The CLX Hathor dual-PC is insane in more ways than one


CLX Hathor PC sitting on a coffee table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

The CLX Hathor is absurd. That’s not inherently a nasty factor — lots of the best gaming PCs are absurd in a single kind or one other — however the concept of packing two PCs into one case with probably the most highly effective {hardware} accessible immediately (whereas charging a clear $7,000 for it) is ridiculous.

However CLX did it. It’s not a brand new idea. Twin-PC setups have been a staple of streaming for years, and machines just like the Origin Big O cram a gaming PC, streaming PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Collection X, and Nintendo Swap right into a single case (you possibly can’t purchase it, for what it’s price). By that customary, the CLX Hathor is quaint, and that’s perhaps why it’s so fascinating. It doesn’t break new floor, nevertheless it makes the dual-PC setup extra handy than ever. The query nonetheless stays, although: Why would anybody purchase this?

Why would anybody purchase this?

Graphics card in the CLX Hathor PC.
Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

The apparent and simple reply is streaming, which is what you’ve most likely seen shouted from the rooftops for the higher a part of a decade. The concept is that you simply put the streaming workload on one PC in order that your predominant PC is freed as much as simply run the sport. It’s a solution that held lots of weight a number of years in the past. Right this moment? Not a lot.

We’re in an period of very quick GPU-based encoders. Years in the past, with CPU-based encoding and restricted accessible threads, you’d generally take a efficiency hit of 30% or extra by turning on stream. Normally, your stream would even be uneven, along with your parts modulating between prioritizing the stream and prioritizing your sport. This useful resource shortage shouldn’t be one thing trendy PCs want to actually take into consideration.

Right this moment, CPUs have extra threads than they know what to do with, and GPU-based encoders from AMD and Nvidia supply single-digit hits to efficiency with constant high quality. I ran a number of checks on simply the gaming portion of the Hathor, using the RTX 4080 within the machine for encoding whereas additionally operating a sport. In Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, I dropped from 180 frames per second (fps) to 176 fps once I began streaming. In Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing cranked, I went from 87 fps to 85 fps.

These checks have been run at 1080p with a 1080p stream, and there’s positively extra pressure in your parts when pushing the highest-quality video and excessive resolutions. Even when pushing 4K in Murderer’s Creed Valhalla whereas additionally capturing at 4K, although, I solely dropped a number of frames.

For easy streaming/recording, the truth is {that a} single, high-performance PC makes extra sense than a twin PC setup for most individuals. There are, nevertheless, a number of circumstances the place two PCs have an edge.

Contained in the Hathor

CPU pump in the CLX Hathor.
Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

Let’s discuss what the Hathor really is, although. It’s two PCs stuffed into one case. These PCs don’t talk with one another in any respect. They’re two separate PCs in the identical case, match with separate energy provides, video outputs, and USB ports.

CLX simply brings them collectively in a single case — particularly, the Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic XL. The principle PC is your customary affair. My overview unit got here full of an RTX 4080 and Core i9-13900K, however CLX provides you choices to trick out the Hathor nevertheless you want with GPUs from AMD, Nvidia, and Intel, and near a dozen CPU choices from Intel.

CPU Intel Core i9-13900K / Intel Core i9-12900
GPU Nvidia RTX 4080 / Intel UHD 770
Motherboard Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi Micro ATX / NUC motherboard
Case Lian Li PCO11D XL
Reminiscence 2x 16GB Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-5200 / 2x 8GB DDR4-3200
Storage 1TB Samsung 980 Professional, 4TB Seagate Barracuda / 1TB Samsung 980 Professional
Energy provide 1000W EVGA G5 80 Plus Gold / 750W Phanteks AMP 80 Plus Gold
Seize card Elgato 4K60 PCIe
Value $7,114

Customization goes a lot additional, too. I counted almost 30 totally different kits of RAM on faucet, 27 totally different energy provides, over 50 totally different exhausting drive configurations, and 15 totally different CPU coolers. There are a ton of choices right here.

Most of that customization applies to the second PC. It sits beneath the principle PC on a tiny, proprietary motherboard. CLX makes use of Intel’s Twelfth-gen NUC Compute Factor for the second PC. You will have two CPU choices, three reminiscence kits, and the identical quantity of SSD customization as you do with the principle PC. This second PC additionally comes with a seize card put in: the Elgato 4K60 Professional.

