CCL BrightSpark Micro PC review

2 Oct 2012

A fast, fully featured compact system let down only by its lack of dedicated graphics

Price when reviewed 

At only 225mm deep and 75mm wide, the CCL BrightSpark Micro PC will fit the smallest of spaces. It packs a mighty punch, however, thanks to Intel’s 3.3GHz Core i5-3550 quad-core processor. It lacks a dedicated graphics processor, but the integrated Intel HD 2500 GPU can handle mainstream 3D applications. The 8GB of DDR3 RAM rounds out a convincing core specification.

The good news doesn’t stop there: it also combines a 120GB SSD and a 1TB traditional drive, balancing speed for Windows and key applications and capacity for your data. Connectivity is also good, with four USB 2 ports at the front, and two USB 3 and two USB 2 ports at the rear. The rear panel also houses VGA, HDMI and DVI outputs, a Gigabit Ethernet port and audio outputs.


It’s a well-built system, up to the wear and tear of school life. Our biggest concern is the slim DVD/RW drive, which might prove flimsy in the hands of careless students. It’s also a little noisier than other systems on test.

The compact form factor is great if space is limited, but means upgradability is limited. There is a spare PCI Express slot, but the casing doesn’t provide space to add a graphics card, and you can’t add more memory without swapping out the existing RAM. What’s more, as the motherboard doesn’t include Intel’s latest Express 7 chipset, PCI Express 3 and 6Gbits/sec SATA III support are absent.

CCL supplied our test machine with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, but there are upgrade options if your school prefers Windows 7 Professional. It also comes bundled with Microsoft’s excellent 600 Series wired keyboard and mouse.

This is a fast PC, with a benchmark score of 0.97. The only thing that lets it down is 3D performance, and if that’s a key requirement then a larger system with a dedicated card would suit your needs better. The BrightSpark’s final trump card is the price and warranty. At only £495 excluding VAT and with a three-year on-site warranty, it’s an excellent deal.


Price ex VAT £495
Price inc VAT £594
Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5


Warranty 3yr on-site

Basic specifications

RAM capacity 8.00GB


CPU family Intel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency 3.30GHz


Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec


Memory type DDR3

Graphics card

Graphics card Intel HD Graphics 2500

Hard disk

Hard disk 120GB SSD
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 1,000GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 931


Optical disc technology DVD writer

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Performance tests

Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.97