Origin Neuron (2019) Evaluation: The Corvette of the Gaming Fleet

"Origin & # 39; s Neuron is a powerful rig that can remain relevant as long as you want to update it."

  • Minimalist design with tempered glass window

  • Many customization options

  • Liquid-cooled high-end processor

  • Compact footprint in the middle of the tower

  • Can support up to two GPUs

  • Small chassis make upgrades difficult

  • Updated configurations can be expensive

Some players want unbridled strength and performance. The Origin Millennium fulfills this role very well. However, the practical applicability of size and price is a problem for most people, and the bulky size of such a tower is not for everyone.

Fortunately, Origin & # 39; s Neuron promises similar levels of performance for Battle Royale wins and quieter setups when fully equipped in a much more compact mid-sized tower. Don't be fooled by the small size of the neuron – this gaming desktop is full of performance and can be configured with up to Intel's 18-core X-series processor, dual Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics, and lots of storage space Give yourself an edge.

Whether you're looking for a new rig for VR, ray tracing games, or just about any modern title, the capabilities of the neuron will envy most players. If the Millennium is a battleship, the Neuron is the corvette of the Origin fleet.

Made for graceful aging

Origin's Neuron PC is available in standard colors of red, black, or white, or in a range of improved metallic finishes, and may look like a playful desktop tower for consumers with a tinted side window made of tempered glass. But don't be fooled by the minimalist design of this gaming PC – our apple-red test device with candy and black border is an attractive focus on every desk.

Source neuron 2019Riley Young / Digital Trends

With a simple polygonal steel box, the Neuron has flat back and side walls and a faceted front, which gives a little visual interest to an otherwise minimalist design. The desktop measures only 15.25 x 16.5 x 6.75 inches and is therefore more compact than other medium-sized towers such as Digital Storm Lynx, Alienware Aurora R7 or Falcon NW Talon. Although the all-metal construction reinforces the premium style of the Neuron and gives it extra durability, the 18-pound device is still portable, making it lighter than the Lynx, Aurora R7 and Talon.

In keeping with our battleship analogy, the neuron is the corvette of the millennium frigate.

Despite the fact that all four competitors support similarly powerful specifications – including the ability to use two graphics cards – the Neuron has the simplest design. Hopefully this means that it feels as modern today as it did in ten years. Origin's design is free from annoying vents, aggressive grills and hard angles, and prevents the neuron from looking stale over time. This is an important consideration given the price and upgradeability of the device.

If you want to add more flare, Origin PC offers numerous customization options. Players can laser etch a custom image onto the tempered glass, and various RGB lighting elements can be added to the interior.

To protect the neuron during transportation, Origin PC customers will appreciate the company's attention to detail when shipping this rig in its own wooden box.

Functional form

Another highlight of the Neuron design is the tool-free access to the internals via the side window. While the function is similar to Lynx and HP's Omen Obelisk, Origin went a step further with the Neuron. Instead of having to completely remove the glass pane – where it could be damaged – all you have to do is open the glass door via the notch on the front of the PC. In this way, the glass door on the hinges mounted on the back can be opened.

Origin Neuron 2019Riley Young / Digital Trends

Although the door design is clever, the notch is actually a bit difficult to reach for those with larger fingers, and a fair amount of force is required to open the door. Origin could have made the task easier by implementing a push-to-unlock mechanism that activates a release mechanism by pushing the glass into the case, similar to some kitchen cabinets.

The compact size of the device can make it harder for owners with larger hands to perform repairs or upgrades.

Most of the PC components are clearly arranged on the inside in two compartments. The motherboard, graphics card, and vents are in the more open top component. As expected, the cable management is first-class and offers liquid-cooled CPU, GPU and RGB-illuminated memory cards. Although all internal parts are organized and nothing seems confusing, the compact size of the device can make it difficult for larger-handed owners to carry out repairs or upgrades. A closed lower compartment hides less sexy PC components such as power supplies and hard drive bays.

Make ports great again

Although the number of front-facing connectors on gaming PCs is great, depending on their location, these connectors may not be as accessible as you think. In the standard configuration, the two forward-facing USB ports, audio jacks and the power switch of the Neuron are located downwards. Although this placement is ideal for a tower on a desktop, it can make it difficult to reach the connections if you place the Neuron on the floor.

Fortunately, there are four removable magnetic feet on the bottom that can be removed and attached to the top of the case. This allows the neuron to be inverted to facilitate access to the ports. To use the Neuron as a home theater device, you can attach the feet to the side wall to get a horizontal arrangement.

