Origin PC Chronos Review: A Powerful Small Form Factor Desktop PC For 4K Gaming

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Origin PC Chronos: Introduction And Specifications

It used to be that large physical dimensions were a telltale sign of a Herculean gaming PC. Looming desktop towers with wild looking exteriors indicated the presence of serious hardware inside. Cracking one open might reveal multiple graphics cards and fancy liquid cooling setups, both almost considered prerequisites in order to crank up the eye candy in demanding games and to play at high resolutions. But somewhere along the way, things began to change.

While some of the most powerful gaming systems still reside inside gargantuan full tower enclosures, a growing number of decked out desktops have gone the opposite route. One of the best examples of this is Origin PC's Chronos line of small form factor gaming PCs. With a footprint measuring a scant 4 inches wide and less than 14 inches deep, the Chronos is about the size of a dedicated game console, but is packed chock full of bleeding edge hardware capable of big time gaming performance.

Origin PC Chronos

Exactly how much performance is largely decided by your budget rather than the constrains of Origin PC's custom chassis. To showcase the potential of its Chronos, Origin PC sent us a configuration that is suitable for 4K gaming by pairing an overclocked Intel Core i7-7700K processor with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card and 32GB of DDR4-2666 memory. Yeah, it's like that.

Origin PC did not skimp on storage, either. A 512GB Samsung 960 Pro NVMe solid state drive that taps into the PCIe bus handles OS duties and game loads, while a 4TB Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive takes care of the overflow. And if all that weren't enough, Origin PC shoved a self-contained liquid cooler into this thing too.

Going back to our original point, a liquid cooled PC featuring a full-size graphics card from the top of the stack (only the Titan Xp is faster than the 1080 Ti, and not by much) and an overclocked processor was not a combination normally found in a small form factor desktop, and certainly not one that could fit into an entertainment center. But as technology has progressed, this sort of thing is now possible, and Origin PC ran with it.

Origin PC Chronos Top Angled

That is not say there are no downsides to a diminutive PC like this one. There are—cost and noise are the biggest ones. But are they deal breakers? We'll get to all that on the following pages, but first let's have a look at the full set of hardware and features on tap here.

Origin PC Chronos (Intel Z270)
Specifications & Features
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Processor Intel Core i7-7700K (4-Core, 8MB Cache, 4.2GHz to 4.5GHz) overclocked to 4.8GHz
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
Memory 32GB DDR4-2666 MHz (4x8GB)
Optical Drive N/A
Storage 512GB Samsung 960 Pro NVMe PCIe SSD
4TB Western Digital Caviar Black HDD (64MB Cache, 7,200 RPM)
Cooling System Origin Frostbyte 120 Liquid CPU Cooler
Connectivity Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth 4.2, Intel Wireless-AC8265 802.11ac
Front Panel Ports 2 x USB 3.0, Headphone and Mic
Rear Panel Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, 1 x LAN (RJ45), 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Optical S/PDIF, 5 x OFC Audio Jacks, 2 x Wi-Fi Antenna Connectors, 1 x Clear CMOS Button
Power Supply 600W Silverstone SFX Series
Dimensions 11 x 4.00 x 13.75 inches (HxWxD)
Weight 5 Pounds (Starting Weight)
Warranty 1-Year Parts, Lifetime Labor and Phone Support
Pricing $3,169 As Tested, Starting At $1,177 Direct From Origin PC

Origin PC Chronos Back

As configured, the Chronos PC we're evaluating runs north of $3,100. Part of that cost on this particular setups is for an optional shipping upgrade to a wooden crate that is screwed shut. While it does offer additional protection against things like rough handling and inclement weather, the onus really falls on Origin PC to deliver its systems free from damage.

Chronos systems start at a little under $1,200 for a more subdued setup that pairs an Intel Core i3-7350K processor with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. There are several upgrade options across the board, including CPU, GPU, motherboard, RAM, and storage. The most limited category is the power supply, due to the size of the system—Origin PC offers two options from Silverstone's SFX series, including a 450W and a beefier 600W for more powerful graphics cards culminating in a Titan Xp.

On the other end of the spectrum is a robust selection of storage drives. Origin PC lets buyers select from a wide range of capacities and storage types, including standard 2.5-inch SSDs, M.2 SSDs, and 3.5-inch mechanical HDDs. And for added performance, Origin PC will optionally install an Intel Optane memory drive on compatible configurations as well.

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