All's Well That's Haswell In Origin PC's Millennium Gaming PC

Origin PC makes a damn fine $3,500 gaming system, even when the CPU isn't exactly geared towards the high-end PC gamer. Well, that was an easy review. Who's for dessert?

It happens every time Intel introduces a new processor line — a barrage of announcements from the boutique PC industry mainstays, announcing that they've got a system packed with the latest tech ready to ship on day one. Such was the case with the Origin Millennium mini-tower system we're talking about here.

Those of you up-to-date on Intel chips are already doing the math in your heads.

Yes, Intel announced the availability of these chips on June 4 of 2013, and now it's September. This computer, originally slated for review around E3 2013, has been sitting on my desk doing important computing things for three months. Why?

For one, I've been busy. Game reviews, gaming app reviews, videos to produce, Snacktaku, Comic-Con, children, cats, apartment flooding — it's been a perfect storm of reasons to delay this PC review.

So there's me being a whirlwind of activity, and then there's me trying to figure out what to say about the Origin Millennium other than "it's a fine gaming system."

Because it really is. Origin PC has proven to me and other editors from Kotaku's past that they make incredibly solid, dependable, and powerful gaming machines. They ship the damn things in a wooden crate. You don't pack a wooden crate full of cheap crap and then make a reviewer scramble for his power screwdriver, because that reviewer is now armed, and that's frightening.

All's Well That's Haswell In Origin PC's Millennium Gaming PC

At this point I've reviewed one of Origin PC's high-end gaming laptops, the tiny EON 11-S gaming netbook (well, sorta), and a now a mini-tower. Each has performed admirably. Some for far longer than others.

Here's what's inside the unit I reviewed:

Origin Millennium

  • Starts at: $1,373
  • Chassis: Corsair 350D
  • Motherboard: ASUS Gryphon Micro ATX Motherboard
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 4770K Quad-Core (4.0GHz-4.4GHz), 8MB Cache With Professional Overclocking to 4.7 Ghz
  • Liquid Cooling: ORIGIN Frostbyte 120 Sealed Liquid Cooling (Maintenance Free)
  • Memory: 16GB Corsair Vengeance 1866Mhz (2x8GB)
  • Graphics Cards: Dual EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780s (3GB)
  • Lighting: Multicolor LED with Remote (Didn't set up, but factored into the price)
  • Hard Drive 1: 120GB Corsair Neutron GTX SSD
  • Hard Drive 2: 1TB SATA 6.0Gb/s, 7200RPM, 32MB Cache
  • Optical Drive: 14X Blu-ray Burner/Reader
  • Power Supply: 850 Watt Corsair TX850M
  • Windows: Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 40-in-1 Media Card Reader
  • Includes standard 1 Year Complete Part Replacement and 45 Day Free Shipping Warranty with Lifetime Labor and 24-7 U.S. Based Phone Support

Total Web MSRP: $3,468

There's a lot to love in that lineup. The Corsair 350D is one of my favorite cases. It's small-ish, but very expandable, there's plenty of room for cooling, and it';s raised off the ground so I can hide LEGO mini-figures underneath it. This is important.

In fact, having Corsair in as many bullet points as possible is generally a good idea. You see a lot of Corsair these days. Memory, power supply, case — if you aren't building a PC from the ground-up with parts you manufactured yourself, a certain uniformity is always nice.

All's Well That's Haswell In Origin PC's Millennium Gaming PC

And it's water cooled, to boot. Despite water-cooled computer equipment being an extension of technology that's been around for decades, there's something so futuristic about it. It's the tubes. If they could figure out how to get them to randomly spout steam (instead of running it with precision and grace), it would be even better.

Sure, in the end this is all parts you could buy, pieces you could assemble by yourself for far cheaper. You could even make your own warranty in Print Shop and do your own tech support. Good for you. I like what they've done with it, and I'm sure plenty of folks who fear the insides of computers contain digital demons that can only be touched by highly-paid technomancers would agree.

The only thing I'd change about the build, especially at this point ( so late, Fahey), is the processor. I'm just not too fond of the idea of Haswell in a desktop gaming PC. In a laptop, sure — the line was made for lower power consumption in mind. For a desktop, I'd probably forego the Haswell and go straight to the Ivy Bridge-E series, which were released about a week ago. Origin PC can configure a Millennium system with one inside, if that helps.

Still, for a processor that I consider less-than-optimal for a gaming PC, Origin PC has managed to squeeze a lot of juice out of it. This one's been running overclocked at 4.7Ghz with no issues for over three months. See? Procrastination has its benefits.

You want to see performance numbers? Perhaps a nice little chart? Tough. I've got several bullets with the names of games and benchmarking programs on them instead.

Origin PC Millennium Average Frames-Per-Second
  • BioShock Infinite, 1920 X 1080, Maxed Settings: 131
  • Tomb Raider, 1920 X 1080, Ultra Settings: 101
  • Tomb Raider, 1920 X 1080, Ultra+Tress Hair Effects: 64
  • Shogun Total War, 1920 x 1080, Maxed Settings: 113
  • Batman: Arkham City, 1920 X 1080, Maxed Settings: 113
  • Unigine Valley Benchmark, 1920 X 1080, Extreme HD: 56

Impressive numbers all around, though I imagine not quite as impressive as they'd be if the processor inside this lovely chassis were an Ivy Bridge-E series. Enough of a difference to spend several hundred dollars upgrading to the latest chip instead? Probably not.

And so we come full circle. Origin PC makes a damn fine $3,500 Millennium gaming system, filled with lovely pieces of hardware that work quite well together. I'd expect no less from a system that ships encased in wood and secured by screws.

Wood that, mind you, has been sitting on my back porch for three months in the rain and is likely home to several tiny forms of wildlife at this point. It's okay; I lost the screw ages ago.