Origin PC Millennium (2014) review: A massive desktop PC built for 4K gaming

Review Sections

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The configuration options for this system are countless, but we were primarily interested in testing this version because of the just-released hardware inside. That includes an Overclocked Intel Haswell-E Core i7 5960X, three Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 graphics cards, and Intel's new X99 chipset, by way of an Asus X99 motherboard. That's all supported by 16GB of DDR4 RAM (something new for X99 systems), a huge 1TB SSD and a further 3TB of HDD storage.

Surprising no one, this system was incredibly fast on our normal PC benchmark tests. There's little to compare it to directly, as the Intel and Nvidia components are brand-new, and we typically focus on mainstream consumer computers that rarely cost more than $1,500. The closest recent hardware include a lower-cost Lenovo Erazer desktop, which has a single previous-gen Nvidia GPU (for about $1,500), and last year's high-end professional-grade Mac Pro. In single-app tests, designed for much more pedestrian hardware, these systems traded the top spot around, but were generally very close. In a multitasking test, however, the Millennium was a clear leader.

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But what you're undoubtedly really here to see is how this system worked for PC gaming. Our standard high-end benchmark, running the challenging game Metro: Last Light at high/ultra settings at 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution typically tops out at under 25 frames per second, even on gaming laptops costing several thousand dollars. The Millennium, and its (very expensive) triple-GTX 980 setup, ran that test at 109 frames per second, far beyond what any PC we've previously tested has done. The aforementioned Lenovo Erazer, with a single Nvidia 780 GPU, ran the same test at 21 frames per second.

In our more mainstream BioShock: Infinite test, again at 1080p resolution and high settings, the Millennium ran the game at an astonishing 166 frames per second, while the X510 ran it at 83. A high-end gaming laptop from Alienware and a slightly older dual-video-card small-chassis desktop from Falcon Northwest turned in respectable scores as well, but nothing comes close to the Origin PC -- of course, we'd expect nothing less for $5,999.

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But any of the systems mentioned here are perfectly fine for playing games at standard 1,920x1,080 HD, either on a monitor or hooked up to a big-screen TV. The real reason to invest in a monster system such as this is the promise of 4K gaming. Few, if any, PCs we've tested can do more than plod along at 3,840x2,160, even if you crank the detail levels in games way down. Hooking the Millennium up to a 65-inch 4K television we were able to run both of our test games at reasonable frame rates at the TV's native 4K resolution. Keeping the detail levels at high/ultra for our tests, Metro: Last Light ran at 21 frames per second and BioShock Infinite ran at 60.7 frames per second.

Dialing the detail levels on both down to medium gave us a much smoother experience, and the clarity of the higher-resolution experience more than made up for the loss detail. That said, high-end 4K gaming, for now at least, will continue to involve a trade-off between resolution and detail level. For what it's worth, industry experts, including people at Nvidia, have told us to go with the higher native resolution and dial down the game settings for the most optimal, immersive experience.

Conclusion

The market for $6,000 desktops is a small one, at least compared to the market for $400 Chromebooks or $999 MacBooks. If you're looking for PC gaming on a budget, Lenovo's Y50 gaming desktop is an excellent value, and Alienware has a $550 set top box, called the Alpha , coming soon for console-like easy hookup to a 1080p TV.

But if you want to the be first on your block playing Titanfall, Dead Rising 3, Metro: Last Light, or any other high-end, high-detail PC games at eye-popping 4K resolution, this expensive Millennium build will certainly impress. Our positive impressions of Origin PC's attention to detail, careful construction, and hands-on support (including lifetime tech support access and labor for repairs) is well known. While you're paying a premium for that level of service, including the protective huge wooden crate the system ships in, there are only a couple of boutique vendors I'd feel confidant that can handle both system building and long-term support for such a large investment.

System configurations

Origin Millennium PC (Overclocked)

Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-5960X; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz ; (3) 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980; 1TB SSD, 4TB 7,200rpm HDD

Lenovo Erazer X510

Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 3.5GHz Intel Core i7-4770K; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 760; 8GB + 1TB SSHDAlienware 17 (2014)Windows 7 Home Premium (64.bit); 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-4910MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M; 256GB SSD, 1TB 5,400rpm HDD

Apple Mac Pro (2013)

Apple OSX Mavericks 10.9; 3GHz Intel Xeon E5-1680 (8-core); 64GB DDR3 SDRAM 1867MHz; (2) 6GB AMD FirePro D700; 1TB Apple SSD

Falcon Northwest Fragbox v3 (Overclocked)

Windows 8 (64-bit); 4.5GHz Intel Core i7-4770K; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1800MHz; 3GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 780; (2) 960GB SSD RAID 0

HandBrake multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)

Alienware 17
162
Lenovo Erazer X510
143
Falcon Northwest Fragbox v3
121
Apple Mac Pro (2013)
109
Origin PC Millennium (2014)
76

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)

Alienware 17
194
Lenovo Erazer X510
167
Origin PC Millennium (2014)
151
Falcon Northwest Fragbox v3
140

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)

Alienware 17
77
Lenovo Erazer X510
77
Origin PC Millennium (2014)
68
Falcon Northwest Fragbox v3
65
Mac Pro
54

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Bioshock Infinite 3D test

Alienware 17
80.32
Lenovo Erazer X510
83
Falcon Northwest Fragbox v3
94.11
Origin PC Millennium (2014)
166.6

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Metro Last Light 3D test

Lenovo Erazer X510
21
Alienware 17
25.33
Falcon Northwest Fragbox v3
45
Origin PC Millennium (2014)
109

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance