For most users, off-the-shelf configurations are just fine. However, for more serious gamers, the more you can customize your gaming desktop, the better. While most OEMs have some customization options, they are typically pretty limited.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Our CLX Gaming review looks at a company that offers almost unlimited gaming desktop customization, hindered only by currently available components. We went through the configuration process and were sent a pretty loaded CLX RA gaming PC to test out, which I’ve been doing for the past couple of months. Read on for our full review!
NOTE: because of the number of customization options available on the CLX Gaming website, no two systems will be the same. Keep this in mind as the review score is based on the CLX RA we received, so your mileage will vary based on your configuration, especially when it comes to system design, performance, and price.
The CLX Gaming desktop computer we reviewed has the following features and specifications (configurable when ordering):
- Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900X 3.7GHz 12-Core
- Motherboard: ASRock X570 TAICHI – ATX
- Memory: 2x 16GB ADATA DDR4-3200 (Total 32GB Dual Channel Memory)
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3090 24GB GDDR6X
- Operating System Storage: 1TB Seagate Firecuda 520 NVMe M.2 SSD
- Secondary Storage: 4TB 3.5in Seagate Barracuda HDD
- Ports: 9x USB-A , 2x USB-C, 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 3.5mm audio, SPDIF
- Cooling Solution: CLX Temper Hard Line Open Liquid Cooling
- Chassis Selection: Ra Evolv X Foundry II Edition
- Chassis Custom Paint Exterior Paint Color: CLX Space Theme
- Chassis Fans: 7x CLX RGB Fan
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3 – 80 Plus Gold
- Power Supply Sleeved Cable: Sleeved Cable Set Black
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home (upgraded to Windows 11 Home)
- CLX Packaging: CLX Sarcophagus packaging
- Dimensions (w x h x d): 9 1/2″ x 20 3/4″ x 20″
What’s in the box
- CLX Sarcophagus packaging (CLS Special Wooden Cage Crate)
- Custom-built and configured CLX Gaming Desktop
- Additional component boxes (like motherboard) with documentation
- Any extra parts from selected components
- Bottle of concentrated liquid coolant with coolant refill bag
- Warranty (Free Lifetime Technical Support, Free Lifetime Labor Warranty, 1-3 Years Parts Warranty)
Where to start… the CLX Gaming configurator has an insane number of customization options. Usually, with OEMs, you get a few different “pre-built” configurations that you can then adjust the CPU, GPU, RAM, or storage. While CLX Gaming offers pre-built configurations as well, the sky (rather your pocketbook) is pretty much the limit when it comes to customization options. A great place to start is their pre-configured options, which you can then customize to your liking. Alternatively, you can start from scratch and configure your system from there.
Customization options include:
- Chassis: Standard or Foundry Chassis with Open Liquid Cooling, Exterior Custom Paint, Fan size and number, Internal lighting
- Core Components: Motherboard, Processor, Graphics Card, Memory, Power Supply, Power Supply Sleeved Cables, Operating System Storage, Secondary Storage, Secondary Storage RAID, RAID Controller, Sound Cards, Network Connectivity, Capture Cards/TV Tuners, HPC
- Performance: Cooling Solution, Thermal Compound (CLX Fluxx), CPU Overclocking, GPU Overclocking
- Software and Service: Operating System (W10 Home/Pro, W11 Home/Pro), Productivity Software (Office), Free to Play Games, Free CPU Based Games Promo, Free GPU Based Games Promo, Web Browser, Warranty (Free Lifetime Technical Support, Free Lifetime Labor Warranty, 1-3 Years Parts Warranty)
- Accessories: CLX Branded Gear, Keyboard, Mouse, Mouse Pad, Game Controllers, Headsets, Speakers, Display, Power Protection, Webcam, External Storage, CLX Packaging, USB Flash Drives, Wireless Router, Chairs
When building a custom computer, compatibility is key. During the process, if you select options that don’t work together, you will see a yellow button which will then guide you through resolving these conflicts. In addition, as you update your build, you can see what expected frame rates you can get at 1080p and 1440p resolutions for popular games like Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant, GTA V, World of Warcraft, and more.
Most configurations we tested out had a ship date of roughly 3-4 weeks, which isn’t too bad for a 100% custom gaming desktop build.
