CyberPower Gamer Infinity Yin vs. Gamer Infinity Yang

Running 3DMark06 and PCMark05 provides a host of synthetic CPU results. The PCMark overall score does offer a good indication of how well standard loads will run on it and did seem to favour the AMD system. Even taking the overclock out of the equation, it has the AMD and Intel systems running neck and neck.

The insides

Core to these performance results are the memory scores, with both systems running identical pairs of G.Skill 2GB PC2-6400 DDR2 memory. The two systems run them at the standard 400MHz bus speed as well, so there's no subtle tweaking to watch out for here.

The PCMark05 memory suite put the AMD with its on-board controller streets ahead of the Intel, contrasting a peak read of 44.4MB/s to 34.6MB/s. Core i7 may have given Intel the lead recently, but when you look back at their older tech it makes for a poor comparison.

In terms of features, the motherboard in the AMD PC was way ahead of the Intel based one on this front as well. The AMD may have been a micro-ATX design, but with its AMD 780G northbridge and ATI SB700 southbridge the number of connection options is exceptional – including HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, FireWire, eSATA all alongside the other usual suspects.

In contrast, the Intel P31 board offered serial and parallel ports from the backplate, which was very 1980s. Both have four Dimm slots, plenty of spare SATA II ports and at least an extra PCI and PCI-e slot to aid you in the event of undertaking any future expansion of the system.

Gaming goodness

For a sprinkling of 3D gaming performance, Cyberpower opted for cards that cost around the £90 mark. For the Intel system that meant an Nvidia 9600GT with 512MB of memory. Its opposite number received a Radeon HD4830, again with 512MB of memory. As it turns out, the 9600GT with its 64 stream processors churning away at 1,625MHz was no match for the HD4830's 640 stream processors spinning at 575MHz.

Far Cry 2 showed the AMD system take the widest margin over its Intel rival, being almost 50 per cent faster in the test. GRID, meanwhile, stood the AMD beast a good 28 per cent ahead, so only World in Conflict saw the two systems conflict with each other on equal terms.

3DMark06 opted for the more conservative side of things, putting the AMD system around 700 points ahead or, put another way, about 7 per cent. But looking at the individual results, both the advanced Shader Mark 3.0 scores were more like 15 per cent ahead, which gives something of a better comparison of where these cards stand in comparison.

In reality you could get far better performance from these systems, all the test were run at the maximum quality settings with 4x AA in DirectX 10 mode, just for extra slowness.

We shouldn't lose sight that we're still comparing two PCs. Inside Cyberpower has done a sterling job of turning out incredibly neat systems, all the wires are tucked away, there are 120mm case fans plus colour coordinated lighting. The cases themselves leaving something to be desired, they're fine for budget cases, but don't expect Antec levels of finish.

The systems ship with Logitech branded mice and keyboards, again they're generic black 'OEM' affairs that are perfectly functional but offer no frills. The same goes for the 19-inch LCD, it has a decent quality image but we'd be strongly tempted to upgrade to something larger with at least a 1,680 x 1,050 resolution.

At the end of all the testing both systems represent good value, considering they come with a display and discrete 3D graphics. Without doubt though, the AMD would make a great first purchase for a budget gaming rig.

Consider that in a years time or so you could just drop in a new £150 graphics card to keep up in the performance stakes and extend its life, and it's a decidedly one-sided match-up.

CyberPower Gamer Infinity Yin (AMD)

Decent gaming performance
Solid Processor Power

Limited HDD storage
Overclocked already

Verdict: If you're happy with the overclock this represents excellent value and good all-round performance

Score: 4/5 out 5 Stars

CyberPower Gamer Infinity Yang (Intel)

Well-priced package
Intel quad core

Disappointing 3D
Limited storage

Verdict: Clearly this should be packing ATI graphics, but as it stands this is left playing second fiddle

Score: 3.5 out 5 stars