Requiring the manipulation of six tiny screws to get inside, it's clear that OrigenAE is aiming its X range at purists who prefer to build and go, rather than tinker with their PC over time. That said, it's far from being a barebones kit, with no power supply included, despite the staggeringly high price.
OrigenAE has gone with a brushed aluminium construction, meaning it's a lot lighter than its steel counterparts. A minimalist front bezel hides everything except an illuminated power button and two-line VFD screen, tucking the ports and floppy/card reader slot away behind an aluminium plate.
The optical drive is also nicely hidden; a chunky replacement fascia, complete with DVD logo, is supplied. Also included is a Media Center-compatible infrared remote control, making this a great case for those after true HTPC capabilities within Windows.
Unfortunately, OrigenAE isn't as hot on internal design. Inside, you're greeted with a simplistic maze of cookie-cutter fan holes, a single, non-removable drive bay and a large corridor of aluminium, designed to extract hot air from the awkwardly front-mounted power supply. We can't see any benefit to this, as no space is saved. It's also almost impossible to install a power supply without unused cables swathing your motherboard due to the cramped layout.
The hard drive bay is non-removable, and while complete drive isolation is advertised, the included rubber grommets failed to combat vibration. The designers have also chosen to use two single-speed 60mm exhaust fans rather than the 120mm norm, and these produce a distinct whine. We'd like to see room for more than a single hard drive, fewer expansion slots and a more standard power supply design. If it ain't broke... James De Vile