Origin PC EON13-S review: High-powered parts in a portable package

Connections, performance, and battery
Plenty of USB ports for a 13-inch laptop here, but you'll probably need them if you plan on connecting, for example, an external mouse, keyboard, and gamepad. The body is thick enough to support a full-size Ethernet port, which is a plus because most of your multigigabyte PC games will probably be downloaded from a service such as Steam. There's a VGA port as well as an HDMI one, but that's just because of the off-the-shelf body, not because gamers are crying out for VGA.

Sarah Tew/CNET

When it comes to comparing performance between gaming laptops, our CNET Labs benchmarks are just one piece of the puzzle. While we can compare recent gaming laptops from Dell/Alienware, Origin PC, Maingear, and Toshiba, those are all going to be different configurations at different prices (although all are Haswell-generation Core i7 systems with 700M-level Nvidia graphics). One area where the Origin stands out, and part of why this configuration costs more, is the triple-hard-drive setup, pairing two 120GB mSATA drives in a Raid 0 configuration with a 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.

The faster Intel Core i7-4900MQ processor in the Origin EON13-S helped in some tests, but didn't make a huge difference compared with the Core i7-4700 series chips found in most of the other gaming laptops we've seen recently.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M seems to be the GPU of choice for gaming laptops today, although our 17-inch Toshiba Qosmio X75 has a GeForce 770M. Scores were very close across the board, although the Origin ran BioShock Infinite faster than other gaming laptops, at 37 frames per second, and was just a bit behind the Qosmio X75 in Metro: Last Light, at 12 frames per second, with both systems at 1,920x1,080 and high detail settings.

In anecdotal use, I could play any game smoothly, including my new obsession, the free-to-play online mech shooter Hawken, at full 1080p resolution, with some concessions to medium detail settings. Even a high-powered gaming laptop such as this won't measure up to a serious gaming desktop, especially as those can cram in two or more GPUs at once, but it's hard to imagine anyone who understands the limitations of laptop gaming being disappointed with the results here.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's difficult to judge the battery life of such a unique laptop. On one hand, it's designed to be easily portable and, as with other 13-inch laptops, one should expect good-to-excellent battery life, at least when not playing games. On the other hand, it has a high-powered CPU/GPU combo and three hard drives, all of which make demands on the battery.

In our video playback battery drain test, the Origin PC EON13-S ran for 3 hours and 24 minutes, which we'd call good for a gaming laptop but poor for a 13-inch laptop. The 17-inch Qosmio X75 ran for only 1 hour and 45 minutes on the same test, but the Razer Blade 14 more than doubled the Origin's time.

Conclusion
As is often the case with gaming laptops from boutique PC makers, the Origin PC EON13-S is a case of loving the inside, but not the outside. Still, the thick 13-inch body is far from unusable, and you can definitely fit it in a modest shoulder bag for easy transit.

For actual gaming, I think a 14-inch display, such as the Alienware 14, works better (and that system has a much better keyboard), but it's not nearly as comfortably portable. The EON13-S is for someone who's willing to sacrifice some comfort and battery life in order to play high-end games on the go, but also has a monitor/keyboard/mouse docking station set up at home for longer play sessions. If that's you, you can configure a great EON13-S that would cost less than our admittedly expensive review unit.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Maingear Pulse 14
170 
Origin PC EON13-S
193 
Alienware 14
199 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Origin PC EON13-S
82 
Maingear Pulse 14
96 

Multimedia multitasking (iTunes and HandBrake, in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Alienware 14
180 
Origin PC EON13-S
181 
Maingear Pulse 14
196 

BioShock Infinite (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Origin PC EON13-S
37 
Alienware 14
35.73 
Maingear Pulse 14
33 

Metro: Last Light (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Origin PC EON13-S
12 
Razer Blade 14
11.33 
Alienware 14
11.33 
Maingear Pulse 14
10.67 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Maingear Pulse 14
365 
Alienware 14
233 
Origin PC EON13-S
204 

Find more shopping tips in our Laptop Buying Guide.

System configurations

Origin EON13-S
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-4900MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M; (2) 120GB SSD RAID 0 750GB 5,400rpm WD hard drive

Razer Blade 14
Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M; 128GB Samsung SSD

Maingear Pulse 14
Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 760M; (2) 128GB SSD RAID 0 1TB 5,400rpm WD hard drive

Toshiba Qosimio X75-A7298
Windows 8 (64-bit); Intel Core i7-4700MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 770; 256GB SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm HD

Alienware 14
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M; HDD#1 256MB Lite-On IT SSD, HDD#2 750GB, 7,200rpm Western Digital

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Origin EON13-S

Part Number: EON13-S

MSRP: $2,145.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 4.4 lbs
  • Installed Size 16 GB
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