Review of Origin PC EON13-S 

Laptops

The Good The Origin PC EON13-S has great gaming performance for a 13-inch laptop, and unlike a few other portable gaming PCs we’ve seen recently, it has a full 1080p display.

The Bad The thick, overall-looking body feels recoilless in time for the ultrabooks, and high-end parts require serious vocal fans.

The Bottom Line Gaming laptops with a small screen are rare, because they require serious technical tricks. The EON13-S crosses the line between power and portability, but it will be much cooler with a dedicated body.

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8.1 Overall

  • Design
    6
  • Features
    8
  • Performance
    9
  • Battery
    7

For most of PC gaming history, your choices have been limited to either an unbreakable desktop PC or a massive 17-inch or larger laptop, at least if you wanted dedicated graphics and high-end CPUs for decent performance.

Previous portable gaming laptops including The 14-inch Razer blade and the 11-inch Alienware M11x , all required serious trade-offs in design, despite the high prices, from low-resolution screens to missing components. Most recently new Alienware 14 was a strong performer both in terms of design and components, but it was still too large and bulky to carry easily.

Origin PC is one of the few boutique PC makers we’ve come to rely on for reliable, if expensive, gaming laptops over the past few years, making 15- and 17-inch, large-body systems that require a padded backpack to carry even somewhat more convenient. Now the company has a rare 13-inch gaming laptop , called EON13-S.

The EON13-S starts at around $ 1,200, but our review worked almost twice as high as $ 2,145. However, you do get a new fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 765 graphics, 16GB of RAM, dual 120GB mSATA solid state drives (SSDs) and a separate 750GB hard drive. What you don’t get for that price is Windows 8 or a touch screen. Windows 8 is available as an optional touch screen option – no.

Sarah Tew

Although the starting price of $ 1200 may seem tempting, it does not give you the level of components someone is actually looking for in a gaming PC. I would say that you can leave by spending around $ 1600 and get a great gamer ready configuration.

The EON13-S is small enough to fit into a decent size bag, but the ultrabook is not. At first glance, this is a bit like the discard of laptops from a few years ago, when the bodies were thicker and the gun gray was the standard. This is because, like almost every laptop of a small boutique PC manufacturer, this system is built into the outboard third-party chassis, slightly tweaked to the new panel on the back of the lid. Only very large PC manufacturers, such as Alienware (owned by Dell), can afford to create unique custom laptop cases like the Alienware 14’s.

Despite the poor appearance, the EON13-S passed my most important test in that it was fun to use. But the 13-inch screen may be too small for full-fledged games, depending on your vision or your tolerance for squatting. More often than not, I found myself connecting the system to a 27-inch 1080p monitor via HDMI.

The EON13-S defeats Alienware 14 in terms of portability, but both suffer from extremely loud fan noise – a universal problem when you use such high-end details in a small chassis. It also has major advantages over the slimmer Razer Blade 14, an ambitious 14-inch gaming laptop that shoots a low-quality, low-resolution screen.

Price is always important, but in this thin air the differences are not extreme. The closest Alienware 14 configuration works for $ 2299, but you can knock down the processor by a few pegs (while still getting a quad-core Core i7) and get up to $ 1800. And be sure to note intangibles. Origin PC has a reputation for great customer service, and you want someone reliable on the other end of the phone if you have problems with such a great investment.

Origin PC EON13-S Alienware 14 Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298 Razer Blade 14
Price $2,145 $1,799.99 $1,799.99 $1,799
Display size/pixel resolution 13.3-inch, 1,920×1,080 screen 14-inch, 1,920×1,080 screen 17.3-inch 1,920×1,080 screen 14-inch, 1,600×900 screen
PC CPU 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-4900MQ 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700MQ 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700MQ 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ
PC memory 16GB 1,600MHZ DDR3 SDRAM 16GB 1,600MHZ DDR3 SDRAM 16GB 1,600MHZ DDR3 SDRAM 8GB 1,600MHZ DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 4GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 765M 2GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 765M 3GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 770 2GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 765M
Storage (2) 120GB SSD (Raid 0) + 750GB 256GB SSD + 750GB 256GB SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive 128GB SSD
Optical drive None BD-ROM Blu-ray/DVD writer None
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit)

Design and features
With all the sharp-looking 13-inch laptops that cross our bench these days, with Samsung Ativ Book 9 to the Acer Aspire S7 to the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 , Origin PC EON13-S looks particularly good. It’s functional, but also feels like a laptop a few years ago before switching to thinner, lighter laptops, and doesn’t reflect the $ 2000 or more you could easily spend on it. It’s a trade-off, of course: the best details and expert build and service in exchange for a less-than-sexy outer shell.

The thick body narrows forward, but the side panels leave enough real estate for many ports and connections. It looks best with a detailed special matt black panel with a soft touch on the back of the lid.

Sarah Tew

The liquid interior offers no additional accessories such as dedicated media controls, just a basic island-style keyboard and a two-button touchpad. For PC gaming, the keyboard is especially important, and the keys here, while standard on a 13-inch laptop, don’t really have the depth and comfort that serious gamers are looking for – another issue with the off-the-shelf body. Unlike Alienware 14, there are thick, soft, touch keys that feel great for WASD games. The keyboard here, of course, is functional, but it was not designed for gamers.

System controls, such as volume and brightness controls, are still displayed in the function key bar and require the use of the Fn key. Changing the volume during a game will sometimes push you to the desktop that happens in many gaming laptops, and it always annoys me.

The touchpad is small, with separate left and right mouse buttons, rather than the larger click style found on many modern laptops. It’s great for casual web surfing and navigation, but not impressive. Fortunately, in any PC game, you have to use an external mouse or gamepad, so the amount of time spent using this touchpad should be minimal.

