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Getting To Know Our Chronos

Origin PC Chronos: Two GeForce GTX 780 Tis In A Mini Gaming Cube
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Flexibility is main reason enthusiasts like to build their own machines. It's also the reason why enthusiasts who get tired of building start going with boutique shops like Origin PC. You're smart enough to pick the parts for what you want to do, but for one reason or another want someone else to take responsibility for the workmanship inside and out. For this trip around the track, we asked Origin PC to pick parts for us.

Page one showed the front view of Origin PC’s chosen BitFenix Phenom M case, complete with its power and reset buttons, twin USB 3.0 ports, and audio I/O on the edge of its left side panel. But a look around back shows a few more reasons Origin might have picked this case from its customer-specified configuration sheet.

By removing the power supply from the rear panel, BitFenix shrunk the height of this microATX case down to about the size of an ATX motherboard, while adding top-panel fans and a fifth slot. As you can imagine, the space freed up by that extra slot could have come in handy paired to a microATX motherboard with a x16 slot in its last position, since it would have freed up space for a dual-slot graphics card. The Asus Maximus VI Gene chosen for this configuration doesn’t have that issue.

In fact, the only problem Origin PC encounters in this case is that its upside-down design lends itself to an anti-convective flow path. The company uses the top fans as intakes rather than exhaust, feeding its graphics cards with cooler outside air.

BitFenix designed its Phenom M to hold a radiator under the top fans, but that doesn't work when the case is packed with high-end graphics. With only fans mounted up there, you barely get one slot of width between them and the second GeForce GTX 780 Ti.

Origin PC also had to block off one of the case’s other features to add a 2 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM hard drive with 64 MB cache. The mount supports either two 3.5” drives or two 120 mm fans, and builders who don't want to use either of those options will also find mounting holes for a single 200 mm or 230 mm fan. But where are the 2.5” bays?

Two 2.5” SSD bays are located behind the motherboard, on the left side panel. Origin PC packed a $600 Samsung 840 EVO 1 TB SSD into the middle bay.

Other noteworthy parts include the Origin Frostbyte 120 cooler, a custom component that makes it harder for cost-counting readers to calculate the cumulative worth of this machine's parts versus its final price. The pump cover looks strikingly familiar, though. Aside from fan selection, we’re sure the same cooler manufacturer supplies a retail version in this size.

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  • 17 Hide
    envy14tpe , January 28, 2014 12:36 AM
    But that price tag. Yikes!
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    envy14tpe , January 28, 2014 12:36 AM
    But that price tag. Yikes!
  • 5 Hide
    sbudbud , January 28, 2014 12:44 AM
    Price is stupid, kill it with fire!!!
  • 0 Hide
    Kingpin007 , January 28, 2014 2:33 AM
    great one would love to have one... if i had the money
  • 2 Hide
    outlw6669 , January 28, 2014 2:35 AM
    Ouch, that is expensive!
    Loving the small form factor and performance though.

    How loud does this system have to get to handle all that heat?
    I am guessing that it will be pretty noisy; probably the biggest downside to putting so much performance in such a small package.
  • 6 Hide
    bemused_fred , January 28, 2014 2:38 AM
    21+73=94.That's a 94c peak CPU temp! Jay-soos! I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing.....
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , January 28, 2014 2:49 AM
    Quote:
    Ouch, that is expensive!
    Loving the small form factor and performance though.

    How loud does this system have to get to handle all that heat?
    I am guessing that it will be pretty noisy; probably the biggest downside to putting so much performance in such a small package.
    Nope, it's quiet. The reason it's quiet is that it uses GeForce 780 Ti's. They use what's probably the best GPU cooler ever devised.

    Quote:
    21+73=94.That's a 94c peak CPU temp! Jay-soos! I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing.....
    Ah, but 17+73=90. It never reached max fan speed :) 
  • -1 Hide
    outlw6669 , January 28, 2014 3:37 AM
    Quote:
    Nope, it's quiet. The reason it's quiet is that it uses GeForce 780 Ti's. They use what's probably the best GPU cooler ever devised.



    Quiet, powerful and a small footprint.
    That is a great combination in my book :) 
  • -1 Hide
    Zeh , January 28, 2014 4:37 AM
    I'd rather not have a 1 TB SSD. It's expensive as it is and 256gb is more than enough, at least for me. Heck, I have a 60gb and I'm fine with it.
  • 0 Hide
    quilciri , January 28, 2014 5:41 AM
    I have a pair of 120gb ssd's in raid0, and it's nearly full with about 1/4 of my steam library, I'd like a 1tb ssd, but really don't want to shell out for one. the Hybrid drives are looking prety good, though. I'm suprised, with all the other money they dumped into this system that the storage drive wasn't a hybrid.
  • -1 Hide
    larsoncc , January 28, 2014 5:56 AM
    The internals are just amazing. Look at how beautifully compact it all is. I bet it's surprisingly heavy for its size; those 850W power supplies have some heft to them.
  • 3 Hide
    bemused_fred , January 28, 2014 6:09 AM
    Quote:


    Ah, but 17+73=90. It never reached max fan speed :) 


    Did you post that the room temp is kept at 17, or did I just miss it?
  • 0 Hide
    Iggledude , January 28, 2014 6:41 AM
    Awesome Machine.The "perceived" heat in that cramped space would bug me to no end however. Still though... again, Awesome Machine.
  • 1 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , January 28, 2014 6:55 AM
    I've made a few observations that I would like to share:

    -The BitFenix Phenom M and the AeroCool Dead Silence look very similar on the outside (but assembles very differently on the inside when installing components).
    -There is nothing special about this computer other than a demonstration of a poor internal layout and bad airflow.
    -You can save over $1000 building this yourself: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2J1tf
    -All it would take is a little bit of dust to collect and this PC is toast from the poor airflow.

