This isn’t the first Alder Lake gaming PC we’ve reviewed this year, but the ones before it have all been very, very expensive. If you have the budget to stretch to a high-end system that sings and dances, then you’ll be spoiled for choice, with models like the Velocity Micro Raptor X55, Corsair One i300 and Origin 5000T Millennium. good machines if you have $5,000 burning a hole in your back pocket. Which frankly, few of us have.
It’s time for something completely different: a budget Alder Lake computer. While previous machines we’ve reviewed focused on 4K gaming and featured the top of Intel’s 12th-gen stack, here Cyberpower is more concerned with 1080p gaming and hits a much more reasonable price point.
To do this, you’re considering an Intel Core i5 12400F and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050. Far more modestly priced. And at £1,055 ($999 for a similar base spec in the US) much more affordable too. There was a time when it’s what you’d expect to pay for a reasonable gaming machine, so it’s good to see we’re finally getting back to some sort of normality here.
Of course, graphics cards are not enough down to their MSRPs at the moment, and so options for budget machines are limited to the newer versions from AMD and Nvidia, with a mix between the Radeon RX 6500 XT and the GeForce RTX 3050. Cyberpower has opted for the latter in this machine, and while it’s not a powerhouse, it’s an Ampere chip that comes with RTX cores, so you get benefits like ray tracing support and DLSS increasing the frame rate.
The other notable choice dictated by the overall price of the system is the decision to go with DDR4 RAM as opposed to DDR5 – Intel’s Alder Lake chips support both types of memory. The price of the new memory standard is starting to come down, but DDR4 is definitely better suited for gaming. And for the money, we’d much rather see the healthy capacity and speed this offers than just use the latest funkiest thing.
CPU: Intel Core i5 12400F
GPUs: Nvidia RTX 3050 8GB
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4-3200
Motherboard : MSI B660M-A WiFi DDR4
Storage: MSI Spatium M390 NVMe 1TB SSD
Power supply : InWin A65 650W 80+
Connectivity: 6x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, RJ45, 3x Audio, Wi-Fi 6, PS/2 keyboard/mouse
SE: Windows 11 Home
Guarantee: 5 years labor, 2 years parts
Price: £1,055 | $999
This also impacts motherboard choice, as DDR5 motherboards tend to cost significantly more than their DDR4 brethren. Here, Cyberpower used a budget MicroATX B660 motherboard from MSI, the PRO B660M-A WIFI, which, as the name suggests, adds Wi-Fi 6 support to the mix. Don’t worry, there’s also an Ethernet port for fast wired connections. This motherboard also houses the machine’s 1TB SSD, which sits under a heatsink between the processor and the graphics card.
It’s all neatly packed into a surprisingly good-looking chassis for a low-budget build. It’s been outfitted with four RGB fans to tick off that gamer aesthetic too, though you’ll be pleased to know you can also easily turn off that light show using the included remote. It’s a glass-fronted case, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of airflow thanks to the grilles on the right side and a healthy space between the fans and that front panel. It’s a good solution, works quietly and keeps system components cool.
The only downside to this case is that there are no USB Type-C ports on the front panel, just USB 3.0 Type-A. There’s a USB 4 port on the motherboard itself, but that wasn’t connected to anything, which is compounded by a lack of Type-C ports on the rear I/O – a surprising omission for any board mother in 2022.
Cinebench R20: 4735 (multi-core), 656 (single)
Cinebench R23: 12395 (multi-core), 1719 (single)
X264 v5.0.1: 35.26fps
SiSoft Sandra RAM Bandwidth: 38.4 GB/s
3DMark Port Royal: 3,541
3DMark Time Spy: 9641 (CPU), 6220 (GPU)
Hitman 3 Dartmoor: 90 fps
Hitman 3 Dubai: 118 fps
F1 2020: 118 fps
F1 2021: 76 fps
Subway Exodus (Ultra): 50 fps
Metro Exodus (RTX): 41 fps
Horizon Zero Dawn: 71 fps
FFXIV Shadowbringers: 9.435 seconds
Maximum CPU temperature: 79°C
Maximum GPU temperature: 66°C
When it comes to performance, the Infinity X125 sits exactly where you’d expect – just about capable at 1080p, although that’s a tough call at times. You’re going to want to tweak some settings to maintain a smooth frame rate, especially when it comes to more demanding games, which probably isn’t what you want to hear after dropping a grand on a new PC. of game.
Metro Exodus, for example, averaged 50fps at the highest settings, while enabling the pretty RTX brings it down to 41fps, and yes, that’s with DLSS enabled. You can change the settings to hit 60fps, but you don’t get the best viewing experience. At least you have GeForce Experience on hand to make it as easy as possible.
Less demanding games perform better, oddly enough, with games like F1 2020 hitting a silky-smooth 118fps while rushing through a rainy Vietnam circuit. Horizon Zero Dawn also managed a respectable 71fps average, with lows of just 58fps.
These frame rates are all recorded at 1080p, and the upscaling to 1440p proves that the RTX 3050 just doesn’t have the raw grunt to handle higher resolutions.
Same goes for ray tracing, with one of the lowest scores I’ve ever seen in 3DMark Port Royal. If you’re looking for serious ray-tracing performance, you should at least aim for the RTX 3060.
In fact, you can change the configuration at the time of purchase to upgrade to an RTX 3060 for just an extra £42. This is by far the best upgrade you can make – much better gaming performance for the price of a game? You know that makes sense.
It is worth pointing out that this machine runs quietly and coolly even when pushed hard too. Even though Cyberpower used the stock Intel cooler, the temperature still only reaches 79°C. The RTX 3050 also maxes out at just 66°C. Those case fans aren’t just for pretty RGB lights.
All in all, there’s a lot to like here. Component selection generally makes sense and it’s a surprisingly good-looking system considering its budget nature. I would of course recommend upgrading the graphics card to an RTX 3060, and the lack of USB Type-C ports is annoying, but it’s still a decent PC for the money. It’s well-built, uses well-known components, and there’s plenty of room for further upgrades, too.