The Zeus Thunder 2500 SE
In April 2012 CyberPowerPC released the Zeus Thunder series, which use the Intel Z77 Express chipset and Intel Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge processors. The Zeus Thunder series consists of nine PC models with starting prices ranging from $1125 to $3735. The nine available Zeus Thunder models are the 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, 2500 SE, 3000, 3000 SE, 4000 and Max. CyberPowerPC sent over the Zeus Thunder 2500 SE for us to review today. This model was selected as it is right smack dab in the middle of series and can be had for $1799. This system has the flagship Intel Core i7-3770K 'Ivy Bridge' processor, 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 'Kepler' video card and both an SSD and HDD. With performance specifications like that, you can clearly see that this system is aimed at power users, gamers and enthusiasts. This is also the same crowd that lives by the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mentality.
In case you were not aware pretty much all CyberpowerPC gaming systems can be fully customized with different hardware components. This means you can pick from different water cooling kits, Solid State Drives, Hard Disk Drives, Blu-ray drives, cases, power supplies, video cards, performance memory kits, gaming peripherals, and more. One of the best things about buying a full system from CyberPowerPC is that they build tens of thousands of computers a month. This means that they buy a ton of hardware at discounted volume pricing and they can usually build and sell an entire system for less than what you can do it for. Yes, even if you go through e-tailers like Newegg and get rebates. Years ago you used to be able to build your own PC for less than a system builder like CyberPowerPC, but those days are done unless you wanted something special.
Our CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500SE Features:
- Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Ivy Bridge CPU
- Asetek 570LX 240mm CPU Water Cooler
- Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H Motherboard
- 16GB DDR3 1600 (4 x 4GB) Memory w/ CL9 Timings
- 1TB SATA III 6.0Gb/s 7200RPM Hard Drive
- 120GB Corsair Force GT SATA III 6Gb/s Solid-State Drive
- LG 12x Blu-Ray Player & 24x DVD-R/-RW Dual Layer Optical Drive
- EVGA GeForce GTX 680 SuperClocked PCI-e Video Card
- Corsair TX850 V2 850 Watt Power Supply
- NZXT Switch 810 Case (White)
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
- Xtreme Gear USB Keyboard & Mouse
As you can see, you get some pretty good hardware and our review unit has an MSRP of ~$1799.00 shipped. We have a feeling it will be tough to configure an identical system on your own for much cheaper. Just for fun we jumped online to see what we could build a virtually identical system for.
- Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Ivy Bridge CPU - $339.99 Shipped
- ThermalTake CLW0217 Water 2.0 Extreme Water Cooler - $123.99 Shipped
- Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H Motherboard - $179.99 Shipped
- Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory w/ CL9 Timings (4 x 4GB) - $97.01 Shipped
- Seagate Barracuda 1TB SATA III 6.0Gb/s 7200RPM Hard Drive - $84.99 Shipped
- 120GB Corsair Force GT SATA III 6Gb/s Solid-State Drive - $99.99 Shipped After Rebate
- EVGA GeForce GTX 680 SuperClocked PCI-e Video Card - $515.09 Shipped
- Corsair TX850 V2 850 Watt Power Supply - $119.88 Shipped After Rebate
- NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower Case (White) - $169.99 Shipped
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - $99.99 Shipped
- LG 12x Blu-Ray Drive UH12LS29 - $49.99 Shipped
After spending some time on Newegg and Pricegrabber we were able to figure out the pricing of each component of this computer. If you wanted to build this identical system you are looking at spending $1880.90 and that is also having to deal with two rebates. Then you have to put it all together, install Windows 7 and load up all the drivers and software. Once again we find that buying a customized system from CyberPower will you actually save you time and money. CyberPowerPC also backs all the components in the system for a year and oddly enough has labor coverage for three years. You can also buy extended warranties like the Intel Performance Tuning Protection Plan if you'd like to have directly from CyberPowerPC.
Let's take a look at the actual Zeus Thunder 2500SE system that CyberPowerPC sent us to review!
