Origin Genesis 2011

Origin Genesis: Liquid-Cooled Behemoth Masters Benchmarks and Budgets

Origin Genesis 2011
  • Origin Genesis 2011
  • Origin Genesis 2011
  • Origin Genesis 2011
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Category-leading general performance

Cons

  • Elaborate liquid-cooling limits internal access

Bottom Line

Origin’s Genesis is back, armed with an impressive 5GHz overclock on its Intel Sandy Bridge CPU. It powers its way to the top of our charts, delivering the fastest results we’ve ever seen, at a price that’s actually a bit lower than its predecessor.

Would you buy this?

The performance desktop category plays host to all manner of pricey, powerful PCs. Despite being a relative newcomer to our rankings, Origin has fit right in, topping our charts and our benchmarks with premium components and generous overclocking. The company's latest update to its Genesis is no exception. (The Genesis line is also one of the priciest, though the new version will cost less than its near-US$7000 predecessor — specifically, US$6399, as of 1/12/2010.)

The all-new Genesis packs Intel's second-generation Core i7-2600K CPU — overclocked to a staggering 5GHz, and kept stable with liquid cooling. Origin has further outfitted the machine with 16GB of RAM, and just over 2.1TB of storage — which includes a pair of 128GB solid-state drives in RAID 0. It earned a score of 223 on our WorldBench 6 benchmark suite, making this overclocked goliath the fastest machine we've seen to date.

Gaming performance was equally impressive, thanks to the three Nvidia GTX 580 GPUs arranged in SLI. In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, it reached an average of 101 frames per second. And in the graphically intensive Just Cause 2, we saw an average of 47 frames per second.

Like its predecessor, the latest Genesis is housed in the Corsair 800D chassis. In fact, apart from the updated hardware, it is largely identical. The case is large and spacious, offering hot-swappable hard-drive bays on the front, as well as room inside for more 5.25-inch drives. It's also largely tool-free, with side walls that pop off at the push of a button. The graphics cards are held in place by thumbscrews, but the rest of the bays are accessible by way of sliding plastic latches.

My favorite new chassis feature? The remote-controlled lighting. You can pick your preferred color or simply cycle through them, bathing the interior of the machine with psychedelic rave lights. Sure, it serves no functional purpose. But sometimes bragging rights are their own reward.

Despite the cavernous chassis, there's actually little room for tinkering. Like its predecessor, the Genesis is liquid-cooled. A network of tubes across the CPU and the GPUs make the case's internals cramped, and the 5.25-inch bays are largely blocked by the reservoir. The Genesis packs a multiformat card reader, a Blu-Ray burner, and audio controls up front, but you aren't going to be able to fit much else in there. The motherboard's PCI slots are similarly blocked by the liquid-cooled GPUs.

Connectivity options abound. Hidden behind a panel on the face of the machine are four USB ports and one FireWire port, along with the headphone and microphone jacks. The aforementioned multiformat card reader offers a fifth USB port.

On the rear, you'll find a Serial PS/2 keyboard and mouse combo port, dual gigabit ethernet ports, a pair of eSATA ports, 7.1 analog and optical audio ports, a Bluetooth receiver, and a whipping eight USB 3.0 ports, making this one of the first machines we've reviewed that's focused on next-gen connectivity. The graphics cards offer a total of six DVI ports, and three Mini-HDMI ports.

Origin's updated Genesis outpaces Maingear's US$8000 Shift Super Stock in general performance, and price. But that's largely a testament to the the impressive performance we've seen out of Intel's Sandy Bridge offerings. And when you don't have a US$1000 Core i7-980X CPU or a custom paint job on your balance sheet, you can afford to lower costs — or in Origin's case, to add more RAM and an internal light show. But despite being the first of many Sandy Bridge desktops to pass through our gates, you can bet that this behemoth won't be bested any time soon.

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