CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
CPU Cooling: CLX Quench 360 Closed Liquid Cooler
Motherboard: ASUS STRIX Z390-E GAMING
Storage: 500GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus, SSD 2TB HDD
RAM: 32GB G.SKILL DDR4-3200
PSU: SuperNOVA G3 Mod 850W 80Plus GOLD PSU
Warranty: Lifetime Labor/1 Year Parts
Like the Egyptian sun god after which it's named, the massive CLX Ra feels almost larger than life. Delivered in a giant wooden crate, the Ra is one of few machines that I've gotten in similar packaging that feels like it genuinely earned its bulky shipping container by virtue of its sheer size. The huge Phanteks Enthoo Evolv X case arrived wrapped in an attractive deep blue cosmos aesthetic, care of CLX's suite of custom paint options, and loaded with some extremely high-end performance parts—ready to deliver QHD with aplomb and even handle most games at 4K Ultra at reasonable frame rates.
Like the vast majority of the build (and a growing number of the best gaming PCs), that custom paint job can be highly configured to suit your tastes. There's also a wide field of options for CPU (which will soon include the new third generation Ryzen parts), GPU, RAM, and virtually every other component, allowing you to get as granular as you want with your build. CLX even offers optional capture and HPC server graphics cards to tailor your build for some very specific use cases. The review unit they sent over was loaded for bear with an RTX 2080 Ti and Core i9-9900K, but significantly more affordable variants are available.
While the Ra isn't a svelte or compact machine, one of the advantages of that massive case is that there's plenty of space for upgrading, and you won't be tripping over tangled snakes of cables when you're tinkering around with the internals. There is, if anything, too much unused real estate inside the case, but as someone with a lot of experience wrestling cables out of the way to install an AIC or add a RAM package to some open DIMMs, a spacious case is a welcome boon. This isn't a machine designed to tuck away out of sight beneath a desk, it's a statement piece designed for display. It's not just the custom paint job, either—a tempered glass side panel opens onto an interior aglow with RGB lighting.
Oddly, however, opening that side panel to access the Ra's guts is a bit more involved than you might expect. You first have to pop off the front panel so that you can remove a screw holding the glass panel closed before you can swing it open. It's not a massive chore by any stretch, and luckily the front panel pops off pretty easily, but compared to the easy access setups of some of CLX's competition it seems like more work than is strictly necessary.
In terms of sheer performance, the Ra is as much of a powerhouse as its specs indicate. At 1440p, the Ra is easily capable of delivering ~60 FPS Ultra gameplay, and in many cases frame rates that reached into triple digits. Even in the incredibly demanding Metro Exodus with its dramatic global illumination ray tracing enabled, the Ra delivered a steady 57 frames. Kick the resolution up to 4K and the Ra still consistently output a very playable 30+ FPS in Metro, and near 60 in The Division 2 and Total War: Warhammer II. Of course, you could tweak down some of the settings (or play at FHD) if you prioritize absolutely screaming frame rates over visual fidelity and have a high refresh display.
The Ra is unquestionably a high performance desktop aimed squarely at gamers, particularly the way our review unit was configured. However, that performance comes at a steep price. CLX uses largely off the shelf components to build its machines so it's pretty easy to create a DIY comparison—and they don't favor the prebuilt manufacturer. As specced, the review unit I was sent runs $3,978 from CLX's site, while a very similar machine I put together on PCPartPicker totaled $2,920, more than $1,000 less. While the Ra does come with a handful of extras, including a one year parts warranty and a very premium paint job that the company estimates would cost consumers around $400 independently, it's extremely hard to justify that massive gulf in price.
Cinebench R15: CPU: 4537 cb; single core: 490 cb
CrystalDiskMark: SSD: Read: 3565.4 MB/s Write: 3279.6 MB/s. HDD: 197.5 MB/s Write: 195 MB/s
PC Mark 10 Express: 5967
3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme: 16159
3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra: 8603
Division 2: 4K: 55 fps 1440: 64 fps
Total War Warhammer II: 4K: 59.8 fps 1440: 107.9 fps
Metro Exodus: 4K: 33.54 fps 1440: 57.21 fps
The Ra is undeniably a well designed, thoughtfully assembled machine, and it's specced to handle even the fringe extreme of demanding games. That said, it's difficult to recommend as a value proposition, even if you're adamantly opposed to building your own machine. There are a number of other prebuilt manufacturers now who offer similar machines for significantly less, particularly now as the prebuilt market moves closer and closer to parity with DIY pricing. Unless you're especially enamored with the custom paint jobs available on the CLX line, the Ra is a tough sell.