Origin Chronos – Design and Features
I like gaming PCs and peripherals that can blend in with their surroundings, and the Chronos design does an admirable job of it. It sat on my office desk near my monitor, under our living room desk, and beside the TV stand during testing. While the thick, black plastic front might look a tad out of place in a West Elm catalog, it’s far from tacky.And when you want to show off what’s inside, the RGB lighting is brilliant enough for any gaming room. The left glass panel provides a stunning look into the PC. Still, the right is quite a bit less attractive, with the backs of a few components, like the RGB controllers from Corsair, your SSD, a slit of light leakage, and some adept, if not particularly attractive, cable management.Thankfully, even in broad daylight, the tempered glass is tinted and reflective enough that you’ll only see a slight glow from the lights and your reflection. These panels are slotted in place with two thumbscrews, and it takes all of ten seconds and two fingers to remove the panels, whether for cleaning, upgrading, tinkering, or just gawking at the cord management.
The chunky design allows the little case to fit a full-sized GPU. Even so, there’s still a surprising amount of space left in the case, with slots for up to two M.2 SSDs, one 2.5” SSD, and one 3.5” hard drive.
iCue integration lets you spec out the interior and front logo lighting, but you’ll need to download Corsair’s software. It’s a bit more complicated than necessary. Instead of a few simple dropdowns, the app provides four tabs and a slew of dropdowns within subcategories. It’s not exactly difficult, but it is a bit unintuitive. Thankfully the results let you customize everything from the color to how those lights are animated, then save it in a profile for later.
On the back of the console, you’ll find a bevy of ports. There are two HDMI ports (you may only use one depending on your processor’s onboard graphics capabilities), four USB ports (one USB-C and five USB-A), as well as three DisplayPorts, a TOSLINK port, a 2.5G ethernet connection, and two jacks for the included external wireless antenna. It’s a lot, and the front has a few more, including an audio jack, another USB-A, and another USB-C.
That’s more than enough ports for me, though I would prefer more of them were centralized on the front of the computer, as I was constantly cycling my devices to utilize one of those precious ports that didn’t require me to move the computer.
Origin Chronos – Specs
- Model: Origin Chronos
- Processor: Intel Core i9 10900K 10-Core 3.7GHz (5.3GHz TurboBoost)
- Motherboard: MSI MEG Z490I UNIFY
- Graphics: NVIDIA 10GB GeForce RTX 3080
- Memory: 16GB CORSAIR VENGEANCE 3200MHz (2x8GB)
- Cooling: Corsair H60 Hydro Series 120mm
- Power Supply: 750 Watt CORSAIR SFX Series
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- Storage: 1TB Samsung 970 PLUS PCIe NVMe M.2 & 1TB Samsung 860 QVO Series
- Ports: Front-facing: USB-A, USB-C, Audio Jack. Rear-facing: 1-2 HDMI, 3 DisplayPort, 5 USB-A, 1 USB-C, 2.5G Ethernet, Gold-plated antenna jack, TOSLINK output, additional audio outputs
- Dimensions: (W) 7” x (H) 11” x (D) 15.5”
- Price (as tested): $3,225
Origin Chronos – Performance and Gaming
It won’t come as much surprise that a $3,225 gaming computer can play games very well. But it’s still impressive to find little compromise in a system this small. There wasn’t a game I tested that truly challenged the system. Our benchmarks for Metro Exodus showed it maintaining 100fps on Ultra at 1080p, and well over 60fps in 4k.
And that’s how it felt. That’s how everything always felt. The Chronos is a tremendously powerful computer, and I flipped between being amazed that it could fit so much muscle into such a small case and that that should be the case, given its hefty price-tag.
The Chronos was capable of high frame rates with every game I played at the highest settings, and I was able to achieve around 60fps in 4K playing most games (Metro Exodus was one of them). Despite my review unit capping at 16GB of RAM, I never felt my gaming impacted, even with an excessive number of applications open in the background. Admittedly, these were more like Chrome or Spotify than something like Photoshop, but still, I was impressed.
Playing a graphically intense like Metro Exodus with a bunch of apps open did quickly lead to the computer humming, but it never got loud. Even when I was running it through the absolute gauntlet, it made no more noise than a small fan in the corner of my room. It also never got too warm – both the air and aluminum mesh top were never hot to the touch. At one point, I ran the Metro Exodus benchmark ten consecutive times with several game launchers open, several Chrome windows open, Steam open, and Spotify blasting music. On the tenth test, it was still averaging 96 fps, and the computer was still only modestly warming.
When we reviewed the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, we mentioned that it offered dramatically improved 4K performance, and the Origin Chronos is the perfect machine to showcase that. As you can see in our benchmark charts, the Chronos maintained admirable frame rates during intense stress tests. While in a game like Total War: Three Kingdoms, we saw a third as many frames-per-second as in 1080, it was still able to sit just under 50fps.
Startup is lightning fast. It took seconds to boot… that is when it did boot. One of my main problems with the computer I tested was repeatedly flicking off a moment after turning it on. Several times, pressing the center power button started the computer, then immediately, the lights extinguished with a click, and the computer was off. If this were my computer, I’d be happy to tinker my way to a conclusion (or cash-in on Origin’s included one-year warranty), but because it was a review unit, I didn’t feel it was right to mess with the internals. And the average buyer shouldn’t have to if they’re going this route. Save for a few necessary updates, you’d hope the computer would be functionally flawless when it arrives.
Origin Chronos – Purchasing Guide
The Origin Chronos starts at a pricey $1,695, with the base model including an AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 16 gigs of RAM, a measly 250GB PCIe NVMe, and an uninspiring 1-year part warranty. But every piece of this computer is factory customizable, and if you’ve got deep enough pockets, you can create something truly ludicrous. The version we tested runs $3,225 and boasted an Intel Core i9-10900K, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, and two 1TB SSDs, among many other unreal customizations. That’s a lot of money, and that’s not even close to the highest end. For that, you’ll need upwards of $6,000 for an Nvidia RTX 3090, a 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X, and a ridiculous 6TBs of SSD).