New HP desktops shine

HP announces the Blackbird 002, among others.

HP's and Voodoo PC's Blackbird 002

HP announced the first product of its joint design efforts with Voodoo PC this evening. Our review of the HP Blackbird 002 is up, and it achieved the highest rating we've ever awarded a desktop. We'll let the review speak for itself, but we'll only add here that while we wrote about a custom configuration that won't be available until Oct. 1, you can buy a similar, fixed-configuration system today for $5,500 that looks like this:

  • Overclocked Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850
  • (2) Nvidia GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics cards
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • 2GB, 800MHz DDR2 Corsair SDRAM
  • 160GB, 10,000rpm hard drive
  • 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
  • (2) 16x dual-layer DVD burners
One external drive bay on the top, another on the bottom right. CNET

HP also announced its new Pavilion Elite line of digital-media-oriented desktops. They look basically the same as the Pavilion Media Center systems from earlier this year, with a few tweaks to the glossy case. We're still working on our review of the higher-end Pavilion Elite m9040n, but we can tell you so far that we're perplexed by the fact that it has bays for two different kinds of removable HP hard drives. This feels like a serious waste of space design-wise, and also like a transparent upselling tactic. The good news is that this system no longer has the superfluous "Media Center" designation in its name, as all PCs with Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate include Microsoft's Media Center interface. Stay tuned for that full review tomorrow.