NUC compute element in the CLX Hathor.
Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

Each PCs reside beneath the identical roof, however they’re neighbors, not relations. Establishing your stream is an identical to when you had two separate PCs. Your predominant PC runs by way of the seize card of your second PC, and your second PC runs the stream whereas the principle PC runs the sport. The 2 don’t share something, so that you’ll want separate screens and peripherals (wanting methods like Mouse With out Borders, a KVM swap, or picture-in-picture in your monitor).

And that’s the place twin PC setups begin to lose me. Certain, perhaps you possibly can swap your keyboard and mouse over after leaping by way of a number of hoops, however what about the whole lot else? You want to swap your microphone over for Discord calls, preserve audio for 2 separate PCs, and preserve two web connections to stream and play any video games on-line. It’s potential, completely, however the whole lot is doubled. And, as we’ve established, a single PC is greater than able to delivering strong efficiency whereas streaming or recording.

The place the Hathor shines

Graphics card inside the CLX Hathor PC.
Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

Let’s not write off the Hathor totally, although. There are conditions the place a twin PC setup makes lots of sense, notably for reliability. Separating your sport out of your stream means your stream can hold operating even when your predominant PC goes down. There’s additionally one thing to be mentioned about extremely complicated streams with a number of cameras and scenes operating by way of a separate PC in order to not overload the quantity of micromanaging you should do whereas taking part in a sport. That’s to not point out the footprint of the Hathor. It’s a monstrous PC that arrives in its personal picket crate, nevertheless it’s nonetheless way more manageable than two totally separate PCs.

It’s additionally a really highly effective PC. Ignoring the worth — which I’ll get to shortly — CLX is squeezing probably the most quantity of energy potential out of this machine. It has all the correct BIOS settings, from XMP to ReBAR, permitting you to get probably the most out of the machine. I gathered my numbers after a single driver replace, and also you not often discover desktops that carry out this properly nearly out of the field.

Cinebench R23 Single/Multi 2,130 / 36,446
Geekbench 5 Single/Multi 2,113 / 23,594
3DMark Time Spy 26,402
3DMark Fireplace Strike 43,909
Murderer’s Creed Valhalla 95 fps
Forza Horizon 5 134 fps
Gears Ways 118 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 64 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing 29 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing w/ DLSS 3 115 fps

As well as, the Hathor is expertly put collectively. Trying on the entrance and the again, it appears like CLX made the cables disappear, using cable combs to straighten out runs, cable administration plates to cover the mess, and correct routing to the entrance of the case. CLX even managed to make Nvidia’s foolish 16-pin adaptor look good, which is a feat in itself.

Not for most individuals

CLX Hathor sitting on a coffee table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

Even with these upsides, there are solely a choose few individuals who really want one thing like this. “Want” is essential right here, too. Should you don’t want two PCs for streaming, you’re simply creating extra complications getting the whole lot arrange.

That’s earlier than we carry value into the combination, too. On the time of writing, the Hathor I checked out would value you $7,114. For context, you can construct two of CLX’s Horus midtower PCs, each packing a Core i9-13900K and RTX 4080, for $6,534. Not solely is that $600 cheaper than a single Hathor, however you’re additionally getting two of probably the most highly effective PCs cash should buy. They take up extra space, completely, nevertheless it’s exhausting to justify the premium of the Hathor when extra {hardware}, and significantly better {hardware}, prices much less when unfold throughout two PCs. Should you went with one thing equal — say a Horus and a prebuilt NUC with a high-end exterior seize card — you’re saving nearer to $3,000.

That’s the truth of the Hathor. It’s an costly PC that does the identical factor that you are able to do with two PCs for a lot much less cash. I need to steer you away from the Hathor, however not CLX as an organization. The Hathor is a grasp class in construct high quality, someway managing two PCs price of {hardware} in a single case, and with higher cable administration than you see in lots of particular person PCs.

Back side of the CLX Hathor PC.
Jacob Roach / Digital Developments

You’ll be able to learn our CLX Scarab review to see extra about what the corporate can pull off in a single PC rig, which is fairly spectacular. For the Hathor, it got here freed from bloatware and with a number of useful stickers to information newcomers alongside. The corporate additionally included all the additional modular cables and a few helpful equipment like a USB-C to DisplayPort adaptor from Cable Issues. From high to backside, it’s clear CLX cares about promoting product.

If the Hathor seems like a solution to your issues, and also you don’t thoughts willingly spending up for what it gives, you’ll be very glad. For everybody else — and I think about that group consists of most individuals — it’s best to store CLX’s different machines as an alternative of placing all of your chips on the Hathor.

Editors’ Suggestions

Leave a reply