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.
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.