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Let's say you want a pre-built gaming PC, but don't want to sacrifice the plethora of options that folks building their own towers have at their disposal. CyberPower's Gamer Master 9500 gives you the best of both worlds.
The Gamer Master (starting at $2,059; $2,914 as tested) offers a staggering amount of customization options, from fans and decals all the way to the very case you want to wrap it all up in. And with support for the latest components -- including AMD's Ryzen 7 CPU and Nvidia's GTX 1080 Ti GPU -- building the 9500 into the ultimate 4K and VR powerhouse is a breeze. If you're looking for a fairly priced gaming PC that you can configure exactly (and I mean exactly) as you see fit, the Gamer Master 9500 is an excellent option.
Packing a whole bunch of cool components into a slick Phanteks Enthoo Evolv case, our Gamer Master 9500 strikes a wonderful balance between elegant and imposing. The real highlight here is the transparent glass side panel, which provides a clear look at the system's orange backlighting and impressively neat component layout.
At 20 x 19.5 x 9.25 inches and 40 pounds, the Gamer Master demands a good amount of desk space (though there are tons of other case options that are both bigger and smaller). Our unit is bigger than mainstream desktops, such as the Alienware Aurora and the Digital Storm Vanquish 5, but not quite as colossal as full-tower monsters, such as the Origin Genesis or the Maingear Rush.
Of course, the Gamer Master you buy could look wildly different than the one sitting in our labs. CyberPower offers dozens of case options at purchase, from the transparent, minimalist Thermaltake Core P3 to CyberPower's own beefy-looking Kiros 650. But regardless of which you pick, you're generally getting a midsize tower. Don't expect your 9500 to fit under your TV, but also don't expect it to swallow your entire gaming area whole.
Ports and Upgradability
The Gamer Master's front panel features two USB 3.0 ports and headphone and mic jacks. You can cover the front ports up with a small flap when you're not using them, which is a nice touch that keeps the PC looking extra seamless.
You'll find just about every other connection you could possibly need on the rear panel, which houses six USB 3.0 ports, three USB 3.1 ports and a USB Type-C port for newer gadgets.
There's also a PS/2 port for legacy accessories, as well as a full suite of audio connections. The system's Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti card has three DisplayPorts as well as an HDMI port, making it ideal for multiple monitor setups.
CyberPower's PC is blissfully easy to upgrade -- the only thing separating you from its guts are four easily removable hand screws. From there, you can slide off the side panel and access the motherboard, storage bays and graphics card. Even removing the GPU is a tool-free experience, with just a small set of hand screws keeping the card in place.
Gaming and VR Performance
Packing Nvidia's premium GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPU, our Gamer Master delivered predictably top-of-the-line performance.
The PC ran Mass Effect: Andromeda at 4K and 30 frames per second without a hitch, allowing me to take in every little detail of the lush jungle planet I explored. I was able to hit a steady 60 fps by switching to a still-gorgeous 2560 x 1440, which made dashing and jumping my way through a firefight feel much smoother.
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The PC churned out an impressive 91.47 fps on our Rise of the Tomb Raider test (1080p at max settings), topping the Corsair One (GTX 1080, 72 fps) as well as our 55 fps gaming desktop average. The game slowed to a just-barely-playable 29.36 fps at 4K with settings cranked up, topping the One's 21 while tying our 28 fps average.
The Gamer Master chewed through the crowded open-world action of Grand Theft Auto V, running the game's benchmark at 103.8 fps at 1080p and a still-strong 36.4 fps at 4K. That crushes our 1080p average of 76, while slightly trailing our 40 fps 4K average.
Like just about any gaming PC running a GTX 1080 or better, the Gamer Master maxed out the SteamVR Performance test at 11 -- making it more than ready for high-end virtual reality. That matches the One and the Alienware Aurora, and tops our gaming desktop average of 10.4.
Moving to synthetic benchmarks, the Gamer Master netted a score of 6,802 on the 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra test (which measures 4K performance). That tops the One (5,032), the Aurora (4,902) and our 4,091 average.
The Gamer Master's high-end performance often came at the expense of a good amount of fan noise -- not enough to disturb my play sessions, but loud enough to be heard throughout our lab.
The Gamer Master 9500 is one of the first AMD Ryzen systems we've tested, and the new chip is more than capable of holding its own with Intel's best CPUs.
With a Ryzen 7 1800X processor and 16GB of RAM, our unit never slowed down under heavy multitasking. I downloaded a game, hopped between a dozen browser tabs, ran a full system scan and fired up a few Twitch streams all at once.
CyberPower's PC scored a 20,249 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, topping the Corsair One (17,755; Intel Core i7-7700K) and our 16,229 average.
The SSD turned in a fast transfer rate of 508.92 MBps. That beats the One's 480GB SSD (236.6 MBps), the Alienware Aurora's 512GB SSD (198 MBps) and our 314.7 MBps average.
The Gamer Master 9500 is a truly made-to-order system -- everything from the components to the case itself is yours to choose at the point of purchase, and there are a dizzying number of options for each category. Picking the parts you want on CyberPower's website is a breeze -- you can even filter components using parameters such as processor family and VR-readiness.
The default 9500 costs $2,059, which gets you an AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor, 16GB of RAM, a 240GB SSD with a 3TB hard drive and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card within a Thermaltake Core P3 Mid-Tower case.
Our custom $2,914 configuration offers the same CPU, GPU and RAM, but with a 512GB SSD, a 2TB hard drive, Thermaltake Riing fans and a Phanteks Enthoo Evolv case.
The system's price will fluctuate depending on what you choose to customize. For example, I knocked down the cost of the PC to just $1,299 by picking a GTX 1060 GPU, 8GB of RAM and a Ryzen 5 processor -- all of which are perfectly good parts for mainstream and VR gaming. There are dozens of case and fan options to choose from, as well as various lighting and decal options that will run you anywhere from $19 to $49.
It almost seems unfair to call the CyberPower Gamer Master 9500 a traditional desktop -- it's more of a platform that lets you build exactly the kind of PC you need for a fair price. With its dozens of case, fan and aesthetic options, and support for the highest-end AMD Ryzen and Nvidia GTX graphics cards, you'll have no trouble building the 9500 into a modest gaming machine or a VR workhorse.
If simplicity and style is your thing, you might be better suited to the Alienware Aurora or the Corsair One, both of which come in a limited number of configurations that take the guesswork out of things. But if you're the type of PC gamer who likes to pore over every every single spec and part until you've come up with the ultimate rig, CyberPower's Gamer Master is what you're looking for.
Photo credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.