Slightly slower for gaming than the original, but a good all-rounder
Slightly slower in gaming terms
BTW that case's fugly
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One of the first machines to cross our test bench with a full Lynnfield setup inside was the CyberPower Achilles, which essentially followed the same specs as this Achilles XT rig, but with a Core i5 chip, slightly smaller HDD, no Blu-ray, but bundled with a 22-inch monitor.
That was our favourite Lynnfield rig and, while last month's Scan PC just about bested its performance figures with an extra overclock and a GTX275 doing the graphical grunt work, it's managed to hold its own thanks to the impressive all round bundle.
This refresh of the Achilles range is a different beast despite the i5 moniker, but how does it compare to our fav?
Surprisingly not too favourably, it has to be said. The substitution of the Core i7 860 in for the Core i5 750 and the addition of the Blu-ray player, have replaced the bundled 22-inch monitor which made the original Achilles package so attractive; and to be honest they don't really add a whole lot.
We've already spoken about how little difference the additional HyperThreading capabilities of the Core i7 chips makes for current PC games and running at the same clockspeed as the i5 means that in some cases it's slower.
Turning off HT might tighten up the discrepancy between the scores of the two rigs, but that negates the reason for having an eight-threaded beast in your mobo at all.
You see, despite the fact that gamers will get no noticeable returns from the speedier, beefier CPU, in processor intensive desktop tasks you can definitely see the difference. A Cinebench time of 41 seconds is lightning fast, and for general media tomfoolery the 860 knocks the i5 into a cocked hat.
The Blu-ray player gives this rig more of an all-round edge to compared to the original Achilles, so if you're mixing up gaming with some serious productivity then it's a worthy successor.
That said, the Core i5 chip is still worth its weight in productivity terms and the extra performance you'd pick up from plumping for a 58xx card would make all the difference in gaming terms, should you drop the screen.
But then the 40nm production process has only just been ramped up, so picking up DX11 cards is still a tricky hunt. Finding the right balance then is also a tricky thing, and CyberPower has made a good call with components in still keeping below the £1,000 price point.
As a gamer, I'd always prefer more graphical grunt over more processing power, but in lieu of prevalent DX11 cards the 860 is a decent sub. The all-round value and performance though of the original Achilles system has still yet to be bested.
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