Origin PC's Big O gaming console/PC box isn't quite the mashup the world craved

With only a choice of two consoles, the Big O you can buy is more of a little O. We handled a prototype ahead of its CES 2020 launch.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
4 min read
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In the summer of 2019, Origin PC went to town and built a gaming Orgasmatron, the Big O, that wedged a high-test PC, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch dock into its humongous Genesis case and like a big tease told the world we couldn't have it. That wasn't the first Big O, which debuted in 2010; while it, too, was humongous, it contained only a PC liquid-cooled to the teeth and an Xbox 360. (Only!) At CES 2020 on Monday, the company launched a practical and affordable take on its console/PC mashup that hearkens back to the original: The Big O PS4 Edition (PlayStation 4 Pro) and the Big O Xbox Edition (Xbox One S All-Digital Edition). 

A prototype of the PS4 model landed in our lab at the end of 2019, and despite not nearly enough play time with it and some annoying prerelease glitches, I still kind of want the PS4 version. But I don't own a console or streaming setup, so I fit the profile of the relatively small pool of potential buyers for this scaled-back version. 

Watch this: The Big O: Origin PC's beautiful box does PC and console gaming

You can order it beginning today. There are a couple of advantages of getting the Big O instead of just buying a PC and duct taping a console to the side, but both are upgrades over the base $2,499 models. First, an optional Elgato 4K60 Pro card that goes on the console side is one of the few ways to breach the divide between the left and right brain of the Big O; it can capture video directly from the console to the PC's drive, which can be a great convenience for people who want to edit their game footage.  Because the Elgato feeds the video from the PS4 to the PC, you can also play one PS4/Xbox without swapping inputs. Second, Origin can configure the consoles with SSDs rather than the stock spinning drives.

Of course, those are both upgrades and setups you can put together yourself. Plus, there are some notable downsides. The biggest is the inclusion of an Xbox One S instead of the more powerful, true 4K Xbox One X; Origin PC says that's because the Xbox One X requires an optical drive and it wanted to design the Big O "for an all-digital experience." Another is that this system would have made more sense a couple of years ago. But next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles are expected late this year, so who wants to buy the current models now? If Origin had put the console in a slide-out enclosure and promised to make it upgradable to newer consoles, that might be different. 

The system is relatively small, based around a custom version of the nifty-looking Crystal Series 280X Micro ATX case -- a bifurcated design that naturally lends itself to this split-personality system. (And with tempered glass panels that, unlike Origin PC's Neuron case, won't shatter into a million fragments if dropped.) The PC lives on the glass-encased side and the console in the cave on the right.


The PC side of the Big O.

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Thanks to Origin PC's new parent, Corsair, our Big O test system is crammed full of Corsair components -- case, 16GB of 3.2GHz memory, Corsair RGB 120mm LL fans and SF750 750-watt power supply, plus an Origin Frostbyte liquid cooling system. Sadly, the tubing of the latter is completely wrapped, so it lacks the pretty. 

For the components Corsair doesn't make, there's an AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition GPU, ASRock X570M ATX Pro4 motherboard and.multiple Samsung 860QVO SSDs (1.5TB for the PC and 2TB for the PS4). The company also provided a Scuf Impact controller -- Corsair owns Scuf, too! -- branded for Origin PC and in Origin PC's colors of black with red buttons. Its battery life isn't great.


The console section of the final model, equipped with optional Elgato card.

Origin PC

We benchmarked the prototype, but nothing stands out; it performs exactly as you'd expect given its components. I will say this is the second Ryzen 9 3900X system I've used -- the other is a Falcon Northwest Talon Anniversary Edition that I'm embarrassingly late writing up -- and thanks in part to its 12 cores, it's a great-performing and stable processor.

The PC and the console can operate simultaneously, outputting video to separate displays, or feed into a single display where you swap between video inputs. They're completely sandboxed; at least in the prototype, they don't share video outputs, network connections, USB ports... they've even got separate power supplies. 

So it's exactly like stacking a PS4 on top of your PC, just a little prettier.

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Update, 10:40 a.m. PT: Adds clarifications from Origin PC.