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Cyberpower Ultra FX 100 review

Richard Easton
28 Sep 2015
Cyberpower Ultra FX teaser
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
700
inc VAT

Plenty of gaming punch but it comes at the expense of processing power

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 3.8GHz FX-4300, RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 1x USB3, 2x USB2, Rear USB ports: 2x USB3, 4x USB2, Total storage: 1TB hard disk, Graphics card: 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, Display: 24in Acer K242HL, Operating system: Windows 10.1 Home

If you have £600 to spend on a gaming-specific PC, the Cyberpower Ultra FX 100 will pique your interest, thanks to its powerful 4GB Nvidia GeForce 970 graphics card. A card this powerful in a PC at this price is unusual, and most other current mid-range PCs have less powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R7 370 graphics cards.

Not surprisingly, gaming performance is the system’s forte. It made light work of Dirt Showdown at 1,920x1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra graphics detail, but its 72.4fps was less than we expected; we suspect the game was being held back by the processor. Metro: Last Light, however, was positively silky at 1,920x1,080 with SSAA turned on and Very High graphics settings. At these settings we saw 45.5fps, increasing to 71.7fps with the demanding super-sampled anti-aliasing turned off. It’s here that you see the advantage of the GTX 970 over the GTX 960. The GTX 960 struggles to reach 30fps with SSAA turned on, so this is a significant improvement if gaming is a priority and will help you play demanding titles in the future.

Of course, skewing the system towards gaming has necessitated sacrifices elsewhere. The most obvious of these is Cyberpower’s choice of processor. The Ultra FX 100 is equipped with only a quad-core AMD FX-4300 processor clocked at 3.8GHz. This processor didn’t exactly set speed records when it was released back in 2012, and today its shortcomings are even more obvious.

In our application benchmarks, which involve demanding image manipulation and 4K video editing tasks, the Ultra FX 100 only scored 47, which is poor for a mid-range desktop PC. Windows 10 still feels snappy, but this PC wouldn’t be our choice for serious number-crunching. Multitasking performance in particular was poor, with a score of just 35.

The Ultra FX 100’s Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 motherboard offers reasonable scope for upgrades. It takes up to 32GB of memory across its four slots, and only two are occupied by a total of 8GB of DDR3 1,866MHz memory. There’s just the one PCI-E x16 slot, and that’s taken up by the sizeable GTX 970 graphics card. The dual-slot card also obstructs the motherboard’s single PCI-E x1 slot, rendering it unusable. At least there’s a single PCI slot remaining for an upgrade such as a high-specification sound card.

Cyberpower Ultra FX 100 guts

For storage the PC has a 1TB hard disk. We’d prefer it if at least an SSHD hybrid drive was included, but this is another area where sacrifices have been made. The motherboard has six SATA3 ports, though, and only one is in use, so it would be simple to add an SSD later if you want Windows to feel snappier.

The PC’s Cooler Master N300 case has eight drive bays which can each take either a 3½in or 2½in disk, so you have all the upgrade space you could need. There are also two 5¼in external drive bays if you want to add an optical or Blu-ray drive – no optical drive is fitted as standard.

The case itself is reasonably attractive as far as plain black midi tower cases go. It has nice clean lines and rounded corners, and a mesh grille covering the front. The power and reset buttons along the front edge are a little fiddly to press, but this is a minor inconvenience. There are two USB ports and one USB3 port in addition to headphone and microphone jacks on the front.

A 120mm intake fan is on the front of the case and a 120mm exhaust fan is on the back. Both fans, along with the graphics card’s fan, are reasonably quiet. Sadly, the stock AMD cooler is far from silent. It emits a high-pitched whine that picks up to even more audible levels when the system is under load.

On the rear there are four USB and two USB3 ports – we’d have liked more of the faster USB3 variety. Otherwise there is a PS/2 port for an older keyboard or mouse, Gigabit Ethernet and audio jacks for up to 5.1 audio; you could choose to use the three rear audio jacks in conjunction with the front jacks to plug in 7.1 speakers. The graphics card has two DVI ports, one HDMI and one DisplayPort output, so most monitor types are covered.

Cyberpower Ultra FX 100 rear ports

For £100 more, Cyberpower supplies the Ultra FX 100 with a 24in Acer K242HL monitor and a keyboard and mouse set. The display is reasonably plain, but has slim bezels and isn’t particularly deep. There’s no height adjustment, as we’d expect from a budget display, but you can tilt it easily enough and its stand doesn’t have a big footprint. There are VGA and DVI connections.

Our monitor calibrator measured the display as having a decent 1,027:1 contrast ratio, as well as the ability to display 94% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is excellent for a budget display. Black levels were also suitably deep at a respectable 0.26cd/m2.

The system comes with a better keyboard and mouse than we usually see. We’re big fans of the Cooler Master CM Storm Devastator keyboard and mouse set. The keyboard’s keys have plenty of travel and include useful volume and media controls. The mouse is a decent size with a nice rubberised surface and extra browser navigation buttons. You can adjust the mouse’s sensitivity, too, allowing you to have different settings in games and on the Windows desktop. All in all, we were very impressed with the quality of the included peripherals.

The Cyberpower Ultra FX 100 is a great gaming PC with excellent peripherals. The inclusion of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card at this price is seriously impressive, but the PC’s gaming performance comes at the expense of a relatively slow processor. If you’re looking for a well-rounded system that’s more future-proof, the Yoyotech Warbird RS10 is a better choice. For other options check out our Best desktop PCs and buying guide.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 3.8GHz FX-4300
Processor socketAM3+
RAM8GB
Memory type2,000MHz DDR3
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGA-78LMT-USB3
Motherboard chipsetNorth Bridge: AMD 760G, South Bridge: AMD SB710
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports1x USB3, 2x USB2
Rear USB ports2x USB3, 4x USB2
Other ports1x PS/2
Networking1x 10/100/1000
Case typeMid-tower
Case size HxWxD426x190x491.5mm
PCI (free)1 (0)
PCIe x1 (free)1 (0)
PCIe x16 (free)1 (0)
Serial ATA (free)6x SATA3 (5)
Memory slots (free)4 (2)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)8 (7)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)8 (7)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)2 (2)
Storage
Total storage1TB hard disk
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeNone
Graphics
Graphics card4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort
Sound
Sound cardRealtek ALC887
Sound card outputsLine in, line out, microphone
SpeakersNone
Display
Display24in Acer K242HL
Native resolution1,920x1,080
InputsDVI, VGA
Other hardware
KeyboardCooler Master CM Storm Devastator
MouseCooler Master CM Storm Devastator
ExtrasNone
Software
Operating systemWindows 10.1 Home
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
WarrantyThree year RTB (two year parts)
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£700
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£600
Supplierwww.cyberpowersystem.co.uk
Detailswww.cyberpowersystem.co.uk
Part CodeUltra FX 100

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