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CCL CS003 review

Kat Orphanides
5 Apr 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
650
inc VAT

A powerful graphics card makes this a great gaming PC, but it lagged behind in our performance tests and is very short of ports.

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Specifications

2.8GHz AMD Phenom II X6 1055T, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

CCL's CS003 isn't the most powerful PC you can get for £650, but it's one of the best looking. We were very taken by the matt black case, which is enamelled inside and out, along with orange highlights such as the internal drive clips. It's spacious and comfortable to work with when fitting upgrades, although it does little to insulate against dust or fan noise. Looks aside, though, were puzzled by some of CCL's hardware choices.

CCL CS003

The processor is a six-core 2.8GHz AMD Phenom II X6 1055T. Unfortunately, its performance in our application tests, which include video encoding and image editing, can't rival that of the Core i5 or even overclocked i3 processors that we've seen in many similarly priced PCs. Few programs you're likely to run at home are designed to take advantage of the processor's six cores. Its overall result of 117 in our benchmarks isn't horrendous, but it pales in comparison with most Intel-based PCs at this price, which turn in scores between 150 and 220.

We're bemused by CCL's selection of a Gigabyte M68MT-S2 microATX motherboard. It's extremely short of ports and features. There are just four SATA2 ports, two of which are already in use, and two memory slots, both occupied by 2GB modules and only capable of supporting 8GB of RAM between them. As far as expansion slots go, there's one PCI slot and one available PCI-E x1 slot - a second is blocked by the graphics card.

CCL CS003 rear ports

A 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 SE graphics card is the jewel in the CS003's crown. Its performance is fantastic, producing an eminently playable frame rate of 33fps in our most challenging 3D test: Stalker at 1,920x1,080 with 4x AA. It also rocketed through our Crysis test with a frame rate of 41.6fps. This sort of performance is great for gamers. The 22in Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS display is also an excellent choice. It's a long-standing favourite of ours, with even backlighting, natural - if understated - colours and the now-obligatory Full HD resolution of 1,920x1,080.

The CS003 has a 1TB hard disk but doesn't have much potential for external storage. Few people will notice the absence of a FireWire port, but there are no eSATA or USB3 connections on the rear either. In fact, there are just six USB ports in total: four on the back and two at the front. Most people will need more than that. Some of the space on the motherboard's back plate that could have housed more USB ports is instead wasted on a serial port, which is a novelty in 2011.

The PC looks great, comes with an excellent monitor and performs very well in the latest and most games, but its relatively underpowered processor, small number of USB ports and poor upgradability make this a less-than-ideal choice unless you want to buy a gaming PC that you don't intend on upgrading. For a more balanced system, buy the Chillblast Fusion Aurora.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorAMD Phenom II X6 1055T
Processor external bus200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx16.5
Processor clock speed2.8GHz
Processor socketAM3
Memory4
Memory typePC3-10700
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardGigabyte M68MT-S2
Motherboard chipsetNvidia GeForce 7025 + nForce 630a

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi DeskStar (HDS721010CLA)
InterfaceSATA II
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 SE
Graphics/video portsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC888B
Sound outputs5.1 line out, stereo line out, mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelIiyama ProLite E2208HDS
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsDVI, VGA

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£650
Detailswww.cclonline.com

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