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CCL AMD Express Box review

Barry de la Rosa
6 Feb 2011
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
CCL AMD Express Box
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
250
inc VAT

It may not be the fastest PC around, but the AMD Express Box is cheap as chips, comes with a decent keyboard and mouse, a good-sized hard disk and room for expansion.

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Specifications

2.3GHz AMD Athlon II X3 405e, 2GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The CCL AMD Express Box has a rather unusual name for a PC. At its heart is a triple-core processor: the 2.3GHz AMD Athlon II X3 405e is basically a quad-core Athlon II X4 605e in which one of the cores has been disabled. When it was first released in late 2009 it was the fastest low-power Athlon II design. Now it's a bit long in the tooth, and an overall score of 68 in our benchmarks means it's slower than most laptops, albeit those that cost twice as much.

CCL AMD Express Box

This is still fast enough for most applications, even with only 2GB of RAM fitted. Since there's a spare slot, adding another 2GB module may help if you want to edit large video files. There's an integrated graphics card that can decode HD video, but it's not powerful enough to play games, even with the quality settings at minimum.

The AMD Express Box doesn't have the fastest processor, but at least its motherboard isn't an out-of-date budget model. It doesn't have cutting-edge technologies such USB3, but there's a generous number of USB ports, with two on the front of the case and eight on the rear. Two of these are taken up by the keyboard and mouse set, but this leaves you with plenty of ports for external storage, mobile phones and MP3 players.

Inside, there's also plenty of room for expansion. There are two PCI slots, one PCI-E x16 slot and one PCI-E x1 slot. Fitting a double-slot graphics card will obstruct one of the PCI slots, and the 450W power supply could be working near its limit if your chosen card is very powerful. There are more spare drive bays than you'll ever need, but only two spare SATA ports for attaching optical drives or hard disks.

CCL has bravely spent some of its tiny budget on a decent Microsoft keyboard and mouse set. The keyboard is still quite spongy, but it has a decent collection of shortcut buttons and a numberpad, and it's well made. The mouse is very comfortable to hold, has a rubberised, ratcheted wheel and two extra buttons on the sides. At this price it's a welcome sight.

For only £110 extra, CCL will add an LG Flatron E2240 monitor to the package. This LED-backlit model is thin and has a glossy design. Image quality is decent enough and there are extensive colour controls which you can tweak to get the right balance, but the backlight isn't as bright as we'd like.

Despite its niggles, the AMD Express Box is great value, and is powerful enough for undemanding use. The 500GB hard disk provides plenty of storage and there's room for expansion. Thanks to this great combination, it wins a Budget Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Athlon II X3 405e
Processor external bus200MHz (1GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx11.5
Processor clock speed2.3GHz
Processor socketAM3
Memory2
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardGigabyte GA-MA74GMT-S2
Motherboard chipsetAMD 740G

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/8
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportN/A

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots1
Free 3.5in drive bays4

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi DeskStar (HDS721050CLA362)
InterfaceSATA II
Total storage capacity500GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)ATI Radeon 2100
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelLG Flatron E2240
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

KeyboardMicrosoft Digital Media Keyboard 1.0A
MouseMicrosoft IntelliMouse Optical

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB (first 30 days collect and return)
Price£250
Detailswww.cclonline.com

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