Top positive review
99 people found this helpful
Well balanced PC with a fair price
on June 5, 2013
The below is a free form review I wrote up as I was unboxing, configuring, and getting to know the CybertronPC 5150 Escape. Please note even though the review may seem critical at times I’m rating this 5/5 stars as I can find nothing fundamentally wrong with it and thinks it was a great deal and upon asking myself, “If I knew then what I know now would I buy it again and was it a good value at the time I purchased it?” and the answer is yes and yes!
Ordered the PC early on a Thursday morning. It arrived 2 days later on Saturday 2013MAY11 afternoon via Fed-Ex. Didn’t think it would arrive until Monday. I do have Prime so not sure it that helped or if it was something CybertronPC did. Either way I’m happy about the speedy delivery and very well packaged PC.
At time of purchase I was a bit annoyed that only a 500GB drive was available while much less advanced options from CybertronPC had considerably larger drives. Fortunately I have larger drives but I’m not a fan of manufacturers playing teeter-totter with the specs in this manner. It seems silly to bump up all the other specs and bump DOWN the storage capacity. It would have been nice to configure with a larger hard drive and a better multi-purpose optical reader with Blu-Ray support. I imagine more configuration options are available from Cybertron’s website but with Amazon Prime incentives it didn’t make any sense to buy it directly from the manufacturer. For the price difference in “free” Prime shipping plus approximately $70 less price tag on Amazon I could very easily buy a BD-ROM or just use the external one I already have for my laptop.
An insert requesting feedback/reviews Polo shirt offer is the first thing you see when you open the box. I don’t think vendors should ask for feedback. You either get it or you don’t and sometimes you may not like what you get in return. They didn’t specifically ask for Amazon feedback to claim the shirt but to provide feedback to any review website then you e-mail the company with a link to your review to claim the shirt. A nice gesture and yes I’ll probably claim the free shirt. Still, I feel feedback should be %100 the customers idea. It always taints feedback systems when you know the person providing the feedback was given something in return.
No Firewire/IEEE 1394. It wasn’t advertised and is probably a dying technology but be aware of this if you have any devices that require it as I do for a video capture & conversion device and an external backup device.
Initial inspection except for the Microsoft Windows COA was mostly fine. The sticker wasn’t placed on firmly and had begun to roll back on itself so I had to very carefully unroll it, remove it, jot down the license key numbers, and eventually applied the COA sticker to a business card sized lamination sticker. Nothing was loose, rattling around, etc. Everything appeared in mint condition. Setup was quick and painless. It took less than ½ hour from booting up to activate Windows 7, install all the Windows updates, and to be ready for action.
While waiting for the software installation I noticed the fan at the back of the unit near the top of the case (but not the one on top of the case) was not running. I began monitoring the temps with EasyTune 6 which was included on the Gigabyte DVD. After 2 days and confirming the fan was wired correctly and I’d done all I could to fix it myself I called in to Cybertron support. I got through quickly and was told a fan would be sent to me (5/14/2013). It does seem that the one fan being down doesn’t cause any problems. I read in many of the reviews that there were fan problems so I’m a little concerned that either they didn’t check something that has a known problem or that the part itself had a chronic problem but they continue to use that part anyway. The fan didn’t arrive within two weeks so I wrote to support and got to the same tech I spoke with on the phone initially who apologized and quickly sent out the part which arrived 6/4/13. OK, stuff happens and I’m happy with the end result.
I have no issues with the rear audio output. It seems highly adequate.
Audio output to the front port is VERY flakey. The system detects when you plug in headphones then quickly thinks the headphones are not plugged in even though they are. Even when forcing the audio to output through the front side port there is no sound. Fortunately I use an existing external A/B switch to play audio through headphones (via the rear audio jack) but if you think you might be using the front side audio out port you might want to think twice. Based on my experience with it and that of many other reviewers it does seem there are many problems with the front side audio ports. Those front side ports are spaced very close together and you have to be careful of the HDD button (see below). The order of stuff at the front top of the PC is HDD button, USB 2 port, microphone, audio out, USB 3, USB 3. As I look at that front top section I realize perhaps the great flaw with it is that the ports are recessed a bit inside of the facade about 1 ½ cm. It doesn’t sound like much but if whatever you’re plugging in to it has an angled connector as many headphone and earbuds do then you’re likely to have issues getting that device %100 seated in the ports. There are USB and earphone/microphone jack extension cables with straight adapters you could use to overcome that design issue but since I just use the USB ports of the front side and the rear audio jacks I don’t care that much about the problem. It may alleviate some customer’s complaints about the front side jacks if Cybertron included 2 small extension cables so angled and larger jacks could use the front side inputs.
Watch out for the HDD button on the upper left of the case. It didn’t appear to be a button (I thought it was just a HDD activity indicator) but rest assured if you press it your system will be rebooted. It’s actually and HDD activity indicator and a button. This action might be configurable somewhere but I haven’t found it yet. The CMOS does have a setting for the behavior of the main power button but not the HDD button.