Source neuron 2019Riley Young / Digital Trends

There are additional ports on the back of the device, including a USB-C port, five USB-A ports, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet jack, external Wi-Fi ports, two older PS-2 ports and additional audio ports . Our test device, which comes with a single Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, has additional connections for USB-C, three additional DisplayPort connections and a second HDMI connection. Depending on the graphics card you selected, the choice of connections can vary.

Despite all the attention to detail that Origin has given the Neuron, the attachment for securing the graphics card could cost more work. Due to the small housing size, the screw sockets for holding the graphics card are not as deep as with other devices, so that some of the screw ends protrude beyond the length of the socket. Given that this detail is placed on the back, most users don't care about the error, but it's still remarkable that the price of this PC, when fully configured with multiple GPUs and solid-state drives, is over $ 13,000 -Dollars can lie.

Built to perform

Depending on your budget, the Neuron can be configured with as much power as you can afford. The PC can be equipped with silicon from AMD or Intel. Our test device is equipped with the latest liquid-cooled 9th generation Intel Core i9-9900K processor on a Mini-ITX-MSI card. For most people, including demanding players, it will turn out to be fast enough. Creators who need speed can upgrade to AMD's 16-core Ryzen Threadripper or Intel's powerful 18-core i9-9980XE silicon to improve performance.

Thanks to the liquid cooling, heat and throttling don't seem to cause any problems despite the compact housing design of the Neuron.

The performance of our test device is competitive compared to similar systems equipped with Core i9. Processor throttling doesn't seem to be a problem thanks to the existing liquid cooling despite the Neuron's compact housing design, and the use of six Origin fans to circulate cool air inside helps regulate heat. Compared to the Lynx, which relies on four fans and a somewhat large case to stay cool, players will find that the neuron runs a bit louder.

When benchmarking with the Geekbench tool, the neuron values ​​of 6,308 and 33,146 points for single-core and multi-core tests are in the range of beefier units with significantly larger housing constructions such as Origin & # 39; s Millennium and Digital Storm & # 39 ; s Aventum X. Compared to With the even more compact Origin Chronos and the ASUS ROG Strix GL12X, the better results of the Neuron could be due to its larger casing, which leads to better airflow and better cooling. The Chronos scored 5,988 and 32,328 points, respectively.

In our video coding test, the Neuron completed the task in 77 seconds, similar to Origin Millennium, Asus ROG Strix GL12X and Digital Storm Aventum X. This is significantly faster than the Digital Storm Lynx, which lasted almost 90 seconds with its weaker Intel Core i7 -9700K chip.

While we didn't find performance or heat a problem with the Neuron's smaller case, gamers who like to tinker with their PCs to upgrade internally may find less scope given the smaller size of the Mini-ITX board. The Lynx's larger ATX card provided more access to component swapping.

Source neuron 2019Riley Young / Digital Trends

Like the Lynx, the Neuron has a similar solid-state drive from the Samsung 970 EVO series, but comes with a better M.2 970 Pro drive, which has a slightly better read and write performance with a capacity of 512 GB offers. Origin offers a range of SSD, PCIe SSD and PCIe M.2 drive options for more flexibility in capacity and performance.

If you need additional storage but don't want to spend a lot of money on a 4 TB Samsung 860 Pro SSD, you can add up to five additional hard drives or solid-state drives to the Neuron. Intel Optane memory is also a premium option. In addition to the 512 GB Samsung 970 Pro SSD, our test device also came with a 3 TB hard drive.

Made for games

With support for graphics cards ranging from an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti to a single GeForce RTX Titan card (or two RTX 2080 Ti Blower cards), the Neuron is clearly aimed at gamers who demand the best performance. Owners who do not want to commit in advance to a dual card setup will find plenty of room in the future to add a second card. Our test device comes with a single RTX 2080 Ti card and 16 GB system memory. As expected, performance is solid at most resolutions, apart from 4 KB with the highest level of detail.

The neuron's score of 13,995 points in 3DMark's Time Spy benchmark is one of the highest we have seen on a single GPU system. It is higher than the 12,194 points that our test system achieved with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and the 13,817 points that the Origin Chronos achieved with a similar GPU. The only systems that do better are the Origin Millennium and Digital Storm Aventum X, since both devices benefited from dual RTX 2080 Ti graphics. The double cards of the Aventum X gave him an impressive 21,468 points on the same benchmark and showed the potential for what the neuron could achieve if a second card were added.

As expected, the gaming performance of the Neuron is solid with the RTX 2080 Ti card. Even in graphics-intensive titles like Assassins Creed: Odyssey, the frame rate at 4K only dropped below 60 FPS (frames per second) when the game settings were set to ultra-high. At 4K with high details, the game ran at 69 FPS, although we noticed a slight stutter. Surprisingly, the neuron's single GPU performance matches the Millennium's dual graphics configuration for this title, suggesting that most players may not benefit from dual graphics, at least until more titles are built into NVLink support.