The CyberPower Zeus Thunder 2500 SE uses an off the shelf NZXT Switch 810 full-tower PC case that features a see-thru side panel and front USB 3.0 ports. We reviewed nearly half a year ago, so be sure to check out that review if you want to find out our full thoughts on this case.
If you order a Zeus Thunder 2500 SE it will come in a large white CyberPowerPC shipping box and then inside that you'll find the original NZXT case box.
We cut open the NZXT case box and found the CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE protected by foam and then safely secured inside a plastic bag.
Taking a look at the left side of the CyberPower Zeus Thunder 2500 SE you can see CyberPower used a couple sealed air packs (Instapak Quick RT) to minimize the possibility of shipping damage. The only modification that CyberPowerPC did to this case was to paint the case white and have their logo in the paint. If you look real close at the top and bottom edges of the case you'll notice a few marks.
After taking a closer look the front and back of the Zeus Thunder 2500 SE had scratches in the white paint. We looked at the foam and could not think of a way this could happen during shipping. It must have happened before the system was shipped.
The paint job on the CyberPowerPC logo was well done though and the tape lines were crisp with no bleeding under the tape.
After taking off the three thumb screws that hold on the side panel you can carefully remove the foam. You need to be cautious here as the video card, liquid cooling tubes, fans and power cables might be caught in the foam. CyberPower includes instructions on how to remove the foam with the system. We had no issues removing it.
With the foam removed we can see inside the Zeus Thunder 2500 SE, but we'll save the 'guts' for the internal features page, which is coming up soon. Besides the minor paint scuffs that were not shipping related the CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE successfully made the Fedex delivery route from California to St. Louis, Missouri.
As we already mentioned, CyberPowerPC went with the NZXT Switch 810 for the Zeus Thunder 2500 SE. Our review sample came in white, but you can also order it in gun-metal or black. If you do not like this case, you can customize this system and go with the Azza Hurricane 2000, Azza Genesis 9000, Corsair Obsidian Series 800D or Cooler Master HAF-X PC cases for a little more or less money. The NZXT Switch 810 just came out this year and is a very nice case though. It has a nice large window with an angle cut for a bit of flash. CyberPowerPC offers this system with 15 different CPU cooling solutions, many of which are water cooling and are worth showing off with this window.
The NZXT Switch 810 case has the power button on top of the case, so it is easy to get to and not behind any doors or panels. The front of the case is pretty clean looking but there is an LG Blu-ray player in the top 5.25" drive bay.
The right side of the NZXT Switch 810 case features the Windows 7
Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label on the solid side panel.
Looking down at the top of the NZXT Switch 810 case you can see the
most unique feature of this case. At the top of the Switch 810 you'll
find the adjustable Hybrid Fins that reduce sound up to 40-60% when
closed or open passageways for maximum airflow and better cooling. This
design is nice as you can keep dust out by simply shifting the Hybrid
Fins closed when the PC is not in use. The Hybrid Fins are opened and
closed manually with a small slider that can be seen at the rear of the
Around back we discovered the Switch
810 has an adjustable rear 140mm exhaust fan. This allows you to use
the included 140mm fan or a 120mm fan and then slide it up or down to better
align with your CPU cooler exhaust and provide better airflow out of
the case, very clever. Below this are nine ports to accommodate even
XL-ATX motherboards. Next to those ports are no less than four large
water cooling pass-thru grommets. These are a bit larger than the ones we typically
see and appear to be geared toward those wanting to run 1/2" x 3/4"
tube. Finally at the bottom is the reversible PSU port and just below
that is a pop out rear filter tray.
Our system has a Corsair TX850 V2 power supply is mounted on the bottom. When it comes to connectivity on the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked video card, it has two DVI ports, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs. The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H motherboard has a fairly standard I/O panel. You have a VGA, DVI, HDMI, and a Display port for video output from the Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processor. You also have a total of six USB ports, four SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and a pair of USB 2.0. Next up are Firewire, eSATA (controlled by Marvell 88SE9172 SATA III 6Gbps controller), Dual Gigabit LAN ports one of which is controlled by the Intel 82579V controller and the other by an Atheros AR8151 Gigabit LAN controller. For audio options, we have the typical six audio jacks and an optical SPDIF out. As you can see all the connectivity you should be needing is present on this motherboard and system.
