Origin Genesis (Intel Core i7-3770K) review: Origin Genesis (Intel Core i7-3770K)

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MSRP: $3,399.00

The Good The Origin Genesis offers some of the fastest gaming performance I've seen, and in an expertly built configuration.

The Bad The Origin's new "Ivy Bridge" Core i7-3770K chip doesn't offer a significant performance edge over equivalent high-end CPUs from its previous generation.

The Bottom Line Despite only a modest chip update from Intel, this fast gaming desktop makes the best of a challenging marketing task. Any gamer would be glad to own the Origin Genesis.

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8.2 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

The Origin Genesis is an excellent gaming PC. It posted some of the fastest 3D performance we've ever seen, and it's particularly well-suited to playing current games at high resolutions. For a boutique PC, it also has a relatively modest price tag of $3,399. For all of its appeal, it's hard to get around the fact that the Genesis' new processor, the Intel Core i7-3770K (aka Ivy Bridge), is not as overclockable as the previous Sandy Bridge-generation Core i7-2700K. If Origin will continue to offer that older chip at a lower price than the new one, I would recommend that you configure this same PC with that CPU to get the best performance for your dollar. Otherwise, if you already have a decent gaming desktop, you would be wise to wait for Intel's next-generation Haswell CPUs, due out next year, before making a major new PC purchase.

The Origin Genesis uses a full-tower BitFenix Shinobi XL case, a larger version of the ATX Shinobi chassis Maingear uses for its Vybe Super Stock. The larger XL model supports XL-ATX motherboards, and it also has a 2.5amp USB 2.0 port on top for speedy mobile-device charging. Aesthetically, the two cases are similar, from the colored piping to the rubberized exterior coating that helps the Genesis feel like a sturdy, well-built machine.

Inside, the Genesis is a typically exquisite boutique gaming PC. Stuffed as it is with liquid-cooling hardware, multiple graphics cards, and three hard drives, Origin's system builders routed all of the cables and tubing neatly, maximizing internal airflow and ensuring that it will be easy for you to add or remove hardware as necessary.

Origin Genesis Falcon Northwest Mach V Velocity Micro Edge Z55
$3,399 $4,995 $2,299
Intel Z77 Intel X79 Intel X68
4.6GHz Intel Core i7 3770K (overclocked) 4.4GHz Intel Core i7 3930K (overclocked) 4.9Ghz Intel Core i7-2700K (overclocked)
16GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM 16GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM 8GB 1,33MHz DDR3 SDRAM
(2) 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 (3) 1.28GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 (2) 1.28GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti
(2) Corsair Force GT 60GB SSDs, 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive 128MB Crucial SSD, 2TB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive (2) 60GB Intel SSDs, 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
Blu-ray writer/dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray writer/dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray/DVD burner combo
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

The Genesis is a standout gaming desktop thanks to its pair of GeForce GTX 680 graphics cards. Those GPUs are the latest from Nvidia, and they delivered unprecedented performance on our most demanding gaming benchmarks.

My hesitation in recommending Intel's new CPUs for high-end gaming desktops is because the previous generation was so strong, and such a good value. The Core i7-2700K chip in the Velocity Micro Edge Z55 is so overclockable that vendors reliably hit frequencies approaching or surpassing 5GHz with it.

This doesn't mean Intel's new Ivy Bridge chip design is inferior or somehow flawed. Thanks to a new manufacturing process, the Core i7-3770K offers greater power efficiency at equivalent base performance to the Core i7-2700K. Relying on overclocking to differentiate these systems also presents a view of these PCs that becomes skewed by the review process.

All of the overclocked desktops we review pass a demanding stability test to ensure they have been build responsibly. But in the pursuit of good reviews, the pressure is on these high-end vendors to achieve ever-faster benchmarking results through overclocking. I expect a customer would be happy with any of the above computers, regardless of minor differences in clock speed.

If we start talking about the technology behind these PCs, though, and look at the benchmark scores below, it becomes clear that Intel's new Ivy Bridge CPU doesn't provide a dramatic increase in performance over the previous generation. Thus, it's hard to recommend that you spend more for a Core i7-3770K CPU if the Core i7-2700K is available for less.

The apparent price-performance gap might not last. Intel controls the supply of CPUs available to PC vendors, and if the Core i7-2700K and 2600K disappear, you might only have the 3770K chip as an option. If that becomes the case, I'd want to see 3770K-based PCs from other vendors before recommending the Genesis over its competition, but I have no reason to think it wouldn't be competitive.

All that said, I would still not recommend that gamers buy the six-core Core i7-3930K CPU that shipped in the Falcon Northwest Mach V. The premium required for that chip and the accompanying X79 motherboard is too high for its situational performance edge. Those with serious, professional-level processing needs might consider it, but that chip is overkill if your goal is a higher frame rate in Battlefield 3.

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  

To gauge the value of the $3,399 Origin's CPU performance, compare its results with those of the $2,299 Velocity Micro Edge Z55. Given the Origin's faster 3D performance, you can't say you're paying $1,100 more for nothing. But I would like to see more contribution from the CPU to justify the higher price tag. With the CPU performance essentially identical between the Genesis and the Edge Z55, it is fair to say that the Ivy Bridge CPU also does not help offset the Origin's higher cost.

Crysis (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,600x1,200 (high, 4x aa)  
1,280x1,024 (medium, 4x aa)  

Far Cry 2 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920x1,200 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  
1,440x900 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  

Metro 2033 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
2,560x1,600 (DirectX 11, very high)  
1,920x1,080 (DirectX 11, very high)  

3DMark 11 combined test (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Extreme (1,920x1080)  
Performance (1,920x1,080, 16x AF)  
Entry level (1,680x1,050)  

If it's not a CPU processing standout, the Origin makes up for it on our gaming tests. The pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 cards, each with 2GB of memory, represents the top of the line in PC gaming hardware. You could conceivably buy a machine with three of those cards for even better performance, but that kind of expenditure will be overkill unless you intend to play games at the highest resolution across multiple monitors.

For the rest of us, Metro 2033 is the most relevant test in our gaming battery, and there the Origin's performance demonstrates this PC's horsepower, as well as its value. The Falcon Northwest Mach V outperforms the Origin system at 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, but only by a few frames per second, and you'll need to pay about $5,000 for the privilege. Not only is the Origin system only a few frames behind at that resolution, it offers more than three times as much performance on that test at 2,560x1,600 pixels.

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