While most gamers are familiar with water-cooled solutions that attach to the top of the CPU to help dissipate heat and improve processor performance, Origin PC’s Cryo Core, introduced late last year, takes this to the next level.
Rather than just focus on the CPU, Cryo Core is a $322 acrylic block that delivers cooled water to thermally regulate your entire motherboard, and it’s designed to be paired with other CPU and GPU liquid cooling solutions, like Corsair’s Hydro X radiator. The Cryo Core is designed for Origin PC’s Genesis and Millennium desktops.
Form meets function
Traditionally, the backside of a motherboard is uninteresting, hiding the bundles of wires that run beneath it. This is why more affordable desktops, like HP’s Omen Obelisk and Dell’s G5 desktop, often come with just a single glass panel on one side and a metal panel on the other to hide the mess of wires running behind.
With Cryo Core, Origin PC gives dual tempered glass side windows a purpose by cleaning up the rear of the motherboard and adding visual interest to help gamers show off their expensive wares. And boy, is it beautiful.
Coupled with built-in RGB lighting, Cryo Core not only serves a functional purpose in keeping your PC running cool, but also looks stunning in a dimmeddown gaming den. When lit up, Origin’s laser-etched stylized logo really shines and will definitely give you bragging rights. The effect is not unlike the liquid cool acrylic blocks that Digital Storm used on the GPUs on its premium Aventum X desktop. As on our fully configured Genesis super tower, you can pair Cryo Core with a liquid-cooled CPU radiator to add visual interest to both sides of the tower.
Lacking an identical configuration of a Genesis without Cryo Core, it’s hard to evaluate the effects that this accessory has on regulating CPU temperature while playing intensive games like Battlefield V or running CPU-intensive workflows. When I reached out to Origin to inquire about the effects of Cryo Core on system performance, the representative inferred that customers may opt for the upgrade more for its design than its touted performance.
“Unfortunately I would not have any specific data I could provide, as it would depend on multiple factors,” an Origin representative wrote, noting that overall system specs and programs being used will contribute to differing performance. “Cryo Core does add additional cooling to the system, although many folks tend to go with it for the aesthetics.”
In my test of the Genesis with Cryo Core, I didn’t encounter any issues whatsoever with performance, but the review configuration we received was one of the best available with a top of the line processor and dual graphics. Even without Cryo Core, we’ve found similar configurations in the past from Origin and rivals Digital Storm and Falcon Northwest to be pretty much unstoppable, so it’s unclear how much extra real-world performance can be gained here.
To get Cryo Core on your Genesis build, you need to upgrade from Origin’s standard RGB Frostbyte 240 liquid cooling CPU solution to Corsair’s Hyrdo X cooling, which commands an additional $422 premium. More advanced solutions of the Hydro X go for more, so you can spend as much as $834 extra – for a combined total of $1,156 – just to make your PC visually appealing on both sides.
Upgrading the memory, storage, RAM, CPU, fans, power supply, drive bays, and GPU configurations will quickly add to the price of the system, which starts at a more palatable $2,031. Fully loaded, you’re looking at a price tag of just under $15,000. Even without a liquid-cooled motherboard, no matter what you throw at a system this premium, it’d be hard to throttle the Genesis, so the $1,156 premium for liquid cooling may be superfluous. And chances are, most enthusiast gamers would have invested in a capable CPU – from AMD’s or Intel’s lineup – and GPU that the Cryo Core would be a nice, but unnecessary upgrade.
While I wasn’t able to measure and compare CPU temperatures on the system, I did perform a series of synthetic benchmarks using tools like PCMark and 3DMark from Underwriters Laboratories, Maxon’s Cinebench, and SPECwpc. Compared to similarly configured systems from other manufacturers that we had reviewed in the past, the Genesis’ performance was within 11% of its rivals, beating out its competitors in a number of tests but trailing closely in a few others. That suggests that the marginal gains here may not be the most affordable means to get a performance boost.
Is it worth it?
If raw performance gains is all you’re looking for, the premium for Cryo Core may not be worth the $1K premium. That’s especially true at the high end of the configuration since the price you’re paying is roughly equivalent to 8% the cost of a maxed out Genesis.
But then again, few luxuries are hard to quantify. If you’re buying a custom PC from Origin, you’re likely interested in turning your rig into a trophy case of the best available technology. Cryo Core takes that to another level.
- We’re giving away an insanely powerful $3,900 Falcon NW Talon gaming desktop
- The best desktop PCs for small businesses in 2020
- How to build a computer
- The best desktops for video editing in 2020
- Homebrew PC troubleshooting 101: Here’s where to start if your PC won’t