If you've been following the PC industry for a while, you know that gaming PCs have become increasingly popular. If you're familiar with gaming PCs, you've probably heard of Origin, a boutique pre-built systems company that specializes in gaming computers. We've already tested some of their systems and are back today to check out the latest version of the Neuron gaming desktop.
The Origin Neuron arrived in an Indiana Jones style in a very sturdy wooden box. Make sure you have a drill or screwdriver on hand to get inside. When you're spending that much on a system, you want to be sure it will arrive in one piece.
The inside of the case comes with an expanding foam insert that expands in place for a custom fit. It's another nice touch to minimize damage to your GPU or PCIe slots when shipping gets a little rough. In addition to the system, you also receive a box with accessories and a t-shirt. The box contained some user manuals for the internal components, a USB drive with recovery materials in case your system was damaged, and a Wi-Fi antenna for the motherboard.
Take a look inside. Our test system was configured with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, an RTX 3070, 16 GB 3200 MHz RAM, an Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Hero and a Samsung 980 Pro SSD.
In this review, we won't be paying as much attention to the specifications of our particular system as each build configuration can be different. Rather, we will examine the user experience and value proposition of such a system.
The Origin Neuron is a mid-tower offering, but if you're looking for something smaller, they offer the Chronos family as a small form factor line. You have the Millennium full tower line and the Genesis super tower line.
Since everyone knows the more RGB your system has, the more frames you will get. This system has RGB RAM, an RGB CPU cooler, RGB fans and an RGB strip on the front of the case.
When you look at the system as a whole from this perspective, the cable management is as good as it gets. Origin decided to zip the CPU cooler tubes together to keep them from fluttering around. I noticed they went so far as to flip the ends of the ties around so they are not visible to the user. I appreciate little details like these that show you Origin really knows what they're doing.
One thing I didn't like was the ugly 8-pin to 12-pin GPU power supply. The heat sink, the braid and the plastic coupling significantly impair the visual appeal. This certainly doesn't affect performance, but of course when you are in the market for such a system, what your system looks like is also important to you. I would have really liked a special 12-pin cable that doesn't need a connection in the middle and is long enough to hide all connections in the rear compartment. There isn't a ton out there, but I'm sure Origin should be able to figure something out.
Here too, the cable management is flawless. Although Origin took the time to hide the zip ties here as well, I would almost prefer Velcro straps. With zip ties every few inches, you'll find it difficult to update a component or fix a bug without ripping everything out.
It is always a fine line to do the cable management too well to be troublesome to adjust later. You can definitely say that someone has done their homework and carefully planned all the cable runs with such a layout.
Above we find more cable ties under the removable magnetic dust filter. The exact configuration of the front panel and the fan depends on which housing option you choose. Our test device was built in a Corsair 220T case, but the system is also available in the Corsair 110Q, 175R and 4000D models.
There's not much going on at the back. In this special case, the rear wall uses a sliding groove and these conventional knurled screws. I'm not a big fan as you have to put pressure on all four corners of the panel as you slide it in or the grooves won't get caught. Even with the optimized cable routing that Origin put in, there are only so many cables that it's extremely tight back there. However, it's not a huge problem as you rarely have to go back. Although this Crosshair VIII Hero motherboard costs around $ 400, it's really nice to have an abundance of USB ports and the second 2.5 G LAN port.
As expected, gaming performance is great. Because each component configuration provides different performance, it does not make sense to do a full system performance analysis. You can find more features in our reviews of the GeForce RTX 3070 and the Ryzen 7 5800X.
What you probably want to get to the point is that the Zen 3-based 5800X offers better single-thread performance than previous generations of Ryzen, which can be seen in gaming scenarios. The RTX 3070, which is based on Nvidia's latest Amp architecture, is currently very difficult to come by, but overall it offers excellent value for money and a huge increase in performance over the first generation RTX. In terms of gaming performance, the RTX 3070 is roughly equivalent to the previous flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti, which was more than twice as expensive.
Here are three benchmark examples of the RTX 3070 for reference only (runs on a different system, taken from our GeForce test):
The system boots up in about 15 seconds and we will also have an upcoming review of the Samsung 980 Pro series SSD. In general, such a system is great for 1080p and 1440p gaming, as well as light to medium production jobs.
