It is no secret that video games are a huge market and while most of us prescribe to the PCMasterRace there is a few that prefer the soft feel of a game controller in their hand and warm glow of a bigscreen on their face. As many of you know Steam is an online game repository that will help you maintain your game library while also giving you a convenient way to make new game purchases. It is also bound to a PC meaning that Steam games won't run on your Xbox of PlayStation.
In this review we looked at the SYBER Gaming Vapor A. This is a windows based gaming console built following the Steam Machine concept of having a small form factor PC powerful enough to play games in the home theater space. The Vapor console is extremely easy to use thanks in part to the Steam “Big Picture” mode and is available in a variety of different configurations.
The entire interface is sitting on top of a full build of Windows 8.1 giving you the ability to not only game on the big screen but also do normal PC tasks like check email, instant message and surf the web.
Steam Machines have been shrouded in a veil of mystery since their mainstream announcement at CES 2014. Many claim they are nothing more than a HTPC with a video card while others cannot seem to grasp why you would want a dedicated gaming computer in your living room. As a PC and hardware enthusiasts we recognize that computers can be built for special purposes and yet others try to blur the lines. For instance you can do a quick google search and find hardware sites showing you how to build a SteamBox and every single one is nothing more than a SFF PC created with a mismatch of incompatible parts. Sure it will play games but they often try to hard to make the machines “universal” based on reader comments like “will this play movies?” or “can I install my capture card?”
These are not the purpose of a Steam Machine and the thing you have to remember is that gaming computers are loud and the last thing you want while watching “Game of Thrones” is a noisy fan in the background. Eventually people will understand that and we believe the SYBER Gaming Vapor consoles are a good step in the right direction.
In terms of hardware the SYBER Gaming Vapor features many off the shelf components like a Mini ITX motherboard, desktop processor, discrete graphics card and SFX power supply. You will get between a 500GB and 1TB hard drive depending on the version and no internal optical drive. Given that Steam games are distributed over the Internet there is no reason for optical storage. Now before you get all excited you are given at least four USB 3.0 ports which can support any off the shelf USB storage including, wait for it, BluRay players and burners.
Our review unit was the entry level Vapor A and featured a quad core Athlon processor and Radeon R9 270. In terms of raw computing power it is not the greatest and often struggled running games natively. If we streamed the game it worked extremely well and led us to believe that SYBER console may work best as a complement to another gaming system on the network. By streaming your games you are no longer limited by the console hardware but by network speed and power of the host computer. In our case the host computer was quite powerful running a Core i7 4930K and GTX 780 Classified. With that combo every game we played streamed at 1080p @ 60fps and with the settings typical of a computer running a Core i7 4930K and GTX 780 Classified.
There are currently three versions of the Vapor gaming console and while the $599.99 pricetag of the Vapor A might seem appealing don’t discredit the Vapor I or even Vapor Xtreme. Not only do they come with a more powerful processors but feature NVIDIA graphics out of the box. We’re not 100% certain that NVIDIA has fixed the HDMI scaling issues when connected to television displays but, you can always customize the console at CyberPowerPC and change it to whatever you want.
Small Form Factor
Available in Black or White
Choice of AMD or Intel Hardware
Option: Xtreme Edition with Devils Canyon at GTX 980
Supports High-End Graphics
Gamepad and Mini Keyboard Included
Can be Overclocked
AMD hardware in Vapor A
Needs better cooling
Noisy under load