This is not the first Alder Lake gaming PC we’ve looked at this year, but the ones before that have all been very, very expensive. If you have the budget to reach for an all-dancing high-end system, you’re spoiled for choice, with the likes of the Velocity Micro Raptor X55 (opens in new tab)Corsair One i300 (opens in new tab)and Origin 5000T Millennium (opens in new tab) all are fine machines if you have $ 5000 burning a hole in your back pocket. As honestly not many of us have.
Time for something completely different: A budget Alder Lake PC. While the previous machines we’ve looked at focused on 4K gaming and showed off the top of Intel’s 12th gen stack, Cyberpower here is more concerned with 1080p gaming and hits a far cheaper price point.
To do so, look at an Intel Core i5 12400F (opens in new tab) and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 (opens in new tab). Much more modest price. And to £ 1,055 ($ 999 for a similar core specification in the US) (opens in new tab)) much cheaper too. There was a time when it’s how much you expect to pay for an affordable gaming machine, so it’s good to see that we’re finally back to some sort of normality here.
Of course, graphics cards are not pretty down to their MSRPs yet, and therefore the options for budget machines are limited to the latest releases from AMD and Nvidia, with a competition between the Radeon RX 6500 XT and the GeForce RTX 3050. Cyberpower has gone for the latter in this machine. , and although it is not a powerhouse by any means, it is an Ampere chip that comes complete with RTX cores, so you get such goodies as ray tracing support and frame rate enhancing DLSS.
The other notable choice dictated by the overall system cost is the decision to go with DDR4 RAM as opposed to DDR5 – Intel’s Alder Lake chips support both types of memory. Prices for the new memory standard are starting to fall, but DDR4 is definitely a better place for gaming. And for the money, we would much rather see the healthy capacity and speed that this offers rather than just using the latest funky thing.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5 12400F
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3050 8GB
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4-3200
Motherboard: MSI B660M-A WiFi DDR4
Storage: 1TB MSI Spatium M390 NVMe SSD
PSU: InWin A65 650W 80+
Connection: 6x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, RJ45, 3x Audio, Wi-Fi 6, PS / 2 keboard / mouse
OS: Windows 11 Home
Warranty: 5 years work, 2 years parts
Price: £ 1,055 (opens in new tab) | $ 999 (opens in new tab)
This also affects the motherboard choice, as DDR5 motherboards tend to cost significantly more than their DDR4 brethren. Here, Cyberpower has used a budget MicroATX B660 motherboard from MSI, PRO B660M-A WIFI, which, as the name suggests, adds Wi-Fi 6 support to the mix. But do not worry, there is also an Ethernet port with fast wired connections. This motherboard also houses the machine’s 1TB SSD, which sits under a heat sink between the CPU and the graphics card.
All this is nicely assembled in a surprisingly good chassis for a budget building. This has been equipped with four RGB fans to highlight the gamer aesthetic as well, although you will be happy to know that you can also easily turn off this light show with the included remote control. This is a cabinet with a glass front, but do not worry, there is plenty of airflow thanks to the grills on the right side and a healthy gap between the fans and the front panel. It is a good solution that goes quietly and keeps the system components cool.
The only downside to this case is that there are no USB Type-C ports on the front panel, only USB 3.0 Type-A. There is a USB 4 port on the motherboard itself, but this has not been connected to anything, which is exacerbated by the lack of Type-C ports on the rear I / O – a surprising omission for all motherboards in 2022.
Cinebench R20: 4735 (multicore), 656 (single)
Cinebench R23: 12,395 (multicore), 1,719 (single)
X264 v5.0.1: 35.26 fps
SiSoft Sandra RAM bandwidth: 38.4 GB / s
3DMark Port Royal: 3,541
3DMark time spy: 9,641 (CPU), 6,220 (GPU)
Hitman 3 Dartmoor: 90 fps
Hitman 3 Dubai: 118 fps
F1 2020: 118 fps
F1 2021: 76 fps
Metro Exodus (Ultra): 50 fps
Metro Exodus (RTX): 41 fps
Horizon Zero Dawn: 71 fps
FFXIV Shadowbringers: 9,435 seconds
Max CPU temp: 79 ° C
Max GPU temp: 66 ° C
When it comes to performance, the Infinity X125 sits exactly where you expect – roughly capable of 1080p, even if it’s a tough call at times. You will want to fine-tune some of the settings to maintain a steady frame rate, especially when it comes to more demanding games, which is probably not what you want to hear after losing a thousand bucks on a new gaming PC.
Metro Exodus, for example, averaged 50fps at the highest settings, while turning on RTX pretties reduces this to 41fps, and yes, it is with DLSS turned on. You can adjust the settings to 60 frames per second, but then you will not get the best visual experience. You have at least the GeForce Experience at hand to make it all as easy as possible.
Less demanding games give better results, oddly enough, with the likes of F1 2020 hitting silky smooth 118 frames per second as they whiz around in a rainy Vietnam circuit. Horizon Zero Dawn also managed a respectable 71 frames per second on average, with the lowest levels of just 58 frames per second.
These frame rates are all recorded at 1080p, and increasing the resolution to 1440p proves that the RTX 3050 simply does not have the raw grunt to handle higher resolutions.
The same goes for ray tracing to a large extent, with one of the lowest scores I have ever seen in 3DMark Port Royal. If you are looking for serious radiation tracking performance, you should at least aim for the RTX 3060.
In fact, you can adjust the configuration at the time of purchase to upgrade to an RTX 3060 for just £ 42 extra. It’s easily the best upgrade you can ever make – far better game performance for the price of a game? You know it makes sense.
It is worth emphasizing that this machine runs quietly and cool even when pressed hard as well. Although Cyberpower has used the standard Intel cooler, the temperature still reaches only 79 ° C. The RTX 3050 also maxes out at just 66 ° C. These cabinet fans are not just for the beautiful RGB lights.
Overall, there is a lot to like here. Component selection mostly makes sense, and it is a surprisingly good system given the budget grade. I would definitely recommend increasing 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 is well built, uses familiar components, and there is also plenty of room for further upgrades.