By sliding up the top most cover you reveal the I/O ports. The NZXT
Switch 810 comes with two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, an SD memory card reader, a 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack, a reset switch and a power button for the LED lights on the back of the case that help you see in the dark.
Opening up the CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE was simple as we just needed to remove three thumbscrews and then lift off the side panel. With the door removed we are face-to-face with a very clean looking interior with impressive cable management. Keep in mind the NZXT Switch 810 is a full tower case, so this PC assembly looks clean in part to how large the case is. CyberPowerPC did a great job routing the cables and the inside of the case looks nice s a result. Not only does this look good, but having the cables routed like this, means better airflow throughout the case.
Just because the wiring looks good in the front, it doesn't mean that behind the motherboard tray thing will look pretty. Removing the right side panel we found that the wiring was nicely routed and bundled together, despite having just 20mm of space behind the motherboard tray. The Corsair TX850 V2 Power Supply is not modular, so this is a nice job.
CyberPower went with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H motherboard for our Zeus Thunder 2500 SE. This motherboard choice is very solid as we have reviewed this board in the past. The Intel Core i7-3770K processor is kept cool by an Asetek 570LX Liquid Cooling system w/ 240MM Radiator and Dual Fans. With the two fans on the radiator and the three case fans above it, this makes a nice push/pull config for the water cooler.
The video card is an EVGA branded NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB DDR5 that is a Superclocked model. This card can boost up to 1124MHz on the 1536 CUDA cores and is the fastest single-GPU graphics card that NVIDIA makes right now.
The system is powered by a Corsair TX850 V2 power supply. This power supply is 80 PLUS Bronze certified and is ATX 12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 compliant. This power supply also can easily run NVIDIA or AMD multi-graphics configurations, so if you wanted to run CrossFireX or SLI in the future you hould be good. This power has single +12V rail that is rated at 60 Amps!
The hard drive cage is located right behind the 140mm case fan that is located the front of the case, which is nice as it has some airflow around it. You want to keep your hard drive as cool as possible as heat is your enemy on critical components like your storage drive. CyberPowerPC went with a 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive with part number ST1000DM003 for storage and a Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD for the primary drive. There is plenty of room to add many more drives, so future storage needs shouldn't be an issue.
Now that we know what is inside the CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE and how it was built we can see how it performs in the benchmarks!
First Boot & Windows Experience Index
When we fired up the CyberPower Zeus Thunder 2500 SE for the very first time we were curious how much
bloatware CyberPower was going to put on the PC. We like to see none, but we know that companies often get paid to put pre-loaded trial software on the PC. After booting the PC for the first time and setting up the username, password and activating Windows 7 we were happy to see a fairly clean desktop. The only bloatware that came installed on the Zeus Thunder 2500 was Zynga games and the Microsoft Bing toolbar. These can both be easily removed, so not a huge deal!
After making sure all the drivers were properly installed we headed into computer properties to make sure the system configuration was correctly showing the hardware. It listed the Intel Core i7-3770K quad-core processor running at 3.50GHz, 16.0 GB of system memory and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
The system rating was found to be 7.8. The Windows Experience Index components with the lowest base scores was a tie between both the processor and memory (RAM). All the other components scores 7.9, which is the highest score possible.
The CyberPower Zeus 2500 SE comes with a Solid State Drive (SSD) as the primary and a hard drive for storage. The Corsair Force GT 120GB has a useable capacity of 111GB when completely empty, but as you can see in the screenshot above just 68.0GB was free after the OS and applications were installed. The 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive has 931GB of free space available and arrived completely empty.
Using HWMonitor v4.01-1693 beta we can get a good look at all the hardware installed in the system.
CPU-Z and GPU-Z Screenshots
A ton of our readers always e-mail in asking to see CPU-Z and GPU-Z details on these pre-configured systems, so on this page we will be filling it up with screenshots that show off the PC's vital signs.
