The Cryo Quad i5 isn't the first Core i5 rig we've seen. Nor indeed is it the first one to ship overclocked. Amazingly, it's not even the first one that ships running at 4GHz, or slightly higher in this particular case.

However, even though we've seen much of the magic before, that didn't stop us peering gingerly inside the case expecting a cascade of virgin's blood to gush out. No, we simply can't help but feel there's some dark art at play when system builders manage to squeeze so much out of a chip that officially runs at 2.67GHz.

Even more astounding is that it manages this unholy feat quietly too, thanks to the exquisite cooler employed inside. Ladies and gentlemen, we present for your entertainment: the Cryo Quad i5.

Unlike the Fi7epower MLK 3, this isn't a system that wears its top-end credentials on its sleeve. Indeed, passers-by would be unlikely to cast a second glance over the austere Lian Li chassis. Unless, of course, you happen to be playing a game at the time, at which point they might stop and admire that such a high-powered wolf hides within this meekest of sheep's clothing.

Yup, once hooked up to a decent screen, the Cyro Quad i5 is an absolute beast. Any title you'd care to throw its way is going to be gobbled up and it produces eye-soothing frame rates at the most ridiculously high settings.

The processor may run at 4.1GHz – the fastest we've seen so far – but Cryo hasn't created a one-trick pony here, pairing the Core i5-750 with the fastest single-GPU graphics card around, the Radeon HD 5870. This may have recently been bettered by the dual-GPU 5970, but it's still the most important card in recent polygon-pushing history.

Plus, this machine offers the potential to add more cards for CrossFire excess should your needs ramp to outrageous levels, although you'll have to move the hard drive to cram them in.

A thoroughbred

Apart from demonstrating superb build quality throughout, Cryo has also shown that it knows how to pick components, spending the money on a bevy of quality parts.

The hefty 1TB Samsung hard drive comes complete with 32MB of cache, while a pair of Corsair 2GB DDR3 1600MHz GT sticks and 650W PSU continue the major brand kit selection.

Corsair is responsible for the wonderfully quiet H50 watercooling kit that helps keep the CPU cool too.

The main guts of the machine have been built around the Maximus III Formula, one of Asus' Republic of Gamers motherboards. This combines stunning features with an incredible amount of overclocking headroom, even allowing for further overclocks.

Is this machine worth it, then? We've seen so many machines hitting the £800 mark recently that one rolling in north of a grand seems luxurious. In truth, this is an unfair comparison, because your hard-earned £1,139 nets you the pinnacle of performance graphics and an operating system capable of making the most of it.

The YOYOtech Warbird i750 we reviewed last issue still gets the nod for its insane value for money, but this won't disappoint if you can afford to fork out a little more.

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