iBuypower Gamer Mage 855: a Quad-core Dual-GPU Gaming System for $1,499

When the PC universe first began to embrace parallelism, systems with multi-core CPUs and multiple graphics cards were the kind of thing that made an enthusiast’s mouth water. It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of a system with four processor cores and two GPUs seemed like the type of wonder-box reserved for the elite few who could afford the best fringe tech available.

ibuypower gamer mage

Prices have indeed fallen. Today a quad-core Phenom CPU can be had for less than $200, and dual-GPU video cards, like the Radeon 3870 X2, can be purchased for less than the single GPU GeForce 8800 GTX cost on release.

With dropping prices, it was inevitable that OEM distributors would assemble systems with multiple CPU cores and GPUs at prices well within the reach of the average PC buyer. Today, we detail the results of our tests of the iBuypower Gamer Mage 855, complete with 20” monitor for $1,500.

When iBuypower sent us a system called the “Gamer Mage 855,” we assumed it was one of their standard system packages. We were naturally puzzled when we couldn’t find it on their Website, so George Yang at iBuypower let us know that it’s soon to be released as a pre-packaged system on iBuypower.com. Apparently, the folks at iBuypower are waiting for increased availability of the system’s Thermaltake Armor+ MX aluminum gaming case before launching the machine.

“Even though our site does have some basic configurations and models to start with, our site caters to mostly custom builds,” Yang said. “So, technically, the Gamer Mage 855 system can be ordered already by using the AMD configurator link and choosing those specific parts on the specs.”

This kind of made-to-order customization is a lot of fun to play with for a potential purchaser, but it is good to know that a real-world buyer could swap and replace as they see fit, assuming they’re willing to pay for the difference. We’re not quite sure we’d choose the same components iBuypower did for the Gamer Mage 855, but it certainly makes for an interesting budget gaming system, and we’re happy to put this combination to the test.

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  • Anonymous
    You forgot to mention that the XPS 630 comes with an nvidia 650i mobo. Not exactly the bleeding edge of motherboard technology. Cyberpower, allows you to purchase a motherboard with better upgradeability. It's unfortunate that cyberpower gets such reviews at well known sites, because their customer service is notoriously bad. It seems they spend a long time testing the builds they send to reviewers, but shirk the work when it comes to building for the actual consumers (see reseller ratings: cyberpower). I believe that both companies fall short: Dell, because the system lacks the option to get a better motherboard, and Cyberpower, for it's shoddy craftsmanship.
  • Anonymous
    very true! you can't have it all... if you really did want a great build and maybe customer service, try alienware. im not sure how they are with cs but i know their products match quality... prices may be a bit high though but for me, i'll stick with custom builds!
  • Gryphyn
    Just an FYI for the authors, Supreme Commander will take advantage of multiple cores, but it has two main threads that use the most CPU power, the first and largest being the AI thread, and the second being the effects thread. Because these threads are so power hungry is why you see a dual core system with higher clocks outperforming a quad with lower clocks. The two main threads are banging their heads against the lower clocked cores, even if the rest of the minor processing can go to cores 3 and 4.
  • cleeve
    Actually Gryphin, from what I've seen Supreme Commander shows huge boosts up to three cores, it's the forth core that shows minimal gains.

    Check out this test at behardware:
    http://www.behardware.com/articles/660-3/supreme-commander-benchmark.html

    1 core: 3.5 fps
    2 cores: 6.6
    3 cores: 12.9
    4 cores: 13.1

    The third core still doubled the FPS!
  • Anonymous
    "While it?s true that the Dell performed a little better in some games in our benchmarks, we do feel that the iBuypower system might have suffered from some specific RTS titles in our benchmark suite and that many other games might show the Gamer Mage 855 system in a stronger light. Indeed, the Radeon 3870 X2 gives the iBuypower system some real gaming credibility for its attractive price."

    What are you talking about? To me it's pretty clear that the Dell outperformed the iBuyPower rig and in some cases by a far margin. Even at higher resultions where the ATI card is supposed the shine it's not like it beat down the Dell. One thing to keep in mind is that those who are looking for a low end gaming rig are not going to have 24"+ sized monitors to run the high resolutions that it would take to get performance better than the dell. Plus, the dell is cheaper.

    I kind of think the conclusion here was really taking it easy on iBuyPower. Honestly they're going to have to work harder to come up with something that is truely competitve in the market.
  • Gryphyn
    Hmm, that is interesting.
  • Anonymous
    The Dell "budget" system sucks. For the price anyone could build something much better. They are using PC-5300 RAM for godsakes!
  • Anonymous
    The Dell system blows. They are using PC-5300 RAM? Anyone could build something much better for the price. I dont want to even think what quality is in a "dell" 750w PSU
  • samprasfan
    You can actually get a really good deal from Dell if you take the time to look for good discounts. For a buddy of mine, I made an Inspiron 530 with a Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz RAM, 500GB HD, a 22" LCD, and of course the 16x DVD+/-RW, case, MB, keyboard/mouse, and Windows license that runs up the cost of a regular computer, for right around 900$ with shipping and tax. I left it with the onboard video, and bought an 8800GT and a very nice 650W power supply from newegg for 300$, bringing the grand total to 1200$ for a computer that would own the Gamer Mage, and compete with/beat the XPS. I couldn't find the parts cheap enough to beat this deal building it myself, taking everything into account. If you're just upgrading, sure, do it yourself. But starting from scratch, this is a cheap, nearly labor-free way to go.