When it comes to desktop gaming PCs, there are many possibilities. The mainstream route is going with something like the HP Omen 30L. It packs some serious hardware, looks fantastic, and is easy to upgrade. At the other end of the PC building spectrum is DIY — spending hours and days building your own custom platform.
In between those two extremes is CLX Gaming.
Owned and operated in Wichita, Kansas, under CybertronPC, CLX Gaming makes custom-built PCs, including laptops, for anyone with particular tastes and wants. The company offered Windows Central carte blanche to configure and try one of its builds. Let's say we really took them up on the offer.
This article is the first part on the CLX Ra — arguably one of the most impressive and gorgeous-looking desktop PCs we have experienced. It weighs 55 pounds and costs over $7,300: a true monster.
Here is what it is like to order one and get it in the mail.
CLX Ra: Configuring and ordering
Most hardcore PC enthusiasts argue for building your own desktop system. After all, it's fun, often cheaper, and you learn a lot about computers. That's how I did it 20 years ago, and it helped me get to where I am today.
But today's DIY PC scene is so much more complex. If you are new to it, you can spend weeks and months preparing for the right machine. It is exhausting, and frankly, mainly a young-persons hobby as putting time aside in your teens and 20s is much easier than in your 40s (speaking from experience). I also know nothing of setting up a water-cooled system or doing boutique cable management — it's not simple stuff if you're new to it.
The ordering process for a CLX PC is, likewise, reflective of today's abundance of components. You could pick a pre-built system from them and call it a day. Or you could go down the route of choosing a case size and going through the insane à la carte menu to build your own.
That's what we did and went with the CLX Ra — the biggest full-tower you can go with from the site. And it is big — it's nearly 2 feet tall!
The sheer number of options provided by CLX is almost overwhelming. After picking Ra, we had to choose either standard chassis or liquid cooling. We, of course, chose the latter. Between both categories, though, there was an astounding 19 options. We still had to pick exterior paint design (11 choices), finish (three choices), technique (four choices), fans (13), and lighting (three).
Then it came to the "core components," which includes CPU, motherboard, GPU, memory, power supply, cabling, storage, RAID, sound controller … this is absurdly awesome. You can't complain that CLX doesn't give you a choice.
CPU options range from Intel 11th Gen Core i7 and i9 (17 options) to Ryzen 7, 9, and even Threadripper (11 picks).
All of this is exhausting but also impressive. CLX is doing what most DIY builders do, except the labor and shipping are all done by them. Sure, you pay for that, but the system I ended up building was never one I could put together without extensive research (and maybe even practice), to wit:
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Case||Ra Evolve X Foundry II Edition|
CLX Jasper technique
|Motherboard||ASRock Z590 Taichi Wi-Fi|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-11900K (3.5GHz)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB/GDDR6X|
|Memory||32GB Trident DDR4-3600|
|Ports||Rear: Four USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, four USB 3.1 Gen 2 (three type A, one type C), two Ethernet, SPDIF, five audio jacks|
Front: One USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, two USB 3.0 Type A, headphone jack, mic jack
|Storage||1 TB Seagate Firecuda 520 NVMe M.2 SSD|
4 TB Seagate Barracuda HDD
|Power supply||EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3 80 Plus Gold|
|Chassis fans||7x CLX RGB fan|
|Cooling solution||CLX Temper Hardline Liquid Cooling|
|Dimensions||20.5 x 9.5 x 20.5 inches (520mm x 240mm x 520mm)|
|Pricing||From $2,128 (as configured: ~$7,400)|
Indeed, I had to have our chief PC tower builder Rich Edmonds assist with selecting motherboards, RAM, and more just because it has been years since I have read up on the latest hardware and which is the best.
For those curious, we did try to order an AMD Threadripper for laughs, but with the cost ballooning to $16,000, CLX wisely called us back to reality. But, we are just saying, you could theoretically build a $16,000 PC if you had the fortitude (and cash).
We also didn't go for dual RTX 3090s as we didn't feel like disrupting the quantum realm, but that, too, is possible.
Gonna need a bigger box
CLX Ra: Receiving
I've been covering PCs for many years now at Windows Central and have received a lot of review units but never had UPS Freight call me to schedule a delivery. UPS Freight is for heavy, oversized shipments, and it arrives in what looks like a moving truck with a hydraulic lift.
The CLX Ra landed in a giant, well-made crate on a pallet, which is daunting. Luckily, I have a two-car garage as UPS had to use a mini forklift to bring inside so I could begin the unboxing. The crate is wrapped in plastic, has metal latches, and the paperwork is attached. It was all a bit hilarious for something to play video games with, but I don't make the rules.
Unboxing this beast of a PC felt like opening the Ark of the Covenant out of Indiana Jones. Fortunately, there were no beams of light, but the power within is just as remarkable. Inside the crate is a cardboard box that fits perfectly. Open the box, and the CLX Ra is also wrapped in a plastic wrap with 3-inch-thick air-sealed foam inserts on all four corners to absorb shocks during its journey. Within the computer tower, all the water-cooled piping, graphics card, and critical components were reinforced with Styrofoam inserts so nothing would shake loose during the passage. It's all very professional and much better than my iBuyPower experience a few years ago.
The CLX Ra by itself weighs an extraordinary 55 pounds (25kg), so you may need a second hand to help unpack it and move it to its final destination (unfortunately for me, that meant moving to my main office, not my house).
Overall, the packaging and support from CLX are terrific. Once set up and plugged in, the Ra powered on with its magnificent lighting and Core i9 and RTX 3090 purring to life.
It's now time to game.
CLX Ra: More to come
So, how good is this behemoth of a gaming PC — especially that GeForce card and latest Intel processor? For that, you will have to wait for my review coming early next week. There, we'll take a closer look at thermals, fan performance, features, lighting, and more, so stay tuned!
Have any questions you want answers for in that review? Leave them below and let me know what you think of this setup — what would you change or do differently?
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.