Gaming, streaming, podcasting and any other number of things requiring a computer have become more popular than ever since the start of the pandemic. As a result, PC parts became scarce and, when they were available, they were priced through the roof. Thanks to this, more and more people are looking to companies who sell custom PC builds.
One of these companies is CLX, based out of Wichita, Kansas, that launched in 2016. Their designs cater to the PC gamer and content creator alike, and they look good while doing it. Their builds are some of the best looking that I have seen on the market. Their custom cases and RGB layout make them an instant eye-catcher in any stream room or home office.
Product prices range from the more modest hobbyist to the extreme gamer/creator and everything in between to satisfy anyone’s needs. While their models come with a predetermined set of parts, you can customize the order to upgrade any aspect of the PC build, from the chassis to the RGB to any of the core components of the PC. Rather than move up to the next model to get the GPU of your dreams, you can get a more affordable model and make the single upgrade.
I had the opportunity to test the CLX Ra Gaming PC, equipped with the following:
Chassis: RA Evolv X Mid Tower (Silver)
Motherboard: ASRock Z590 Steel Legend ATX
CPU: Intel i7 11700K 3.60GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 12GB GDDR6 GPU
RAM: 16GB of DDR4 (2x8GB)
Storage: 500gb NVMe SSD and an additional 4TB HDD for secondary storage
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G5 – 80 Plus Gold 75
Cooling: 7x CLX RGB Fans and CLX Quench 360 Closed Liquid Cooler
First off, I just marvelled at how pretty the build of the CLX Ra was. Cable management was cleaner than I could ever hope to do on my own. It really is an art form (or a craft of more talented and more patient people). The Chassis side door opened on a hinge, so I could easily access the inside without tools, which was a wonderful little perk that I didn’t even know existed. The RGB design in the case and on the fans glowed through the chassis and was so beautiful that I wish my desk was bigger to make the CLX Ra7 a focal point of my stream.
I also had to note the size of the CLX Ra. This was a huge PC. Despite being called a mid-tower, it was too tall to fit where I put my usual PC, so I had to improvise. The RGB brings the PC to life, but you would never know it if all you were doing was listening. The machine was whisper-quiet and its temperature never topped 42 degrees Celsius. Those traits of the cooling system alone were enough to make me upset that I’d eventually have to go back to my own machine.
Startup times were lightning fast with the NVMe drive, but to really put this thing through its paces, I had to work on it like I normally would on my own PC. This meant an unhealthy amount of gaming, streaming, video production and editing to test its real-world capabilities.
“Their custom cases and RGB layout make them an instant eye catcher in any stream room or home office.”
For gaming, I played a number of rounds of Fortnite and Apex Legends, being at different ends of the spectrum of games in terms of their burden on your GPU. Fortnite, being a light game, I maxed out the settings to see how far I could push it. Playing on 1080p, I managed an average of about 220fps, maxing out at over 300fps in some isolated scenarios. In Apex, which is notably tougher on a GPU, I averaged around 85 fps on Ultra settings.
Streaming to Twitch from OBS, I ran a 1080p stream using my full complement of on-stream elements, browser sources and peripherals and experienced zero dropped frames from rendering/encoding and zero network frames (except the one time when I was streaming via Wi-Fi, but my ignorance should not hurt the CLX Ra’s reputation).
Video production was done via OBS and Elgato’s 4K capture utility, often running at the same time, so I could catch a full screen version of myself while, at the same time, capturing another screen. This also resulted in no dropped frames or lag of any kind. I shoot my video in 4K, so capturing it twice with no issues was nice to see.
I use DaVinci Resolve for editing my videos. I edit in 1080p and usually put a heavy load on the CLX Ra with the layers of graphics, colour correction, audio, and sheer length of some videos (I talk a lot, surprise). My average render time of a twenty-five-minute video was, on average, about seven minutes. Also, the playback of my unrendered timeline was always in real time. There was never any lagging to speak of.
Price is always a concern with custom PCs such as this, but given the current state of the PC marketplace, you could end up paying a lot more if you tried to source some of these parts on your own. The fact that CLX can provide you with such hard-to-get parts, not overcharge for them and do a beautiful job integrating it all for you, the current value of that service is undeniable.