Before we get into design, the CLX RA Gaming Desktop arrived in a wooden crate. When I inquired further, this is indeed the CLX Sarcophagus packaging — a CLX Special Wooden Cage Crate. The crate is sturdy, has a padlock of sorts on it, and the front has a hinged door, making it easy to open and pull out your boxed gaming system.
As mentioned above, we were sent the CLX RA version, one of the higher-end cases offered by CLX Gaming. It’s a sizable and hefty gaming desktop, measuring roughly 9 1/2″ wide, 20 3/4″ in height, and 20″ in depth.
The front of the case juts out at the top and bottom, and the center panel floats in front of the three front case fans. LED lights run vertically down the left and right sides of the front panel. At the top is a hidden flap which, when pressed, opens to reveal two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, microphone and headset ports, as well as two buttons for controlling the front and bottom side LED lights. There is also an included remote that controls the LEDs for the fan. A minor issue but in the case of our review unit, you have to use three different options (the front buttons, remote, and software) to try and make your RGB LED lights across the system match. On that note, I opted for either a rotating rainbow array or a solid cyan blue.
Both side panels on the CLX RA custom gaming desktop are clear tempered glass panels. They are easy to open, simply grab the front metal piece on either side and gently pull away from the desktop unit. The hinged side panel opens, allowing for toolless access to the inside of your desktop. The inside of the system was also packed with 11 foam pieces which were wedged between the cooling tubes to prevent damage during shipping.
The top of the system has two side vents to allow airflow for the three fans on the inside top of our review unit. Centered, roughly two inches from the front, is the oval power button. A pair of finger screws are located on the back of the top panel to allow easy access to the top fans for replacement or upgrading. On the bottom, four rubber feet elevate the system for even more airflow. As for the back of the system, this is where you’ll find all your ports including (in this case), seven more USB-A ports, one USB-C port, one HDMI and three DisplayPort ports on the video card, 3.5mm sound card ports, an SPDIF port, and two connectors for the wireless network adapter. Towards the bottom is the standard power plug adapter for the power supply.
Once powered on, our review unit was pretty lit. As we requested a liquid-cooled system (my first experience with one), seven tubes are going to the various fans, the CPU, and GPU, as well as the internal cooling liquid reservoir. All seven fans light up, as well as the cooling reservoir, memory sticks, CPU cover, GPU cover, and a couple of spots on the ASRock X570 TAICHI ATX motherboard. Everything looks tidy, with cables tried together where needed, and fed through the best paths. There are a few free PCI and other slots available, although some, like the extra M.2 NVMe slots, are hidden under a plate on the motherboard, which has a built-in heatsink. While not a CLX Gaming issue, but rather one with the motherboard coupled with liquid cooling, if you want to add an extra M.2 NVMe SSD to our review configuration, you would have to drain the coolant out to do so.
One thing I will note, after about a week, I noticed the reservoir was lower than when I first got it. After closer inspection, I found that the coolant was leaking from one of the front fan tubes, near the bottom. A quick chat with support as I couldn’t figure out where the best spot to top up the coolant was, and they had me back up on my way. It was a good thing I called as well because they mentioned not to use the concentrated liquid coolant but rather use distilled water instead. The included coolant is provided for when you drain the system and refill it, diluting it with distilled water. At any rate, I checked the rest of the tube connectors and found a couple of others that were minorly loose and finger tightened them all. It’s hard to say if it was a result of the shipping or what, but since I checked them and refilled the reservoir, I had no issues with leaking.
Another option CLX Gaming offers is a custom exterior paint job. When I configured it, they suggested going with the CLX Space Theme. You can choose from several solid colours, but the Space Theme did look pretty cool — at least on the thumbnail on the company’s website. While the CLX RA did come with a custom space theme paint job on the front and top panels, there were planets and asteroids on it, none of which appeared on the website which showed more of a nebulous galaxy type paint job. The quality of the paint job, however, is pretty solid and while I wasn’t a huge fan, some people who saw it liked it.
While our review unit shipped with Windows 10 Home, I did get the prompt to upgrade to Windows 11 Home and did so. Windows 11 runs just fine on our system as configured. As far as I could tell, there were no real hits in gaming performance either.