Most modern games consistently play over 100 FPS on the Neuron. The performance of the Neuron on Civilization VI was comparable to the similarly configured Origin Chronos, and the game ran on both units at over 100 FPS, even in 4K with the highest level of detail. The situation is very similar when playing Fortnite and the game only went below 100 FPS when the epic mode was activated with 4K resolution. The Neuron achieved 72 FPS here, which is better than the RTX 2070 on the Lynx, which only achieved 59 FPS. Players who demand more performance can upgrade to Origin's overclocked CPU and GPU solutions when configuring their systems.

The strength of the RTX 2080 Ti card on the Neuron was shown on Battlefield V, whereby the game ran consistently over 70 FPS even at 4K on Ultra. As always, when the real-time ray tracing function was activated, the performance in the 4K resolution dropped noticeably. In 4K ultra with ray tracing, the frame rate of the neuron dropped to only 47 FPS, and the graphics appeared more choppy than when the function was deactivated.

With the latest GeForce drivers and Battlefield V patches, even with ray tracing enabled, performance is extremely smooth and delivers at least 60 FPS when enabled with 1080p and 1440p resolution. At higher resolutions like 4K, the frame rate drops below 50 FPS, but most avid gamers are likely to play at 1080p to maximize the benefits of ray tracing and fast frame rates for a more enjoyable experience. In the Port Royale Ray Tracing Benchmark, the Neuron scored 8,441 points at 39 FPS, significantly better than the RTX 2070 on the Omen Obelisk.

guarantee

As with competing game companies, Origin PC's warranty policy includes lifetime phone support, free labor, and a one-year warranty for parts for the Neuron. However, users must pay for shipping if defects are found after 45 days of ownership.

The Neuron lasts for years, keeping the latest silicon and graphics in a compact package.

Compared to Digital Storm's policy, Origin's updated Evolve plan gives owners more flexibility with future upgrades. When the package is added, owners receive a credit equal to the current market value when the original parts are returned. If you want to upgrade your GPU later, this is an advantage because you don't have to save or resell your part. Origin PC essentially buys your old GPU back at market value.

However, Origin's warranty does not match Dell's updated protection plans, which also cover accidental damage. If you spill a beer on your Neuron and fry the motherboard, you're out of luck here. In contrast, Dell offers accident insurance of up to four years for the Aurora R7 for $ 119.

Our opinion

The Neuron is a powerful, prefabricated PC that offers numerous customization options. Although the base price starts at just $ 1,430, costs increase quickly when the processor, graphics card, or memory is updated. If the neuron is fully equipped, it can cost up to nine times as much and costs $ 13,000. This offers players and creatives an incredible level of performance in a very compact and elegant package.

Fortunately, the upgradeable design of the Neuron means for players who don't want to invest all the savings in the rig from day one, that they can add as much power as they need to get the performance they want.

Is there a better alternative?

Even though it has a modest starting price, the Neuron can get expensive once you upgrade to a more powerful processor or graphics card. As configured, our test device was worth $ 3,700 with Origin's liquid cooling solution, an Intel Core i9-9900K processor on an updated MSI card, a single GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB Samsung 970 Pro M.2 SSD, 3 TB hard drive, updated Corsair fan, RGB case lighting and wrapped cables are currently among the top PC versions.

Although the cost is almost double that of the premium $ 1,999 Lynx, Digital Storm's PC has a more anemic processor and graphics card, making it inaccessible to avid gamers. When you're ready to reduce performance, Origin PC offers the Neuron less powerful specifications for more price-conscious customers.

Although Origin offers more configurations for the Neuron, our test device is still $ 700 more expensive than a similarly configured Alienware Aurora R7 after Dell's immediate discounts. While Alienware offers you far fewer customization options, you should theoretically achieve similar performance with the Aurora R7. If you choose the Neuron, along with the tower's window design, you really pay a premium for Origin PC to build you your own "custom" gaming rig.

How long it will take?

Given that Origin can build the Neuron with the most powerful components on the market – including an AMD or Intel processor with 16 or 18 cores and up to two flagships of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card – this is a PC, the long one will keep you going for years to come, even if you choose not to do any of the upgrades yourself.

Should you buy it

Yes. The Origin PC offers numerous configuration options. So when you buy the Neuron, you feel like you are building your own gaming rig without having to invest the work with your bare hands. The various configuration options give owners the flexibility to get the performance they need at the price they can afford. When the Neuron is fully configured, it will stand up to you for years, packing the latest silicon and graphics elements in a compact housing that looks inconspicuously modern on any desk.

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