CLX Set Scarab Gaming PC Review

There are plenty of options for those looking to spend under $1500 on a platform. These entry-level gaming PCs provide a good base for future upgrades, but also mean you won’t miss playing the newest games like Elden Ring at decent settings.

Personally, I think these PCs are often more worth checking out than your $4,000 murderer that will play any game at 4K and beyond. While it’s fun to play around with, the reality is that most people don’t have those kinds of scratches in their bank accounts. The real challenge for system builders is to provide a solid gaming experience, with the right components, for those who don’t have unlimited funds.

Named after the Egyptian god of war, the $1,500 ($1,494 to be exact) CLX Set Gaming PC (opens in a new tab) seeks to place itself at the top of the pack in a crowded field of PCs all looking for space on your desk. This compact gaming PC makes a great first impression right out of the box, but just like the Egyptian gods of old, they can be temperamental deities.

The version I received is from the CLX Set series desktop computers in a small micro ATX case. There’s a pretty detailed PC configurator on the website that lets you decide just about every component right down to closed-loop liquid cooling options.

There are little boxes that tell you what kind of framerate to expect from a handful of games. I would have liked to see more contemporary games used in this kind of part selection features on system builder sites. I’m sure GTA V is still very popular, but it’s also almost a decade old.

CLX Set Specifications

CLX Desktop Package.

(Image credit: Future – Jorge Jimenez)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7GHz Hexa Core
Cooling: CLX Quench 120 Closed Liquid Cooler
Motherboard : ASRock A520M-HV5 Micro ATX
Memory: 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) XPG DDR4-3600
Chart: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB
Storage: Seagate Barracuda QS NVMe M.2 1TB Solid State Drive
Power: 750W 80+ Bronze Gamdias Kratos M1 RGB
Guarantee: 1 year parts/lifetime labor
Price: $1,498 (opens in a new tab)

I was able to make a copy of the Set PC that was sent to me on the configurator to see what kind of lead time I would get, which worked out to about two weeks. There doesn’t seem to be much markup on components either. Hell, even GPUs seem reasonably priced (opens in a new tab) which is increasingly becoming a welcome sight.

CLX also offers ready-to-ship PCs that they can ship to you within days, although they can’t be customized, which is fairly common practice.

Inside this PC are neatly packaged components ensuring no space is wasted in the white CLX Mini-ITX chassis, complete with the requisite tempered glass side panel. Between the RAM and the 120mm fans, the RGB-laden components put on a hell of a light show in tight spaces, themselves controlled by software or the front panel LED button.

Speaking of components, a AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (opens in a new tab), 16GB of RAM and an RTX 3060 GPU power the whole thing. We have seen how the GeForce RTX 3060 (opens in a new tab) works as a budget GPU on these systems and this time is no different. The Ryzen 5 CPU, on the other hand, wasn’t quite up to the task, as you’ll soon see.

Despite the lack of space, CLX still manages to squeeze in a full RTX 3060 GPU with room to spare. It’s a strange reversal of the system sent in by Redux, which had a motherboard and components sized for a much smaller case, though it sat in a mid-size chassis that left an unusual amount of empty space in the pc.

Surprisingly, the set’s CPU benchmark scores lag a little behind its slightly cheaper competitors.

As you can see from the benchmarks, the closest rivals to the set are the aforementioned Redux ‘Good’ PC and the NZXT Streaming PC in performance. Surprisingly, the set’s CPU benchmark scores lag a little behind its slightly cheaper competitors. It was odd to see it score less than the NZXT Streaming PC (which has the same CPU). The set ran a few degrees hotter than the others, which might explain some of its disappointing performance.

Fortunately, the set performed slightly better on our gaming benchmarks, going pretty much neck and neck with Redux and NZXT PCs (both with RTX 3060 GPUs). The only game where it seemed to shine was Hitman 3, which averaged almost a dozen frames across the competition. Everything else was a few frames above or below its current price foes.

Where I saw the system was struggling to run F1 2021. For some reason the CLX crashed every time I tried to run the benchmark, and even try to start a quick race resulted in a software type crash, not a car type. Usually when I’m having trouble with a PC, it’s usually Metro Exodus that’s the problem; which worked fine without any issues.

Hitman 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn didn’t see any of these issues either. However, if you think about 1440p gaming, overall performance wasn’t that great. So, stick to 1080p, which is where the RTX 3060 does its best, and the only place where you can consistently hit 60+ fps on medium to high settings in most modern games.

Gaming performance

System performance

I was happy to see a 1TB SSD for storage; Recently, systems sent to us in this price range only offered 500GB SSDs, which frankly isn’t enough for a current gamer’s library of games and media. It’s always our recommendation when reviewing anything under 1TB to upgrade storage immediately when trying to price a system for yourself.

A big concern is the noise level on the set, which it’s safe to say isn’t quiet. The small system is surprisingly loud even when idle. There was a constant hum from the five 120mm case fans working overtime. It’s one thing to hear noise during a demanding game, but you’re just watching Netflix? This can be a deciding factor for some. For me, it was the noise bleeding into my gaming chats and work calls that rubbed me the wrong way.

Another common downside to these recent $1,500 versions we reviewed is the lack of USB Type-C ports on the front and rear panels. A place where the NZXT Streaming PC stood out. Since USB Type-C is the best way to get the most out of devices like external SSDs, webcams, and microphones, it’s always shocking 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 $1,500. System noise levels and the processor’s disappointing display, however, don’t really make a compelling case for the machine considering what’s available for the same price.

Robert P. Miller