Cue up the haunting demonic music. Starting sometime in August, HP will be unleashing the Omen desktop upon the gaming masses. The company has yet to announce pricing, but did say the new desktop will be VR-ready and offer optional liquid cooling and a heaping helping of storage to accommodate your library of traditional and virtual reality titles. I got a quick glimpse of the new desktop at a recent event and it's definitely a sight to behold.
The Omen borrows heavily from the Envy Phoenix desktop, resulting in a stunning mid-tower clad in dark gray brushed metal paneling. You'll see a glossy black enclosure at the top of the case, which hold several input slots including a USB Type-C port. Along the front are a pair of LED strips that can be programmed via three modes (Single Color, Color Show or CPU temperature) to glow and pulse at your leisure.
HP claims that mod-minded gamers can easily access the desktop's innards without using tools. However, I was unable to test out the claim during the demo.
Whenever it launches, the Omen won't be a shrinking violet. Select configurations will feature an overclockable Intel Core i7-6700K processor with up to 32GB of RAM. Storage options range from up to 512GB SSD and a 3TB hard drive, which should be more than enough to maintain a healthy library of VR and regular games. The system can support some of the most powerful graphics cards on the market, including the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. The Omen will also have an option for liquid cooling for a cooler, quieter gaming experience.
Thanks to its specs, the Omen is more than capable of supporting either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. However, HP has recently teamed with HTC to collaborate on a VR-based project. While neither camp has said anything about the partnership, it's not a far stretch to imagine that the Omen desktop will play a major part.
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In addition to the desktop, HP is also launching a new monitor dubbed the Omen by HP Display. Measuring 32 inches (diagonally), the new panel offers Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution that hits 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut. When it starts shipping in August (price to be determined), it will support AMD's FreeSync software, which uses adaptive synchronization technology to dynamically control refresh rates, creating smoother graphics and frame rates.
HP is bringing out the big guns with the HP Omen desktop. Offering some high-powered specs and a partnership with HTC, it's clear that HP is going after the same high-end enthusiast market that Alienware, Maingear and Origin typically covet. Combined with the new display, HP might be a dark horse in the gaming desktop space.