CyberPower’s Arcus 34 Pro is a unique beast: a huge all-in-one PC with a curved 34in monitor that sits in front of a GTX 1080 and Core i7 processor. The screen is a PLS model, which is Samsung’s version of IPS, so it should have great color accuracy, reasonable contrast and decent viewing angles. The screen is also coated with a glossy layer rather than a matte finish.
Meanwhile, the Core i7-6700K processor runs its four Hyper-Threaded cores at their stock speed of 4GHz – one core can use Turbo Boost to hit 4.2GHz – and there’s 16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 memory and a GTX 1080 running at its stock speed of 1607MHz. The tight confines don’t just mean no overclocking either – they also mean a low-profile CPU cooler. CyberPower has used a Phanteks PH-TC90LS, which has a tiny heatsink topped with a 90mm fan.
The cramped interior also mean CyberPower has used a mini-ITX motherboard, but it still has plenty of features. The Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 has dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, USB 3.1, an empty M.2 connector and a built-in audio amplifier. Its backplate also offer Killer Gigabit Ethernet and four USB 3 ports. Being a mini-ITX board, though, there aren’t any PCI-E slots beyond the one already occupied, and both memory slots are already filled.
The rest of the space behind the screen is given over to daughterboards and other bits of hardware. There are two 5W speakers, an extension socket and cable for the GPU, a small board to handle the SSD, and another board that handles interfacing between the graphics card and the display. There are two power supplies too, but only one power cable is needed – an extension feeds electricity to the smaller unit that powers the screen.
It’s all inside a chassis that mixes metal with plastic. However, while the metal legs are sturdy, the plastic backing is flimsy. It also looks plain, with a wide bezel and a simple CyberPower logo in one corner. It’s not ugly, but the latest curved monitors with thin bezels look much more stylish.
CyberPower is going to build the Arcus with a huge range of alternative components, including any processor from a Pentium to a Core i7, and a choice of five different motherboards. There’s huge variety in storage and memory configurations available too, and similarly broad choices are available for different GPUs.
Finally, the Arcus is protected by the usual CyberPower warranty: a three year labour deal with two years of parts coverage, with the first month offering collect and return cover.
The screen sounds great on paper, but its benchmark results at factory settings were disappointing. The color temperature of 11,023K is far beyond the 6,500K ideal, with an obvious, distracting blue pall. That’s no surprise, as the panel has its 9,300K color temperature mode selected by default. Colours weren’t accurate, either: the average delta E of 12.94 is wayward, and the Gamma of 2.06 is short of the 2.2 benchmark. The final issue is brightness: the 116cd/m2 backlight level is weak, which leaves the screen looking dim.
That latter issue is fixed by upping the backlight setting from its default of 30 to 75, which improved the brightness measurement to 204cd/m2, while contrast remained at an impressive 1,854:1 – a figure that helped to deliver plenty of punch to lighter tones while serving darker areas with ample depth. Colors were still a problem, though, with the temperature and delta E figures largely unchanged.
The panel performed poorly when its Gaming mode was selected too, with the average delta E dropping to 15.35 and the panel’s black level lightening to 0.2cd/m2, resulting in worse color reproduction and a lack of depth in dark areas. These issues were only rectified by calibration, which was achieved by fiddling with a multitude of settings: we pushed the green slider up a few notches, increasing the brightness and selected the panel’s 6,500K color option.
Benchmarks improved, with consistent contrast, a good average delta E of 1.18 and a revised color temperature of 8,232K. That’s still cool, but it doesn’t leave the screen looking blue, and the calibrated panel is far more suited to playing games – graphics have more punch and accuracy, and contrast remains excellent. It’s possible to get the panel to behave in games, but it takes a fair bit of work.
At least the screen uniformity is reasonable. The panel only loses up to 13 per cent of its brightness in its furthest corners, which is good for an ultra-wide panel – and the screen’s curves are angled towards the user, which lowers the risk of dodgy patches appearing. It’s fast-responding, too, with an input lag measurement of 11.8ms, lower than the ideal 20ms for gaming panels.
The screen is disappointing, but the Arcus improves in other benchmarks. Its lowest minimum frame rate at its native resolution of 3440 x 1,440 was 43fps in Crysis 3, and it stayed above 60fps in The Witcher 3. The stock-speed Core i7 is no slouch either, with solid scores in every benchmark. The speakers proved surprising too. They lack a little bass and volume, as there’s no subwoofer, but they outputted nuanced and rich mid-range and high-end sound.
However, the other sound that emerges from the Arcus isn’t as pleasant. The fans become louder and modulate their tones up and down even during light workloads, and the machine is louder still during games testing. It’s on a par with a loud gaming desktop. The noise wasn’t the only issue here. The tiny CPU cooler saw the i7-6700K hit a toasty delta T of 73°C, which meant that Turbo Boost didn’t work – the chip stalled at 4GHz. Meanwhile, the GPU delta T topped out at 61°C, which isn’t dangerous, but it’s hot for a GTX 1080.
CyberPower’s all-in-one machine is a great idea in principle, saving space to make room for a massive screen. However, it needs a great-quality screen to make the design work, and the one in the Arcus suffers from issues with color accuracy and temperature. The exterior also has a dull design and uninspiring build quality.
On the plus side, while the form factor limits the spec, with a mini-ITX motherboard and stock-speed components, there’s no doubting the gaming power on offer – you’ll be able to play games at the screen’s native resolution with no trouble – it’s much more powerful than you’d expect for an all-in-one PC, and the use of standard components also means it’s upgradable. However, at this price, you could buy an overclocked desktop with the same components and a much better screen. It’s a great idea, but the reality doesn’t quite meet expectations.