At an idle state we shocked to see our CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE to be running at 4700MHz or 4.7GHz! It turns out that CyberPower will overclock your PC either 10% or 20% for free by just asking them. They also offer a 30% or more overclock for $50. This overclock was done by leaving the base clock of 100MHz and cranking the multiplier up to 47. CPU-Z reports the CPU Voltage as being 1.248V at idle. The Intel Turbo stepping modes were disabled due to the overclock, so our system ran full throttle all the time.
CyberPowerPC sent our review system with BIOS version F5 on the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H, which was one version behind when the system was shipped to us. Not too bad as a BIOS is very easy to update these days.
The CyberPower Zeus Thunder 2500 SE has four dual-channel DDR3 memory slots and CyberPowerPC loaded them all up with four 4GB Corsair Vengenace DDR3 1600MHz memory modules. The timings on these modules were set to 9-11-11-29 with a 2T command rate.
Here is a look at the SPD settings programmed into the Corsair DDR3 1600MHz memory modules. You can also see that they carry part number CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9. Notice that the SPD settings for 1600MHz are 9-9-9-24, so we are left to wonder why CyberPowerPC set this system up to run at 9-11-11-29 timings. We do not change any settings on a pre-configured system prior to testing, so we'll leave it be and run it this way.
Here is a GPU-Z 0.6.3 screen shot that shows off the details of the Intel HD 4000 graphics that can be used with the installed Lucid Virtu software. The Intel HD 4000 graphics runs at 650MHz on the core and 800MHz on the memory.
The CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE comes with a discrete graphics card. The card in our system was the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked. This card is running GeForce 301.42 drivers and has a boost clock of 1121MHz and a memory clock of 1552MHz.
Sandra 2012 SP4 & CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1c
The Sisoft Sandra 2012 SP4 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 SP4 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!
The first benchmark that we always run on a PC is Sandra Memory Bandwidth and we found that the CyberPower Zeus 2500SE with its 16GB of dual channel 1600MHz CL9 memory was able to have 21.24GB/s of both integer and floating memory bandwidth. Not a bad memory bandwidth score by any means.
The Sandra Processor Arithmetic score was found to be 136.63 GOPS, which is very respectable for a PC in this price range. This is a free benchmark, so if you wanted to compare your system at home to this be sure to download Sandra 2012 SP4!
CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random read/write speeds. We ran Crystal Mark v3.0.1c with the default file size of 1000MB on both drives.
Benchmark Results: First up is the secondary drive, which is a 1TB hard drive. We found sequential read and write speeds averaging 183 MB/s. The 4K random read and write speeds aren't that great, but remember this is the secondary storage drive.
Benchmark Results: The primary drive in our Zeus Thunder 2500 SE is the Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD and as you can see it is for the most part much faster. The sequential read was a blistering 515MB/s and the write speed were a ho hum 174MB/s. Where this drive really shines are the 4K read and write speeds that are much faster than a traditional hard drive.
PCMark 7 & 3DMark 11
PCMark 7 is specifically designed for Windows 7. It measures the performance of the latest PC hardware across a variety of common scenarios. PCMark Vantage 7 supports both system level and component level benchmarking and comprises several different test suites, but for the purposes of this review we employed the standard test suite. The nice thing about it is that you can submit your scores online and compare against others.
CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE Detailed Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: PCMark 7 showed that the overall score of the system was 6371 points. We also ran the lightweight benchmark and found a score of 6007. Not bad performance, but keep in mind that the Intel Core i7-3770K processor in this system is running overclocked at 4.7GHz.
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
We ran the benchmark at the performance presets to see how the CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE will run.
3DMark 11 Performance Benchmark Results:
The CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE had a 3DMark 11 performance benchmark score of 13474. You can see the detailed results in the screen capture above.
x264 HD Encoding & WPrime
Simply put, it is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test.
Benchmark Results: The x264 HD benchmark is very CPU intensive and it showed the Zeus Thunder 2500 SE averaged 84 FPS on the first pass and 18 FPS on the second pass.
wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum.
The CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE uses the Intel Core i7-3770K 'Ivy Bridge' processor and we found 32M test completed in 5.979 seconds and the 1024M test completed in 177.294 seconds. These are pretty impressive scores! If you are thinking about upgrading your PC you can download this benchmark and run it for free to compare.
Temperature & Sound Testing
CyberPowerPC went with the Asetek 570LX Liquid Cooling system CPU cooler and on Zeus Thunder 2500 SE, so we wanted to test it out to see how this CPU cooler performs at both idle and load.
We used CoreTemp 1.0 RC3 to monitor the CPU temperatures. At idle in a room that was 26.7C (80F) we found the CPU to be running at 22C (71.6F). The internal system temperature was reported at 33.5C, which is pretty darn good for everything inside this PC along with the 4.7GHz overclock.
We fired up Prime 95 64-bit to put the CPU at full load and found the CPU temperature jumped up to 45C and the system temperature was reported at 71.75C across all four cores. Intel Ivy Bridge processors run a little on the hotter side of things, so this was to be expected. The 240mm water cooler and dual fans were easily able to keep the system stable though.
We wanted to push the system to the max, so we fired up Furmark v1.10.1 and Prime 95 at the same time to really stress all the components. The temperature of the CPU bounced around 74.5C, but never got much hotter. The EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked video card got up to 80C in the system. These temperatures might sound hot to some, but are well under the maximum thermal limits for both the CPU and GPU.
Noise is something that people are really concerned with these days on computers. We placed our trusty sound meter a about a foot away from the case at an angle and recorded 50.4 dBA. This is by no means a silent case, heck we wouldn't even consider it quiet. You have to remember the Zeus thunder SE has a total of 11 fans in it, so there is a lot of air being moved. With the system at full load the fan noise went up only slightly (1.4dB) as just the GPU fan and two fans on the Asetek watercooler increased in RPM.
Energy efficiency is a big deal these days, so we fired up the system and plugged it
into a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we measured the peak wattage used by the system while running a variety of utilities.
The CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder 2500 SE had very decent power consumption numbers considering that it was overclocked up to 4.7GHz. The system idled at 122 Watts and peaked at 380 Watts when both the Intel Core i7-3770K processor and EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Superclocked video card were both at 100% load with Prime 95 and Furmark running. In gaming we saw on average 295 Watts of power draw with game titles like Battlefield 3 and Deus Ex. When encoding videos we saw right around 205 Watts on average.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
The Zeus Thunder 2500 SE showed us that you can get a very nice custom PC from a large system builder like CyberPowerPC. The wide variety of components that you get to select from and the unbeatable prices are impressive. If you are looking to build a new PC you should really take a look at what CyberPowerPC has to offer as you might be surprised. Besides some minor paint scuffs we found nothing wrong with the Zeus Thunder 2500 SE that we were sent to review. Usually there is something we'd do different or find something we don't like with pre-built systems, but that wasn't the case here today at all.
We also really like how CyberPowerPC will overclock your PC by up to 20% for free and 30% or beyond for $50. When we fired up the system for the very first time we were happy to see it running at 4.7GHz with no adjustments needed on our end. CyberPowerPC set up everything perfect and the system was rock solid and lived through every torture test we through at it - this system was stable! Not bad for a system that was shipped over 1,500 miles and assembled half way across the country.
At the end of the day you can buy the CyberPower Zeus 2500 SE that we reviewed today for ~$1899 shipped. As we showed you in the introduction, it would cost more than this to buy the same exact hardware yourself. You then have to spend hours assembling it, install all the software and drivers and of course dial in the overclock. If CyberPowerPC has all the hardware components you want to use then you might as well let them do it all and save yourself both money and time. Since all the parts used on this system are non-proprietary you can upgrade it easily down the road yourself.
The CyberPowerPC Zeus Thunder series has nine different models with prices starting at $1125. If you are wanting to build a system with the Intel 2nd Gen Sandy Bridge processors or 3rd Gen Ivy Bridge processors, you should really give these systems a closer look and see if one is right for you.
Legit Bottom Line: The CyberPowerPC Zues Thunder 2500 SE turned out to be better than expected and shows that CyberPowerPC can make one heck of a computer.