As enthusiastic gamers, we don't usually give a lot of attention to pre-built gaming machines, especially desktop PCs — they're often out of date before they're launched, with inferior graphics and CPU options. HP's new Omen gaming desktop and laptops, and an accompanying 32-inch monitor, though, are impressively modern and might just make sense if you're looking to pick up a new PC to handle the next few years of gaming.
HP Omen Gaming Desktop: GTX 1080 Power
Surprisingly for a big, top-tier PC manufacturer like HP, the new Omen desktop can be ordered with Nvidia's latest and most powerful GeForce GTX 1080 Founder's Edition graphics card as well as the option for AMD's top-of-the-line Radeon R9 390X, and sixth-gen Intel Core i7-6700K processors for overclocking — usefully, the Omen is liquid-cooled, which should make this easily possible. Plus it has fancy glowing lights, because gaming.
The Omen's microATX case form factor should mean it's easy to fit under a desk or to lug along to a LAN party, although there's a goodly amount of space to expand inside with extra hard drives or SSDs and a top panel with four USB ports, SD card input and headphone jack. Starting at a relatively reasonable $US999.99 before upgrades, the Omen desktop might actually be a reasonable alternative to the Alienware boxes and other pre-built machines out there.
HP Omen Gaming Laptops: 15- And 17-Inch
Two new Omen gaming laptops have been announced alongside the desktop and monitor, with identical designs but power and performance commensurate with their size. The 15.6-inch HP Omen notebook is specced out with a range of current-generation Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 dual- and quad-core CPUs while the 17.3-inch gets either the i5 or the i7. Graphics are similarly diverse — everything from a basic GTX 950M to the GTX 965M, although only the smaller 15-inch gets the entry-level chip.
Everything up to 16GB of 2133MHz DDR4 is offered across the range, as is a variety of SSD and spinning-disk hard drives. HP's ongoing close partnership with Intel means that the two laptops are also treated to (optional) RealSense 3D depth-sensing cameras, which can be used a la Leap Motion for hands-free PC control. We're checking to see whether either or both of these HP gaming laptops will eventually make their way down under, but in the US they'll cost $US899.99 and $US979.99 respectively before upgrades.
HP Omen Monitor: 32-inch Quad HD
HP actually has a monitor with some serious gaming credentials now. The new Omen-branded screen is a 32-inch, 2560x1440pixel Quad HD with 100 per cent sRGB colour space support and 5ms response times, although there's no word on what panel technology it's using. More importantly, it looks good — with some pretty Omen branding on the lower bezel, thin bezels overall and a pretty sleek and minimalist look.
Useful for dealing with the highly variable frame rates of 2016's graphically demanding AAA games, the Omen 32-inch monitor supports FreeSync — which gets rid of any flickering when your games aren't running at the monitor's target frame rate; the Omen supports frame rates up to 75Hz and FreeSync should mean it stays clear down to around 35Hz. There's no pricing on the monitor yet, but it looks pretty damn nice — we'd really like to see it in Australia. [HP]