Excellent price-to-performance ratio.
Storage configuration is confusing at best.
Not everyone can afford a $16,500 Dream Machine . In fact, not many people could afford even half of what we spent to build this year’s Dream rig. Well, actually, most people probably wouldn’t even spend a third of that on a new rig.
This CFI chassis features mini doors to access the drives.
Enter CyberPower PC ’s new Zeus Evo Thunder 3000 SE . Or if you prefer, Zeus, Zeus Thunder, or just ZET3KSE, if you’re into the whole brevity thing. CyberPower is one of those vendors that has long had us wondering how it could pack so much hardware into a box so cheaply. Example: Purchased full retail, the parts in the Zeus add up to about $2,200. The price of the Zeus with a warranty and support? $2,200.
The Zeus is packing Intel’s new 3.5GHz Core i7-4770K overclocked to 4.2GHz. That chip is joined by 16GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3/1600 and a pair of EVGA Superclocked GeForce GTX 770 cards . The cards and processor are powered by a Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1,000-watt PSU.
The enclosure features a CFI-A8007 design that’s new to us. Case enclosures tend to be about as different as refrigerators: There’s a door on the left and a door on the right. The CFI-A8007 has the typical compartment for the mobo and PSU but, uniquely, the storage section gets its own little swing-out doors. To extend the fridge metaphor, sorry, it’s like the little doors that let you reach in to get just the milk. For a medium-size case, CyberPower does a very nice job tucking and hiding the wiring out of sight, too.
One thing we’re not so enamored with is the storage config the company picked. The PC comes with a 64GB Corsair Neutron SSD and a 2TB HDD. We thought the SSD was used as a caching drive but CyberPower actually configured it as a stand-alone for the OS. We know you get the most performance that way, but 64GB doesn’t go very far, and we’d much rather see caching using the Z87’s SRT feature. Configured as such, we ran out of space just running our benchmarks.
In performance, the rig represents well against our zero-point, with its SLI 770 cards amazingly out-doing the single GeForce GTX 690 card our zero-point runs. The Haswell CPU also slams the zero-point’s six-core SNB-E in Stitch.Efx and ProShow, but then itself gets slammed in the multithreaded workloads of Premiere Pro and x264—no surprise. Up against something more modern, such as this month’s Build It PC, the Zeus is pretty close in the CPU-limited benchmarks. Not so in the graphics department, where the Build It rig is about 26 to 28 percent faster due to its overclocked and SLI’d GTX 780 cards. Of course, there’s also a big difference between the two in price, with the Build It pushing $3,700. We’ll note, however, that our Build It has the added amenities of a custom paint job and much beefier storage.
And storage is actually our No. 1 ding against the Zeus. The box really should have a larger SSD, or caching enabled. This ultimately hurts its score, but still, we have to give CyberPower props for delivering so much performance at such a good price.
|Premiere Pro CS6 (sec) ||2,000||2,317 (-14%)|
|Stitch.Efx 2.0 (sec) ||831||760|
|ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec) ||1,446||1,269|
|x264 HD 5.0 (fps) ||21.1||18.5 (-12%)|
|Batman: Arkam City (fps)||76||99|
Our current desktop test bed consists of a hexa-core 3.2GHz Core i7-3930K 3.8GHz, 8GB of Corsair DDR3/1600, on an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard. We are running a GeForce GTX 690, an OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional.
|Processor ||Intel Core i7-4770K@4.2GHz|
|Mobo||Asus Sabertooth Z87|
|RAM||16GB Corsair DDR3/1600|
|Video Card||2x EVGA GeForce GTX 770 in SLI|
|Sound Card ||Onboard|
|Storage||64GB Corsair Neutron SSD, 2TB Toshiba 7,200rpm HDD|
|Optical||LG Blu-ray Combo Drive|
|PSU||Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1,000W|