Thought the PC was going to glow from the inside for some reason. I’m actually glad it didn’t. However, the AeroCool fan system has enough LED’s on the front of the unit to play a game of Mattel Football. The LED options are Red, Blue, and off and each of the 6 fans has a setting for low, medium, and high. Not sure as of this writing what the optimal settings are for the fans. For now I’ll leave them all on high. The fans are very quiet but I can’t tell any cooling difference from setting the fans between low, medium, and high. This will require a little further research.
Windows 7 disk and all other drivers on DVD/CD. No need to make recovery disk. Actually its not an option. You can still make rescue disks from within Windows 7 but in my opinion by the time you’ve gotten to this point you may as well format and start all over assuming your backup practices are adequate.
The system came with a USB Logitech MK120 Mouse & Keyboard (uses 2 USB ports). Nice touch compared to the usual generic keyboard and mice sent with new PC’s. I like the keyboard but will use my Logitech Performance MX mouse as it is wireless and has a back button and other functionality missing from the MK120 mouse. The keyboard is very adequate and perhaps as far as typing quickly with just the right amount of resistance from the keys it may be one of the best keyboards I’ve ever had from a speed typing perspective. It’s definitely the best keyboard I’ve ever had that came stock with a new PC. It’s a little smaller than normal keyboards which is fine by me as it leaves more space on my desk without skimping on keysize or missing any buttons.
Mostly a very quiet system although the HD kinda sounds like crickets in the distance if you have the PC close to you like I do right on top of my desk near the monitor.
Bloatware: Not too bad but there was some. The question of what is bloatware is really subjective to what you need and use and some of these programs I do use. Some of us hard headed people, however, prefer a totally clean copy of the OS and would rather the only things that were installed on a new PC was the OS and required drivers. Of course I’m one of the few people that enjoyed installing OS/2 Warp from 30+ floppy disks. For modern purposes, I would consider anything that is an evaluation or uninstallable to be bloatware.
All of the following were installed:
avast! Antivirus (32 day eval) Very annoying program constantly thrashing HD and a very annoying spinning systray animation (configurable but on by default). It’s good to have some sort of protection out of the box until you can install your preferred security software. Also on at least 2 of the included driver disks I noticed Norton Antivirus. Not sure if those were demos although I’m fairly sure they must be. I’m not a big fan of NAV but would have prefered it to avast! Also avast! kept popping up with messages telling my that “You’ve been enjoying avast! for almost a year and will expire in xx days.” Well, that’s not true. I wasn’t enjoying it and it certainly wasn’t for a year. Either way I downloaded my preferred security software, unplugged from the network, removed avast! without a problem, installed my software, reconnected my network, and was done with avast! forever.
VLC media player 2.0.5 ( not so bad free media player.) In the past I’ve used Winamp for music and Windows Media Player Classic for video even though both will do both video and audio. VLC isn’t really a bad program. I still installed my preferred software but am keeping VLC.
Adobe Reader XI: Like it or not you’re going to need this eventually. I will continue to use Foxit
WinRAR 4.20 (40 day eval). WinRAR is actually an excellent tool and I have a registered license.
CCleaner 3.28.1913 (some kind of system cleaner)
ImgBurn 188.8.131.52 (Freeware) A not-so bad disk burning tool. It’s a step up from what’s built into Windows 7 (which is somewhat adequate for basic use) but not quite as good as Nero. I’ll see how long I can go without installing Nero. I also prefer Daemon Tools for writing images to files and emulating drives. I’ll keep ImgBurn around anyway.
LibreOffice 184.108.40.206 (Free/Open Source GNU) Not too bad. It’s a descendant from Oracle/Sun’s Open Office. It almost alleviated the need to install any MS Office software except I needed MS Access. Also with the likes of Google Drive, MS Skydrive, etc. its almost becoming unnecessary to install any Office type of software at all (but still necessary I’d say). I kept Libre and installed only the MS Access component of MS Office.
Steam is Valve’s DRM/Game & Software delivery service. If you don’t need Steam then you can uninstall it. If you do then you’ll need to update it.
7-Zip 9.20 (Freeware) is a file manager with dual panel capability. If you don’t mess around too much with Windows Explorer then you probably don’t need this. I’m still testing it to see if it beats my old trusty favorite 2xExplorer that I’ve been using for at least 10 years. As I get more used to 7-Zip I like it a little more each time. It doesn’t have as many features as 2xExplorer but as its a more modern file manager it can handle things a little better than 2xExplorer such as correctly reporting the size of very large files but its either missing many of 2xExplorer’s features or I haven’t discovered them yet.
Mozilla Firefox - As a Chrome user I don’t need this. I guess its nice for Firefox users to have this pre installed.
