iBuypower Chimera 4SE FX Ultimate: AMD Gaming PC

Introduction and Specifications

iBuypower is offering an AMD-based system in its Chimera 4SE line, which is designed to give users serious gaming performance without a wallet-busting price tag. The Chimera is part of iBuypower’s Signature Series, which includes iBuypower’s highest-priced and most powerful gaming systems, like the Revolt and Valkyrie.

So, what makes a desktop PC a Chimera 4SE? The chassis, for one thing. The Chimera has a custom chassis with unique artwork that makes the Chimera easily identifiable. (We talk more about the chassis on the next page.) Overclocking is another Chimera feature. The system comes with a 10% factory overclock “with room for more,” according to iBuypower. Also, the Chimera is designed to be customizable: iBuypower offers a wide range of components in the Chimera’s online configurator, and the case’s size and layout are meant to make upgrading easy.

Let’s start by looking at the components in our review unit.

iBuypower Chimera 4SE FX Ulitmate
Specifications & Features
 AMD FX-9590 Eight-Core AM3+, 4.7GHz (5.0GHz Turbo) with 8MB L2 Cache & Turbo Core
 Memory:  16GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1600  (8GB x2)
 Graphics:  AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GBD5-2DHV3 PowerColor (x2 CrossFire)
 ASRock 990FX Extreme9
 240GB Corsair Force GS SSD
 2TB Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 7200 RPM HDD
 Optical:  24X DVDRW
 Power Supply:
 1000W NZXT Hale90 V2 80+ Gold Modular
 Chassis:  iBUYPOWER Chimera Inferno 4SE
 Cooling System:
 120mm iBUYPOWER Liquid Cooling
 Gigabit LAN
 Front Ports:
 USB 3.0 (x2), USB 2.0 (x2), Mic, Headphone, Fan Controller
 Rear Ports:
 USB 3.0 (x4), USB 2.0 (x4), eSATA3 (x2), SPDIF (x2), PS/2 (x2), LAN, FireWire, Audio, CMOS Clear  Switch
 Windows 8 64-bit
 Warranty:  3-Year Standard Warranty
 Price:  $2,745

The centerpiece of the Chimera 4SE FX Ultimate is an all AMD-based CPU/GPU combo. The processor is a 4.7GHz (5.0GHz with Turbo), eight-core AMD FX-9590, designed with overclockers in mind. It’s cooled by a closed-loop liquid cooler, which seems to be the way most custom builders are going these days. That’s likely due to not only the headroom they give overclockers, but also to the stability of their relatively lightweight physical connections inside the case - when PCs take damage during shipping, heavy heatsinks are often to blame.

The two PowerColor Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards (linked together via CrossFire) are solid cards with the chops to handle today’s latest games. Given the system’s price tag, which is well under $3,000, we don’t expect the Chimera to break many records, but this CPU/GPU combo should put up worthwhile numbers nonetheless. If you’re looking for the new Radeon R9 290X, it should be available in the configurator by the time you read this.

The Chimera’s motherboard is an ASRock 990FX Extreme9, which supports up to 64GB of DDR3 memory via four slots. iBuypower opted for 16GB of G.Skill Ripjaws memory, which is a typical amount of RAM for a system in this price range. The storage situation also looks good for most gamers: a 240GB Corsair Force GS SSD handles Windows 8, while a Seagate Barracuda supplies 2TB of 7200 RPM storage. Powering the rig is a 1000W NZXT Hale90 V2 modular power supply.

The components in the Chimera sound about right for a system in this price range, and land near the top of the parts spectrum in iBuypower’s online configurator for the series. You can bump the memory to 32GB or speed it up to DDR3-2133 if you so choose, and you might want to snag a 512GB SSD if you have room in the budget.

iBuypower has a treasure trove of power supplies to choose from, though you’re not going to need a beefier PSU than the 1000W NZXT for this config. You can also add a media card reader – it’s a little surprising that one doesn’t come standard issue at this price, but it's a minor omission. There are also some interesting closed loop options for the CPU, and none of them add much to the overall system price.

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