ORIGIN PC CHRONOS
Small but mighty
THEY SAY GOOD THINGS come in small packages. That certainly is the case when it comes to the Chronos from Origin PC, a supremely powerful system in a very small chassis. Measuring just 11.75 x 13.75 x 4 inches, the Chronos is one of the most compact systems we’ve ever tested. And considering that size, and the power it packs inside, it just might be worth its super-premium price tag.
Of course, a big price tag should mean top-end performance, and the Chronos does not disappoint. The system we tested was outfitted with the enthusiast-class Intel Core i7-6950X sitting in an ASRock X99 ITX motherboard. The 6950X’s 10 cores clocked at 4.1GHz helped the Chronos blow away our zero-point in Cinebench R15 and TechARP’s x264 benchmarks.
For storage, our Chronos featured a 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD, combined with a 6TB Western Digital Red HDD. Remarkably, Origin says the system can fit up to four 2.5-inch SSDs, but we can’t for the life of us figure out where. The inside of the Chronos is packed tighter than an overflowing suitcase—not surprising, considering it sports a full-size GeForce GTX 1080 GPU.
Here at MaximumPC, we often get spoiled by crazy high-end systems, making it easy to forget that the GTX 1080 is an impressively powerful graphics card. While the Chronos can fit up to a GTX Titan X inside, the 1080 in our system is more than capable of handling high-demand gaming situations.
The Chronos boasted an average of 125fps across Riseof the TombRaider’s three-part GPU benchmark in 1080p at max settings. FarCryPrimal and The Division produced similar results from their benchmarks—around 102 and 95fps respectively. More impressively, the Chronos performed well at higher resolutions. Riseof the TombRaider showed 84fps at 1440p, and 47fps at 4K. And through several hours of Titanfall2’s campaign at 1440p, we don’t recall the frame rate ever dropping below 80fps, even in the most frantic firefights.
WHAT’S IN A CASE?
A large selling point for the Chronos is its custom-built chassis, made from servergrade steel. It’s small, sturdy, and can be outfitted with a custom paint job in the pattern or color of your liking. However, packing that much power into such a small case does come with a few caveats.
The Chronos’s Frostbyte liquid cooler keeps the CPU at a reasonable temperature, considering there’s little room for airflow inside the cramped quarters. However, take care if you ever need to open the case up and look inside. When we reassembled our Chronos, the liquid cooler tubes blocked the radiator fan from spinning unless they were positioned just so. Origin, of course, should ensure the tubes are properly situated, but it’s something to think about should you ever need to open the case for a routine dusting.
Overall, the Chronos is an impressive system in a very small frame. And thanks to its detachable magnetic feet, it can sit in any orientation on or under your desk. We recommend proudly displaying the beastly GTX 1080 through the LEDilluminated viewing window. Of course, it’s not cheap, but that’s the price for a toptier build.