Shaun is a gaming enthusiast and computer science graduate who has been working with computers for the last 15 years. He took a shine to competitive FPS back in the mid-2000s and hasn't looked back since.
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For the last three weeks, I have had the pleasure of using an all-new prototype mini-ITX gaming PC – the Comino OTTO Master PC. Comino was kind enough to send us one of their first engineering samples, so there was the odd machining mark, but wow, what a beautiful looking gaming rig.
Comino specializes in server-grade liquid cooling components, as well as dense pre-built liquid-cooled systems. This European based company has more than 15 years of combined experience and is rapidly growing, with expansion into the gaming market.
The liquid-cooled server brand started “OTTO” as they spotted a gap in the smaller form-factor gaming PC market. They felt this area was still untouched due to its limitations but saw this as a challenge and simply wanted to explore.
How We Tested
When we receive a prebuilt computer to test, we approach it the same every time. This engineering sample was kindly sent from Comino, but that doesn’t mean it is going to get any special treatment while being put through its paces.
We always begin by benchmarking a variety of games, taking the average FPS scores across a selection of different resolutions and settings. To give us a clearer indication of what the gaming PC is capable of, we see how it copes with CPU intensive tasks too, which includes tasks such as rendering and streaming. With this system being fully water-cooled, we will also be pushing its components to their theoretical limits by overclocking this system to its listed capabilities.
Below, we see this prebuilt’s full specification and exactly what the “OTTO MASTER” has to offer:
|Hardware Device||Model Description|
|Power Supply||Comino 750W SFX Platinum AC INPUT RATING 100-240V|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-9900K |
|Motherboard||Mini-ITX ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming|
|Cooler||Full-cover Comino WCB|
|Memory||16GB [8GB x 2] DDR4-3600MHz |
|Primary Solid State Drive||1TB SSD NVMe M.2|
|Secondary Storage Device||2TB 2.5" HDD|
|Graphics||ASUS Strix RTX 2080 Ti with Full-cover Comino WCB |
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 10|
Usually, when we are talking about a company-built PC, we think of your generic prebuilt systems that flood the market. Now, there are actually very few systems of a similar form factor to the Comino OTTO out there, and that is before we even get on to the topic of water cooling.
The design of this mini build is unique, with a custom-built chassis that looks quite futuristic and not a million miles away from the older desktop Macs, thanks to its perforated side panels. The custom-made reservoir covers the entire front of the PC, cut to match the concave shape of the chassis. The res is translucent so you can see the coolant inside, and the whole thing is backlit from the included RGB strips.
We have the Comino OTTO Master, which is their high-end offering and features the Intel Core i9-9900K and the RTX 2080 Ti. It is safe to say that without even overclocking any of the components, we saw superb results across all of our testing and every game title.
The design is one of the best I have seen – efficient, simplistic, and stunning. The whole thing looks custom, and it’s a device that wouldn’t look out of place next to your TV in the living room or on top of your desk at home.
The main talking point in terms of design is the engineering behind fitting all this power into such a small chassis. They could have made this even smaller but didn’t want to compromise on the effectiveness of the cooling. Despite just being small, this machine can stand vertically or horizontally, much like a console. The OTTO comes with a base to hold it vertically and accommodate for the I/O ports, while there is an extra piece of the translucent plastic underneath to support it when horizontal.
They had a few concepts in the working, but it was this one with the curved res at the front that people enjoyed the most, and I have to say, I’m very glad they went this way. The main feature is this wonderfully cut convex reservoir, which is almost completely smooth, aside from the engraved company logo in the middle.
I’m always a fan of magnet assisted side panels on any PC case; however, the side panels on the OTTO PC have zero hinges. Both panels are held on with neodymium magnets, and the panels just simply come off and snap back on without the need for tools. Furthermore, the 2mm thick aluminum panels are perforated, giving you a glimpse inside and allowing the included RGB strips a chance to shine out, making the build very aesthetically pleasing.
Now it’s time to talk about the main features to the Comino OTTO PC. Of course, the features and design tie in together with this being a mini prebuilt, so let’s talk more about what is inside.
As the brand will tell you, the OTTO is one of the few customizable liquid-cooled gaming PCs of this form factor that can fit a full-sized GPU. The GPU and CPU are water-cooled, but the system features full cover water blocks. Aside from the main components, the VRMs, southbridge, and m.2 storage are all covered.
The GPU is actually screwed into the backplate, and Comino uses a custom-designed PCIe x16 riser to save space. The riser features Molex gold plated sockets and flexible Twinax cables to relocate the GPU with no signal loss. These are the same risers the company uses with their servers, and the component is actually available on the website (in bulk).