Windows 7 Home Premium w/SP1 DVD
Gigabyte AMD 9/8/7 - series Utility DVD v1.4 (there are a ton of utilities on this disk. I haven’t had chance to try all them yet but I do wish the relevant ones to this PC were pre-installed.)
Baggie of 3.5” HDD screws (can’t have enough screws).
AMD Driver CD
LG Super Multi Driver install disk v3.4e
Various manuals & informational docs
I do wish they would have installed all of the relevant utilities that came with the disks. Some of them seem very useful such as Gigabyte’s Easy Tune 6 which provides tons of information concerning the system’s hardware. When I was waiting on that replacement fan to arrive I was using this thing constantly to check the internal temperatures. ET6 includes an alarm function to warn you when certain parameters such as high temps are reached. It would be great to know which tools can be used with my system as not all of them can be. It would be even better to know which ones could harm the system (if any).
Innards. You can see most of what’s inside of the case through the meshy cover. I opened up to install an appropriate sized HDD and everything looked really clean and tight. There were several open 5.25” bays and it was very easy to put the drive in an available slot but I had to use my own SATA cable and power SATA power cord. There must have been 10 available MOLEX cables but 0 SATA . There are no shortage of SATA connectors on the mobo, however, as well as an IDE connector. In order to install a drive you have to take off both sides and the front of the case. Not a big deal, 4 screws for the sides of the case and 3 plastic levers are pressed in to remove the front of the case. 1 PCI slot available, 2 memory slots, 4 SATA slots. The wires I needed to free up to connect the HDD power were secured ridiculously tight with a plastic zip tie. I felt like I was performing brain surgery to remove that zip tie without also nicking something important. I do appreciate a clean case but perhaps something more easily removable (twist ties, for example) would help us out. The power cable (included MOLEX + my SATA power cable) were barely long enough to reach the HDD. Since my cable was 6” and barely reached the middle portion of the device cage/rack I’d suggest getting a power cable of at least 8” or longer to reach the bottom of the cage.
Gaming...I’m all over the place when it comes to gaming. I usually don’t play new games on the PC since I prefer to buy the console versions of games where family & friends can play them or wait for PC games to drop in price. However, if a game I want isn’t available on my console then I’ll buy it for the PC. I tried some of the new game demos via Steam like Bioshock Infinite and it looked great. Also, I’m really big into retro game emulation and old DOS games through DOSBox.. It’s imperative to me that emulators like MAME, Dolphin, VICE, etc perform well and they do on this PC. Other games I’ve tried and have worked very well are Trine, Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Skylanders, Flight Simulator X, Torchlight, Madden, Fritz Chess, Portal 2, GTA, Mark of the Ninja, Deadlight, Iron Brigade, Toy Soldiers, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Continuum (Subspace), Renegade Ops, Majesty2, The Cave, The Darkness II, Borderlands 1 & 2, Hell Yeah!, Magicka, Machinarium, WARP, and DMC Devil may Cry. Just a few of these games are new (as in released this year) and none of them had any problems pushing all the settings to maximum.
The Windows Experience Index gave the following results:
Graphics (with Aero) 6.7
Original Hard Drive: 5.9
What else can I mention... Well if you’re a Tivo user and use your PC as a server for Tivo then you can expect that experience to improve. It’s hard to say how well programs transfer from a Tivo to the PC because virtually all content is locked down with DRM by the cable company preventing transferring shows in that direction. For transferring programs from the PC to Tivo I’ve seen a remarkable improvement. A 30 minute HD program can transfer in about 5 minutes and a 2 hour movie (about 10GB average size) will transfer in around 45 minutes. This used to take hours! Keep in mind it’s not just the network speed but the fact that the PC must do all of the video conversion while at the same time copying that data across the network to the Tivo.
I also have a dual monitor setup that works as expected. One is connected via DVI and the other via VGA. no problems there, it just works. I did experiment with the HDMI connection but didn’t see a difference there. Remember you’ll lose sound initially with HDMI unless your output device has sound capabilities (this is normal) but that can easily be redirected via the included RealTek tools.
In conclusion, I’m happy with my purchase and feel this is a well balanced business/student/gaming PC and an excellent value. Yes it arrived with a dysfunctional fan but stuff happens and I received fast, courteous support. I didn’t have to hold for hours and hours to talk to a foreigner. No offense to offshore folks but I’m just saying we all dislike that whole situation. Even though the fan part was delayed for some reason the situation was efficiently rectified and perhaps most importantly they didn’t ask me to ship back the entire PC to fix something I could do myself. This isn’t a PC slapped together without consideration for us upgraders like you’ll get from a Dell or HP. It’s clear that whomever designed it did so with the idea that a PC should not be disposable but should be accessible to those who wish to tinker with it now and upgrade it as needed. Thanks Cybertron. Hope you have a shirt in my size!