There are many options for anyone who wants to spend less than $ 1500 on a rig. These entry-level gaming PCs provide a good foundation for future upgrades, but also mean you won’t miss out on playing the latest games like Elden Ring in decent settings.
Personally, I think these PCs are often more interesting to check out than your $ 4000 bruiser that will play any game in 4K and beyond. Although they are fun to mess with, the reality is that most people do not have that kind of scratch on their bank accounts. The real challenge for system builders is to provide a solid gaming experience, with the right components, for those without unlimited funds.
Named after the Egyptian god of war, $ 1500 ($ 1494 to be exact) CLX Set gaming PC (opens in new tab) want to place at the top of the pack in a crowded field of PCs all looking for space on your desktop. This compact gaming PC gives a good first impression out of the box, but just like the ancient Egyptian gods, they can be fickle gods.
The build I received is from the CLX Set series desktops in a small form factor, micro ATX cover. There is a fairly in-depth PC configurator on the site that allows you to determine pretty much every component down to closed loop options for liquid cooling.
There are small boxes that tell you what kind of frame rate you can expect from a handful of games. I would like to see some more modern games used in this type of sub-selector functions on system builder sites. I’m sure GTA V is still very popular, but it’s also almost a decade old.
CLX Set specifications
PROCESSOR: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7 GHz Hexa Core
Cooling: CLX Quench 120 closed liquid cooler
Motherboard: ASRock A520M-HV5 Micro ATX
Memory: 16 GB (2x 8 GB) XPG DDR4-3600
Graphics: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 12GB
Storage: 1TB Seagate Barracuda QS NVMe M.2 SSD
Power: 750W 80+ Bronze Gamdias Kratos M1 RGB
Warranty: 1 year parts / lifetime work
Price: $ 1498 (opens in new tab)
I was able to make a duplicate of the Set PC I was sent to the configurator to see what kind of lead time I would get, which worked after about two weeks. There does not seem to be much labeling on components either. Hell, even the GPUs seem affordable (opens in new tab) which is becoming more and more a welcome sight.
CLX also offers ready-made PCs that they can get to you in a few days, even if they are not customizable, which is quite common practice.
Inside this PC are nicely packaged components that ensure no space is wasted in the white CLX Mini-ITX chassis, with the necessary side panel in tempered glass. Between the RAM and 120 mm fans, the RGB-charged components give a hell of a light show in the cramped rooms, which are controlled by software, or the LED button on the front panel.
Speaking of components, a AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (opens in new tab), 16 GB RAM and an RTX 3060 GPU driver set. We’ve seen how well GeForce RTX 3060 (opens in new tab) works as a lower budget GPU on these systems and this time is no different. The Ryzen 5 CPU, on the other hand, failed the task, as you will soon see.
Despite the lack of space, the CLX still manages to pack a full RTX 3060 GPU with some space left over. It is a strange reversal from the system Redux sent, which had a motherboard and components dimensioned for a much smaller box, despite the fact that it sat in a medium-sized chassis and left an unusually large amount of empty space in the PC.
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As you can see from the benchmarks, the set’s closest rivals are the ones mentioned Redux ‘God’ PC and NZXT Streaming PC in performance. Surprisingly, the set’s CPU benchmark score lags a bit behind the slightly cheaper competitors. It was strange to see it score less than the NZXT Streaming PC (which has the same CPU). The set was warmer than the others by a few degrees, which may explain some of its disappointing performance.
Fortunately, the set performed a little better compared to our gaming standards, and mostly went neck and neck with Redux and NZXTs PCs (both with RTX 3060 GPUs). The only game that seemed to shine was Hitman 3, which had almost a dozen pictures on average over the competition. Everything else was a few pictures above or below the usual prized enemies.
Where I saw the system battle was to drive F1 2021. For some reason CLX crashed every time I tried to run benchmark, and even attempts to start a fast race resulted in a crash of the software type, not the car type. Usually, when I have problems with a PC, it is usually Metro Exodus that is the pain point; which went well without any problems.
Hitman 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn did not see any of these issues either. Though, if you think about 1440p games, the set’s performance was not so good. So stick to 1080p, which is the resolution where the RTX 3060 does its best work, and the only place where you can consistently beat over 60 fps at medium to high settings in most modern games.
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I was happy to see a 1TB SSD for storage; recently, the systems we have been sent in this price range only offered 500 GB SSDs, which honestly is not enough for a current player’s library of games and media. It is always our recommendation when considering anything less than 1 TB to immediately upgrade the storage when trying to price out a system for yourself.
A major concern is the noise level of the set, which it is safe to say is not quiet. The small system is surprisingly loud even when idling. There was a constant high sum of the five 120 mm fans that worked overtime. It’s one thing to hear some noise during a demanding game, but just watch Netflix? It can be a breach of contract for some. For me, it was the noise that flowed into my game chats and job interviews that rubbed me the wrong way.
Another common drawback with these recent $ 1500 builds we’ve reviewed has been the lack of USB Type-C ports on the front and back panels. A place where NZXT Streaming PC stood out. Given that USB Type-C is the best way to get the most out of devices such as external SSDs, webcams and microphones, it’s always a shock not to see them. But hey, I try to keep costs low and motherboards can be expensive.
CLX’s Set Scarab is a nice micro-ATX system, with decent 1080p gaming performance, for $ 1500. However, the system’s noise levels and overwhelming CPU display do not make the machine very convincing considering what else is available out there for the same price.