A key element to the fact they could create something so small that produces so much heat is deformational cutting. This patented technology is used within the copper plate design and basically transfers more heat. The OTTO can remove up to a combined 720W of heat from the CPU, MOBO, and GPU.
The deformation process allows Comino to increase the surface area on the copper plate up to 12x. The process is more efficient than skiving and is up to 10x more effective at heat transfer when compared to a smooth surface. We overclocked the machine to put this to the test and will go over the results, later on, to see how the smaller form factor build coped.
Customization And Upgradability
In short, there will be prebuilt versions of the OTTO that are customizable, and as the mini-ITX PC is mostly assembled from consumer components, yes, it will be upgradeable too.
The fact this product can be purchased as a DIY kit or a Builders Edition means the PC building community can spec their very own OTTO PC and make it happen. Furthermore, the OTTO will be compatible with third-party water-cooling and will support even more hardware options.
Most of you are probably aware of the raw power behind these components, even out of the box. This shipped and arrived overclocked for us and here at WePC we always test products exactly how the customer would receive them.
Even though you can buy this on pre-order, Comino is still looking for feedback to further tweak the range and ensure it comes out as a cost-effective gaming PC, with no compromise in performance.
We are going to be testing the Comino OTTO across your standard areas including gaming, some CPU intensive tasks, and some multitasking such as streaming.
Let’s see how the OTTO Master stacked up.
One of the most important aspects of a prebuilt computer for us at WePC is how it handles gaming. Now, the Comino OTTO Master PC is packed with the best gaming components you can buy, so obviously, it did quite well throughout testing.
The Comino arrived with the CPU running at 4.7GHz on all cores of the i9-9900K. The GPU also came running above its base clock at a speed of 1830MHz, and the RAM was already XMP’d to its full potential of 3600MHz. None of this was surprising and it was a joy to see a system running at such speeds upon arrival, however, this comes with some increased temperatures from the get-go.
Let’s have a rundown of the games we benchmarked the system on:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Metro Exodus
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Total War: Warhammer II
- Rainbow Six Siege
We wanted to include a variety of CPU and GPU intensive games to see how it faired overall. Now, a system like this with an Intel Core i9-9900K and RTX 2080 Ti is never going to struggle, so we threw in resolutions all the way up to 4K and turned ray-tracing on when we could.
Let’s talk about Red Dead Redemption 2 first as it was only game that offered the OTTO Master any sort of challenge. A few gamers out there have referred to RDR2 as the new Crysis and from our testing, you can sort of see why.
The game played at a reasonable average FPS in high settings until you reach 4K. At 4K in high, we saw the FPS drop below the desired 60 frames, however, with a few minor tweaks we feel gamers could still achieve something that looked great whilst taking advantage or your G-sync/ Freesync monitor.
Maybe I have been a little naive as to how demanding RDR2 actually is. If you had a PC with these components and overclocked them, you still can’t get much more than 40FPS with this game maxed out in 4K resolution!
Moving on, we saw Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Metro Exodus perform quite similar across all resolutions and settings. With CoD:MW, RTX gaming was very possible and only dipped below 60 FPS once running in 4K. Our testing showed an average of 55 FPS in 4K, which again, we feel can be enhanced with a few tweaks here and there but if you are playing this competitively you are most likely going to keep high settings at 1440p as your limit.
The Comino OTTO also hit the magic 144 FPS on average with ray-tracing on, while running at a resolution of 1080p. Seeing as most competitive players will probably be using a 1080p monitor, this was quite a promising result.
Much like CoD, Metro Exodus ran smoothly across the three resolutions. Unfortunately, when testing in “extreme” settings with ray-tracing on, the game was unplayable so as you can tell by the results, we lowered the settings to “ultra” when testing RTX.
So 4K RTX gaming is very much a possibility and you probably aren’t going to notice too much of a difference between the top two settings. Regardless, with settings maxed out, you still are unable to hit that 60 FPS.
Total War: Warhammer II is a very intensive game all round, there are plenty of on-screen assets that can cause, even the better gaming rigs out there, some hassle. Luckily we had the best combo of components to tackle such a game, which smashed through this title almost entirely.
The chances are you would want to enjoy this game in as much detail as possible, and you can. The only point we saw this begin to struggle was at the top end of 4K, with maxed-out settings. We had everything on ultra and hit an average FPS of 57, again meaning you can probably squeeze another 3 FPS from somewhere to hit that 60 frames.
Finally, we tested the OTTO with a couple of esports titles, resulting in some impressive FPS scores for both CS:GO and Rainbow Six Siege. CS:GO is one of the most accessible games out there, and can generally run on integrated graphics. So a 2080 Ti is clearly overkill but what is worth noting is that when playing CS in 4K at the highest settings, the system achieved an average of 244 FPS.
