You get what you pay for
In addition to testing out an Origin laptop for a few weeks, I had a similar chance to use an Origin desktop machine for a limited time, and came away extremely impressed. Gaming PCs are in it for the long haul, with the core focus on customization -- so that you can not only tweak what you want in the short term, but consistently upgrade to future-proof yourself without having to buy completely new hardware.
As a general rule I'm not a big fan of ordering pre-built machines in favor of making my own, but this well-crafted rig has changed my mind on the subject.
Let's start with the inner workings. The Millennium is presented in a very sturdy case, with minimalist Origin logo on the front. There's a window on either side (you can choose one while customizing the machine) to view the inner compartment, which houses the processor, video card (in this configuration, two), memory, and so on. As a standard feature there's a lighting system with 16 different colors available, with a remote in tow should you feel like changing it manually. I never really used this feature, but occasionally people would come over and enjoy it.
The case is big at 60 pounds, but it doesn't look or feel bulky, and there are special lifting points to help facilitate moving the case around. Fans are extremely quiet and very efficient. Origin states that the case is designed with maximum airflow in mind, and I heartily agree based on my tests. The machine was never hot at any point, even when playing resource-intensive games (which I'll get to momentarily).
A variable mounting option allows you to change your motherboard orientation while you're ordering it, with four different options, including vertical and horizontal mount. You can also customize your setup after receiving it with the changing of a few screws, which basically future-proofs the chassis itself, supposing that you need to move a few parts around. In all likelihood you won't though for some time, depending on your configuration.
The front door bay isn't as used as much these days due to the dawn of digital media, but there is an option to get a Blu-Ray reader/writer installed, as well as five bays to add hot-swappable hard-drives -- again, this goes a long way in future-proofing the case. Kensington locks (physical PC locks) are also supported by way of an easy access lock panel. Point blank this is one of the most sleek and feature-heavy cases I've ever used.
Everything is topside (rather than the rear mounted configurations on most PCs), which is extremely convenient, since you don't have to get behind your PC to make quick adjustments. On the very front of the case there's a groove with 4 USB 3.0 ports, the power button, a headphone jack, and a fan control knob. Once you've setup your long-term inputs towards the back of the case (like a keyboard/mouse/USB WiFi connector), you'll basically be able to control everything important from the front, such as controllers and the like.
Each video card conveniently comes with two HDMI inputs as well as one DVI, should you want multiple HD monitor support. There's onboard support for VGA and DVI as well should you not have a higher performance monitor on-hand, as well as 6 addition topside USB slots and a PS/2 port (for legacy keyboard/mice). In other words, it covers all its bases with modern and legacy technology, and essentially has everything you'd possibly need onboard without the need for expansion cards.
The OS boots up instantly once the BIOS configuration is done, and I haven't had any lockups or stuttering with Windows 8. During spot tests, every game I ran on maximum settings was as smooth as butter. I literally couldn't find a game that didn't run perfectly, so I fell back to the always reliable 3D Mark software to overclock and push the system to its limit. While running the toughest "Fire Strike" test designed for high-end PCs, even pushed to the "Extreme" setting, it ran a consistent 60fps on all tests but one, keeping a respectable 30fps on the highest level possible on the most intensive test round.
It did all this while keeping a relatively cool CPU temperature of 72 degrees centigrade at its highest push -- the fans did a great job of kicking in and keeping it cool, yet quiet. It reached a 96 percentile rating overall, indicating that it's better than the vast majority of all tested machines. On the non-extreme setting on Fire Strike (ie the typical PC game benchmark), it hit a 99 percentile rating, and kept a consistent 100 fps rating. In other words, this will run anything on the market for years to come.
Whereas gaming laptops can be relatively pricey options for those of you who don't travel often, desktops are always a safe bet because they are inherently future-proof. Odds are you'll be able to keep your same case and configuration 10 years down the line, especially with the bottlenecking of advancements we've been approaching in the past few years. All you'll need to do is throw in a new graphics card every so often, upgrade your memory, and switch in a new interface card (beyond USB 3.0) at some point and you'll be more than cutting edge.
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7:45 PM on 03.03.2015