Dynamite comes in small packages, and since the rise virtual reality devices began, we’ve seen an assortment of various VR-Ready desktops (and laptops) hitting the market. Among these desktops we’ve seen items from big companies like Alienware and Razer. While these devices do offer the power and support that you need to run virtual reality applications, many of them don’t feature the highly customizable options that PC gamers have become used to having. At least one desktop out there has our back, though, and the Chronos VR from Origin PC offers plenty of power, and customizability all in a small form factor package.
Packing it All In
The Chronos VR, which is a variation of Origin PC’s Chronos system made specifically for VR gaming, is a small powerhouse of a device, offering up the latest and greater gadgets and gizmos that computer gaming fans could want. Even if you don’t plan on picking up a virtual reality headset just yet, the Chronos VR, and the huge number of customizations available for it, offer plenty of options for gamers looking to lighten the load of their desk. I’ve included the details of our review unit below just so you can see the amount of power that they can slip into the smaller case.
- Case Type: CHRONOS RED
- Motherboard: ASUS Z170i PRO GAMING
- Processor: Intel Core i7 6700K OC
- CPU Cooler: FROSTBYTE 120 COOLING
- Graphics Card: GEFORCE GTX1070 OC
- Ram/Memory: 16GB ORIGIN PC 2666MHz DDR4 powered by HyperX
- OS: MS WINDOWS 10 HOME
- Main OS Drive: 250GB SAMSUNG 850 EVO M.2 SATA
- Storage Drive: 2TB SEAGATE 7200RPM HDD
As you can see from the specifications above, the small form factor case didn’t hold the rig back in any way, and when putting it through the trenches using PCMark 8, the computer itself received a total score of 7,639. For the record, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require a computer with a score of at least 6,668 in PC Mark (for minimum specs). You can see the full results of the test on the website, if you’d like to dig a little deeper into the overall performance action.
Of course, Benchmarks don’t tell the entire story, so I set out to putting it through the ringer using every AAA game I could think of. It ran the new Doom flawlessly, pushing the game at a stable 60FPS throughout several of the more intensive missions in the campaign. The game’s multiplayer also played without any issues, and I never had to worry about the desktop’s performance dropping throughout the several hours I spent testing it.
Next I moved on to Gears of War 4, a game which my own personal desktop had suffered a few slogs with. I loaded up the missions that I’d noticed frame drops in on my personal machine (which sports an i7 4790K, and a 980TI), and went to work. No matter what I threw at the Chronos VR, though, it never backed down, and even as I used the machine throughout my work day I never experienced any hiccups to call the hardware’s performance into question.
Mastering Both Beauty and Performance
Of course, we all know that pre-built computers aren’t primarily purchased because of how hard they perform. Instead, many users purchase these devices due to their professional grade builds and warranties. Elegantly crafted cases, expert cable management and wiring, and more can play a large factor in how and why consumers purchase pre-built computers. For many computer builders, performance is their main priority, and the look of their cases feels abstract at best, as if the design ideas were all tossed together at the last minute. Origin PC decided to break through this wall, though, and create a machine that looks just as good as it runs.
The fine steel casing feels excellent to the touch, and offers a nice weight to the small form factor PC. The cable management inside the case is also outstanding, and has left me staring sadly at my own mess of wires and cords floating around in my personal desktop. The LED lighting is stark against the darkness of my office during late night gaming sessions, but it wasn’t overly distracting when placed close to my workspace.
Being built specifically as a VR-Ready device, this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the computer’s performance with virtual reality applications. During my time with it I hooked up my HTC Vive and played through several hours of intensive VR games like Raw Data, Job Simulator, Vanishing Realms, and even Tiltbrush. Each application ran flawlessly (as can be expected with SteamVR), and no performance hiccups were detected using the computer’s current hardware. If you are looking for a VR-Ready computer, and have a few thousand dollars to drop on a PC with great customer support, warranty, and shipping procedures, then a Chronos VR could be exactly what you’re looking for.
The Chronos VR form factor desktop from Origin PC is a force to be reckoned with. It’s built within a beautiful steel chassis, and features some of the finest craftsmanship I have ever seen in a pre-built desktop. The computers magnetic legs allow you to stand it up, or lay it down, any possible way, allowing you to set your workspace up in a way that suits you best. The only big downfall to this excellent piece of hardware is the loud fans, and the exorbitant price you’ll pay to have your own. If you can get past both of these issues - or if you just want a high-end PC without having to build it yourself - the Chronos VR is an excellent way to make sure you’re ready to tackle anything that virtual reality, or the future of gaming throws at you.