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Origin PC slims down its highest-end gaming laptops

Laptops with desktop CPUs, plus a Steam-friendly living room PC from this boutique gaming company.

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LAS VEGAS -- Most new gaming laptops try to slim down as much as possible, cutting features and power in favor of thin, lightweight designs. In many cases, that means using low-voltage mobile CPUs and mid-range laptop graphics cards, such as the middle-of-the-road Nvidia GeForce 860M.

Origin PC, a boutique gaming computer maker, is also trying to make its biggest gaming laptops thinner, but not at the expense of performance. The company's new Eon15-X and Eon17-X laptops put full-power desktop CPUs from Intel inside a notebook body, alongside the highest-end current mobile graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M.

Origin PC, and other custom gaming PC companies, have combined desktop CPUs and laptop bodies before, but the new X series is a full 40 percent thinner than the previous iteration of this combo, thanks to a new, smaller chassis that can support this unusual component combination.

Like most smaller gaming PC companies, Origin PC uses laptop shells made by manufacturers such as Clevo, Compal or MSI, then customizes and tweaks the components inside and adds design features such as logos and lid panels to create a semicustom look. In this case, the Eon-X bodies come from Clevo, a company responsible for a big chunk of the enthusiast gaming laptop market.

In the US, the Eon17-X and the Eon15-X both start at around $1,800, and both can be upgraded all the way up to Intel's desktop Core i7-4790K quad-core CPU. Note that while these are certainly thinner and lighter than previous gaming laptops with desktop parts, both are still very chunky, desk-hogging machines.

If you're looking for something much more portable, Origin PC also has a new version of its Eon15-S gaming laptop, which uses standard mobile processors and graphics cards. Also based on a Clevo laptop chassis, the new 15-S is about one third thinner than the prior version. It's not quite as portable as recent high-design gaming laptops such as the HP Omen or Lenovo Y50 , but it's certainly more powerful, offering access to Nvidia's 900-series graphics cards, rather than the pedestrian Nvidia GeForce 860M offered by HP, Lenovo and others.

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The upcoming Omega desktop. Dan Ackerman/CNET

We also got a sneak peek at the Omega, a desktop PC built into a large home-theater-style case. This was a device we originally spotted at last year at CES 2014, when it was the prototype for an Origin PC Steam Machine, a computer designed to run Valve's Steam OS and play PC games from the Steam online store.

Since then, the Steam Machines platform has been delayed, and some PC makers have taken their original Steam Machine platforms and adopted them to work with Windows 8. Dell did this late last year with the Alienware Alpha , and now Origin is doing it as well, taking its Steam system and rebranding it as the Omega, which will be available as a Windows 8 gaming desktop later in 2015.

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