In terms of the overall user experience, the Origin website does an excellent job of choosing components and ensuring compatibility. However, for someone new to PC building, especially someone in the market for a pre-built one, it can be a bit overwhelming. By default, your business starts you with the cheapest variant of a system and you can choose to upgrade components along the way. It may not be clear what an additional $ 20 SSD you get, how much cooling a particular CPU needs, or what the benefits of upgrading the motherboard can be. A description with some basic benchmarks can be helpful in deciding which parts to use.
One advantage of a custom system builder like Origin is that all parts are used from brand manufacturers. Other vendors like Dell and HP may use OEM motherboards and other branded components. While it's a little cheaper, it means you have almost no community support and a more limited upgrade or resale path. Origin uses standard parts. So if ever a problem occurs, someone else is likely having the same problem and there is an online solution.
In terms of the usability of the system, the Windows 10 installation included on the system was thankfully free of most of the proprietary bloatware common on many systems. There are some pre-installed programs, but I would say they are essential and programs that I would have installed anyway. Things like Corsair iCUE to control the RGB LEDs, CPU-Z to monitor system performance, and TeamViewer to help Origin technicians troubleshoot your system.
We didn't like the fan speed profile as it was enabled by default. The fans were loud and annoying. We tried opening the Asus motherboard control software to customize but found that it was either improperly installed or corrupted. We decided to try Origin & # 39; s included recovery USB to see if it would work with a clean install, but we still had no luck. We were able to manually reinstall the program, but when you're spending that kind of money on a system, expect things to work right away. We would also have expected Origin to make the fans quiet when idling and only turn on when the system is under load. Hopefully this was just an isolated incident with my review unit.
Additional documentation on how each fan was connected would also have been helpful. With the cables running so tightly and mostly not visible, it was basically impossible to find out where the fan connections were going. Despite trying different profiles and fan settings, I was never able to make the system as quiet as it should have been.
During this experience, one feature that I liked was the system restore process. The bootable USB stick that comes with the PC contains a custom recovery package that makes resetting the system to factory settings a breeze. Just boot from the drive and you will be done with a new Windows installation in minutes. No need to call technical support or flash disk images. Your tool does everything.
Plus, it's exactly what you'd expect from a high-end custom game computer. Great game performance, clean aesthetics, and reliable hardware that will last for years.
Now let's talk about pricing, and this is where it gets interesting.
The Origin Neuron system I tested has a retail price of $ 3102. A look at the corresponding system on PCPartPicker reveals a total of around $ 2,400 including the additional RGB controllers (not listed). The exact numbers change depending on the discount and price fluctuations.
The RRP for the Ryzen 7 5800X of 449 US dollars and the RTX 3070 of 500 US dollars is used. Keep in mind that these two components have been sold out for weeks and are only available in the market if you want to pay large scalping markups.
If you compare the system price of Origin with the standard price for the individual components, this results in an overhead of approx. 30%. When we checked the Neuron in 2017, we found that it had 20% overhead. Origin's 10% increase in markup isn't surprising given the lack of components. Note that Origin makes systems for prices between $ 1,500 and nearly $ 10,000. The markups change as you move their price tiers up and down, but should stay roughly the same.
That's how I see it … If you're in the market for a new PC and want to add a part from the RTX 3000 or Ryzen 5000 series, a pre-built part like this is probably your only option with guaranteed availability for the next few months . The current price for a scalped 5800x is $ 550-600 and an RTX 3070 is $ 800. When you add these prices together, the cost of building such a system is approximately $ 2,700. At this price point, I think the Neuron isn't a bad deal, assuming you just want a computer and would buy a scalped CPU / GPU anyway. When you have the extra cash, the build quality and support you get is well worth it for someone looking for a pre-built one.
A more budget-minded Intel build with an i7-10700K and GTX 1660 Ti costs $ 1,966 on the Origin website or $ 1,550 if you build it yourself. These are parts you can actually buy right now, and we're seeing a markup of around 25%. If it is worth paying the extra cash to get guaranteed compatibility and great build quality, you won't be disappointed with the Origin Neuron. However, you are essentially paying them hundreds of dollars to do something you can do yourself in about 1-2 hours. This is where the difficult decision always comes when it comes to pre-built gaming PCs.
In conclusion, the Neuron is a great system with solid build quality and good support to keep it secure. If you're in the market for a high-end PC, but all the parts you want are out of stock, it's not a bad deal to be paying excessive prices. If you just want a solid PC and don't need the latest and greatest gear, the 20-25% surcharge on stems is pretty standard. However, if you are into a pre-built computer because you don't want to worry about building a computer, I would say that you should probably be kidding yourself and just go for the build.