PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
CYBERPOWER ULTRA 5 DRAGON EDITION REVIEW
The Cyberpower Ultra 5 Dragon Edition is a technology showcase, not only for AMD, but also for MSI. Core components include an AMD CPU, in the form of the 3.5GHz quad core Ryzen 1500X, a MSI B350 Tomahawk motherboard and an MSI branded AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card.
To top it all off, the whole system is finished in AMD’s signature red and black and then branded with a prominent MSI logo on the front. With a component selection like this, a very high degree of compatibility between components and drivers is assured, although you’re free to mix it up a little via the many customisation options available online.
CYBERPOWER ULTRA 5 DRAGON EDITION REVIEW: PRICE
You can buy the Ultra 5 Dragon Edition from Cyberpower’s website for £1059.60, which also includes delivery. A years’ interest free finance is also available.
The PC was designed to come in just under the £1,000 price point, but fluctuations in component prices mean it’s a little more expensive now.
If you’re flexible on the price, you can click the ‘Customise’ button to make any changes you wish. Some additions will make only a very small difference to the price, but may make a major difference to the user experience as we explain below.
CYBERPOWER ULTRA 5 DRAGON EDITION: DESIGN AND BUILD
The Ryzen 5 1500X CPU chosen here is a wise choice as it provides plenty of gaming performance while enabling Cyberpower to keep the price below £1,000 when combined with a competent graphics card. As you’ll see in our performance results below, the Ryzen 5 is outgunned in certain applications by more expensive models such as the Ryzen 7, but not in gaming, which is what this PC is all about.
MSI’s RX 580 8GB Gaming X graphics card offers many enhancements over the reference AMD design, including a ‘Twin Frozr VI’ dual-fan heat pipe cooling system which allows you to select between maximum performance or silent operation via the included software. The software also allows you to control the card’s built-in multicoloured LED illumination. In Silent Mode, the card operates with a boost core frequency of 1,340MHz and 8,000MHz memory.
These are the stock reference speeds for a standard RX 580, but in this mode MSI’s card is truly silent, as the fans can stop moving altogether. In OC Mode, the core frequency is increased to 1,393MHz and the memory to 8,100MHz, while Gaming Mode offers a compromise between the two.
The B350 Tomahawk motherboard comes from MSI’s gaming range and includes enhanced features, such as built-in LED lighting which can synchronise with other illuminated components, boosted audio quality and game-enhancing software utilities. It offers NVMe support, used in this case to accommodate a 128GB Intel 600p SSD, and also comes with a PS/2 port for low input latency.
The board’s multi GPU support means you can add a second AMD graphics card later to boost performance, although you should consider also upgrading the supplied 500W power supply if you intend to do this. For example, you could upgrade to a 600W model for just £5 extra.
If you want to go with Nvidia cards, you may want to consider an upgrade to an X370-based motherboard which will offer SLI support as well as better overclocking potential, otherwise the B350 chipset used here is a great value option.
Cooler Master’s Masterbox 5 system case is rather unusual in that the inside has been designed in a highly customisable, modular fashion. Device trays can be added and removed and located at different places within the case to best suit your chosen components and cooling system. If you plan on upgrading the system later, this will give you great flexibility in terms of what you’ll be able to fit within the case, be it a water cooling system, additional drives or extra fans.
Note that the case has no open front-facing drive bays, so you should be aware of this if you were thinking of adding an optical drive.
Cyberpower has chosen a quiet yet efficient Cooler Master Masterliquid 120 CPU cooler which usually comes with twin 120mm fans. Although these have been replaced with a single Akasa equivalent with improved cooling and quieter operation. Two more of these fans have been installed in the front of the case and all three feature red LED illumination to match the colour scheme of the PC as a whole.
The 128GB SSD, though speedy, is really rather small for a gaming PC. It’s plenty big enough to hold Windows and a reasonable and a couple of games, but if you have a larger collection you’ll soon find you run out of space. Thankfully, there’s also a 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive included, but you’ll really notice the difference in load times if you have to resort to installing your games on it.
There are many other SSD options available in the Cyberpower’s customisation menus, so we suggest you consider a larger drive. There are several slower, but larger, SATA options available for around the same price or, if you can afford an extra £42, you could go for a much faster 250GB Samsung 960 EVO NVMe drive.
CYBERPOWER ULTRA 5 DRAGON EDITION: PERFORMANCE
The Ryzen 5 1500X may not be the most powerful CPU you can get, but it offers an excellent balance of price and performance in a gaming PC, delivering all the speed you need while leaving more of your budget available for the graphics card where all the heavy lifting is required.
A Ryzen 7 system, for example, would beat this PC in most general computing benchmarks, but that advantage disappears almost entirely when playing games.
A good example is the Overclockers UK Titan Falcon which has a Ryzen 7 1700 and costs (at the time of this review) £1373.99.
In PCMark 8 Home we recorded a score of 3961 points, which falls behind a typical Ryzen 7 1700 score of around 4150, but is by no means sluggish. The PC feels quick and responsive in general use.
When it comes to gaming speed, there’s much less of a difference. The AMD RX 580 used here is only a little faster than the previous generation RX 480, but the Ultra 5 Dragon Edition is able to outpace Ryzen 7-based PCs using the RX 480, showing that you don’t need a Ryzen 7 CPU for gaming.
With the Cyberpower Ultra 5 Dragon Edition, you should be able to play many AAA games at 1080p with 60fps and Ultra quality, although the most demanding titles may require a drop in quality settings to achieve this speed.
We recorded an average frame rate of 48.4fps on this game, although dropping from Ultra quality to High, pushed this back up to 68.3 fps. Less taxing games will beat 60 fps quite easily even at 1440p Ultra. If you’re planning on gaming on a TV, you should be able to reach 30fps easily at resolutions up to and including 4K.
The Ultra 5 Dragon Edition is also fast enough for VR: The Steam VR performance test reports a VR Rating of ‘High’ with a VR quality of 7.2. The PC scored 7239 in the VRMark Orange Room test and 1210 in the VRMark Blue Room test.
With this PC you should therefore be able to play any game you like and at high resolutions too as long as you configure the quality settings accordingly. You could possibly spend a little less by going with an Nvidia GTX 1060 instead of the RX 580, but the latter makes perfect sense in this pure AMD system.
The Ultra 5 Dragon Edition also achieves a PCMark 10 Gaming Score of 9279, although as it’s the first system we’ve tested with the new benchmark, we have nothing to compare it with so far.
CYBERPOWER ULTRA 5 DRAGON EDITION: WARRANTY
The Cyberpower Ultra 5 Dragon Edition is covered by a three year return-to-base warranty with parts covered for the first two years only.
This is an acceptable level of cover, but significantly less than what you will get as standard elsewhere. Other system builders include collect and return services with cover for up to five years.
- Cyberpower Ultra 5 Dragon Edition: Specs
- 3.5GHz AMD Ryzen 5 1500X processor
- Cooler Master Master Liquid 120 cooler
- 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 RAM
- Intel 600p 128GB NVMe SSD, 1TB Seagate Barracuda HDD
- 500W Cooler Master Masterwatt Lite
- MSI B350 Tomahawk motherboard
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- MSI RX 580 8GB Gaming X graphics card
- Onboard audio
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 1x USB 3.1, 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
- 1x DVI, 2x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
- Cooler Master Masterbox 5 MSI Edition system case
- Two-year return to base warranty (plus extra year of labour-only cover)
The Cyberpower Ultra 5 Dragon Edition offers well matched components and decent performance at a competitive price. If you can afford a little more, do check out some of the less expensive customisation options, such as a larger SSD.