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CCL CS003 review

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.


2.8GHz AMD Phenom II X6 1055T, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920×1,080 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.


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 1,920×1,080 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 1,920×1,080.

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 ***
Processor AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
Processor external bus 200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplier x16.5
Processor clock speed 2.8GHz
Processor socket AM3
Memory 4
Memory type PC3-10700
Maximum memory 8GB
Motherboard Gigabyte M68MT-S2
Motherboard chipset Nvidia GeForce 7025 + nForce 630a


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none

Internal Expansion

Case midi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 2 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports 2
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Hitachi DeskStar (HDS721010CLA)
Interface SATA II
Total storage capacity 1,000GB


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


Sound Realtek ALC888B
Sound outputs 5.1 line out, stereo line out, mic in
Speakers none

Removable Drives

Supported memory cards none
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Viewable size 22 in
Screen model Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS
Native resolution 1,920×1,080
Screen inputs DVI, VGA

Other Hardware

Keyboard Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 1.0A
Mouse Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical


Software included none
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB (first 30 days collect and return)
Price £650

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