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Origin stands up for high-end PC gaming at CES 2012, with new Eon 17s and 15s laptops

With no new Alienware or Asus high-end gaming laptops on display, it's up to boutique builder Origin to represent PC gaming.

Origin PC

LAS VEGAS--If there's one category we don't see much of at CES every year, it's high-end gaming PCs.

This year is even sparser, with no new Alienware or Asus high-end gaming rigs on display. Fortunately, boutique builder Origin is on point with new versions of its two gaming laptops, the Eon 17s and 15s.

While we really liked the overclocked Eon 17s laptop we reviewed last year, the look and feel of the hardware left something to be desired. It was built into a generic-looking shell from Clevo (a Taiwanese manufacturer that makes generic laptops other computer companies tweak and rebrand as their own). For a hand-built $3,500 laptop, we wanted a more upscale look.

The new version of the Eon 17s has a new design for its outer lid, with angular cutouts and a vaguely Alienware-like look. It comes in glossy black, or can be airbrushed with any color or design (prices vary). It's a big improvement to be sure, but still has a bit of a dorm-room-chic vibe--we long for more sophisticated gaming laptop designs these days, closer to HP's slick-looking Envy line.

Beyond the new look, Origin now says that going forward, "every customer receives free U.S.-based 24-7 technical support for life." However, free shipping and part replacement is still only one year, although labor for upgrades is part of the lifetime support package.

While the first versions of these new laptops will have essentially the same components as the versions we reviewed late in 2011, there's little doubt that Intel's new generation of CPUs are coming later this year. Origin's 15- and 17-inch Eon laptops start at around $1,500.