One of the highlights of the system is its 13.3-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1,920×1,080-pixels. In the $ 1000 plus price range, you should expect at least a full 1080p display, even on a smaller 13-inch laptop, if not on one of the next-generation ultra-high-power screens. Interestingly, Windows 8 with its tile interface is best suited for the combination of small, high-resolution screens, since text and icons in Windows 7 may be smaller and more difficult to use.

Sarah Tew

The screen itself is bright and crisp and not as glossy as the matte display on Alienware 14. Running games at 1080p is not a problem for high-end hardware, but you can also easily bring down a resolution of up to 1600 x900 pixels and get even better frame rates. There is a good chance that you will spend part of your playing time using a 13-inch display, but also a significant portion of the output to an external 1080p monitor, which will hopefully include speakers, since the onboard sound is good here, but not particularly stirring.

Origin PC EON13-S
Video HDMI and VGA
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Networking Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None

Connectivity, performance and battery
There are plenty of USB ports for a 13-inch laptop, but you’ll probably need them if you’re planning on plugging in, such as an external mouse, keyboard, and gamepad. The case is thick enough to support a full-size Ethernet port, which is a plus, since most of your multi-gigabyte PC games will probably be downloaded from a service like Steam. There’s a VGA port as well as HDMI, but it’s only through a non-standard body, not because gamers are paying for VGA.

Sarah Tew

When it comes to comparing performance between gaming laptops, our CNET benchmarks are just one piece of the puzzle. Although we can compare the latest gaming laptops from Dell / Alienware, Origin PC, Maingear and Toshiba, it will all be of different configurations at different prices (though all Core i7 generation Haswell generation with 700M Nvidia graphics). One area where Origin stands out, and part of why it is more expensive, is the setup of a triple hard drive that combines two mSATA 120GB drives in a Raid 0 configuration with a 750GB hard drive and 7200 rpm.

The faster Intel Core i7-4900MQ Origin EON13-S processor has helped in some tests, but it has not changed much compared to the Core i7-4700 series chips found in most other gaming laptops we’ve seen lately.

Today, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M seems to be the GPU for gaming laptops, though our 17-inch Toshiba Qosmio X75 has GeForce 770M. Estimates were very close overall, though Origin launched BioShock Infinite faster than other gaming laptops, at 37 frames per second, and slightly behind the Qosmio X75 in Metro: Last Light, at 12 frames per second, with both systems at 1 920×180 and high detail settings.

In anecdotal use, I could play any game without interruption, including my new obsession, the free online Hawker Shooter, with full 1080p resolution, with some tweaks to tweaking the middle parts. Even a powerful gaming laptop such as this one does not reach a serious gaming desktop, especially since they can be crammed with two or more GPUs at once, but it’s hard to imagine who will be frustrated by the limitations of gaming laptops. the results are here.

Sarah Tew

It’s difficult to judge the battery life of such a unique laptop. On the one hand, it is designed to be easy to carry and, as with other 13-inch laptops, you should expect battery life to be excellent, at least without playing games. On the other hand, it has a powerful CPU / GPU combo and three hard drives that require battery power.

In our Origin PC EON13-S video business trip test, it worked for 3 hours and 24 minutes, what we would call good for a gaming laptop, but bad for a 13-inch laptop. The 17-inch Qosmio X75 ran in just 1 hour and 45 minutes on the same test, but the Razer Blade 14 more than doubled Origin’s time.

Conclusion
As is often the case with gaming laptops from boutique PC makers, Origin PC EON13-S is the fact that they love the inside, not the outside. Still, the thick, 13-inch case is far from usable, and you can definitely fit it in a modest shoulder bag for easy transportation.

As for real games, I think a 14-inch display, such as Alienware 14, works better (and this system has a much better keyboard), but it’s not nearly as handy as portable. The EON13-S is for those willing to donate some comfort and battery to play high-end games on the go, but also has a dock for the monitor / keyboard / mouse installed at home for longer gaming sessions. If you are, you can set up a great EON13-S, which will be cheaper than our public review.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Image Processing Test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298
165 Maingear Pulse 14
170 Razer Blade 14
177 Origin PC EON13-S
193 Alienware 14
199

Apple iTunes Coding Test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Origin PC EON13-S
82 Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298
90 Alienware 14
92 Maingear Pulse 14
96 Razer Blade 14
99

Multimedia multitasking (iTunes and HandBrake, in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298
178 Alienware 14
180 Origin PC EON13-S
181 Razer Blade 14
186 Maingear Pulse 14
196

BioShock Infinite (fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Origin PC EON13-S
37 Alienware 14
35.73 Maingear Pulse 14
33 Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298
29.91 Razer Blade 14
27

Subway: Last light (in frame per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298
14.67 Origin PC EON13-S
12 Razer Blade 14
11.33 Alienware 14
11.33 Maingear Pulse 14
10.67

Video Trial Video Play Video (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Razer Blade 14
466 Maingear Pulse 14
365 Alienware 14
233 Origin PC EON13-S
204 Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298
105

Find more shopping tips in our Laptop Buying Guide.

System configurations

Origin EON13-S
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-4900MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M; (2) 120 GB HDD SSD RAW 0 750 GB 5 400 RPM

Razer Blade 14
Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ; 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M; 128GB Samsung SSD

Maingear Pulse 14
Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-4720MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 760M; (2) 128 GB SSD RAID 0 1 TB 5,400 rpm

Toshiba Qosimio X75-A7298
Windows 8 (64-bit); Intel Core i7-4700MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 770; 256GB SSD + 1TB 7200rpm HD

Alienware 14
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M; Hard Disk No. 1 256MB Lite-On IT SSD, Hard Disk No. 2 750 GB, 7200 rpm Western Digital

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