There isn’t much in the way of bloatware installed on the system either. Based on the components I selected, the CLX RA also came with EVGA Precision X1 and ASRRGBLED apps installed. Precision X1 lets you view various system settings like your memory, fan, and GPU speeds and temperature, as well as overlock them where possible. On the other hand, the ASRock Polychrome Sync (ASRRGBLED) app is used to control and sync most of the interior lighting. As mentioned in the design section, you do need to manually “sync” your front LEDs with the inside based on the case setup. A minor inconvenience but depending on your tastes, it should be easy to come up with a lighting configuration to suit your tastes.
There’s no doubt the system that CLX Gaming sent us to review is a beast. With its AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900X 3.7GHz 12-Core processor, NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3090 24GB GDDR6X graphics card, 16GB ADATA DDR4-3200 RAM, and 1TB Seagate Firecuda 520 NVMe M.2 SSD, I expected nothing but stellar gaming performance from it. I have several different monitors and screen resolutions to test it on and test it I did. Here are the average framerates for the games I tested:
|Call of Duty: Warzone||180 fps||150 fps||140 fps||125 fps||97 fps|
|Dirt 5||171 fps||140 fps||119 fps||90 fps||92 fps|
|Forza Horizon 4||215 fps||204 fps||177 fps||160 fps||158 fps|
|Forza Horizon 5||118 fps||106 fps||95 fps||72 fps||83 fps|
|Gears 5||163 fps||136 fps||113 fps||86 fps||75 fps|
|Gears Tactics||187 fps||149 fps||113 fps||83 fps||75 fps|
|Heroes of the Storm||295 fps||250 fps||220 fps||185 fps||195 fps|
|Middle-Earth: Shadow of War||217 fps||180 fps||124 fps||128 fps||137 fps|
|Tomb Raider||278 fps||244 fps||176 fps||148 fps||157 fps|
|Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Riverside)||249 fps||217 fps||198 fps||152 fps||173 fps|
|Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Lab X)||156 fps||155 fps||130 fps||122 fps||146 fps|
|World War Z (with Vulkan enabled)||319 fps||250 fps||unsupported||unsupported||140 fps|
As you can see, the CLX RA gaming desktop, as configured, performed quite well for gaming on several different resolutions. In addition, it was quite handy for photo and video work using Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere. Again, depending on your configuration, your results will vary, but as mentioned before, the configurator does display what kind of FPS you can expect with various popular games at 1080p or 1440p resolutions.
Custom gaming computers on CLX Gaming start at around US$749/CA$966. Our review unit, as configured, cost a whopping US$6,823/CA$8,801 (note: this price fluctuates due to individual component pricing). Not including accessories, I was even able to build a system that came to a staggering US$19,000/CA$25,000. Of course, the only limit here is your pocketbook. There did seem to be a bit of a premium attached to some of the components based on the cost of purchasing them from another retailer. However, the company is also building the system for you, configuring it, and overclocking it if requested — so you know it will work properly once you receive it
My question was: are people actually spending that much money on these custom gaming rigs? While configuring my review system, every so often a popup would appear letting me know that so-and-so from such-and-such a place just purchased a specific build. Clicking on it brought up the build they configured and the gamut was all over the map. The lowest configuration I recall seeing that someone ordered was around CA$2,500 and the most expensive was just over CA$10,000.
If you are an avid gamer and looking to get into gaming desktop customization, CLX Gaming offers plenty of options and price points from the affordable to the lucrative for those with deeper pockets. Based on the number of customization options available, customer support experience, and performance of our review unit, they are an easy company to recommend and well-deserving of an Editor’s Choice Award here at Techaeris.
NOTE: Some of the pros/cons are specific to our CLX RA review unit, based on the components we configured it with. Your mileage will vary, but overall, the configuration process was easy to navigate and, as configured, our review unit performed admirably.
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Last Updated on February 21, 2022.
- Easy case access for upgrading (CLX RA)
- Many customization options with conflict solver
- Future proof upgradeability
- Great customer support
- Plenty of ports in our configuration
- Excellent performance in our configuration
- Solid shipping crate (CLX Sarcophagus)
- Requires three controllers for RGBs
- Component availability is hit and miss
- Can be a bit pricier than other options