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CCL Elite Hawk III review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £430
inc VAT

This AMD system is perfect proof that you can get a gaming PC on a budget


3.8GHz AMD FX-4300, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 8

The CCL Elite Hawk II, shows that you can have a decent gaming PC for less than £500. Sure, its 3.8GHz AMD FX-4300 processor, isn’t as fast as Intel’s latest high-end Haswell processors, but that isn’t so important in a gaming PC. With an overall score of 63 in our benchmark tests, it’s powerful enough make a decent job of crunching through tasks such as video encoding, image processing and audio ripping, and it’s definitely up to running games.

CCL Elite Hawk III

Indeed, the processor is less important for running games than a graphics card, and the Elite Hawk III is equipped with an AMD Radeon 7770 with 1GB of RAM. It’s a budget card, but it’s good enough to play many 3D games at good graphics quality settings.

The PC produced a smooth 43.2fps frame rate in Dirt Showdown at Ultra quality and with a resolution of 1,920×1,080. It wasn’t quite up to running Crysis 2 at Ultra quality, but Crysis 2 is still one of the most graphically challenging games around, even though it’s now considered an old game. The Elite Hawk III produced an average frame rate of just 20fps in Crysis 2 at 1,920×1,080 and Ultra quality, which is too slow to play, and reducing the quality to Extreme only increased the frame rate to 27.7fps. However, reducing the graphics quality to Very High produced a very smooth average frame rate of 45.9fps, and Crysis 2 still looked good at this setting.

The Radeon HD 7700 installed has two DVI ports, a DisplayPort and an HDMI output, so you’ll have no problem connecting one or more monitors.

The Elite Hawk III’s motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 with an AMD 760G chipset. It has one PCI-E x16 expansion slot, which contains the graphics card, one PCI-E x1 slot that’s blocked by the graphics card’s cooler, and a PCI slot, which is occupied by a wireless card.

CCL Elite Hawk III

Space inside the compact tower case is limited, though. We could fit our reference AMD Radeon 5770 card into to available space, but anything larger than that will be blocked by the drive cage.

The main drive cage has space for five 3 1/2in hard disks and is currently occupied by a 1TB Seagate Barracuda. Above is a smaller cage with another two 3 1/2in bays. One of these is an external drive, making it perfect for a memory card reader or removable drive caddy. Above these cages are two 5 1/4in bays. One of them is vacant and the other houses a DVD-RW drive. The case is a distinctly no-frills affair with a bare metal interior. There’s no sound proofing, but the system isn’t very noisy anyway.

The motherboard has four SATA3 ports and two are in use. There are also four memory slots, two of which are occupied by 4GB 1,333MHz modules and two ready for upgrades when you need them. The compact CPU cooler doesn’t get in the way at all, and there’s plenty of room to work inside the case, despite its small internal bay. The motherboard also has an unused USB3 header which could be combined with back plate or front panel extender to give you extra ports.

CCL Elite Hawk III

Currently, the front panel has two USB ports, a 3.5mm headphone output and a 3.5mm mic input. At the back of the PC are another three 3.5mm audio ports for 5.1 analogue surround sound, four USB ports and two USB3 ports, as well as a PS/2 mouse and keyboard connector and Gigabit Ethernet port.

While this is by no means the most powerful or stylish PC around, it’s a perfectly good gaming system at a very reasonable price. If you plan to make lots of upgrades then you should look elsewhere, as it has few expansion ports, but this fine compromise between price and power makes the Hawk a great Budget Buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor AMD FX-4300
Processor external bus 100MHz (HyperTransport)
Processor multiplier x38
Processor clock speed 3.8GHz
Processor socket AM3+
Memory 8
Memory type PC3-10600
Maximum memory 32GB
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3
Motherboard chipset AMD 760G + SB710


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/6
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n

Internal Expansion

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

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Seagate Barracuda (ST1000DM003-1CH162)
Interface SATA3


Graphics card(s) 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7770
Graphics/video ports 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort


Sound Realtek ALC887
Sound outputs 5.1 line out, headphone, microphone
Speakers none

Removable Drives

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


Screen model N/A
Native resolution N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Keyboard N/A
Mouse N/A


Operating system Windows 8
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £430

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