If you're dissatisfied with the lack of configuration options available for prebuilt gaming desktops, going with a custom builder is the best way to sate your appetite. They can get expensive, but they don't have to be: You won't find dirt-cheap sub-$1,000 configurations, but if you want something that will last you a few years, going too cheap can be shortsighted. Getting a custom build lets you decide what you want to spend money on now vs. what can wait for a later upgrade.
- Well designed Corsair case options
- Lots of configuration choices
- Fan profile has them spinning up and down too frequently
- You have to watch your initial configuration for upgradeability
Owned by Corsair, which makes quality components, Origin PC has leveled up in a lot of ways. It still offers the custom printing and laser etching that was one of its distinctions when it was an independent company.
The, but technically the system belongs to family, so that's where you'll find it on the site. It's at the larger end of the range, though, so it looks and feels awfully big once it's sitting on your desk. The tradeoff is that you've got space inside to actually fit your hands when swapping components.
Thanks to Papa Corsair, you can choose from a variety of the parent company's cases, all of which I like more than Origin PC's earlier choices. Plus, it's a lot easier to find information about them before you buy, and see what people have complained about. For instance, when configuring my personal system I looked for complaints about ease of access to the inside; and having opted for a relatively easy to remove panel, I now regret that I didn't spring for a case with a hinged door like the one on the 5000T.
Origin PC 5000T
|Price as reviewed||Approx $5,300|
|Size||20.5x9.7x20.5 inches (520x520x245 mm)|
|Motherboard||MSI MPG Z690 Force Wi-Fi (MS-7D30) and 850w PSU|
|CPU||3.2GHz Intel Core i9-12900K|
|Memory||32GB DDR5 SDRAM 4,800MHz|
|Graphics||12GB GDDR6X Zotac RTX 3080 Ti|
|Storage||1TB NVMe SSD, 2TB SATA SSD|
|Ports||Front: 4x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-C 3.1; Rear: 7x USB-A (4x 2.0, 2x 5Gbps, 1x 10Gbps), 1x USB-C 20Gbps|
|Networking||1x 2.5Gb Ethernet, Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2|
|Operating system||Windows 11 Home 21H2|
The $5,000-plus price of this test system is too rich for, well, most people's blood. And many people don't need everything maxed out, even for gaming. Unless you play processor-intensive simulations, for example, you can dial back from this i9 on that front. For video editing you'll want the top-end components, but high-resolution photo editing will be fine with an i7 or Ryzen 7 and RTX 3070 Ti or Radeon RX 6800 XT. Origin PC has switched from offering the 4.8GHz RAM to 5,200GHz and no longer offers the Corsair MP600 Core SSD, instead going with the faster.
And you can get reasonable configurations for about half the price of my evaluation unit. The base configurations come with acase; it's not as fancy as the 5000T but it's perfectly functional.
A model with a Ryzen 5 5600X, 16GB RAM, Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti and 250GB SSD runs about $2,250: Since that model's Asrockmotherboard only has one NVMe SSD slot, though, 250GB isn't enough. SATA SSD feels a lot slower when you have to use it as your secondary storage drive, so I recommend shelling out another $200 for a 2TB SSD if you can stomach it.
Or you could opt for a higher-end motherboard -- say, with more NVMe slots andrather than Wi-Fi 5. You can pick the board you want from a handful of choices (the next level up is an additional $162). That's another thing I really like about custom builds: motherboard choices.
A more expensive Intel base configuration starts at roughly $2,700 for a Core i5-12600K, 32GB RAM, RTX 3060 Ti and 250GB NVMe SSD. But it's probably a little more futureproof: the motherboard supports DDR5 compared to the AMD's DDR4, and there's space to add more NVMe storage.
In either case, you might also want to consider bumping from the Corsair CS750 power supply to the RM850x. It costs less than $40, and will save you a lot of hassle down the road if you plan to upgrade the graphics card. Higher-end cards tend to require more power and subsequently upgrading the power supply is a lot more complicated than swapping out the GPU.
Without a full system of liquid cooling it doesn't look as flashy and you won't eke out the extra performance it may gain, but liquid cooling is impractical for people who don't feel like maintaining it or who plan to upgrade components over time and don't want the additional hassle. To swap the GPU, for example, you frequently have to drain the liquid to detach the card, and a new card usually requires a new cooling block as well.
On the flip side, you can ramp up the power -- and the price tag -- with up to an RTX 3090 Ti or RX 6950 XT or a Ryzen 9 5950X or Core i9-12900KS.
I'm not big a fan of the Corsair iCue utility used to manage the system, but I find a lot of the similar utilities behave somewhat wonkily, so it doesn't really stand out as a notable negative. I do hate the default fan behavior, however. They constantly spin up and down, regardless of workload. I'd rather they just stay on so that you can get used to them and tune them out.
As you'd expect, the top-end components deliver top-end performance. If you're contemplating getting a high-end gaming laptop instead, you can see the performance hit you take when opting for a system that has to compromise thanks to cooling, power and space constraints: A casual comparison with some high-end laptops I've tested shows roughly 20 to 30% slower multicore CPU performance and around 50% faster GPU speed compared with a fast, "similarly" configured laptop.
I don't know how well the Corsair MP600 Force performs, but the MP600 Core and the(which Origin PC does still offer) were surprisingly slow given the rest of the system's speed. And I felt it during game loading. In a lower-end configuration it probably wouldn't stand out as much.
I've seen several Origin PC builds over the years, and they've all been tidy and well put together. Once it's up and running, you really don't notice the difference between it and more homogeneous retail builds -- except perhaps the delightful lack of crapware. Origin PC builds good, solid systems. Unless you're looking for something dirt cheap, you'll be able to put together something you like at a price you tolerate.
|Gigabyte Aero 16 YE5||Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 21H2; 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK; 32GB DDR5 SDRAM 4,800MHz; 16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti; 1TB+2TB SSD|
|Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (21H1), Intel Core i9-11900KB; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 12GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (Asus Dual); 500GB SSD|
|MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 12GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti ; 1TB SSD|
|MSI Raider GE76||Microsoft Windows 11 Pro (21H2); 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK; 32GB DDR5 SDRAM 4,800MHz; 16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti; 2 x 1TB NVMe SSD|
|Origin PC 5000T||Microsoft Windows 11 Home (21H2); Intel Core i9-12900K; 32GB DDR5 SDRAM 4,800MHz; 12GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (Zotac); 1TB SSD+2TB SSD|