The CyberpowerPC Gamer SLC8420A is a solid performer, that leverages a compelling fusion of gaming and processing performance, without costing too much. For creatives, it offers the best of both worlds – fast CPU and capable graphics card, which is quite impressive, and has tons of storage.
PROS: Solid performance, particularly on media tasks and gaming. Elegantly designed.
CONS: Some competitors offer better raw gaming performance.
With Nvidia’s Pascal graphics architecture and Intel’s latest generation of processors, consumer gaming and 3D desktop performance is being pushed to new fronts – AMD is doing the same with its new Ryzen CPUs. All these are re-shaping the much performance you can expect from a system for ever-decreasing amounts of money.
Both of these platforms are on full display in the CyberpowerPC Gamer SLC8420A, that fuses an 8GB Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card, a quad-core Intel Core i-7700k processor, a 128GB SSD+2TB hard drive storage and 16GB memory. It is a fully-featured rig that holds its own against some desktops that cost thousands of dollars more. If all you need is something that is efficient at work as it is at play, it won’t be easy getting something better balanced than this.
CyberpowerPC, like most boutique manufacturers, can sometimes go overboard on the bling, but here the hype is, rather restrained- a good gesture for work. The Gamer SLC8420A trikes a refreshing balance between form and function, with a look that has some style, but does scream ‘gamer’ quite so loudly. The metallic construction of the midsize tower bear vent grilles, accented with LED-lights, both on the front, top, sides and back, all with a splash of color. The front is relatively tame, but it also bears the same vent grille, with a black accent and a ‘Cyberpower’ logo. The case measures a compact 18.5 by 8.2 by 19.9 inches (HWD), and weighs 32 pounds; which is fair considering the power packed inside.
There’s an optical drive, a bonus, as most manufacturers are shrugging it off, with the assumption that you’re more likely to download your PC games online from services like Steam or origin. As it is, you get a smooth array of access ports – six USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0, but you don’t get a Type-C port that is becoming common among ultrabooks and gaming laptops. Others include a 7-in-1 Audio port, and an Ethernet port in the back, alongside 802.11 AC Wi-Fi. If you need to hook up your desktop to multiple displays, you have one DVI port, one HDMI port and one VGA port on the graphics card.
For your old movies and games, you have a DVD burner that can be used alongside the one available PCIe Gen 3.0 x16 slot, two available PCIe x1 slots, and two available PCI slots. The system comes with a bundled keyboard and mouse, as well as Windows 10 Home (64-bit) pre-installed. The processor is kept cool with a ‘sealed loop’ system that does not require any maintenance of the system’s cooling fluid.
Storage comes in way of a 128GB solid state drive (SSD) that suffices for fast booting, and a larger 2TB (7,200RPM) hard drive for storage. In the CyberPower Gamer Series, expansion is possible via two external 5.25″ drive bays, two internal 3.5″ drive bays, and two internal 2.5″ drive bays. The 16GB memory is also upgradable to a maximum of 64GB through four DIMM slots, though two are currently occupied.
The Gamer SLC8420A is fairly of a similar performance tier to the previous CyberpowerPC SLC8040A I reviewed earlier, save for a meaningful boost to the processor and graphics card. This year’s model is outfitted with a 4.2GHz Core i7-7700 CPU, which is Intel’s latest Kaby Lake generation, which last year’s iteration includes a sixth-generation Intel Core Core i7-6700K processor and 4GB Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card. On both systems, you get the same 16GB DDR4 RAM and 128 SSD+2TB hard drive storage.
Newer components point towards better benchmark scores across the board, steering it clear of being direct comparison to its predecessor, and better performance in general. For day-to-day tasks, multimedia tasks, it is a strong performer. This means if you occasionally work on photo or video creation, this hardware will get the work done, with fast loading times, translating to less time spends waiting for effects or videos to encode.
Its not only on processor-sipping tasks that the Gamer SLC8420A excels, it picks wars on different frontiers, thanks to its Nvidia 1070 graphics card. This latest crop of powerful cards shines on most graphic-intensive tasks, 3D animations, and most importantly gaming. The 2017 version of GTX 1070 gets double the VRAM (8GB over 4GB from last year), which trickles down to strong graphics performance. On common GPU tests, it shows very high frame rates n Heaven and Valley tests, simulated on Ultra-quality settings at 1080p, whereby it gets jut over 102 frames per second (FPS).
Tested on 4K, the output shrunk to just over 31 fps on Valley, and 29 on Heaven, which mean you won’t be getting butter-smooth playability on demanding games played in 4K, but you can get pretty good candy on less-demanding games. Not a surprise, though, even GTX 1080 does struggle here, but if you must, toning down the visual settings may be the way out. That said, the GTX 1070 isn’t the pack-leader as we have the 1080 or even the premium 1080Ti or Titan X, and even AMD’s Ryzen family, but it’s still very potent and gets the job done, while still remaining fairly affordable.
Power and Price, Sweetly Fused
The CyberpowerPC Gamer SLC8420A hits the sweet spot for a gaming desktop that can be used for work, when you’re not playing. It is nicely packaged, doesn’t cost too much as compared to similarly configured rigs, can be upgraded to something bigger, and the performance is in the same tier with high-end machines. Not always do you get a system with both a speedy SSD and roomier hard drive for storage and enough ports for creatives to transfer and save media, with gaming credentials that are well above average. In the gaming category, it stacks well against pricier desktops, and definitely a worth choice among single-card desktops. For its design, pricing, forward-looking potential and solid gaming capability, the Gamer SLC8420A is among the best of current gaming desktops, than merits our Top Pick award.