This means you could keep your competitive edge and play in 4K at 240Hz if such a monitor ever exists.
R6:S was much less viable to play in higher resolutions when compared to CS:GO. You’d struggle to find many playing these titles in 4K but with settings maxed, you’re looking at an average of 90 FPS. Good news for esports players though, as you can hit 144 frames in maxed out settings with a 1440p monitor and below, with the 0.1% being mighty close at 130 frames.
This machine could without a doubt handle the newer line of 360Hz refresh rate monitors coming out for that silky smooth G-sync gameplay.
Multitasking And Media Editing
We put the Comino OTTO PC through various multi-tasking scenarios to see how well the hyperthreaded processor stacked up. This may be a gaming PC with impressive single-core performance and the best consumer graphics card on the market, but what else does it have to offer?
To get a better overall picture we benchmarked using:
- Premiere Pro
- Corona 1.3
In this line of Intel CPU‘s the i9-9900K is the only multi-threaded process on offer and while its single-core performance is still king, the multi-threads are behind AMD’s latest Ryzen line of CPUs.
|Handbrake||x265 10-bit CRF20 Medium||399|
|Handbrake||x264 CRF18 SLOW||281|
|Premiere Pro||Puget Systems||624.5|
|Corona 1.3||BTR Scene||104s|
Interestingly the results weren’t a million miles away from the 6-core/ 12-thread AMD Ryzen 5 3600, which we tested in our iBUYPOWER prebuilt review. Regardless, any gamers looking to do some heavy-duty tasks such as rendering could but you probably want to just stick to gaming with this rig.
This is a great gaming PC and with the specs it possesses, there is plenty of streaming potential here. The performance will fluctuate depending on what gaming title you stream to your Twitch channel but with some of the best components on the market, it’s hardly going to struggle.
Seeing as the OTTO PC comes completely water-cooled, we thought we should probably push the system further. Now, the CPU is capable of running at 5.0GHz with a decent cooling solution (which we have) and the graphics card is also capable of being taken further. Before things became unstable/ too hot, we ran our ROG Strix 2080 Ti an extra 150MHz on the clock and took the VRAM up another 500MHz.
Below we have a few comparisons with the system OC’d.
As you can see it yielded some performance boosts, pretty much an extra 10 FPS in across all the titles we tested. We could have taken things further but when hitting 80 degrees, we felt this is where we would leave it if it was ours. When you consider that this is just a 13-liter enclosure with limited amounts of cooling liquid, the results are actually quite impressive.
Custom Vs. Prebuilt
Here at WePC, we are all about getting more of you out there to build your own computers. However, for once, I think we have a prebuilt gaming PC contender. Now, this is pricey, so it is already catering for the smaller end of the market in PC gaming but when you consider what has gone into this and how much it costs, it’s a no brainer.
There is always a markup with prebuilt systems, no matter where you buy them from. The main differences with the OTTO PC here are its smaller form factor, custom design, and the fact it is water-cooled. Not many custom PC builders out there come close to the value of this when you take that into consideration, with the main competition, the Corsair One, being way off.
What sets the Comino brand even further apart from the pack is that they will sell you the barebones of this build so you can create your own little dream machine on a budget that better suits your needs! Amazing.
Where Can You Buy An OTTO PC?
The various OTTO PC options are now available to pre-order over at the Comino store. One thing that struck me after seeing what has gone into this, is the value in this particular prebuilt computer. If we take Corsair One’s premium gaming offering, the i160, there is no doubt in my mind that the Comino OTTO is the better value. Of course, there is a markup but when you consider the customization that has gone into this mini beaut, It just makes me want to throw my next paycheck Cominos way.
The Intel-based OTTO MASTER that we have here is set to retail at $3,599 MSRP and the AMD-based SUPER at $2,099. The “DIY” option that ships with the minimum (chassis, res, riser, rad, RGB strips, and optional pump) has an MSRP of $449 and finally the “Builders Edition” where you get everything aside from the main components, comes in at $1,049 MSRP.
The OTTO master at idle was fairly quiet, but when this was being pushed to the limit, you want the fans to be pumping that heat out, so naturally, it was quite loud. That was the only negative I could think of while using this gaming PC, it’s amazing!
The build quality is fantastic, and the little design choices go a long way. I love the way they worked the power button and USB-C into the logo on the side panel, for example, and the whole machine just feels well thought out.
Consumer hardware squeezed into a small 13L chassis that looks as good as this is hard to come by, and when you consider the value, this has to be one of the best Mini-ITX prebuilts I’ve ever seen.
Comino, can I keep it?