Just Visiting
Saturday | December 4, 2021
CCL NebulaX – PC Review

CCL NebulaX – PC Review

CCL NebulaX Gaming PC ReviewSmall form-factor PCs are increasingly popular, and the CCL NebulaX is one of the most exciting that we’ve seen.

It’s a tall, striking rig that mixes a tiny mini-ITX motherboard with high-end graphics power. Could this be a replacement for your ATX gaming PC?

CCL NebulaX PC Review – Design

CCL has built this engaging system with a Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Shift enclosure. It’s just as tall as a conventional ATX case, but it’s 170mm wide and only 274mm deep – so it’s a narrow tower rather than a chunky rectangle of metal.

The case isn’t just tall and slim – it looks great, too. The two wider side panels are made from tinted, tempered glass, and the narrower panels are built from gunmetal aluminium. The top of the machine is made from a spring-loaded panel of black plastic that opens to reveal the motherboard’s IO ports, and here you’ll find pairs of thumbscrews that easily allow each side panel to be removed.

The Phanteks case cleverly fits large components around the mini-ITX motherboard. The board is mounted vertically in the middle of the space, with room for a low-profile cooler on the front and a full-size graphics card behind. The GPU connects with a smart extension lead, and the power supply sits beneath all of these major components, with another extension lead to make it easier to plug in.

The case sits on four smart feet that allow air to reach the bottom intake fan, and there’s another fan on the side. CCL has done a great job of keeping the machine tidy, despite the tight confines, which means air has a clear route through the system.

CCL has added some visual flair of its own, too. The power cables are individually braided, and RGB LEDs ring the top and bottom of the machine to provide a cool white glow.

The CCL NebulaX doesn’t have much upgrade room, but that doesn’t matter. This system strikes a great balance between full-size components and the mini-ITX form factor, and it looks great: its tall, smart design is absorbing, and far smaller than any rival ATX machine. It’s a great start for a system that could undermine more conventional computers.

CCL NebulaX Gaming PC ReviewCCL NebulaX PC Review – Components

The CCL NebulaX might use the mini-ITX form factor, but CCL’s choice of a tall case means there’s room for a full-size GPU. CCL has picked an MSI-made GTX 1070 for this build, and it looks like a normal Nvidia card – but it comes with a small overclock. MSI has raised the speed from 1,506MHz to 1,532MHz – enough pace for 1080p and 1440p games.

The GPU is paired with an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor. It’s got six cores and multi-threading that allows it to support twelve concurrent threads, and it can boost its base speed of 3.2GHz to a peak of 3.7GHz.

That’s ample power for gaming and day-to-day computing, but AMD’s X-branded chips have more boost – and this chip isn’t overclocked, either. We’d bet that the tight confines of the case and the BeQuiet! Shadow Rock LP CPU cooler have restricted this machine’s ability to handle anything much more demanding.

The stock-speed CPU is paired with 16GB of 3,000MHz memory and some great storage: the 500GB Samsung 960 EVO SSD is fast, and the 4TB hard disk offers huge capacity.

The components slot inside a Gigabyte GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI motherboard. It’s got customisable RGB LEDs, souped-up audio circuits and in-built 802.11ac wireless, and its backplate has six USB 3.1 ports, six audio jacks and a PS/2 port. In terms of modern additions, it’s only really missing USB 3.1 Type-C.

The motherboard uses the AMD B350 chipset, which is fine. It’s not the top-tier AMD Ryzen option, but there’s no need for an X370 chipset on such a tiny motherboard. It does have the usual lack of upgrade room, with both memory slots and its PCI-Express socket occupied.

The CCL NebulaX has a good specification for playing games, but its £1,599 price looks high when compared to conventional ATX machines.

CCL NebulaX Gaming PC ReviewThe Yoyotech Redback N5 that we reviewed back in August, for example, had an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor and GTX 1070 inside an ATX build for £1,299. It’s no longer on sale, but the Yoyotech Redback N3 includes those core components inside an ATX build for £1,399. It’ll be larger and perhaps noisier, but it’ll have more upgrade room – and you’ll save some cash.

