Just when I thought HP had totally skewed toward the "bang for your buck" gamer, the company hit me with some high-end desktop awesomeness. The new HP Omen X desktop (starting at $1,699) is trying to turn PC gaming on its head. No, seriously, the cube-shaped chassis is turned on its side and suspended mid-air thanks to a pair of slim, welded on legs. While I know this is to keep the desktop at optimal temperatures, it still reminds me of the box from Hellraiser -- it's wicked cool.
Speaking of thermals, the Omen X has a unique cooling system that separates the CPU and GPU, storage bays and power source into their own chambers. The starting configuration features a 6th-gen Intel Core i7-6700K processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD with a 2TB 7,200-rpm hard drive and a AMD Radeon 480RX GPU with 4GB of VRAM. By the way, that GPU means that this bad boy is fully VR-ready. The system has 2 USB Type-C ports and 8 USB 3.0 ports, which should more than cover a couple of monitors and a VR headset if you're so inclined.
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But this Omen X is more than its angular orientation, funky cooling system and VR-readiness. Hoping to target enthusiast-level gamers, the desktop offers a myriad of configurations including an overclockable Intel Core i7 K-series processor and four storage bays that can accommodate PCIe SSDs or mechanical hard drives. As far as the GPU goes, the Omen can support both AMD or Nvidia. If that's not enough, the company is also throwing in 25GB of free storage on Dropbox.
HP has even gone so far as to partner with Maingear, maker of some of my favorite custom high-end gaming machines, and created a super-premium iteration of the chassis. Featuring a peekaboo tempered glass panel and Maingear's trademark tubing and custom water-cooling, Maingear's take on the Omen X is that much cooler -- especially once the lighting along the front kicks in.
But if you want to go the DIY route, HP also sells the galvanized-steel chassis by itself for $599 -- even without its 1300-watt power source. That way, the hardcore, build-it-from-the-ground up gamers can cherry pick their components.
As impressive as the Omen X looks on paper and in person, I'm going to reserve my final judgement for when the cube-shape marvel arrives at the Tom's Guide labs.