An APU-based system that’s a good choice for users with modest demands but less modest style tastes
- Plenty of space to upgrade/expand
- Impressive finish
- Bulky design
- Built-in Antivirus software is intrusive
Even before we opened the shipping box, it was obvious that the Cyberpower Ultra 5 Vega would stand out from the crowd: at 10.4kg, this PC is around twice the average weight of a budget gaming PC. Where this weight comes from quickly becomes clear. Not only does the Ultra 3 use tempered glass for its side-panel window (instead of cheaper and lighter acrylic) it uses it for the front panel as well.
Cyberpower Ultra 5 Vega review: Design and features
The window reveals a spacious case with more than enough room for future upgrades: as well as seven expansion slots (not all of which are usable given the motherboard has only one 16-lane and two 1-lane PCI Express slots, with one taken up by the bundled 802.11n Wi-Fi card), the case includes two clever metal mounting brackets for 2.5in hard drives and a 400W power supply. This is a sensible choice for upgraders, with enough spare capacity for an add-in graphics card, extra storage or even an upgrade motherboard.
Cyberpower has done its best to balance performance and price. Windows 10 Home comes preinstalled on a sensible 240GB SATA-connected SSD, leaving the M.2 slot free for an NVMe drive in the future, while a 2TB mechanical hard disk offers bulk storage for files.
Inside, you’ll find an AMD Ryzen 5 3400G APU in place. This includes four physical cores capable of running eight simultaneous threads at a 3.7GHz base speed, boosting to 4.2GHz when pushed. While it’s paired to only 8GB of memory, it’s DDR4-3000 – faster than most budget systems, and of real benefit to the APU’s built-in Radeon Vega 11 integrated graphics processor.
That APU proved well suited to a range of workloads. The Ultra 5 Vega easily tackled our multitasking test, thanks to its ability to keep eight threads in the air at the same time. It is also a solid choice for 3D acceleration, managing an average 51fps in the demanding Unigine Superposition benchmark – albeit at the 720p Low preset.
We’re less fond of other aspects of the Ultra 3, with our prime criticism being that, despite its bulk, there’s only a compact motherboard inside. And while it’s all very nice to include a red LED light bar to make components more visible through the tempered glass side panel, that money might have been better spent upgrading the drive sleds for the SSD and hard drive: these are both installed in the two-drive 3.5in bay hidden at the base of the machine near the power supply, and they both slipped during shipping. That’s despite Cyberpower choosing to add padding inside as well as outside the chassis.
Its weight, too, could be an issue. At 10.4kg, it’s awkward to move around, particularly given the notorious fragility of tempered glass, which can shatter after a relatively small impact along its exposed edges. It’s a system you will want to install once and admire, not carry around to LAN parties.
The only other mark against the Ultra 3 is the presence of bloatware. The system comes with BullGuard Antivirus preinstalled, and while the bundled year-long three-device licence is a generous one, the software itself is intrusive. At one point it pulled the system out of our gaming benchmark in order to advise us it was “optimising” said benchmark on our behalf.
Cyberpower Ultra 5 Vega review: Verdict
It’s hard to fault Cyberpower’s support promise, though: the system comes with a three-year warranty, of which the first six months is collect-and-return and the remainder return-to-base. This covers parts and labour for two years and labour-only for the final year plus lifetime technical support.
If you do decide to buy, though, you’ll need to be patient. As this system is build-on-demand rather than kept in stock, it comes with a ten-day lead time unless you pay extra.