    You would have to run this PC with the side panels off pretty much 100% of the time realistically. Also, anyone who has worked with a Phenom or Prodigy M and a Corsair H60 or H80 would know that there is around 1mm of clearance between the top of the radiator and the back of the lower graphics card. I hope nothing shifts in shipment or the metal radiator could short out or damage the GPU. I see that Origin didn't opt to install any sort of retaining brackets or something to guarantee that the GPU won't move that 1mm and short itself. The flimsy bracket that holds the PCI cards in place just doesn't instill confidence in a $4000+ "luxury" computer.

    Why would anyone want to buy this PC from Origin?

    Quote:
    Compared to our $2550 build, that same 66% price increase gets the Chronos a 29% gaming performance lead. We’ve come to expect a 2:1 cost-to-benefit relationship in high-end hardware comparisons, so we might have expected a 29% performance gain to cost 58% more or so. Yet, Origin PC’s build quality and warranty are easily worth the 8% difference between expected and actual price differences.


    Really? Anyone can throw components in a PC case and use zip ties. What did Origin do that makes this computer so special that build quality is a feature? I don't see anything custom nor special here. This comment is suspect at best....
  • 0 Hide
    frannymaccy , January 28, 2014 8:46 AM
    WTF? For 300 dollars cheaper, you could build:

    4930KRampage IV Black
    16GB 2400 CL10 Trident X
    GTX 780 Windforce OC in Sli
    840 Pro 512 GB
    2 x 1TB WD Caviar Blue
    Storm Trooper
    Seasonic 1250W 80+ Gold
    LG Blu Ray Writer
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    This is a vastly faster, more versatile, and more robust system... Literally every single component of this system will run better on stock, OC'able components will OC much better and with way more headroom, will be more reliable and stable, will last significantly longer as games use more hyperthreading and cores and faster RAM, and that's with 300 quid left over and splashing out easily 250 extra bucks on a super overkill PSU and Blu Ray Player and shipping costs... !

    The remaining money of 300-550 would probably cover a switch of components to the next gen of 5930K processors, Rampage V, DDR4 memory and sli GTX 880s before the year's out!
  • -1 Hide
    Immaculate , January 28, 2014 11:38 AM
    OR! you could do this same setup with the EVGA dual bios classified 780Tis with a custom water loop cooling nearly every component. Cheaper than the Chronos and well you don't really have to worry about warranty with your parts being so frosty.

    EDIT

    mATX: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JekD

    ATX: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JdJl
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , January 28, 2014 12:13 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:


    Ah, but 17+73=90. It never reached max fan speed :) 


    Did you post that the room temp is kept at 17, or did I just miss it?
    Sorry, I thought I mentioned it was cold without stating the temp. Measured temp was 17 when that CPU temperature was recorded.

    Quote:


    Quote:
    Compared to our $2550 build, that same 66% price increase gets the Chronos a 29% gaming performance lead. We’ve come to expect a 2:1 cost-to-benefit relationship in high-end hardware comparisons, so we might have expected a 29% performance gain to cost 58% more or so. Yet, Origin PC’s build quality and warranty are easily worth the 8% difference between expected and actual price differences.


    Really? Anyone can throw components in a PC case and use zip ties. What did Origin do that makes this computer so special that build quality is a feature? I don't see anything custom nor special here. This comment is suspect at best....
    Your analysis of the statement is questionable, since the article statement is a consideration of labor and shipping cost involved with assembly and warranty support.
  • 1 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , January 28, 2014 12:57 PM
    Quote:
    Your analysis of the statement is questionable, since the article statement is a consideration of labor and shipping cost involved with assembly and warranty support.


    Any 12 year old kid could assemble this computer. There is absolutely nothing special or proprietary about it. Most of the individual parts have a 3+ year warranty on them, so your warranty claim doesn't really hold weight.

    I'm wondering, specifically, what makes this computer special from a "build quality" stand point as mentioned in the article. All I see is a mediocre computer case stuffed with parts and insufficient airflow. I would appreciate a more in depth response rather than the generic response you gave, quoted above.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , January 28, 2014 1:30 PM
    Quote:
    Any 12 year old kid could assemble this computer. There is absolutely nothing special or proprietary about it. Most of the individual parts have a 3+ year warranty on them, so your warranty claim doesn't really hold weight.
    Great! If you want to pay a 12-year old kid who lives across the country $15 an hour to build your PC, then pay him up front for 3 years of back-and-forth shipping, go for it. But that only implies that my warranty claim does hold weight.

  • 1 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , January 28, 2014 2:18 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Any 12 year old kid could assemble this computer. There is absolutely nothing special or proprietary about it. Most of the individual parts have a 3+ year warranty on them, so your warranty claim doesn't really hold weight.
    Great! If you want to pay a 12-year old kid who lives across the country $15 an hour to build your PC, then pay him up front for 3 years of back-and-forth shipping, go for it. But that only implies that my warranty claim does hold weight.


    You are still dodging the question and keeping talking about the warranty. I'm glad this computer has a 3 year warranty, as it should for the price. But a good warranty doesn't have any reflection on the build quality. I'm simply asking, "Why was build quality specifically mentioned in the conclusion." It is obvious that you stand by your wording in the article. I'm asking you to explain it without deflecting to their warranty.

  • 0 Hide
    Junit151 , January 28, 2014 3:32 PM
    There is an error. The TX850M is semi-modular, not full modular.
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