Origin Genesis Midtower

I know what you're thinking -- didn't PCWorld already review the ? Good job, young Padawan, because you're right -- we did. However, this variant of Origin's Genesis line is equipped with midrange components, and a slightly less potent Sandy Bridge processor (the Intel Core i5-2500K). Don't let this fool you, though -- Origin's latest actually outstripped its predecessor on our WorldBench 6 tests, thanks in part to it's RAID 0 array, and an overabundance of RAM.

The Genesis Midtower Mainstream ($2,254 as of 3/7/11) packs a party of impressive features under its unassuming hood. Aside from the second-generation Intel i5-2500K (overclocked to 4.5GHz), the Mainstream sports 16GB of RAM, a terabyte of hard drive space (actually a pair of 640GB drives, arranged in RAID 0), and a pair of graphics cards in SLI. You'll also find a DVD-burner, and Windows Home 7 premium (64-bit).

Despite the Midtower Mainstream's lesser processor, it received a score of 206 on our World Bench 6 benchmark tests. It's bested (barely) in general performance by the ($1849), which earned a 207. Third place goes to the ($850), which earned a 188.

The Midtower Mainstream's pair of GTX 560 Ti graphics cards also proved rather capable. We'll use Maingear's Vybe Super Stock, for comparison's sake -- it's equipped with a single graphics card. All of our tests were conducted at a 2560-by-1600 resolution, at the highest available settings. In this case, two midrange cards in SLI outpaced the single higher-end GPU. The Vybe Super Stock also offers up half as much RAM, and its 60GB SSD and 1TB storage drives can't quite keep up with the Genesis' RAID 0 arrangement.

The Origin Midtower chassis makes a return here: it's plain, yet attractive. Its brushed black aluminum exterior is broken in only a few places, including the front (where there's a mesh front panel with the Origin logo) and the side, where there's a large plastic window. The case is generally accessible, and the windowed side panel slides off easily to allow you access to the guts of the machine.

The interior of the case is roomy but cramped. Like other Origin systems, the Midtower Mainstream's interiors are attractively lit up (with just one blue LED bar) and meticulously organized. However, because Origin is squeezing two graphics cards and 16GB of RAM in there, there's very little upgrade space. There are three 3.5-inch bays (two are used) and three 5.25-inch bays (one is used), as well as two open PCI slots. Good luck squeezing any peripherals into those PCIe x16 slots, though, with those hulking graphics cards in there. For what it's worth, there's also an open PCIe x1 that you'll probably be able to use.