CyberPower Syber Vapor PC Gaming Console Review

Introduction and Specifications

Had things gone to plan, Steam Machines would be a shipping product by now. However, Valve threw a wrench into the works when it decided that more time was needed to tweak its custom Linux-based Steam OS and fine tune the platform's accompanying Steam Controller. That decision left several partnering OEMs and boutique system builders in limbo, as they had already put in the necessary R&D to develop living room boxes that would serve as official Steam Machines.

CyberPower Syber Vapor Turned On

Hence a new category was born -- the PC gaming console. Systems like the Syber Vapor are full-fledged PCs stuffed inside console-sized cases that could have and would have served as Steam Machines. Since they lack Steam OS, they're not official Steam Machines, but they are intended for the living room where they'll mate with your large screen HDTV. The Syber Vapor that we're looking at here even boots directly into Steam's Big Picture mode, a 10-foot user interface that was designed specifically for this purpose. What we mean by a "10-foot user interface" is that it's an appropriate GUI for sitting on your couch and navigating the menus with a gamepad.

It even comes with a Logitech F710 controller and a mini QWERTY keyboard with integrated touchpad that you can upgrade to a Logitech K400, which is also a mini plank with a touchpad. When you're not gaming, Windows 8.1 provides a front-end for streaming and other Internet-based activities like Netflix, Hulu, Skype, web browsing, and the list goes on. You could type up a TPS report or put together a PowerPoint presentation if you really wanted to, though the focus here is living room entertainment, same as it is with an Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

CyberPower Syber Vapor

There are several different configurations you can choose from, and through a partnership with CyberPower, you can also customize a Syber Vapor console to your liking and budget. The system we received rocks a glossy black chassis (white is also available) with an Intel Core i5-4690K processor inside, along with 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, Samsung 850 Evo Series 250GB solid state drive, 1TB hard drive (7,200 RPM), and an EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW ACX 2.0 graphics card with 4GB of onboard memory.

That's a strong foundation for a gaming PC, especially for pushing pixels around a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) display, a common native resolution for a living room television. If you're an early adopter of a 4K Ultra HD TV, a faster graphics card would suit you better, and if you have the funds, you can even opt for NVIDIA's recently announced GeForce GTX Titan X.

On the following pages, we'll take a closer look at the Syber Vapor that CyberPower pieced together for us and discuss if it's worth buying a living room console versus waiting for official Steam Machines to arrive this fall. But first, a look at the full system specs of our review unit.
Cyberpower Syber Vapor PC Gaming Console
Specifications & Features
Cooling System

Front Ports
Rear Ports
Power Supply
Operating System
Manufacturer Warranty

Intel Core i5 4690K (3.5GHz, 6MB cache)
EVGA FTW Edition ACX 2.0 GeForce GTX 970 (4GB GDDR5) 
16GB DDR3 1600MHz
Intel Z97
Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet
Samsung 850 Evo Series 250GB SSD
1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)
802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0; Dual GbE LAN
Power button; 2 x USB 3.0; 1 x USB 2.0; 1 x headphone; 1 x microphone
4 x USB 3.0; 2 x USB 2.0; 2 x HDMI; 1 x PS/2; 2 x Gigabit LAN; Optical S/PDIF out; Analog audio; DVI
Silverstone ST45SF-G 450W 80 Plus Gold Certified
Windows 8.1 64-bit
Logitech F710 Gamepad; Logitech K400 Keyboard w/ Touchpad; HDMI cable
13.81 x 13.58 x 3.88 inches / 351mm x 345mm x 98.5mm
36 pounds / 16.33kg
$1,533 (as configured) - Find Syber Systems @ Amazon

CyberPower carries half a dozen starting configurations, the least expensive of which starts at $549 for an AMD-based system and the most expensive checking in at $1,499 (Haswell). There are several upgrade options along the way, so if you have the budget for a higher end setup, CyberPower will certainly take your money and throw more and/or faster hardware into the mix.

You even have a few motherboard choices, all of which are mini ITX. The board in our configuration is a Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WiFi, a fairly robust mobo with built-in Wi-Fi, dual GbE LAN ports, half a dozen rear USB ports (2 x USB 2.0; 4 x USB 3.0), and several other amenities.

There are a boatload of accessories you can add as well, things likes monitors, speakers, headsets, mice, keyboards, webcams, USB hubs, and more. If you don't want to run an Ethernet cable to your PC console and your motherboard selection doesn't have onboard Wi-Fi, one thing to consider is a USB wireless adapter, of which CyberPower carries several at competitive price points.

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