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CLX Scarab review

The CLX Scarab is a high performance machine at every price point

The front of a CLX Scarab gaming desktop PC on a white desk by an open window
Best in Class
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The CLX Scarab is a highly-customizable, high-performance gaming machine that has great specs at even its entry level configuration, just be sure you're prepared to spend a good bit of money if you opt for the very best build you can get.

For

  • Excellent customization options
  • Incredible performance
  • Stylish design
  • Great customer service

Against

  • High-end built is very expensive
  • Subject to part availability

TechRadar Verdict

The CLX Scarab is a highly-customizable, high-performance gaming machine that has great specs at even its entry level configuration, just be sure you're prepared to spend a good bit of money if you opt for the very best build you can get.

Pros

  • + Excellent customization options
  • + Incredible performance
  • + Stylish design
  • + Great customer service

Cons

  • - High-end built is very expensive
  • - Subject to part availability

CLX Scarab two minute review

The CLX Scarab is hands-down one of the best custom-built gaming PCs you're going to find anywhere, no matter your budget. 

Starting off with a respectable AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super, your can scale your build as high as the latest Intel Core i9-11900K or AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor with compatible motherboards, and pair it with the latest AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT or Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards with various RAM and SSD configurations and everything in between.

You also have your choice of chassis as well, including builds full of RGB lighting as well as sleek cable management options that come in different colors to better match your style.

Even the entry-level configuration comes with CLX's custom-built liquid CPU cooling solution, which at this price point is a pretty premium option that you rarely see.

Obviously, there are going to be some issues with custom builds like this, including possible shipping delays depending on the availability of parts. Right now, even our high-end build would ship within two weeks, which definitely isn't bad for a PC with an RTX 3090 in it, but that isn't always guaranteed to be the case.

Still, given the incredible variety of options on this PC, there pretty much isn't any way you can go wrong and you're bound to find a configuration that matches exactly what you are looking for, even if you have to wait a little while to get it. 

Plus, it saves you the trouble of having to build such a high-end system yourself and screwing something up, since all units are thoroughly tested before they ship out to the customer. That doesn't mean there can't be issues, obviously, since desktop systems shipped across the country can have all manner of things knocked loose in the journey (which happened without a review unit, initially). 

Fortunately, CLX offers excellent warranty options on parts and labor in case anything does go wrong in the process, making the CLX Scarab a desktop PC investment that you can rest assured will work as promised. 

Ultimately, the CLX Scarab is the ultimate gaming PC for anyone who wants a rig customized to their liking without the hassle of actually having to build the thing, all for a price that can't be beat just about anywhere else.

Price and availability

Spec Sheet

Here is the CLX Scarab configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming WiFi
CPU: Intel Core i9-11900K
Cooling: CLX Quench 240 Closed Liquid Cooler
Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3090 with 24GB vRAM
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Storage: 1 x 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1 x SATA SSD
Ports (Front): 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB Type-A, 1 x 3.5mm combo jack
Ports (Back):
1 x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2x2, 1 x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1, 4 x USB Type-A 2.0
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, 2.5 Gb Ethernet
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000W G5 - 80 Plus Gold
Size (W x D x H): 8.07 x 15.75 x 14.37 ins (205 x 400 x 365 mm)

The CLX Scarab is available now in the US with a seriously vast array of customization options. The base configuration starts at $1,599 and features an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 with a CLX Quench 120 closed liquid cooling solution, an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super 6GB, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD, and a 750W modular 80Plus Gold PSU, all loaded into a Scarab Evolv ITX SFF Black chassis with an acrylic side panel.

There are way too many component configurations to list, but lets just say that if you've got the money, the CLX Scarab will scale up to the most powerful PC you can build. Did we stress the "If you have the money part?" The specs for the CLX Scarab we reviewed, listed at the right, aren't even the highest we could go, but already pushes north of $5,000, coming in at $5,078.

If you want to max out your build, be prepared to pay top dollar for the privilege. But chances are you know that going in, so there really shouldn't be any sticker shock here.

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CLX Scarab

(Image credit: Future)
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CLX Scarab

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CLX Scarab

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CLX Scarab

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CLX Scarab

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CLX Scarab

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CLX Scarab

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CLX Scarab

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

Benchmarks

Here is how the CLX Scarab performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

GeekBench 5 (Single Core): 1,781 | (Multi Core): 10,610
CineBench23 (Single Core): 1,597 | (Multi Core):  14,581
PCMark10 Home: ,1098

3DMark Night Raid: 70,302 | Firestrike: 31,050 | Time Spy: 17,672 | Port Royale: 12,732
Total War: Three Kingdoms (1080p, Ultra Quality): 160 fps | (1080p, Low Quality): 369 fps
Metro: Exodus (1080p, Ultra Quality w/ Ray Tracing): 116 fps | (1080p, Ultra Quality w/o Ray Tracing): 138 fps | (1080p, Low Quality): 229 fps

Blender Fishy Cat: 38 seconds; Classroom: 1 minute 19 seconds
PugetBench for Adobe PhotoShop: 1,154
PugetBench for Adobe Premiere: 921
HandBrake (1080p30 Encode from 4K): 53.82 fps

As far as performance goes, that really depends on which configuration you go with. Considering that you can get anything from the GTX 1660 Super to the RTX 3090 and everything in between, it doesn't make much sense talking about FPS or 3DMark benchmark scores.

What we can tell you though is that everything works the way it should, and if it doesn't, CLX will make sure that anything amiss is fixed free of charge (within the warranty period, obviously). 

This might be a bit of a hassle if you've just received your system and you find that the CPU cooler is knocked loose in shipping and you need to send it back to be fixed, but this is a risk with any system that gets shipped directly to the customer and even pre-built units that get shipped to a brick-and-mortar retailer like Best Buy.

CLX's warranty makes this process much less painful, if not less frustrating. If you're lucky, they'll even ship your system back to you in a "sarcophagus" shipping crate that makes you feel like you're getting the Ark of the Covenant delivered to your door. 

Software and features

Fortunately, this is a custom-built system as opposed to a prebuilt OEM unit, so you don't have to worry about any bloatware that you wouldn't want on there and some of the utilities that you should want to install anyway, like MSI Afterburner, are included out the box.

A lot of the other potential preinstalls will depend on the hardware options you choose, but the good news is you won't have to deal with McAfee spamming your notifications with big red reminders to sign up for their middling antivirus protection.

Buy it if...

You want a very customized desktop PC
The number of customization options on the CLX Scarab are plentiful, so there's almost no configuration you can't come up with.

You want an affordable custom built PC
Custom-built PCs don't have to be outrageously expensive, and the CLX Scarab's entry level configurations provide excellent value for the specs.

You want liquid cooling on a budget
Most entry level PC builds aren't going to come out the box with liquid cooling options, but CLX has you covered with even the lowest-spec configuration.

Don't buy it if...

You want your PC right now
As a custom-built PC, it's going to take time to build, and the parts you want might not be available right away, so you might have to wait a few weeks to get your PC.

You want the most stable system possible
Ok, we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but given that this is a custom-built PC, you're not likely to find the same level of system stability that you'd get with some OEM systems from Dell or Lenovo since a custom-built might have parts that don't always play nice. That said, we didn't experience problems on this front, its just a theoretical possibility, like wormholes or string theory. 

John Loeffler

John (He / Him / His) is TechRadar's Computing Staff Writer and is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn


Currently playing: Back 4 Blood, Metroid Dread, EVE Online