gamer” aesthetic that won’t look tacky to many. It stands at 21.38 by 12.5 by 25 inches (HWD), meaning it will take a chunk of space on your desk, particularly if you’re limited on space. The size is still in the same ballpark with most full-tower gaming PCs.
Another plus for this particular build is the innovative tempered glass side panel that shows the interior compartments and components. Rather than plain glass side windows, the case features 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 Heatsink Air Cooler CPU, which is different from the common liquid coolers found in most pre-built gaming systems.
Storage and Connectivity
Ports are plentiful, but you don’t get the fairly new USB-C, afterall you may not need it straight off. You’ll find a total of four USB 3.1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, an RJ-45 connector and a 7.1 audio channel. On the dedicated graphics card, you get an array of ports that include: one DVI ports, one HDMI and a display port. In addition to the RJ-45 port, it gets wireless connectivity via 802.11 Wi-Fi card.
For storage, there’s a 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive installed, and the SSD has a 240GB capacity. If you want more storage capacity, it’s very possible to upgrade these drives or even add more in the available drive bays. There isn’t an optical drive, which is fine given that you’re more likely to download your PC games from services like Steam or Origin, thus, having one would spoil the stylish design. The system comes with Windows 10 Home (64-bit), alongside a wired gaming keyboard and mouse bundled into the package.
The iBUYPOWER Ultra isn’t all flash, when you look at it head-on; it has plenty of power. As configured, our review unit is fitted with a 4.2GHz Intel Core i7-7700K processor, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and the GTX 1070. For general productivity, it will be quite fast, and deliver better than most mainstream desktop PCs on tasks like media creation, video encoding, photo editing among others. So, if you’re looking for something that lets you work while not playing, the Ultra 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.
As expected, gaming performance is the main focus here, and the GTX 1070 with 8GB helps the IBP Ultra score well. Of course, it isn’t Nvidia’s top-of-the line card, we have GTX 1080 and GTX 1080Ti, but it’s still a very strong performer for any system its installed, at this price range. Tested on 4k, the much it gets is a paltry 30 frames per second on Heaven and Valley, but when the resolution is set to Ultra quality, it cruises to more than 102 fps at 1080p. 4K gaming does push even the heavyweight Nvidia GTX 1080 card to the wall when gaming, and we’ve seen systems like the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Panzer PVP3020LQ with that card only crank up 43fps in the same tests.
For a gaming PC, having a GTX 1070 card, counts for so much, it can allow you play modern games at acceptable frame rates and even work on graphic-intensive projects. However, you’ll have to turn down the resolution or some settings for smooth 4K playability. It’s a compromise you’ll have to accept from the onset, and the reservations are quite clear, though. When playing in 2K and VR gameplay is no problem for the Ultra gamer, and 1080p is even better. Just like other GTX 1070-outfitted PCs, you buy knowing you won’t be doing 4K at the very best fps.
The Bottom Line
The iBUYPOWER Ultra AM900Z’s design and remotely controlled RGB lighting make it stand out from the crowd, adding some caprice to a gaming PC. Having a case with transparent side panel is quite common, but this one does it in a stylish way, and the front panel isn’t exaggerated with bling, so it can be used almost everywhere, provided you have enough space.
Plus, it offers more style than most of its competitors, has room for future upgrades, and boasts of components suited for the modern gamer. Our Editors’ Choice CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Panzer PVP3020LQ offers strong gaming performance thanks to its Nvidia GTX 1080 card, and is a multitasking champ with its quad-core processor, but the iBuyPower Ultra is an appealing option that will allow you to remain with a few hundred dollars in your pockets.