Origin PC Millennium Gaming Desktop Review: Custom Chassis, Blinding Speed

Origin PC Millennium: Design And Build Quality

Origin PC sent us a burly configuration that prices out to $4,369, though the starting point for a Millennium is actually much less expensive, with the cost of entry hovering around $1,600. Obviously you're not getting dual GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards at that price point, but you do get a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti paired with a Core i3-8100 processor, which is a serviceable foundation for 1080p gaming

Origin PC Millennium Angled

Have you ever wondered how a four thousand dollar machine ships? In a massive wooden crate, and depending on where you live, it's delivered on a tractor trailer (ours was, anyway). It is quite the experience having one of these systems arrive, and then going through the process of unpackaging everything—it helps to have a drill on hand, which makes quick work of removing the screws that hold the wooden box together.

We don't normally talk about packaging, because who cares, right? In this case, it's a unique part of the boutique buying adventure. What's also unique is the actual case that Origin PC uses for its Millennium and Genesis builds. There are several interesting bits about the custom chassis, not the least of which are the tinted tempered glass side panels that come standard. Each one swings open sort of like a car door, minus the door handle, making it incredibly easy to get inside to service or upgrade your PC (or just to poke around and admire the build quality). Low power magnets on the panels grip to the case when closed.

Origin PC Millennium Panel Open

For a $50 upcharge, Origin PC will bundle an aluminum side panel as well, available in red, gray, or black. It doesn't take much effort to swap them out—the panels lift right up and off the hinges with ease. This ranks right up there with the best implementation of a side panel we have ever seen, be it a pre-built PC or a standalone case. While that may seem a silly thing to point out, if you have ever fought with a side panel while trying to align it just right, then you know where we are coming from. And if you are old school, you probably spilled blood on a system or two, back when cases were beige and had sharp corners. Boy, have times changed.

Origin PC Millennium Bay Cover

For the latest version of this case, Origin PC aimed for a streamlined design and pretty much achieved it. One of the new features is a sliding top door that hides the front I/O ports. It slides up to reveal power and reset buttons, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port, an LED button, and separate headphone and microphone jacks. The LED button toggles the case lighting on and off, including the glowing logo on the front panel and LED strips inside the case, but not the motherboard or RAM lights.

We like the overall concept here, though the sliding door section and, by extension, the top panel feel cheap compared to the rest of the case. They are made of plastic instead of aluminum and glass like every other section, and there is some play if you push down on either one. It's a minor quibble though, and aesthetically it all looks fantastic.

Origin PC Millennium Top

Origin PC Millennium Top Open

Easy accessibility is the name of the game here. Not only do the side panels swing open with ease, the top panel pries right off with little effort as well, and without the use of tools. Magnets hold it down, so there is nothing to unscrew and no clips to worry about breaking.

The top panel provides ventilation with a whole bunch of honeycomb cutouts, arranged into a larger honeycomb pattern. A large dust filter sits underneath and sticks to the underside with Velcro. If you need to, you can peel it off and give it a good shake or blast of compressed air. We suppose you could run it under water too, just make sure it is completely dry before putting it back on—dripping water onto running electronics is never a good idea. Either way, this is a thoughtful convenience that can be especially helpful if you live in a dusty environment or have pets.

Origin PC Millennium HDD Bay

Origin PC Millennium HDD Bay Open

The same goes for the front panel. It is made from a sturdy chunk of aluminum and swings open with a little tug. Removing it altogether is a little more involved, though there really isn't a scenario where that would be necessary.

Swinging open the front panel reveals five 5.25-inch drive bays. Our review unit did not ship with any optical drives, though Origin PC will happily sell and install a 24X CD/DVD burner or 16X Blu-ray burner (or both).

What's more interesting are the hot swap hard drive bays at the bottom. Typically when you have a secondary hard drive installed in a system, it's not hot swappable, meaning you can't just plug a drive in or remove it when the system is running. In this case you can, however, which is great for backing up data from multiple systems, and makes upgrading your storage a snap (literally).

There are five hot swap bays in total. Our review system arrived with a single 3TB 'Origin Approved' hard drive installed in the fourth bay, which turned out to be a Seagate BarraCuda. Origin PC offers up to a 10TB hard drive for each bay. You can also select up to a 2TB solid state drive for faster storage (requires a different bay that does not support hot swapping), or up to a 2TB FireCuda flash-accelerated hybrid hard drive to balance speed, capacity, and cost.

Origin PC Millennium Inside

Do you see anything unusual about the above image? Keen observes will notice that the motherboard is installed in the right side of the case, not the left, with the graphics cards situated at the top. This inverted orientation is one of four mounting options Origin PC's custom case supports. You can also opt for a standard installation with the motherboard on the left side, or turned 90 degrees in either side so that the graphics cards line up vertically and exhaust hot air out of the top of the case. Even better, Origin PC doesn't charge extra to deviate from a standard installation—just choose your preference when configuring a Millennium and the company will build it that way.

Origin PC's cable management skills are on full display in the Millennium. Swinging open the tinted, tempered glass side panel reveals an attention to detail that borders on obsessive compulsive. Sleeved cables come standard, you just have to choose the color (black, red, white, or blue), and Origin PC's builders will zip tie and route them for an ultra-neat interior. Even though this is a mid-tower system, the clean layout makes the inside seem almost cavernous.

The foundation for our system is an ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero WiFi motherboard based on Intel's X370 chipset for Coffee Lake. It's a high-end board, though if you want to trim the price of the system, you can save about $130 by going with an ASUS ROG Strix Z370-H Gaming motherboard, or a little over $200 by selecting an ASRock Z370 Pro4.

Origin PC Millennium Graphics Cards

When it comes to gaming, nothing is more important than the graphics card, or cards (as in plural) in this case. Origin PC stuck two potent EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards in this system, and then overclocked them, massaging faster clocks from both the GPU and memory. They're connected with an HB (high-bandwidth) SLI bridge.

You may have noticed that graphics cards are in short supply these days, the result of everyone trying to strike it rich by mining crypto-currency. Interestingly, the huge markup mostly offsets the premium that comes from buying a boutique build. At the time of this writing, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards are selling for around $1,400 each, about twice what they should be. If you were to build this exact same system (or as close as you can get, considering the case is a custom design), it would cost you about the same as buying through Origin PC. So if you have a $4,000+ budget, that's a pretty good excuse to take the plunge into boutique territory.

Origin PC Millennium CPU Cooler

Origin PC also overclocked the Core i7-8700K processor, cranking it to 5GHz. You can overclock yourself, of course, or pay $75 to have Origin PC handle the OC with the promise that it will be "stringently tested and benchmarked for ensured stability." Whether or not it's worth the added charge largely depends on your experience level.

To keep CPU temps in check, Origin PC installed its Frostbyte 360 liquid cooler. It's a maintenance free, all-in-one solution with black tubing extending from the front of the case to the water block. It does not have the same visual pop as the all-in-one cooler Xidax used in its X-8 system we recently reviewed, as that one had clear tubing and liquid that glowed under the rig's LED lighting. However, Origin PC does offer a custom liquid cooling upgrade with different color tubing and liquid options.

Origin PC Millennium Backside

Origin PC Millennium Backside Cover

Origin PC also did a great job with the wiring on the backside of the motherboard tray. It helps that some of the wires are black, which blend in with the motherboard tray, but Origin PC clearly took care in bundling the cables and routing them neatly. What also serves as a nice touch is that Origin PC plugged the motherboard cooling cutout with a rubber pad, so you're not staring at a giant hole. Overall, it's just a beautiful build from all angles.

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