Origin Chronos Z review

The best mini-ITX gaming PC money can buy

Origin Chronos Z review
Editor's Choice

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Now, I had claimed at the beginning of my review that it's impossible to build a machine of the same caliber for less than $4,000. For argument's sake, let's double check the math. Here is the Origin Chronos Z configuration sent to TechRadar:

Spec sheet

  • Processor: Overclocked 4.5GHz Intel Core i7-4790K (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.8GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Motherboard: Asus Z97I-Plus (Intel Z97 Chipset, mini‐ITX)
  • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan Z (12GB GDDR5 RAM)
  • Memory: 16GB ORIGIN PC powered by HyperX (1866Mhz)
  • Storage: 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD; 4TB Seagate Solid State Hybrid Drive
  • Optical drive: 6X Slim Slot Load Blu-ray Writer
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (64‐Bit Edition)
  • Power supply: 700 Watt SFX Power Supply
  • Cooling unit: Origin Frostbyte 120 Sealed Liquid Cooling System
  • Ports: 2x 3.5mm audio ports (1 headphone/mic jack), 4 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port, 2 x DVI-D, 2 x D-Sub, 2 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, LAN (RJ45) port, Optical S/PDIF out, 2 x Wi-Fi antenna ports
  • Size: 15 x 4.1 x 13.7 inches (W x H x D)
  • Warranty: 1-year limited with lifetime expert customer care

All of the following math will be done in US dollars, but prices should be similar overseas. The Intel Core i7-4790K retails on NewEgg for $340. While it would've been nice to see Haswell-E in here, the 4790K offers better performance per dollar than its system-burning older brother.

The Asus Z97I-Plus is only $160 and the HyperX memory, while impressive, only costs around $160. The biggest chunk of change will go to the Titan Z GPU which costs a bank-breaking $3,000. Toss in an $80 PSU, $75 water cooling unit, $100 Windows 8.1 license, $100 Blu-ray optical drive, $70 case, $500 solid state drive, $120 Seagate hard drive and you, my friend, have spent a hefty $4,705 (about £1,664, AU$3,000). And that's before tax.

Origin Chronos Z review

It's rare for a boutique gaming PC to sell for less than the price of its components, and it's a real testament to how much Origin cares about value. While there are plenty of enthusiasts out there who would scoff at buying a complete system, you're paying for three intangible features: convenience, community and customer service. The latter two are what Origin claims its customers enjoy the most.

Looking for something a little more budget-friendly? The entry price of the Chronos Z starts at $2,799 (about £1,710, AU$3,200) with nearly every aforementioned part, save for a single 500GB mechanical drive replacing the HDD and SSD combo. You're also losing out on 8GB of RAM and dropping the Blu-ray drive – most of us already have one in our $400 consoles.


After testing the Digital Storm Bolt II just two short weeks ago I had thought, naively, that I could roughly estimate the kind of numbers the Chronos Z would pull in synthetic tests.

I thought wrong. Here are the results:

  • 3DMark: Ice Storm: 184,862; Cloud Gate: 32,134; Fire Strike: 15,967
  • Cinebench Graphics: 155 fps; CPU: 885 cb
  • PCMark 8 (Home): 4,609 points
  • Bioshock Infinite (1080p, Ultra): 186 fps; (1080p, Low): 346 fps
  • Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 74 fps; (1080p, Low): 148 fps

While playing games on the lowest settings yielded familiar results, 300-plus frames per second on BioShock Infinite and around 150 fps on Metro, I did not expect to see the astoundingly high numbers on the FireStrike and ultra settings tests.

Origin Chronos Z review

I never ruled out the possibility of playing Metro above 60 fps on ultra settings, but I had figured that these numbers were reserved for the Large Pixel Collider – or at least something a bit bigger than the Chronos Z.

This machine can easily play games at 4K resolutions and, more importantly, deliver buttery-smooth performance at 1080p for the life of the product.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.