The Chillblast Fusion Hex has the same CPU and GPU as the CCL rig and costs £1,449, although you get an ATX case and poorer storage. The CyberPower Ultra 5 1070 serves up similar components for £1,345.

Those machines may be a little cheaper than the CCL NebulaX, but they have lesser storage and larger ATX designs. You’ll pay more for the CCL’s smarter, smaller build, because miniaturisation always costs a little extra.

CCL NebulaX PC Review – Performance

CCL NebulaX Gaming PC ReviewThe tweaked GTX 1070 card delivered solid benchmark results in all of our tests. Its 3D Mark Fire Strike score of 14,469 is around 600 points better than the Yoyotech machine, although it fell behind in Fire Strike Extreme.

It regularly outpaced the Yoyotech Redback N5 in games tests: it was four frames quicker in Battlefield 1, for instance, two frames better in Fallout 4 and a huge sixteen frames faster in Witcher 3.

CCL NebulaX Gaming PC ReviewIts excellent 1080p speeds gave way to solid 1440p results, too. A still-playable 35fps was its weakest minimum, and averages ranged from 58fps to 90fps.

This card won’t play 4K games smoothly – most of its minimums here were in the 20fps range – but that’s fine. The overclocked GTX 1070 has enough power for 1080p and 1440p gaming, widescreen panels and VR headsets – it’s very versatile.

CCL NebulaX Gaming PC ReviewThe AMD Ryzen processor is a solid bit of silicon. It was marginally ahead of the Yoyotech’s chip in both Geekbench tests. Its multi-tasking result of 17,654 was able to keep pace with pricier Ryzen 7 chips.

That’s enough processing ability to handle games, Office tasks, web browsing and photo editing.

The Samsung SSD delivered solid read and write speeds of 3,364MB/s and 1,648MB/s. That’s several times better than the Yoyotech, which just had a SATA drive. The CCL’s faster memory made an impact, too: its multi-threaded bandwidth of 35GB/s is 10GB/s better than the Yoyotech.

The CCL NebulaX is impressive in thermal tests, too. The CPU and GPU peaked at fine temperatures 72°C and 82°C, and the NebulaX was always quiet, even during our toughest benchmarks. It makes less noise than almost every ATX gaming system, so it’s great if you want a discreet PC.

CCL NebulaX PC Review – Conclusion

The CCL NebulaX looks fantastic. Its tall, narrow case makes it smaller and smarter than most of its ATX rivals. Its accessible ports and quiet operation make it easy to live with.

CCL has done a great job putting this machine together. It’s neat, and the components have enough power for most games and applications. The storage, memory and motherboard are all extremely impressive.

The price will put some people off, but it’s easy to see where the cash has been spent. Slimming a system down always puts a premium on the price, and the components here are all premium bits of kit.

Similar performance can be found elsewhere if you’re willing to settle for ATX – but the CCL is a fantastic smaller choice. It’s got enough pace, it’s well-made, and it looks good. It’s our new mini-ITX favourite.

The CCL NebulaX is available right here for £1,599. Fancy a mini-ITX rig or want to stick with ATX? Let us know on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

The Good

  • Stunning mini-ITX design
  • Capable 1080p and 1440p GPU
  • Solid components elsewhere
  • Quiet operation

The Bad 

  • Pricier than ATX machines
  • No CPU overclocking
  • little upgrade room

The Specs

CPU: 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 5 1600
Memory: 16GB 3,000MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI
Hard disk: 500GB Samsung 960 EVO SSD; 4TB Seagate Barracuda HDD
Warranty: 3yr C&R

Review Date
Reviewed Item
CCL NebulaX

About Author

Mike Jennings

It appears you have AdBlocking activated

Unfortunately AdBlockers interfere with the shopping cart process

To continue with the payment process can we ask you to

deactivate your AdBlocking plugin

or to whitelist this site. Then refresh the page

We thank you for your understanding

Hardwareheaven respect you right to employ plugins such as AdBlocker.
We would however ask you to consider whitelisting this site
We do not allow intrusive advertising and all our sponsors supply items
relevant to the content on the site.

Hardwareheaven Webmaster