HP isn't really known for gaming desktops, but the company hopes to raise its profile with the new HP Envy Phoenix desktop. Starting at $899 and shipping June 10, the mid-sized tower has undergone a number of aesthetic and spec upgrades in an attempt to lure gamers away from the competition.
Instead of the shiny battle armor look from two years ago, the latest incarnation of the Phoenix is clad in a stately dark brushed aluminum chassis. The tower's front is highlighted by a pair of glowing red vertical LED strips. It's an understated approach compared to competitors.
Gamers can configure the Phoenix with fifth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with up to a 4TB hard drive. The tower also offers 128GB to 512GB SSD options. As far as the graphics card, HP will offer Nvidia and AMD options, including the GeForce GTX 980 or the R9 380. The Phoenix can support two 4K displays (depending on the GPU) and will be equipped with the company's Closed Loop Liquid Cooling thermal system.
HP didn't forget the power productivity users with its new lineup. For those that spend the bulk of their time running CAD and video or photo editing programs, HP has the Envy desktop (starting price of $699, also available June 10). The tower has the same slim rectangular shape as the Phoenix, but substitutes a gleaming silver brushed aluminum chassis compared to the Phoenix's darker frame.
Similar to the Phoenix, the Envy will offer fifth-generation Intel processors, but will also give consumers the option of Intel Haswell Z or 6th-gen AMD CPUs. This mid-sized tower can support two quad HD displays. Storage choices range from a 3TB hard drive to a 512GB SSD with optional Nvidia or AMD graphics.
Both the Phoenix and the Envy will offer a RAID configuration for accentuating the multimedia creation theme. The tower will be bundled with some HP-branded software, such as Connected Drive, Power Director, Photo Director and Snapfish Connected Photo.
The company is rounding out its desktop offerings with the colorful, budget-friendly HP Pavilion desktop (on sale June 26). Priced at $499 and available in four colors (Blizzard White, Natural Silver, Nobel Blue and Sunset Red), the desktop is covered in a funky soft touch material, showing off its slim, compact design. The tower is capable of supporting a pair of displays and will feature an integrated optical drive. The processor options range from Intel Celeron to Core i7 or AMD CPUs up to an A10 with integrated graphics or an optional Nvidia GPU.
Each of the above HP desktop PCs will ship with Bang & Olufsen speakers and preinstalled B & O Audio Control software.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.