High-end custom gaming PC makers are known for great performance, great customer support -- and high prices. That's often left PC gamers with modest budgets stuck with off-the-shelf options from big mainstream brands such as Dell, HP or Lenovo. Those familiar names make some excellent, reasonably priced gaming laptops, but sometimes you want the extra service and attention to detail of a specialty brand.
Origin PC has just announced a new version of its Eon15-S gaming laptop that starts at $999 in the US. (Origin ships internationally; that converts to £795 or AU$1,315.) It takes advantage of Nvidia's recent GeForce 1050Ti graphics card, which offers very good gaming performance for a low-cost component.
Dell recently impressed us by using the Nvidia 1050Ti in its $899 Inspiron 15 7000, an excellent budget gaming laptop, somewhat hampered by a substandard display. Acer's Aspire VX 15 is a similar 1050Ti laptop in the under-$1,000 camp.
The base $999 Eon15-S makes a few tradeoffs to hit that low price. It pairs the Nvidia 1050Ti GPU with an Intel Core i3 processor and a small 120GB SSD for storage. Looking at the online options available on the Origin PC website, throwing another $100 into the highly customizable configuration will get you a Core i5 CPU and double the storage, which seems like a smart move.
While this model is $100 more (or $200 if you upgrade the CPU and storage) than the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, it offers two features that are worth considering. The Eon15-S has an IPS display, which is hopefully better than the poor display on the Inspiron, and it includes access to Origin PC's 24/7 US-based lifetime support (the warranty term itself is one year).
We expect to be testing the new Eon15-S in the CNET Labs very shortly and will report on its performance, design and overall value in an upcoming full review. In the meantime, you can see more of our favorite gaming laptops here.