We've been waiting for the Llano machines to touch down in the office for awhile now and CyberPower has not disappointed us dropping the £499 Ultra Triton GT in our laps.
With the top-end Llano Lynx A8-3850 beating away at the heart of the rig, with a hefty overclock dropped on it for good measure, it's a tantalising prospect.
This A8 APU comes with the Radeon HD 6550D graphics core onboard, essentially giving the chip itself the equivalent graphical oomph of a HD 5570. That's no great shakes in the discrete GPU world, but in terms of integrated graphics you're looking at around 480 GFLOPS of GPU processing against the top Sandy Bridge HD 3000 parts pumping out just 125 GFLOPS. At best.
Just add CrossFire
But if you want actual gaming potential from a Llano rig then you need to take advantage of the Hybrid CrossFire goodness on offer and pair the APU up with an AMD mid-range card. CyberPower here has opted for the HD 6570 to keep the costs down to below the £500 mark.
There's a chunky amount of storage on offer too with this impressive all-rounder, offering 1TB of traditional storage, but running on the SATA 6Gbps interface to squeeze a little more speed out of them platters.
The Ultra Triton GT also comes jampacked with a full 8GB of speedy Kingston HyperX RAM. So there's a lot on offer in this budget build; a full-fat quad-core CPU, some decent gaming potential in the Hybrid CrossFire setup and a whole lot of productivity possibilities with the storage and RAM capacity sitting inside that angular HAF 912 chassis.
But this isn't the gaming rig the Cooler Master armour would normally denote. This is a jack-of-all- trades. The Hybrid CrossFire combo will give you playable frame rates in most games at the standard 20/22-inch resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 with fairly high settings, and the Athlon-esque quad-core CPU component will give you the power to take on most general computing tasks without breaking a sweat.
But you're not going to be blazing away at 1080p with all the trimmings in Metro 2033, nor are you going to be encoding HD movies in milliseconds – in a £500 machine you're never going to.
HD video encoding performance
x264 v4: Frames per second: Higher is better
Ultra Triton GT: 23.79
DX11 gaming performance (1,680x1,050)
DiRT 3: Frames per second: Higher is better
Ultra Triton GT: 28.7
DX11 gaming performance (1,920 x 1,080)
Shogun 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Ultra Triton GT: 18.6
The Triton then gives you a good shot at doing both without you having to break the bank getting something that works. If you're a hardcore gamer then you'll be less interested in the Llano platform anyway, you'll want a basic dual-core CPU and spend the rest of your cash on fast graphics card.
But if you want to do other things with your machine the Ultra Triton GT is a good compromise. The only real issue is upgrading it in the future. We still don't know where the FM1 socket; the base for the Llano Lynx platform, is going to go.
We know there'll be no Bulldozer-powered APU running in it; Trinity is going in a different socket. So the problem is you're leading your computing down a dead-end.
Right now though it's a good deal for a good all-rounder.
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