capsule review

Origin Genesis Z68: Crushes Benchmarks, Not Budgets

At a Glance
  • Origin Genesis Z68

    PCWorld Rating

    If you're looking for power and performance, it probably won't surprise you to know that you'll find it in Origin's latest monster desktop.

If you're looking for power and performance, you probably won't be surprised to find it in Origin's latest monster desktop. Origin's Genesis Z68 is powerful as well as different-looking in its pretty white chassis (though, thankfully, less Stormtrooper-y than the Paladin XLC).

Our review model, which costs $2464 (as of 9/7/2011), features an Intel Core i5-2500K processor, overclocked to 5.2GHz. It also sports 16GB of RAM, two 60GB solid-state drives in RAID 0, 1TB hard drive, and two Nvidia GeForce GTX 560Ti video cards.

In performance, the Origin Genesis Z68 climbs to the top of the Mainstream Desktop category, outpacing our previous leader -- Maingear’s F131 Super Stock -- by a decent margin. It earned a score of 228 on our WorldBench 6 test, eclipsing the F131 Super Stock’s score of 215.

It also performs well in graphics, thanks to the dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 560Ti cards. The Performance category still has it beat here, as expected -- those machines generally house larger, more powerful cards (with the commensurate price bump). For example, in our Unreal Tournament 3 graphics tests, the Z68 managed an impressive 203.6 frames per second (highest quality settings, 2560 by 1600 resolution). However, the Origin Genesis 2011 (212.9 fps) beats it, as does the V3 Convoy (224.8 fps). Still, the Z68 should have no problems tackling whatever graphics-intensive programs you throw at it.

The Z68 is housed in a white BitFenix Shinobi chassis. The sides of the case are white aluminum (with a large, plastic triangular window on the left), while the front and top of the case sport a soft, rubbery texture. This rubbery texture is overly fond of dirt -- after just a few days, our review model looked as if it had been around the block a few times, and we saw a lot of discoloring along the edges of the case. (Keep that in mind if you plan on keeping this huge tower on the floor.) Despite the minor cosmetic issues, the case is both attractive and functional.

Four USB ports are along the top of the chassis, as well as headphone and microphone jacks and power and reset buttons. The front of the machine offers a Blu-ray player, a multiformat card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, and another USB port. The back offers six more USB ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one each for eSATA, S/PDIF-out, DVI, HDMI, VGA, and gigabit ethernet, and support for 7.1 surround sound. Additional display ports are on the two graphics cards: Each card has two DVI ports and one micro-HDMI port. And if you manage to run out of ports somehow, there’s also Bluetooth.

If you like to tinker, this is definitely one of the better cases to be working with. Opening up the Z68 is easy, with only a pair of thumbscrews standing in the way. The internal wiring is very neat, though the two graphics cards will limit your space a bit. You'll find one open PCI slot, one open PCIe x16 slot, and one open PCIe x1 slot; however, all but the x1 are blocked by the graphics cards. The four RAM slots are occupied, as are the three 5.25-inch bays inside the chassis, but there are five (of eight) 3.5-inch bays open for hard drives and the like.

As for software and documentation, the Genesis Z68 comes with a lot. Not only do you get about six recovery discs (including EVGA software, Windows 7 Home Premium, and a Blu-ray drive installer disc), but also three booklets and a couple of other peripherals. Origin sends along all of the extra parts (in case you want to get rid of something in the multimedia dock, I assume), as well as two micro-HDMI-to-HDMI converter cables, and an Origin poster and a T-shirt. I'm not sure that all of this swag is useful (though the converter cables are definitely convenient), but it's kind of cool anyway.

There's honestly not a lot wrong with the Origin Genesis Z68, except for the fact that it won’t look stunning for very long, unless your own abode is immaculate. It’s powerful, pretty, and fully-connected. Plus, the price is hard to beat: Older performance machines run from $4000 (iBuyPower's Paladin XLC) to $8000 (Maingear's Shift Super Stock), but have been summarily outpaced by this comparably inexpensive rig. The rankings will almost certainly realign once the old behemoths are updated, but the fastest machines money can buy have reached the realm of mere mortals.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    If you're looking for power and performance, it probably won't surprise you to know that you'll find it in Origin's latest monster desktop.

    Pros

    • Attractive chassis
    • A plethora of available ports

    Cons

    • Packed to the gills, with little room to maneuver
    • Gets dirty very easily
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