Best Pre-Built So Far: ABS Challenger ALI521 $1000 Gaming PC Review & Benchmarks

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The ABS Challenger ALI521 is the next on our list of pre-built reviews, and thus far, it has been the most impressive of the other 3 we reviewed. It has faults, but is built competently overall.
Sponsor: ASUS TUF Gaming B550 Plus WiFi on Amazon – https://geni.us/DbWZ

The ABS Challenger ALI521 has a GTX 1660 Super and an Intel i5-10400F CPU. At $1000, it *is* expensive compared to the DIY approach, but it has become clear to us that this is roughly the average price for these two primary components in the current pre-built market. The weakest part is the power supply, but ABS makes up for many deficiencies of its competitors by running two sticks of RAM (16GB, too, which is better than the 8GB found in other options) and better airflow and intake on the case. ABS is a house brand of Newegg, as is Rosewill, and so the two components get the benefit of being sold directly by a retailer that has shelves of parts. We’re benchmarking gaming performance, thermals, noise levels, power consumption, build quality, and more.

We buy these pre-builts out of pocket to help inform your decision making. It’s our goal to eventually find a couple that are good (without modification) so we can make some recommendations. If you’d like to help fund our ability to do this while also getting something in return, consider one of our Mouse Mats, Pads, or Modmat PC building surfaces:

Back-order a GN Anti-Static Modmat: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/modmat
Buy GN’s Red & Black Mouse Pad: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/gn-charge-redblack-mousepad
Blue & Black Mouse Pad: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/gn-component-blueblack-mousepad
Wireframe Desk-Sized Mouse Mat: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/gn-wireframe-mouse-mat

Watch our review of Cyberpower’s Gamer Xtreme i3200BST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M68aE1za_Ak
Watch our Dell G5 5000 pre-built gaming PC review (tear-down & billing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DMg6hUudHE
Or Part 2 o four Dell review, where we look at bloatware & benchmarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N7aYtkzKJc
See our disappointment in the iBUYPOWER Slate MR1004: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sDRiakWcIM

Like our content? Please consider becoming our Patron to support us: http://www.patreon.com/gamersnexus

RELATED PRODUCTS [Affiliate Links]

ABS Challenger ALI521 on Newegg: https://geni.us/wAJz
iBUYPOWER gaming PCs on Amazon: https://geni.us/9BEnIa
Dell G5 5000 i5 Gaming PC on Amazon: https://geni.us/R6F03Mb
Some random Pre-Built Gaming PCs on Amazon: https://geni.us/UPWiwC
Or DIY it with an Intel i5-10600K on Amazon: https://geni.us/9xEIUZ

TIMESTAMPS

00:00 – ABS Challenger ALI521 Pre-Built Review
04:35 – Tearing Down the ABS Challenger Gaming Computer
05:09 – Almost Immediately: Weird Front Panel
08:36 – MSI Continues to Disappoint
09:40 – CPU Cooler Flames & Mounting Pattern
12:18 – Power Supply & Smuggled LEDs
15:13 – Pre-Built Gaming PC Thermals (ABS Challenger)
16:04 – Gaming Benchmarks
16:30 – Cyberpunk 2077 Best Gaming PCs for $1000
17:08 – Rainbow Six: Siege (1080p, Framtimes, & 1440p)
19:43 – Hitman 3 CPU & GPU Benchmarks
20:07 – Red Dead Redemption 2
20:40 – Noise Levels
20:54 – Power Testing
22:08 – Instructions, BIOS, & Other Observations
26:16 – Conclusion & Bad Customer Support

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Links to Amazon and Newegg are typically monetized on our channel (affiliate links) and may return a commission of sales to us from the retailer. This is unrelated to the product manufacturer. Any advertisements or sponsorships are disclosed within the video (“this video is brought to you by”) and above the fold in the description. We do not ever produce paid content or “sponsored content” (meaning that the content is our idea and is not funded externally aside from whatever ad placement is in the beginning) and we do not ever charge manufacturers for coverage.

Follow us in these locations for more gaming and hardware updates:

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Host, Test Lead, Writing: Steve Burke
Testing: Patrick Lathan
Video: Andrew Coleman
Video: Keegan Gallick

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40 COMMENTS

  1. We buy these pre-builts out of pocket to help inform your decision making. It's our goal to eventually find a couple that are good (without modification) so we can make some recommendations. If you'd like to help fund our ability to do this while also getting something in return, consider one of our Mouse Mats, Pads, or Modmat PC building surfaces:
    Back-order a GN Anti-Static Modmat: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/modmat
    Buy GN's Red & Black Mouse Pad: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/gn-charge-redblack-mousepad
    Blue & Black Mouse Pad: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/gn-component-blueblack-mousepad
    Wireframe Desk-Sized Mouse Mat: https://store.gamersnexus.net/products/gn-wireframe-mouse-mat

    Watch our review of Cyberpower’s Gamer Xtreme i3200BST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M68aE1za_Ak
    Watch our Dell G5 5000 pre-built gaming PC review (tear-down & billing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DMg6hUudHE
    Or Part 2 o four Dell review, where we look at bloatware & benchmarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N7aYtkzKJc
    See our disappointment in the iBUYPOWER Slate MR1004: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sDRiakWcIM

  2. I picked up a very similar ABS system from Newegg back in March for my brother for $850 when it briefly went on a shell shocker deal. The next day it was $950 and since then it's never been below $1,000. I've since upgraded it to 32GB's of ram, a spare EVGA 850 watt gold PSU I had lying around, and managed to get a 3060 in the Shuffle so we upgraded it to that and sold the 1660 Super. Sucks having to go prebuilt but Newegg's ABS system's are the pretty much the best value around right now.

  3. Love my mouse pad from you and enjoying the review videos. However, I would never let any of my family buy a pre-built, LOL! And I hate to admit it, but I bought Dell pre-builts all through the 90's, Ouch! My last one was a gaming PC in 99 and back then they were playing the proprietary component games/bloatware as well. When I tried to upgrade items within, WOW was I surprised and disappointed; never again!

  4. Had an ABS back in the day when they did custom built PC's. Thing ran forever and was built well but that was before they were bought out. Wondered why when I went to buy another several years later they were apparently not doing it anymore. Seems like not nearly as well put together as mine was.

  5. "Not many people use PS/2 connections any more"

    I thought I had used it for the last time 15 years ago, but last year I was trying to install Windows on a Dell SFF. Where it asked for your Microsoft password it would refuse to recognize any USB device on any port, so the only way to get the installation to proceed was dig out a PS/2 keyboard from the pile of old computer stuff in the basement. The ports worked fine in BIOS and upon completing the installation and during the installation prior to that screen. Looking online I wasn't the only one with that problem on that model of PC.

  6. tbf Newegg customer support used to be good. Now they're just cheese. 😐

    There isn't any real verifiable reason why, but I keep hearing talks from other people about how Newegg has gone downhill, and that there are some "reasons" (that have yet to be verified) that led to their eventual downfall. It would be interesting to also hear about Paul and Kyle's perspective since last I checked, they worked there practically before I became their customer.

  7. just to share some info, 20 years ago, my first gaming pc was an ABS, pre-newegg. ABS was a smaller custom shop that had not been bought by newegg yet. Their customer service was amazing, as well as build quality and price. This was back in the PCI days, not even PCI-E. I had my Radeon GPU flicker on me, and within a few days they shipped a new one to my door for a self swap. I still have that CPU, and am planning on digging it out to see if I can get it running again, as well as my Dell XPS 630i, which to this day sticks out as one of my favorite chassis. That was when Dell actually made good pre-builts, and not the dumpster fire's they are now. Lastly, I used to spend hours a week playing CS 1.5 at the lan center downtown, where they ran all Alienware custom rigs, before Dell ruined them as well….

  8. Seems like "ABS" is a poor choice in marketing, as ABS plastic is the key ingredient in cheesy feeling plastic'ey junk that is not exactly a material of construction to brag about in something like the computer industry.

  9. your dell video needs to be shared everywhere, including dell. they have always sold nothing but garbage. now dell will approve anyone and sell people ,more junk. gateway is right their with dell.

  10. I nabbed an ABS Master Gaming computer during Black Friday sales in 2020 because I realized that components and prices were going crazy so I pretty much had to go with a prebuilt. It came with an i10400f, Asus Dual-RTX2060 EVO 6gb OC, 16gb ram, 500gb SATA SSD, and 600+ Gold PSU for $869(~$950 after taxes). It arrived in perfect condition, and has been running great since December 6th, 2020(I added a Samsung 1TB SATA SSD a couple weeks later because it really needs the extra space for games).

    It runs fairly cool, top temp I've seen on the GPU was 80C but usually doesn't get much over 76C. Front fans could have been put in a better place, much like in this GN review. Strange behavior happens from time to time and I don't know why, but occasionally I get a black screen and the Graphics Card fans run in overdrive, and I manually reboot by pressing the power button rather than risking damage to the computer. I hope I'm doing that right, but it only happens every now and then.

    Overall I'd recommend ABS systems, good bang for the buck, and plenty of room to expand. No idea about customer service though, maybe I should call them and ask about my blacking out screen sometime?

  11. I bought an ABS rig for the EVGA 3080 in it and the Ryzen 5900x. Was super impressed with the build quality and the parts they built it with (Asus x570, EVGA 850w, 3600 Corsair) and ended up keeping everything.

    As an addendum, had a minor issue with my GPU and ABS offered a replacement within 24hrs of my request. I declined because they said I would get a random brand returned.

  12. This might be too specific a request, but do you think you guys could design a mousepad (or even better a desk mat) with a sort of 80s /retrowave sort of vibe? neon pinks and purples and lots of vector lines and junk.

  13. I avoid newegg like the plague after they were bought out a few years ago and repeated bad experiences. Some was just bad luck but it was happening far too often. I had done well into 6-figures of purchases through them over the years setting up computers and servers with NO issues, until they were bought out.
    The last few times I have dealt with them I have not had an incident free experience. DOA New In Box hardware with "no returns accepted" that I had to spend far too much time on the phone arguing with someone. Received obviously opened and used "NEW" products that they would not exchange or accept a return (this was a sold by newegg product, not some 3rd party marketplace thing),or would send the same opened box back to me while I was responsible for shipping both ways, and also an incident where the packaging box arrived smashed where if i was home I would have refused delivery. This last one was not a Newegg issue directly, but the way they handled the situation was handled poorly…. after some work escalating the issue with newegg to get a replacement, I was still charged $99 for the "free game card" included that was in the box that was 'missing' and shipping to me, returning the busted box, and shipping of a replacement to me on an initially free shipping item. Not a good way to keep your long time customers happy. Partly just a string of bad luck but partly their support going downhill after talking to several other people with similar experiences.

    Meanwhile microcenter, amazon and best buy will bend over backwards to make sure you are happy and your hardware is trouble free. Even exchanging it so you don't have to deal with weeks of downtime mailing it to the manufacturer.

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